CultureUnited States of America
The weird and wonderful places described in books and films often seem completely out of this world. However, the basic laws of physics dictate that you can't create something out of nothing, so by this logic any figment of the imagination is rooted in reality. With this in mind, here are some of the places you can visit today that inspired writers and film makers to come up with your favorite fictional settings.
Forest of Dean, United Kingdom - J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord Of The Rings
In the Forest of Dean, paths twist and wind between thick tree trunks and mossy rock and the tree roots, like long fingers, reach out from the damp soil. Tolkien regularly took walks through the dark woods which ended up serving as inspiration for settings such as the Old Forest, Mirkwood and Fangorn in Middle-earth. It's not only Tolkien who was influenced by the mystical forest, but also J.K Rowling. She visited the site frequently and ?The Forbidden Forest' in Harry Potter holds many similarities to the area. It's also been used as the filming locations for British T.V shows Merlin and Doctor Who.
The Stanley Hotel, Colorado ? Stephen King, The Shining
Isolated in the wilderness not far from the Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park, The Stanley Hotel could be a peaceful getaway for some, but for Stephen King the hotel had more a sinister air when he stayed there with his wife in 1974. On his website, King explains that the hotel "seemed the perfect - maybe the archetypical - setting for a ghost story". That night after he dreamed about his son being chased through the corridors, and soon after, "I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind."
Beach Haven, New Jersey - Peter Benchley, Jaws
In 1916, a series of shark attacks off the New Jersey coast near the small town of Beach Haven left four people dead and one injured. The attacks led to a wave of shark hysteria, beaches were closed and the locals went on shark hunts. This atmosphere of panic and fear of the unknown that swept along what was once calm and idyllic coastline influenced Peter Benchley's 1974 novel. It would go on to influence Steven Spielberg's hugely successful film adaptation which was released one year later.
Riquewihr, France -Beauty and The Beast
The charming town where Belle grows up is based on Riquewihr and other scenic villages in the Alsace region of southern France. The Disney animators visited the village while making the film. The colorful houses, medieval cobbled streets, intricate church spires and bustling market places seemed the perfect setting for the animated film.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China - Avatar
The enchanting forest is located in the Hunan Province and incidentally is China's first national forest park. It's known for its extraordinary geological features, with pillar-like formations towering above the dark green trees. The directors and producers cited these pillars and the sprawling forest as their principal source of inspiration for the floating rocks and magical forest of Pandora.