Every movie has to take place somewhere, but sometimes that somewhere doesn’t really exist. Fantasy films, action films, science-fiction films and sometimes even serious dramas have to come up with strange new environments for their characters to visit and inhabit, giving production designers a field day to come up with weird designs, and writers free reign to concoct strange concepts for these very, very bizarre movie buildings.
Whether it’s an incredible skyscraper filled with wild and implausible environments for Dwayne Johnson to kick butt in, haunted houses with impossible geography, or indoor candy gardens where naughty children get their just desserts, these are our picks for the most bizarre movie buildings in history!
The Addams Family House
The lovably creepy Addams Family live in a house that’s almost as weird as they are, filled with secret passageways, instruments of torture, and lots of narrow areas within the walls for their disembodied hand roommate, Thing.
One of the fabled “Two Towers,” Barad-dûr is no ordinary building. In addition to staying upright and withstanding the elements, it also serves as a handy-dandy home for The Eye of Sauron, a giant, all-seeing fiery ocular orb that rests on the roof.
Blofeld’s Volcano Lair
Not content to merely rent some office space, James Bond’s arch-nemesis Blofeld made himself a spectacular doom fortress in You Only Live Twice within a hollowed out volcano, where his legions of minions do their evil business and occasionally get killed by heroic British super-spies.
The Clamp Tower
Inspired by the real-life Trump Tower, the skyscraper owned by billionaire Daniel Clamp is a giant metal monstrosity, filled with every possible convenience and inconvenience, including dentists, movie theaters, genetic modification labs and a TV station where they colorize Casablanca and give it a happier ending. Needless to say, the Gremlins from Gremlins 2: The New Batch have a field day in there.
Cobra’s Underwater Base
For a covert operation, Cobra doesn’t seem terribly interested in subtlety. Their underwater base from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra must have been one of the most ambitious, costly and time-consuming construction jobs in history. It’s impressive, albeit insanely implausible, that they kept it under wraps.
The Dark Fortress
The towering and terrifying home of “The Beast” isn’t just one of the most impressive buildings in movie history, it’s also one of the most inconvenient. Every morning it teleports to a different, completely random location somewhere on the planet. So when The Beast kidnaps our hero’s bride-to-be in the movie Krull, it’s nearly impossible to get her back.
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude
Superman’s arctic getaway is a marvel of futuristic architecture, comprised entirely of beautiful crystals. It also looks off-puttingly sterile and physically uncomfortable. Hardly any furniture, no art, no paint, just frigid pointy white rocks.
On the surface, the high-rise in Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise looks a lot like any other building, except that it looks like one of the fingers on a giant five-pronged hand. But the high-rise is designed to be a microcosm of society, where the residents hardly ever have to leave, eventually trapping them in a violent, grotesque, and rapidly devolving hell of their own making.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Harry Potter’s school is one of the weirdest buildings in all of fiction, a maze of mystery rooms and transforming architecture, filled with ghosts and deadly plants and monsters and moving paintings. Mind the staircases! They like to change!
Howl’s Moving Castle
The wizard Howl lives in a building that walks around on metallic feet, and is powered by a fire demon with a bad attitude. It also has a front door that leads to façades in multiple towns at once, so it doesn’t just move, it moves all over the place. And it’s really, REALLY hard to clean.
The Overlook Hotel
Haunted houses are usually weird, but few are as insidiously horrific as The Overlook Hotel from The Shining. The labyrinthine hallways, mind-bending carpet designs and malevolent hedge maze are bad enough, but pay close attention and nothing makes any sense… like the manager’s office, which is right in the middle of the hotel but has a window that peers outside anyway.
Dwayne Johnson has to save his family from a giant skyscraper in Skyscraper, but it’s not just any building. It’s the tallest building in the world, with an indoor forest, absurd outdoor turbines and – just for the heck of it – a futuristic holodeck. You know, like every building has nowadays.
The Shandor Building
550 Central Park West isn’t just a building. As designed by the mad architect Ivo Shandor in Ghostbusters, it’s a superconductive paranormal magnet, guarded by gargoyles that have a tendency to come alive and refrigerators that open into hell.
Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory
A giant, modern day version of the witch’s candy house from Hansel & Gretel, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is a miraculous place filled with unbelievable wonders, like chocolate lagoons and giant geese. And almost all of these features eventually lead children to an ironic and horrifying fate.
The palatial home of Charles Foster Kane has the world’s largest private zoo, a full golf course, the biggest fireplace you’ve ever seen, and more “Keep Out” signs than could possibly be counted. And yet, in Citizen Kane, it is home to the world’s loneliest man.
Is there a crazy, bizarre or otherwise impossible movie building that we missed? Let’s discuss in the comments!