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Screen Tourism

FILM TOURS - Comunidad de Madrid, FANTASTIC!

Portada Ruta Fantastic

Madrid Fantastic brings together the locations of 50 municipalities in the Community of Madrid that were the setting for films in the fantasy and horror genre.

Titles such as "El cebo" by Ladislao Vadja in 1958; "Gritos en la noche" by Jesús Franco in 1962; "Ella y el miedo" by León Klimovsky in 1962, or "La marca del hombre lobo" by Enrique Eguiluz in 1968, when the phenomenon of the Spanish fantastic genre that we know today began.

A genre that needs singular locations and spaces, such as dark forests or dark castles, which were located throughout the region of Madrid, and especially in Talamanca de Jarama, San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Pelayos de la Presa, Navacerrada, Lozoya, Torrelodones, or the capital itself.



Interesting facts

The making of various fantastic genre titles, has attracted important international actors and actresses to Comunidad de Madrid, such as Nicole Kidman starring in The Others, Hugh Grant with Rowing with the Wind, Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce with The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Harvey Keitel with Star Knight, Jason Robards with Murders in the Rue Morgue, or Arnold Schwarzenegger with Conan the Barbarian. Of heavy scene fame, Alice Cooper worked in Madrid in the making of Monster Dog.

El Coleccionista de Cadaveres. Estudios Roma
“Blind Man’s Bluff”. Roma Studios. Madrid.

Word figures in the fantastic scene came to what is now called Comunidad de Madrid, starting with Boris Karloff, the monster Frankenstein devised by Universal Studios, for the filming of Blind Man’s Bluff. Another essential American name in terms of the worldwide fantastic genre is Vincent Price in House of 1,000 Dolls, while the incomparable British actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing travelled to Madrid to shoot together Horror Express. Cushing would later return and together with another great, Terence Stamp, work in Mystery on Monster Island.

Panico en el Transiberiano. Estudios Madrid
“Horror Express”. Madrid 70 Studios. Daganzo.

Herbert Lom, of The Phantom of the Opera fame shot Murders in the Rue Morgue in Comunidad de Madrid; Klaus Kinski of Herzog’s Nosferatu fame, came to shoot Star Knight; The Hollywood star, Dorothy Malone, appeared in Rest in Pieces; X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes, Ray Milland, participated in The Sea Serpent; The leading actor in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Michael Rennie, worked in Madrid making Assignment Terror; The private detective privado in Psycho, Martin Balsam, came for the shooting of The Brother from Space; The actor playing the part of Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund, was present in Killer Tongue; The Bond girl, and Hammer star, Caroline Munro, shot The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Howl of the Devil, Vampyres. We cannot leave aside others who worked in Comunidad de Madrid such as Patrick Wayne, John Phillip Law, Cameron Mitchell, Christopher George, Edmund Purdom, Tom Baker, Telly Savalas, Mel Ferrer; the list just goes on…

There have also been producers such as Roger Corman with Immortal Sins, and directors such as Mario Bava with Lisa and the Devil, Terry Gilliam with The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, John Milius with Conan the Barbarian or Guillermo del Toro with The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, all of whom came to Comunidad de Madrid to film fantastic genre..

In the most dystopian Madrid, we find one of the shots that has been seen the world over; the emblematic Gran Vía without a soul and filmed without any digital effect in Open Your Eyes by Alejandro Amenábar.

La Torre De Los Siete Jorobados
“Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks”.

But going back in the filmic history of Madrid, there have been other dystopian worlds: that of secret society, of the underground fantastic real in Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks by Edgar Neville, and that of the Satanic and Apocalyptic dimension of The Day of the Beast by Alex de la Iglesia.

El Dia de la Bestia
“The Day of the Beast”.

The film Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks was shot in and around Plaza de la Paja, a quarter that has often attracted genre shooting activity. Shot in black and White, we can identify the area The Awful Dr. Orlof or in Justino. Neville’s film has locations such as Plaza de la Morería or Plaza de Alamillo.

The film by Alex de la Iglesia has sought out spots like Calle Desengaño, Calle Preciados, Calle Alcalá, the El Retiro park, Sala Revólver, or Plaza de Callao with its Schweppes advertisement; Plaza Castilla is easily identified by the slanting skyscrapers known as Torres Kio.

Two worlds, two discourses are represented in Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks and The Day of the Beast, worlds which are as fantastic as they are castizo - traditional - and unforgettable, nonetheless.

