There’s nothing quite like watching a movie, having a moment of recognition, and being able to say, “Hey, I’ve been there!” It’s a surreal feeling, and Chester County has no shortage of cameos. Here are our top ten picks for iconic locations in Chester County, Pennsylvania used for filming- trust us, you won’t want to miss out!
10. The Blob (1958)
As one of the earliest science fiction/horror films, The Blob is a fantastic way to start this list. A mysterious alien begins to attack small towns, consuming people, and growing in size with its prey. It’s simple, classic, full of teen angst, and features the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, the Downingtown Diner, Chester Springs, and other locations in the greater area.
9. The Happening (2008)
From the creators of Sixth Sense, this movie is not only a fun, thrilling sci-fi, but its true beauty is in the snapshot of Pennsylvania countryside and, of course, the magnificent score. A mysterious illness that causes people to commit suicide quickly escalates out of hand. Local scenes were shot at the Unionville Village Historic District and Phoenixville’s G-Lodge Diner.
8. Marnie (1964)
This oldie is a forgotten jewel. One of Hitchcock’s greatest, and yet most underrated films. A mystery/drama, this movie explores topics that were totally off-limits at the time it came out. Exploring difficult, psychological themes, Marnie features the beautiful architecture of historical buildings and streets in Philadelphia, but also includes Kennett Square as one of its filming locations.
7. The Village (2004)
There is so much to say about this mind-splitting film. It has secluded, secretive, cult-like groups, personable, vibrant characters, and a twist that brings the entire movie together. With monsters lurking in the dark forest, this suspenseful, period-film highlights the beauty of Brandywine Valley and Chadd’s Ford.
6. The Lovely Bones (2009)
Haunting and heartbreaking, this movie combines a dark gritty reality with a young girl’s beautiful, ‘afterlife’ escape. The setting is beautiful, yet cold, homey, and yet threatening. As Susie’s spirit leaves her body, and seeks to understand what happened to her, the watcher is brought along on her journey of discovering, healing, and her desire for her family to be at peace. You can find the house, which plays a big part in the film, in Malvern, PA. Other locations you may recognize include East Fallowfield Township, Paoli, and more from the greater area.
If psychological thrillers and crime aren’t the route you want to go, the entire Jackass franchise was built in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While this series features scenes in various areas, West Chester is where the crew calls home. With several seasons as a TV show and 5 movies, there’s a lot of content, and it’s undeniable that viewers gave highly positive reviews.
4. The Mighty Macs (2009)
In contrast with what some would consider as “crude” content of the previous franchise, The Mighty Macs is a simple, feel-good movie. Following a basketball team from a small, all-girls catholic school and their coach, this movie explores a lot of interesting topics that will still leave you with a smile on your face as you recognize both West Chester University and Immaculata University in several scenes.
3. Eugene vs Humanity (2019)
This movie is the newest release on our list. Designed to encourage more questions rather than answers, this cynical and emotional piece shows the good, and the very bad, of humanity. The dark cinematography matches the black humor, and brings out a side of Pennsylvania that none of us realized existed. Chester County filming locations included West Chester, Downingtown, Exton, and Coatesville.
2. Marley & Me (2008)
Easily the most-loved movie on our list, this slice-of-life comedy is so much more than a couple’s story of growth. The various states the couple lives in brings so much life to the movie itself, the final stage being in rural Pennsylvania. This movie never gets old, and the beautiful stone farmhouse still stands in Chester County!
1. Split (2016)
This list couldn’t be complete without including Split, a psychological horror/thriller movie that takes its inspiration from Dissociative Identity Disorder, a mental disorder caused by trauma that results in a fracture of the core personality into distinct, separate personalities. While Philadelphia is easy to recognize, the now-closed Fisherman Restaurant in Phoenixville was used for the flashback diner scene.
Do you have any more to add to the list? Any favorite scenes? Let us know what you think in the comments below!