The Swarm movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Swarm filmed?

1978

About The Swarm

In the opening, The Swarm film scene, a team of military men under the command of Major Baker are called on to assess a basement that is thought to have been under attack. Baker reaches out to General Slater and then tries to determine who was responsible for bringing a civilian vehicle onto the base. It is discovered that the vehicle belongs to Dr. Bradford Crane, a scientist. Slater requests two helicopters to survey what appears to be a black mass. They determine it is a massive swarm of bees that attacks and then decimates both helicopters. Crane tells Slater the base was also under attack from the same swarm of bees. His story is corroborated by a base doctor named Helena Anderson.

In the country, a family is also attacked by a group of bees. The mother and father succumb to their stings, but their son manages to safely flee in his car. The son, Paul, endures some bee stings but is able to travel to the town where his car plummets into the town square. Paul is taken to the military base and begins to hallucinate as a result of his bee stings.

Slater speaks to the county engineer who is very upset about the bees. He insists on seeing the body of his son who fell victim to the bees. It is suggested that poison be used to eliminate the swarm, but Crane ponders the negative effects on the environment.

Paul is now recovered, and he and his friends try to find the hive, so they can burn the bees out. The bees become enraged and go to Marysville, killing hundreds of the city’s residents. Slater encourages evacuating the town via the train; however, the bees descend on the train station, attacking and killing many residents.

Rita, a pregnant waitress, attempts to get onto the train but goes into premature labor. She is taken to the hospital and delivers her baby then begins a romance with her doctor. Paul suffers ill effects from his earlier bee attack and dies.

The swarm makes its way to Houston and Crane makes the decision to attack them with environmentally friendly poison. The plan is unsuccessful. Dr. Krim injects himself with an experimental antidote bee venom that ultimately kills him. The manager of the nuclear plant is firm in his conviction that the facility is safe from the bees. The bees enter the plant, kill everyone in it, decimate the facility, and destroy the town.

Crane views tapes from the invasion and realizes it was the alarm system that drew the bees to the base. The bees attack an additional time, killing several people including Major Baker and Dr. Newman. Slater takes the brunt of the attack to protect Crane and Helena from the swarm. Helicopters chase the bees out to sea where they are coated with oil and set on fire. Helena considers the fact that this may only be a temporary end for the bees.

City Locations

California: Redlands, Lompoc, Burbank, Los Angeles, Newhall

Location Types

American, House, NatureScapes, Modern

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Desert

The Swarm Locations

Filmed in the United States in 1978, The Swarm is a horror movie that sadly was panned by the critics yet has earned a faithful following amongst many viewers. The basis for this film is the book of the same name written by Arthur Herzog in 1974. The all-star cast of the Swarm includes such well-known actors as Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda, Slim Pickens, Richard Chamberlain, and Michael Caine.

The main filming locations for The Swarm are found in Eugene, Oregon. Consider yourself one of The Swarm’s biggest fans? If so, a trip to visit the filming locations for The Swarm just might be what the doctor ordered.

Fun Fact:

One of the main actors, Henry Fonda, was a beekeeper himself.

The opening scene in The Swarm

Lompoc, California

This The Swarm production scene takes place at the very beginning of the movie. A helicopter is flying through the air, and its pilot notes that millions of bees are in the air and covering his windshield. He loses control when his vision is obscured, and the following conversation takes place between the pilot before his helicopter is destroyed by the bees, Slater, and Crane.

Helicopter pilot: Oh, my G*d! Bees, bees, millions of bees! Air search 2-8 to base! Bees, millions of bees!

Crane: Bees?

Helicopter pilot: Yes, they’re all around me now. All over the canopy trying to get in.

Slater: Well, get above them, man! Take it up.

Helicopter pilot: I can’t, Sir. I am losing power. Oooohhh, oh, my G*d!

Crane: Then they have to be African bees then, don’t they?

Slater: African killer bees?

Crane: Yes!

Just a 35-minute drive from Santa Maria, you can reach this former The Swarm film set by traveling north on CA-166-W, taking a left-hand turn onto Black Road. Make a right onto Mahoney Road taking the exit on the left side for CA-1 S. Continue along this highway, following the exit for Lompoc/Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Paul and his family are attacked by bees scene in The Swarm

Memorial Park, Houston, Texas

In this The Swarm scene, Paul and his family pull up to a public park and unload a picnic lunch. They send Paul back to the car to get a thermos. He happily complies. His mom notices a bee on the picnic table near the food and tries to swat it away. She and her husband share this conversation in one of the best scenes in The Swarm.