The citizen of Madrid, Jacinto Molina Álvarez, under the pseudonym of Paul Naschy, has managed to become an international celebrity of the fantastic genre thanks to his work in screenplay writing, directing, and acting. Most of his career has taken place in Comunidad de Madrid; back in 1967 he initiated the Project for Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, interpreting numerous iconic fantastic characters. We recall one time when he is depicted as Mr. Hyde as he walks over the fog-shrouded bridge - Puente de Segovia. In another interpretation he is a mummy crawling along the sewers of the capital’s Paseo de la Castellana. He has created his own unmistakeable characters such as the wolf man, Waldemar Daninsky, the vampire noblewoman Wandesa Dárvula de Nadasdy and the cruel and Satanic martial, Alaric de Marnac, for films shot at San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Talamanca de Jarama and Navacerrada.

La Marca Del Hombre Lobo. Talamanca De Jarama
“Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror”. Talamanca de Jarama.

Paul Naschy had makeup put on for twelve films in Comunidad de Madrid, though not always as Waldemar Daninsky, but in any case, as a lycanthrope: Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, Assignment Terror, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, Fury of the Wolfman, Dr. Jekyll vs. The Werewolf, Curse of the Devil, Night of the Werewolf, Good Night, Mr. Monster, The Beast and the Magic Sword, Howl of the Devil, Aquí huele a muerto (Here’s Death’s Stench) and Lycanthrope: The Moonlight Murders.

At various times, these films were screened in different countries and they continue to be re-edited in different formats at present.

One of the largest foreign super productions shot in Comunidad de Madrid was Conan the Barbarian. Produced by Dino de Laurentis, directed by John Milius and with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the part of the Cimmerian hero, an icon of novels and comics, created by Robert E. Howard, the filmmakers centred their preproduction in Madrid. At a later stage shooting took place largely within Comunidad de Madrid.

Rodaje de Conan el Barbaro. Colmenar Viejo
Shooting “Conan The Barbarian”. Colmenar Viejo.

It was precisely on the first day of the film shoot that saw Arnold Schwarzenegger at work in Colmenar Viejo, on rural property near Puente del Batán, marking the entrance of the Atlante cave, with the Menhir; there the hero, using his formidable sword, broke free from the chains imprisoning him. Another scene was unfortunate for the star as he was bitten by dogs that were chasing him.

La Pedriza y Manzanares El Real
“Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger”. La Pedriza, Manzanares El Real.

Meantime, in Navacerrada the forge of the sword was shot. In Talamanca de Jarama, the tavern was recreated and in an industrial warehouse in Fuenlabrada the exquisite film sets and items that characterise the film were assembled. Memorable scenes include the giant serpent. These film sets and elements were later used in the shooting of the Treasure of the Four Crowns and became props for Hundra which also used exterior shots taken in La Pedriza.

La Pedriza has also witnessed the Sinbad the Sailor trilogy with the sublime presence of Ray Harryhausen, master of magic and exquisite special effects. The magic of cine played a part in attracting The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, the prehistoric figure in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger or the flying homunculus in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, who scans the fortress of Koura, which is none other than the castle of Manzanares El Real. Furthermore, the gaudy vessel commanded by Sinbad was assembled in the yards of Estudios Verona in Colmenar Viejo, know administered by Tres Cantos. In the said studios, where El diablo cojuelo (The Limping Devil) had been shot earlier shot, it was only a matter of time before the pseudo-world of Mad-Max, Solarbabies, and the underwater terrors of The Rift would follow.

Other examples of productions with mythological monsters amount to a fantastic peplum: The Medusa Against the Son of Hercules, was an Italian-Spanish coproduction directed by Alberto de Martino, and shot in Madrid’s vast Casa de Campo.

It so happens that in the American production of Crack in the World directed by Andrew Marton, the earth’s crust starts to crack in the regional Madrid town of Pedriza, while in the Spanish production The People Who Own the Dark directed by León Klimovsky, the nuclear holocaust starts at the gates of the Carthusian monastery known as Cartuja de Talamanca de Jarama.

Estudios Bronston Bunuel de Madrid
“Star Knight”. Bronston/Buñuel Studios. Madrid.

Sci-Fi film has also found a place for itself in shootings in Comunidad de Madrid. We have for example films about/with aliens as in Star Knight by Fernando Colomo which at the time, was the most expensive film ever in Spain and where Miguel Bosé interprets an alien that lands on earth during the middle ages. Shooting took place at El Escorial, Cercedilla, La Pedriza and the film studio known as Estudios Bronston/Buñuel; other examples are the productions by Juan Piquer, who, in the desire to follow the wake of the E.T. phenomenon, produced in Europe, Extra Terrestrial Visitors, with a UFO named Trompy, in Navacerrada. A similar experience occurred with the alien from The Brother from Space, who wandered around Torrelaguna during the peak of filming.

Supersonic Man. Estudios Piquer de Madrid
“Supersonic man”. Piquer Studios. Madrid.

Mention must also be made of the super-hero in Supersonic Man, a memorable production by Juan Piquer, using the Front-Projection screen system and created at Estudios Piquer in Madrid, emulating Superman by Richard Donner.