Santa Cruz and its outlying area have been used as a filming location in a number of films over the years. Some well-known. Others not so much. Here are a few of our own personal favorite films that have been filmed in, or take place in or around, Santa Cruz.
Harold and Maude (1971) – Young, rich, annoying, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets old lady Maude at a funeral and picks her up. Nominated for 2 Golden Globes.
"I haven't lived. I've died a few times."
Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) – Two brats with super powers get chased up a mountain by a scheming millionaire who wants to exploit them. Spoiler: they're not witches.
"I should have known there was more than ESP to those two."
The Sting II (1983) – A team of con men led by Jackie Gleson planning a new scam to fleece moviegoers' out of their hard-erned cash for a really sub par sequel, and laughing all the way to the bank.
"This gazoonie says he wants to talk to you about that Trevor guy."
Sudden Impact (1983) – Some very bad people who did some very bad things get what they deserve thanks to Sondra Locke and Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry Callahan.
"Go ahead, make my day."
Jagged Edge (1985) – A defense attorney with questionable taste in men falls in love with her defendant, who may or may not have murdered his wife, and who may or may not murder his defense attorney.
"Did your mother ever wash your mouth out with soap?"
Creator (1985) – Peter O'Toole plays a college professor who wants to clone his old dead wife, but he needs an assistant, high tech equipment, an egg and a host. Simple.
"Wanna know something really crazy, Harry?"
The Lost Boys (1987) – Santa Cruz is crawling with Coreys and damn vampires. Directed by Joel Schumacher.
"Holy shit! It's the attack of Eddie Munster!"
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – Aliens looking like creepy clowns with popcorn shooting guns and acid filled-pies terrorize a small town in order to feast on human blood. Deliciously bad B-movie classic.
"Killer clowns from outer space... Holy shit!"
Dangerous Minds (1995) – Ex-Marine turned school teacher (what?) Michelle Pheiffer tries to teach some inner-city school "rejects from Hell" a thing or two with candy bars and karate.
"Snitches get stitches."
Glory Daze (1995) – Five graduating college roommates at University of California, Santa Cruz ponder staying in school for another year so they can keep the party going, with Sam Rockwell, Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey in this really quite terrible Animal House wannabe.
"You are so lucky I don't know karate."
Kinsey (2004) – A biopic about the naughty sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, who published the highly controversial "Sexual Behavior and the Human Male" in 1948 and the follow-up "Sexual Behavior and the Human Female," starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney (nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role) and John Lithgow, Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton and Tim Curry in support.
"Everybody's sin is nobody's sin, and everybody's crime is no crime at all."
Chasing Mavericks (2012) – The true story of young surfing dude Jay Moriarity, who discovers that the legendary Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, and enlists the help of local legend dude Frosty Hesson (played by Gerard Butler) to train him to survive it. Surf porn at its best.
"We all come from the sea, but we are not all of the sea."
So there you have it. Five Santa Cruzy films that might be worth your time watching – a couple of which are often included as part of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's FREE Movies on the Beach series on Wednesday Nights from June 20 - August 15. Movie schedule for 2018 coming soon -- stay tuned!