The Terror movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Terror filmed?


City Locations

Big Sur, Monterey County, California

Location Types

Mansions, American, NatureScapes, Beach/Oceanview

Location Styles

Beach House, Castle/Chateau, Gothic/Victorian, Rustic

About The Terror

About The Terror

A 1963 independent horror movie, The Terror was filmed in the United States and directed by famed filmmaker Roger Corman. Among the well-known stars of this popular horror film are Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson.

The movie has been the subject of much controversy for many different reasons. Boris Karloff’s role was completed in only two days of work; however, the film itself took a dramatically long amount of time to finish. Over time, many of the actors in this classic film went on to have highly successful careers in the movie industry.

Corman considered filming The Terror to be a challenge. Having to shoot Karloff’s scenes in only two days and working with left-over sets from The Raven was particularly difficult for the director. In the end, the film took nine months to finish and went through five different directors.

The opening The Terror film scene introduces Andre Duvalier (Nicholson), a soldier from France missing since the Confederation of the Rhine. The year is 1806, and Duvalier has been discovered and rescued by a young lady named Helene. Helene looks quite similar to the deceased Ilsa von Leppe, the wife of Baron von Leppe (Karloff.) Duvalier undertakes the task of unearthing Helene’s real identity. In his search, he discovers that the Baron saw Ilsa with a lover and killed her, and his servant murdered Ilsa’s lover.

For the previous two years, the Baron has been visited by Ilsa’s ghost who pushes him to commit suicide, so they can be reunited. The Baron decides he needs to pay for his crimes by granting Ilsa’s request. However, the Baron is not aware that the ghost of Ilsa is being forced to haunt him by a witch named Katrina.

André and Stefan, the Baron's majordomo, seize Katrina and stop her evil doings. She admits that she has a son named Eric, and she is convinced that the Baron killed him 20 years ago. She is seeking revenge by trying to see the Baron sent to Hell.

Stefan discloses that the Baron passed away 20 years ago, and Eric was so distressed by it that he assumed the Baron’s identity and lived as a recluse. As time passed, Eric became convinced he actually was Baron von Leppe.

Katrina accompanies André and Stefan to prevent Eric from flooding the crypt at the castle. However, Katrina has made a deal with the devil that says she cannot walk on sacred ground. She is struck by lightning and dies.

Back at the castle, Eric begins flooding the crypt. Ilsa’s ghost tries to murder him as Stefan tries to thwart her efforts. Andre accesses the crypt as it begins to collapse. He is able to save Helene, but no one else. The two lock eyes then Helene’s body turns into a rotten corpse.

The Terror Locations

The filming locations for The Terror are largely found in California with eleven days of shooting alone done in Big Sur. Illinois, and Arizona. Several of The Terror film sets were constructed on the studio lot at Producers Studios located at 5330 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, California. Are classic horror films among your all-time faves? Why not plan to visit the filming locations for The Terror? You’re sure to have a ball!

Fun Fact:

The Terror is often associated with the Poe-related films Corman directed, each relating to the works of the well-known poet and author. However, The Terror was not penned by Poe.

The opening scene in The Terror

Big Sur, California

This The Terror location on a stormy night at the Baron’s castle. The Baron walks down the stairs and opens the steel grate to make his descent into the castle’s crypt. The storm rages on as the Baron follows a trail of blood. A skeleton jumps out at him, and the film’s title is displayed on the screen: The Terror.

The next The Terror scene introduces Duvalier. He is on the shore of the beach just outside the Baron’s castle, wandering along the coast on a horse. He checks his compass and discovers it’s not working then continues on his way. He succumbs to the heat of the sun and falls off his horse. The tide rushes in and awakens him, and he noticed that he is being watched by a figure in black on the mountain above.

He spots a beautiful woman and calls out to her, “Hello! Hello! Do you know the road to Kolben? I was separated from my regiment at Arstad. Do you have any drinking water? I’m very thirsty.”

To visit The Terror production location, you will need to drive there. Be prepared for road closures due to landslides, a frequent occurrence in the region. Coming from Los Angeles or Santa Barbara, take US Highway 101, following CA Hwy 1 to Morro Bay.

Duvalier meets Helene a second time scene in The Terror

Big Sur, California

Duvalier sees the mysterious woman again and is curious as to who she is. She places her head on his shoulder, and he asks her name. The two share a kiss. She leads him through a heavily wooded path, and he chases after her, running into Stefan who tells him, “Wait, wait, danger!” Stefan shoves him off the path and throws a heavy rock into some soft ground, revealing it is quicksand. The following conversation ensues.

Duvalier: Quicksand. The girl was trying to kill me!

Stefan: She knows not what she does. Her will is not her own.

Duvalier: You mean she’s insane?

Stefan: Possessed. She needs your help.

