In celebration of the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror film Mama debuting on Blu-ray and DVD today, we were invited along to take a tour of the darker side of Hollywood. Sure, it’s all fame and fortune for the relative few who make it in this town, but the ones who came close – and the stars who think themselves invincible – sometimes meet a grisly end. In this city of glitz and glamour there’s plenty of gruesome gore to be found, and the folks at Starline Tours know just where to look. Hit the jump to come along on our recap of the tour that took us through some of Hollywood’s most famous haunts and be sure to check out writer-director Andres Muschietti’s Mama, now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Our tour started at the unlikeliest of haunts, the world-famous TCL (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre, smack in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. The building certainly appears to be more of a tourist trap than a repository for ghosts, but the near 100-year-old landmark has its share of haunted history. In the heat of summer, numerous tourists have reported walking through unexplained cold spots while literally standing in the footsteps of celebrities past and present who have made their mark in the hardening concrete. Our tour guide was quick to assure us that, although the phenomenon may be caused by walking through a ghost, they don’t particularly mind.
Just across Hollywood Boulevard from the Chinese Theatre is the famous Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the first-ever Academy Awards in 1929. Spirits that still take up residence in the rooms include Marilyn Monroe, who got her start modeling swimsuits at the hotel’s pool. When the hotel previously had a museum on site, a full-length mirror would sometimes reveal Monroe putting on her lipstick behind tour guests, long after her death. Unfortunately the museum was dismantled, though the mirror survived and was transferred to a new celebrity museum down the street. Still haunting the halls and rooms of the Roosevelt is the From Here to Eternity star, Montgomery Clift. Known for doggedly rehearsing his lines and for learning to play the bugle for his part, Clift would often disturb other hotel guests with his practice and went so far as to take his own room’s phone off the hook to prevent him from being disturbed by complaint calls. Guests and service workers alike claim they can still hear dialogue being read in the halls of the ninth floor, or bits of bugling at odd hours, and phones seem to find a way of taking themselves off the hook at random.
From there we took a tour of the famous sights of Hollywood, accompanied by some not-as-famous tales from the dark side:
The Magic Castle – Built in 1909, this mansion later became the clubhouse and entertainment venue for the Academy of Magical Arts. Apparently, there’s a haunted piano named Irma inside that will play you any song you ask of it.
Outpost Canyon – Though this secluded neighborhood is home to many vibrant, living celebrities and their families, one former resident that is no longer with us is the former horror icon, Bela Lugosi.
The Hollywood Sign – Though it can be seen from many points within Hollywood, this famous sign has been the site of one infamous suicide, that of ambitious actress Peg Entwistle. Although her depresseion caused her to leap to her premature death from the top of the H, Entwistle posthumously performed in Thirteen Women, which was ironically about suicide.
Mulholland Drive – Before it was the title of a David Lynch film, this famous winding road was a popular residence for celebrities, as well as a challenging venue for late-night street racers. A few unskilled or unlucky drivers met their fates during races and plunged into the canyon, coming to their final rest many feet below.
Chateau Marmont Hotel – As old as the Chinese Theatre, this landmark has long been a favorite haven for celebrities, who could enjoy the scenic views from their secluded rooms. One such celebrity was John Belushi, who checked into Bungalow #3 in March of 1982, but a drug overdose insured he’d never check out.
Hollywood Cemetery – One might expect there to be signs of hauntings in a cemetery that was founded back in 1899 – and one would be correct. Numerous reports of people appearing to walk through walls, orbs of light traveling around and other unexplained phenomena continue to this day. The sacred ground is home to such past celebrities as Rudolph Valentino, Don Adams, Mel Blanc, Cecil B. DeMille, Peter Lorre and more; Marion Davies is entombed at a mausoleum on an island in a lake on the cemetery’s property.
Remember that you don’t necessarily need to live in Hollywood to experience macabre movie magic; pick up a copy of Mama on Blu-ray/DVD today and you’ll get all the scares you ever wanted in the safety of your own home!