Husband: Mary, it’s just a bee. If you leave ‘em alone, they won’t bother you.

Mary: They’re into everything! I’ll get them. Get out of the way honey {she sprays the bees with bug spray.}

Husband: I think that’s enough. You’re going to wreck the food, and I’m hungry!

The husband begins to eat while Mary chastens him for not waiting for Paul to return. All of a sudden, the bees start frantically racing toward the family. Paul yells, “Mom, Dad! LOOK!” The bees descend on the family, causing multiple bee stings. Paul gets in the family car. He sees his mother and father collapse and dies from the bee stings while he sits in the family’s bee-encased car and cries and screams.

To get to this The Swarm production location, you can take bus route 20 or rent a car and drive yourself. You also have the option of calling a taxicab or using a rideshare service.

Crane and the General meet to discuss the threat of the bees scene in The Swarm

Stage 24, 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA

and its inhabitants. The General appears to not be taking the problem seriously. Crane makes an impact by forcefully declaring,

“General, every minute now is precious. We have been invaded by an enemy far more lethal than any human force. The file contains the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone I want flown in. Just tell them the war that I have always talked about has finally started.”

The General simply responds, “Mmm-hmm,” showing a lack of concern for the problem.

This The Swarm production footage is one of only a handful of scenes that was shot on a studio lot. Though this precise set no longer remains, you can still enjoy a studio tour that will allow you to envision the place where this popular scene was shot. To reach this former The Swarm filming location, you can take the following public transit options: bus lines 222, 501, or PINK or the subway’s B Line (Red.)

Paul crashes the car scene in The Swarm

Stage 26, 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA

After escaping the site of the swarm’s attack on his parents, young Paul manages to flee the scene to nearby Maryville. He crashes the car into the town square where a flower festival is taking place. He is hysterical, babbling, and in shock. He is taken to the hospital where he continues to hallucinate as a result of the bee venom in his system. He is visited by Crane and Helena who observe his peculiar behavior. A nurse tries to calm him. Crane asks him to move away so that he can try to talk Paul through his episode. The two share this dialogue.

Crane: Paul, Paul. Listen to me. There is no bee…no bee…in this room.

Paul: Yes, there is.

Crane: No, there isn’t. You are having a nightmare. Only a nightmare. Can you hear me, Paul? The bee is not real. I, Paul, I promise you it isn’t. Now reach out, and it will go away. You’ll see. Now please, Paul, reach out, reach out, Paul. Please trust me. Reach out further. Go on. There. You see, Paul. No bee!

A second The Swarm film location that is a soundstage, you can reach this particular site by taking bus lines 222, 501, or PINK.

Crane loses his cool scene in The Swarm

Redlands, California, USA

In one of the funniest scenes in The Swarm, Crane addresses the General, expressing to him very sarcastically that he is creating more problems instead of proving to be of any assistance. He says:

“We have been fighting a losing battle against the insects for 15 years. But I never thought I’d see the final faceoff in my lifetime. And I never dreamed it would turn out to be the bees. They have always been our friends. These bees, General, are of joint concern, and they are killing Americans without reference as to whether or not they have a serial number, and they’re expected to salute you. So, there will be no air drops of any kind until I give the okay!”

If you plan to visit this The Swarm filming location, the best way to access it is via bus, taking lines 19 or 8. However, you can drive yourself, use a rideshare app, or call a cab.

Helena and Crane discuss the swarm problem scene in The Swarm

Newhall, California, USA

Helena and Crane travel by car, discussing the swarm epidemic that is plaguing Maryville. Crane says to her, “Who would have thought that bees would become the first alien force to invade America?”

To see the place where this iconic The Swarm scene was shot, you have several public transportation options including bus lines 14, 6, and 757 and the train’s Metrolink Antelope Valley Lines.

Conclusion

Though a movie that was a box office disaster and a complete critical failure, The Swarm is still well worth watching for its incredible ensemble cast alone. A movie that doesn’t completely stand the test of time, The Swarm is now more of a comedy than a horror film, but it still meets its high goals of entertainment. With a landscape that includes some of the most beautiful cities and recreational areas in California, the backdrop of this delightful campy classic really helps to “make” this film.

If you are a huge fan of old 70s horror films, watching The Swarm again is sure to be a treat! Why not plan a trip to visit The Swarm filming locations? You’ll have a great time!