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The Harper House from “Scream 3″

Apr 13th, 2012 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Last Thursday afternoon, before grabbing lunch at Pinches Tacos from The Hills which I blogged about on Tuesday, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, took me by a famous apartment complex in West Hollywood named the Harper House.  Because the Spanish Baroque-style building was featured in Scream 3 (as well as countless other productions), Mike thought that I might be interested in blogging about it during my annual Haunted Hollywood month this upcoming October (and yes, I am already gathering locations for that!).  After seeing the place in person, though, I became just a wee bit intrigued by it and started doing research immediately.  So I figured that now was as good a time as any to do a post on the historic building.

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The Harper House, which was built in 1929, was designed by Leland Bryant, the very same architect who also gave us the art deco-style Sunset Tower Hotel, one of my very favorite places in all of Los Angeles that I blogged about way back in September of 2008.  The complex was originally constructed to provide housing for show business and studio professionals and such luminaries as silent film actress Norma Talmadge and silent film actor Gilbert Roland once called the place home.  The four-story, 21-unit, L-shaped building, as well as the entire block that it is located on which is known as the North Harper Avenue Historic District, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 28, 1996.

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Mike had actually just recently scouted the Harper House a few weeks before taking me there and was nice enough to share the above photographs that he snapped of the building’s elevated central courtyard area, which is absolutely idyllic.  It is no wonder that so many movies have been filmed on the premises!

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The Harper House pops up twice in Scream 3. It first shows up at the very beginning of the movie as the building where Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) and his girlfriend, Christine Hamilton (Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford), are murdered.

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I am fairly certain that the real life interior of one of the apartments was also used in that scene.  As you can see in these CurbedLA pictures of the inside of an actual Harper House apartment, the fireplace, doors, windows, and stairway railings all match up to what appeared onscreen.

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The exterior of the Harper House next pops up in the scene in which Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) watches the news about Cotton’s murder on TV.

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In the 1988 flick Cop, the Harper House was where Lloyd Hopkins (James Woods) investigated a murder at the very beginning of the movie.

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The real life interior of one of the apartments was also used in the filming of that scene.

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In 1989’s The Big Picture (which is a FABULOUS movie, by the way), the interior and the exterior of the Harper House stood in for the building where up-and-coming film director Nick Chapman (cutie Kevin Bacon – sigh!) moved after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, Susan Rawlings (Emily Longstreth).

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In 1991’s The Last Boy Scout, the Harper House is where murdered stripper Cory (Halle Berry) lived and where Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) and Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans) go to investigate her killing.

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Oddly enough, though, the interior of Cory’s apartment and her balcony were a different location entirely.  As you can see in the above screen shots, the windows of Cory’s bedroom and the railings of her balcony do not match up with the actual building.

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In the pilot episode of Murder One, which was titled “Chapter One”, the Harper House was where Jessica Costello (Collette White) was killed.  Solving her case became the central storyline of the series’ first season, but the exterior of the building was actually only shown once, in the brief scene in which Ted Hoffman (Daniel Benzali) watched a news story about the murder while at home with his wife, Annie (Patricia Clarkson), and his daughter, Elizabeth (Vanessa Zima).

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The real life interior of one of the units also appeared in that episode in the flash back scene in which Richard Cross (Stanley Tucci) recounts how he discovered the body.

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And brief glimpses of the Harper House were also shown each week during the Murder One opening credits.

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The Harper House was also featured in 1978’s The Big Fix, 1982’s Partners, and as the building where Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) lived on the Showtime series The L Word, but, unfortunately, I could not find copies of any of those productions with which to make screen captures for this post.

Big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for telling me about this location, for the photographs of the building’s courtyard and for making the Cop screen captures which appear in this post!  Smile

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Harper House, from Scream 3, is located at 1334/1336 North Harper Avenue in West Hollywood.  Pink Taco, aka the former site of the Roxbury, is located just up the street at 8225 West Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  You can visit the official Pink Taco website here.  And Pinches Tacos, from the “It’s On Bitch” episode of The Hills, is located just around the corner at 8200 West Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  You can visit the official Pinches Taco website here.

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8 comments

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  1. Chloe says:

    I looked at an apartment here in 2007.. a STUDIO went for $2,495!! With one VERY TIGHT parking spot and one window facing a brick wall.

  2. Ashley says:

    Awesome! Instantly recognizable from Scream 3. If my memory is correct, on the dvd there is an alternate version of the opening. I believe one was shot on location and the other was on a recreated set?? I can’t remember exactly. They definitely talk about it in the commentary over the deleted scene!

    • Lindsay says:

      OMG I will have to watch. :) Thanks for letting me know.

      • Tom says:

        Yes this is the building from Scream 3 but during the DVD commentary they talk about how some of the interior shots were shot there but when Cotton is killed, it is a studio set. Wes Craven talks about how you can clearly see in certain spots it doesn’t match up. FYI

  3. Susie says:

    Great blog, beautiful building! You are so right! The Big Picture is a great movie!! I can’t believe it is almost 25 years old – things haven’t changed much!

  4. lavonna says:

    I’m with you Kevin Bacon..sigh! This location has a lot of history would love to see some filming going on there when we visit..hopefully this fall :)


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  1. [...] doing research on the Harper House from Scream 3, which I blogged about in mid-April, I came across some information about an apartment complex – located on the very same street [...]

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