Duvalier: Help? How can I help her?

Stefan: The castle of the Baron von Leppe. You will find her there.

This filming location for The Terror takes place at the popular and beautiful Big Sur, the same landscape that was utilized in the opening sequence of the film. Though the first scene takes place along the shoreline, this footage was shot further back through the woods. Bring good footwear to wear when trekking through this terrain.

Duvalier and the Baron meet scene in The Terror

Producers Studios, 5330 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

In one of the best scenes in The Terror, Duvalier and the Baron meet. Duvalier, in full dress uniform, knocks heartily on the castle’s door, yelling out, “In the name of the government of France, I order you to open this door.” The Baron immediately obeys the order, and his face is revealed to Duvalier in closeup. He says to Duvalier, “Your pardon, young sir, I was at my devotions. I did not hear you.”

Duvalier responds, “I’m sorry, sir, but surely I made enough noise to raise the dead.”

To visit this The Terror production site from Los Angeles, Take W 1st Street towards N Spring Street, making a right turn onto N Broadway. Take the exit to US-101 N towards I-110 N. Exit 6B will bring you to Melrose Avenue. Continue past the Bank of America Financial Center, and you will find this filming location on the left-hand side of the street.

Stefan talks with Ilsa’s ghost scene in The Terror

Palos Verdes Peninsula, California

In this scene, we see Stefan standing atop a hilly peak looking down at Ilsa’s ghost as she peers off the cliff and into the ocean. He runs to her, fearing for her safety. He says, “Ilsa, Ilsa!” She repeats the name, saying, “Ilsa, the name sounds strange to me here by the sea.” They continue dialoguing together.

Stefan: It is your name. Don’t you remember?

Ilsa: My name is Helene, the old woman told me.

Stefan: She lies.

Ilsa: She summoned me from the sea.

Stefan: You must go back. Your soul is troubled, Ilsa.

Ilsa: Go back? To Eric?

Stefan: To the sea.

There are two bus lines that offer service to our past Palos Verde Peninsula: 226 and 344. You could also rent a car and drive yourself. Call a taxi or use a rideshare service if you would rather let someone else drive you.

Katrina reveals her motives for trying to get the Baron murdered scene in The Terror

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, California

Andre and Duvalier walk along outside the Baron’s castle, and Andre tells him he must leave. If he returns, Andre will have no choice but to take his life. Duvalier spots Ilsa’s ghost in the distance, and the two men begin to fight. Ilsa walks through the cemetery, and Duvalier takes off after her. He runs into Katrina and grabs a hold of her asking her where Ilsa is. A raven above begins to caw, and Duvalier realizes that Katrina’s dark powers have control of the raven too.

Katrina: Doesn’t matter now. You’re too late. Tonight, he damns himself. Yes, even now, she taunts him to his eternal doom.

Duvalier: You control the girl just as you control that bird.

Katrina laughs.

Duvalier: How? Mesmerism?

Katrina (offended): Mesmerism? You fool.

Duvalier: Why? Answer me, old woman, or I’ll break your neck.

Katrina: To avenge myself on the Baron von Leppe, she will drive him to God’s one unpardonable sin: suicide.

Duvalier: For what offense? What has the Baron done to you?

Katrina: He killed my son Eric.

This The Terror production location is found on the vast property known as Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Several of the action scenes in The Terror were filmed here, making it well worth your time to spend a day exploring this picturesque recreational area at your leisure. To get to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, follow US Highway 101 North to California State Route 68 West then merge onto Highway 1 South. Point Lobos State Reserve is found to the right, approximately three miles outside Carmel.

Ilsa confronts the Baron scene in The Terror

Santa Barbara, California

This scene opens with the Baron struggling to resist taking his own life. Ilsa comes to him as he is opening the castle door and preparing to flood the crypt. The two exchange these words.

Ilsa: We will be together again, Victor. Together with our love beneath the sea. Come to me, my love. Draw the veil. Look at me. Don’t you see how eagerly I await your embrace?

The Baron pulls back the covering on a coffin in the crypt and screams when he sees the decomposing body of his beloved Ilsa.

Though the precise location of this particular The Terror scene is not known, it is believed to be one of the sequences shot in Santa Barbara. A beautiful coastal city, you can meander the coastline here, imagining the anguish in The Baron’s heart as he ponders giving up his life to be reunited with the woman he loves. With bus service available from five major airports, you’ll have no difficulty reaching this iconic seaside town from any area of the state.


A classic horror film starring two legendary actors, Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff, it’s well worth your time to revisit The Terror. With all of its filming locations found in Northern California, you can easily visit each of the film sets featured in this iconic horror movie. If your vacation plans include the chance to visit The Terror locations, you’ll find our comprehensive guide is a great help in planning your every stop!