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Take a Cinematic Driving Tour Through the Hometown of the “Halloween” Creator | Frommer's Bowling Green Area CVB

Take a Cinematic Driving Tour Through the Hometown of the “Halloween” Creator

We'll say this for Michael Myers, the embodiment of pure evil in the Halloween movies: At least he wears a mask when he's within 6 feet of people.

His bare-faced victims, on the other hand, spray germs everywhere with all that screaming. 

Fortunately for road trippers who take the self-guided driving tour of Halloween creator John Carpenter's hometown, the personal travel bubble of a car helps keep pathogens as well as unknown psychopaths at a safe distance. 

Available for free online or via mobile app, "Reel Sites, Real Scary: A John Carpenter Driving Tour" strings together 17 locations in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the 72-year-old filmmaker and composer of foreboding synth scores grew up while his father worked as a music professor at Western Kentucky University.  

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The stark log cabin where Carpenter spent his formative years is a stop on the tour; the home is located on the school's campus. Also on the route: the downtown Capitol Arts Center (pictured above), a performing arts venue that was a cinema in Carpenter's day. The director once told the local newspaper that the Capitol was one of the spots "where I got my movie education."


(Photo credit: Bowling Green Area CVB)

Though Carpenter has never shot scenes in Bowling Green, he peppered the names of local streets and nearby towns throughout films such as Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), The Fog (1980), and others. For example, Smith's Grove Sanitarium, the fictional institution that unsuccessfully treated Michael Myers, takes its name from the town of Smiths Grove, located just east of Bowling Green.

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Many of those shout-outs are on the driving tour as well—in fact, the instructions note the exact time in each movie when any Bowling Green reference is made. 

The app version includes links to YouTube clips and other bonus materials.

The tour is also available in print form at the area's visitor center (352 Three Springs Rd.). There's no charge for the tour in any format. 

Fans who post photographic proof on Facebook or Instagram of visiting all 17 locations along the route will get a free t-shirt from the tourism bureau. Just tag your pics #reelsitesbg and message the office @VisitBGKY.

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Obviously, the driving tour is best taken at a creeping pace and with slices of Halloween's chilling soundtrack playing in your car. 

For fun outside your vehicle, Bowling Green's most popular tourist attractions, Lost River Cave and the National Corvette Museum (which, in an incident suitable for a different kind of horror movie, was partly swallowed by a sinkhole in 2014), are both open with mask and distancing requirements. If you'd rather stay outdoors, the area has plenty of parks, Civil War sites, and farms with family-friendly offerings. 

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