Between giant shark attacks and tyrannical babies with British accents, the world of pop culture has taken a creative twist on New England at times.
With the nomination of “Moonrise Kingdom’’ at this year’s Academy Awards and Seth MacFarlane (creator of one of the most famous, fictional New England towns) set to host the show on Sunday, we thought it would be fun to check out a few popular, fictitious New England locales featured on the big and small screens through the years — whether Oscar nominated or not. While other real-life towns — like Gloucester in the film “The Perfect Storm’’ — have been made famous by the entertainment industry, here we take a look at 15 made-up places in this land we call New England. — Matt Juul, Boston.com Correspondent
Nominated for best original screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards, Wes Anderson’s quirky romantic comedy “
’’ takes place on the fictional island of New Penzance.
Anderson and company scouted several coastal locations around North America before deciding upon the Narragansett Bay area in Rhode Island as the film’s primary backdrop.
Set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Quahog, Fox’s hit animated sitcom “
’’ is influenced heavily by Oscar host and show creator Seth MacFarlane’s time as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. Several times an episode, you can see the Providence skyline, with the One Financial Center, 50 Kennedy Plaza, and the Bank of America Tower, in the distance.
Spooner Street, home to the dysfunctional Griffin family (pictured), even has a real life counterpart located near the edge of Roger Williams Park in Providence.
Shutter Island, the setting for Martin Scorsese’s 2010 psychological thriller of the same name, thankfully does not exist.
However, Peddocks Island, one of Boston harbor’s largest islands, is quite real and was one of several Massachusetts locations used in the film.
Stars Hallow, Conn., the fictional setting for the mother-daughter drama “Gilmore Girls,’’ was inspired by a chance trip to Washington, Conn., by creator Amy-Sherman Palladino.
Palladino was so awestruck by how well the people of Washington knew each other that she wrote the dialogue for the pilot the next morning.
Captain John O’Hagan and the rest of the Vermont State Troopers (pictured) of the 2001 comedy “
’’ patrol the mean streets of the fictional town of Spurbury, Vt.
Despite being set in New England, filming mainly took place in Beacon, N.Y.
Director Steven Spielberg’s 1975 Academy Award-winning seaside thriller “
’’ has a setting that should look quiet familar to New England natives, despite it being set in the fictional Amity Island.
The popular Massachusetts summer colony of Martha’s Vineyard served as the movie’s primary filming location, specifically in the small fishing village of Menemsha.
If you are looking for a town brimming with teenage angst and high school drama, look no further than Capeside, Mass., the fictional home of Dawson Leery (played by James Van Der Beek) and company (pictured).
The real “
’’ (1998-2003) was filmed along Hewlett’s Creek in Masonboro, N.C., although several scenery shots shown in the series’ opening credits were filmed in Martha’s Vineyard.
The Briarcliff Mental Institution, the spooky setting for FX’s “
American Horror Story: Asylum
,’’ is yet another frightening, fictional locale based in Massachusetts.
While star Jessica Lange (pictured right) played up the New England accent in her portrayal of the tyrannical Sister Jude, the show was actually filmed just outside of Los Angeles.
Stepford, Conn., the idyllic, fictional town featured in author Ira Levin’s 1975 science-fiction thriller “
The Stepford Wives
’’ has been brought to the big (and small) screen a number of times through the years.
The 2004 adaptation, starring Nicole Kidman, was primarly filmed in the western Connecticut towns of Darien and New Canaan.
“Wings,’’ NBC’s classic ’90s sitcom starring Tim Daly, was set in the fictional Tom Nevers Field airport, a tiny two-airline airport in Nantucket.
Exteriors of Nantucket Memorial Airport can be seen in the show while interior scenes were filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Calif.
Metro-North Railroad commuters, fear not! If you do happen to doze off during your next ride through Southern Connecticut, you won’t be transported to the fictional, 19th century town of Willoughby, à la this season one episode of “
The Twilight Zone
“A Stop at Willoughby’’ is said to be creator Rod Serling’s favorite episode from the first season, as he once lived in the actual town of Westport, which is mentioned several times in the episode.
Acclaimed horror author Stephen King uses his home state of Maine as the backdrop for many of his novels, creating a whole network of fictional towns and locales.
Castle Rock is one fictitious location that King has used in many of his works, including the 1979 horror novel “The Dead Zone.’’ The book was adapted to film in 1983 and starred Christopher Walken (pictured).
A murder-mystery novelist who solves real murders? The premise of the novel for the acclaimed ’80s series “
Murder, She Wrote
’’ helped to get star Angela Lansbury (at left) nominated for a total of 10 Golden Globe awards and 12 Emmy awards.
While the show was set in Cabot Cove, Maine, exterior shots of the fictional town were filmed in Mendocino, Calif.
Set in the fictional town of Winter River, Conn., Tim Burton’s 1988 horror comedy “
’’ had its exterior shots filmed in picturesque East Corinth, Vt.
The film won an Academy Award in 1989 for best makeup and was also nominated for best visual effects.
Comedian Adam Sandler’s 2002 animated-comedy “
Eight Crazy Nights
’’ featured a zanier side of the New Hampshire populace.
Set in the fictional town of Dukesberry, the film was panned by many critics, but it did earn Sandler a Kid’s Choice Award for best voice in an animated movie in 2003.