Twilight | 2008
Stephenie Meyer’s series of hugely popular vampire novels is set in Forks, Washington State, in the heart of the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic Peninsula. Although Forks is a real town, and the book mentions recognisable locations, the film was made for practical reasons, largely around Portland in Oregon, with just a little Washington and even California.
The central plot point, that five kids can cut school whenever the sun shines without any serious consequences, hardly seems a great advert for the local weather but, to be honest, you won't be visiting the Northwest to get a killer tan.
What you want is the cool light, the mist and the breathtaking scenery – and where better than Silver Falls State Park, 26 miles east of Salem, near Silverton, where a deer is attacked by some unseen creature during the prologue. Stunning shots of Bella with Edward in the treetops were also filmed in the park.
There’s a short detour to dry and dusty desert country as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) leaves her ‘Phoenix’ home. The house is not ‘Arizona’ at all, but 22301 Cataro Drive off Catala Avenue, Saugus, north of Santa Clarita, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles in southern California. It's just a few minutes away from the 'Arizona' high school seen in 1990 teen comedy-drama Pump Up The Volume, with Christian Slater.
The screen version of ‘Forks’ is generally Vernonia, a logging town (looking like it’s been twinned with David Lynch’s Twin Peaks) on the Nehalem River, about 35 miles northwest of Portland, Oregon. ‘Forks Police Station’ is a local bank, Wauna Federal Credit Union, 1010 Bridge Street (Nehalem Hwy) at Weed Avenue in Vernonia.
The house into which Bella moves with her father Charlie (Billy Burke) is about 20 miles east of Vernonia by the Washington border in Saint Helens, at 184 South 6th Street. More of Saint Helens later.
About 12 miles north – over the border and actually in Washington on I-5 – is the town of Kalama, where Kalama High School, 548 China Garden Road was transformed into ‘Forks High School’ with a replica of Forks’ ‘Home of the Spartans’ sign. At Kalama is the car park, where Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) is forced to reveal his vampire speed and strength, and the school gym where Bella meets her new classmates.
The school cafeteria, though, where Bella first claps eyes on the strange Cullen clan, is back in Oregon. It’s Madison High School, 2735 NE 82nd Avenue in Portland, which also provided the biology classroom where Edward sends out strangely mixed signals to new girl Bella. Madison High was previously featured in local boy Gus Van Sant’s 2007 Paranoid Park.
The eco-conscious school trip is to Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, just south of Portland.
Also in Oregon City is ‘Grisham Mill’, where the security guard is attacked by non-veggie vampires. Recycling facility the Blue Heron Paper Company, 419 Main Street, is no stranger to the screen, having already been featured in William Friedkin’s 2003 The Hunted, with Tommy Lee Jones.
About five miles northeast of Oregon City, you’ll find the cafe where Bella and her dad catch up with locals, including ‘butt-crack Santa’. Unlike the Italian restaurant, the bookstore and the dress shop, Carver Cafe, 16471 SE Highway 224, Damascus is the real thing. And that’s a cameo from author Stephenie Meyer, getting the veggie special as she taps away on her laptop. Pop in and get an ‘I got a bite at the Carver Cafe’ t-shirt.
The surfing beach at ‘La Push’ (a real beach in Washington State) is Indian Beach, Ecola State Park, off Hwy 101, two miles north of Cannon Beach, and previously seen in Steven Spielberg’s raucous WWII comedy 1941; Spielberg-produced adventure The Goonies, as well as surfing movie Point Break.
It’s back to Saint Helens, where the Olde Towne district, alongside the Columbia River waterfront, stands in for ‘Port Angeles’. You won't be able to buy your party frock at the 'dress shop'. A hairdressers, Angel Hair Salon, 251 South 1st Street, was temporarily transformed into ‘Petite Jolie’, where Bella leaves her friends trying on prom dresses, as she slopes off to investigate Quileute legends.
Another disappointment, if you want to research the Legend of the Slapping Beaver. The 'Thunderbird and Whale' is not a bookstore at all, or any kind of store, but a private office building at 260 South 2nd Street.
Behind is the sinister-looking alleyway in which Edward turns up to rescue Bella from the bunch of guys with bad thoughts, on 1st Street.
And there’s no more luck with the ‘Bloated Toad’, the Italian restaurant where Edward reveals his telepathic abilities as Bella tucks into mushroom ravioli. Just to the south of the hair salon, 333 South 1st Street is in reality a construction company.
The fantastic Cullen house – no coffins, dungeons or moat – is a private home, the M1 Residence, a cantilevered glass and wood construction by Skylab Architects in Forest Park, Portland.
The ‘Arizona’ scenes were filmed around Santa Clarita in southern California, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The ‘Phoenix’ hotel in which Bella and the vamps hide out after fleeing Forks is the Hyatt Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive, Valencia, on I-5 west of Santa Clarita.
And finally back to Oregon for the ‘Casino Monte Carlo’ prom, which was actually held at the View Point Inn, 40301 East Larch Mountain Road, Corbett, on I-84, 22 miles east of downtown Portland, high on a bluff, boasting a staggering view over the entire Columbia River Gorge, the city lights of Portland and Vancouver.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1924 landmark had played host to the likes of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charlie Chaplin, but in 2011 its second floor was gutted by fire. There were plans to restore the inn but these now seem to have fallen through. You can follow the View Point's sad fate at Restore Oregon.