Spectre, AL from Tim Burton’s Big Fish is one of the few fictional towns you can make a pilgrimage to in real life. For those of you who don’t know, Spectre is an eerie town that Edward Bloom (played unforgettably by Ewan McGregor) stumbles upon after leaving his hometown for fear of becoming a “big fish in a small pond.”
Spectre is a sort of paradise where the ground is so soft that no one needs shoes – of course, that means no one can leave, either. Bloom realizes the trap in this and becomes the first person to ever leave Spectre, but not before promising a young girl he would one day return.
The town plays a central role in the movie. The entire film was shot on location in Alabama, but the Spectre set is the only one that still stands. The set was built on a private island, and rather than spend the time and man power to tear it down, Burton paid the owner of the island to leave it standing so that he could move on and finish his film.
The set underwent many changes and builds for the film. We not only see it as the secret paradise it began as, but also as the dilapidated remains after “the world found Spectre,” via a new road built right through the town. Edward Bloom saves the town, buying up all the land to allow the people there to stay and to keep the town alive.
Towards the end of the film, when Edward’s adult son seeks out the town, he finds the “real” Spectre – not 100% fantasy, but not 100% what he expected to find.
So it’s kind of the perfect “real” “fictional” town to be able to go explore yourself. Continue reading