Another day, another visit to Linda Vista Hospital. The infamous Los Angeles hospital - claimed by many to be haunted - was once a working hospital and mental institution, but since being shut down in 1991, has become the go-to place to film creepy interiors. Dexter, True Blood, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have all filmed here. So has Insidious Chapter 2.
The hotly-anticipated follow-up to James Wan’s 2010 sleeper hit has made good use out of the cavernous hospital. For starters, we are teased with the idea that Insidious 2 will feature lots of flashbacks to the 1980s, when Barbara Hershey’s character, Lorraine Lambert, worked as a nurse. The scene we watched them film was light on action - but heavy on disturbing dialogue, with Hershey discussing a child who was admitted because he tried to castrate himself.
Several portions of the hospital are used as-is, or almost as-is. One of the basement file rooms - stuffed full of real patient files that were abandoned there over the years - was used as a file room, with virtually no set dressing. Two other hospital rooms were only changed slightly: one modernized, and one decorated to fit into one of the 1980s flashbacks - but both representing the same room.
We will spend more time in The Further with Chapter 2. We even got to journey into The Further. Up dark, narrow stairs (that require a flashlight, even in broad daylight) we go into a large room, the largest at Linda Vista. The entire room has been draped in black Duvetyne, making the room a solid, pitch black. Ironically, this room was once the day room when the hospital was in use.
The original house is back, too, but in a slightly different way than you might expect. The owners of the original house that the first Insidious shot in did not want production back, so they had to build their own. An exact replica of a portion of that house has been built inside Linda Vista. The room has been built on a platform of sorts, so it is several feet above the solid floor. Our tour guide promises that it is “raised for a reason” but will reveal nothing else.
Secrets are the order of the day around here. Though the dozen or so journalists gathered for the set visit enjoyed a press conference with the entire cast (Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey) as well as producer Jason Blum, writer Leigh Whannell, and director James Wan, no one was willing to give up any plot details. “What's different about [this film] is it's a continuation of the first film; it picks up from where the other one left off and it's the second half of the first film,” Whannell explained evasively. “One of the great things about a haunted house movie is watching unsuspecting people slowly uncover something is wrong. With Chapter 2, we're using the same family and we're missing the lack of knowledge you would normally get; we're not changing to a different family so we needed to come up with something really scary. But I do think we came up with something that could scare the family anew; something that could turn it around. A different angle. It almost takes the film into a new genre. Almost.”
Insidious Chapter 2 is due in theaters September 13th.