As my wife and I watched the new horror film “Mama” recently, my amusement grew, for a fun yet distracting reason.
The abandoned, haunted cabin where the movie’s supernatural hullaballoo begins and ends happens to be located about nine miles outside Clifton Forge, by the shore of “Douthat Lake.”
But the drive to Clifton Forge, as the movie portrays it, looks suspiciously like a Canadian mountain pass. The scene, with its precarious mountainside drops, recalled the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” and I just don’t think aerial shots of U.S. 220 would produce such a view.
Not to mention, a box containing crucial artifacts, clearly labeled as Alleghany County court records, first appears in a chamber full of endless, multistory shelves akin to the warehouse seen at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’ve been to the Alleghany County Courthouse, and the clerks never showed me that particular room.
In fact, “Mama,” executive produced by Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,”) was filmed in Ontario. It’s expanded from a short film by first-time director Andres Muschietti, which features the gaunt specter of the title but contains no Virginia place names. Perhaps the writers drew Clifton Forge out of a hat?
It reminded me of the “X-Files” episode that set a demonic tale in “Hollins, Virginia,” or the “Criminal Minds” episode where a serial killer stalks the Blue Ridge Parkway, featuring a rooftop chase across a “Roanoke” skyline full of buildings taller then we’ve ever seen here.
“Mama,” however, does at least prominently feature a railroad overpass.