There are several places you would expect to find a set from an iconic movie, and several others you can visit actual film locations throughout the country. But when you first walk into the Hollywood Museum, you expect to be surrounded by small pieces of Hollywood history and costumes. But their basement olds something a lot more significant, and a bit creepier than the horror display promised in the lowest level of the museum.
Follow the stairs to the basement of the iconic Max Factor building and instantly you’re confronted with darker lighting and displays that make you wonder if it’s just an impromptu haunted house filled with jump scares. But once you cross through the stone doorway and have two choices in directions you can go – to the right where the horror exhibits are or down the prison hallway. As you enter the hallway, you may notice something odd – the one folding metal chair in front of a cell with a bullet proof glass front. Without missing a beat you may even find yourself saying “Hello Clarice” like we did, and while the scene is set up perfectly – we found ourselves questioning if this display was just… too perfect?
After visiting the lowest level of the museum, taking our pictures with the prison set up – we kept finding ourselves drawn back to it. We were touching the bricks and the details – again, it just seemed too perfect. So finally, we had to ask. Could this be the actual set from Silence of the Lambs? Yes, there were photos, the padded cell, artwork by Lecter and even the office. But would the museum take the time to actually re-create this whole prison? Was this just a passion project from an obsessed fan?
After some questions to the museum owners we found out the shocking truth – this is the actual set from Silence of the Lambs. That after the filming of the 1991 movie wrapped, the set was carefully dismantled and put back together. The upper level of the prison had to be removed to fit it in the basement, but the catwalk portion is still there. Elements were carefully put back in place and now it’s there for fans to enjoy with every visit to the museum.
While the set may just look like another display in this museum filled with wonders, many guests may just walk by and not second guess the reality of what they are walking through. Take a few minutes to enjoy and explore this set and one of the only times you’ll enjoy visiting a prison (unless you head to the Shawshank prison!)
Be sure to check out the other exhibits and more at the Hollywood Museum, and be ready to be in awe of the set pieces and more that you get to experience.