The Meiks’s House from “Frailty”Oct 16th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
One of my absolute, hands-down, favorite movies of all time is the 2001 thriller Frailty, which just so happens to be actor Bill Paxton’s directorial debut. And I am apparently in good company with that opinion – according to the Contact Music website, James Cameron, Sam Raimi and Stephen King are also huge fans of the flick, calling it “electrifying”, “the most frightening horror picture I’ve seen since The Shining”, and “edge-of-the-seat entertainment”, respectively. If you have not yet seen Frailty, I cannot more highly recommend doing so! In fact, stop what you are doing right now and go rent it! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 – just head straight to your nearest video store and get your hands on a copy of the DVD! Anyway, when fellow stalker Chas, from the It’sFilmedThere website, tracked down the supposed Thurman, Texas-area house where the Meiks family – Dad (Bill Paxton), Young Fenton (Matt O’Leary – the phenomenal actor who also played Marcus in Matthew Lillard’s directorial debut, Fat Kid Rules the World) and Young Adam (the equally phenomenal Jeremy Sumpter) – lived in the movie’s flashback scenes, I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to Sun Valley to stalk the place. Because I thought the location would fit in perfectly with my Haunted Hollywood postings, though, I had to wait a good four months to blog about it. So here goes!
In real life, the Frailty bungalow, which was originally built in 1924, shares its 0.98-acre plot of land with another, larger abode. And while Zillow states that the dwelling boasts 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 1,825 square feet of living space, I believe that to be the combined measurements of both houses on the property.
While we were stalking the Frailty house, the owner happened to come outside and she honestly could NOT have been nicer! When I explained that Frailty was one of my favorite movies, she invited us ONTO THE PROPERTY to take a closer look and to check out the backyard area, which was used extensively in the flick. (Yes, I was pinching myself!) She also spent a good thirty minutes chatting with us about the residence and the filming. LOVE IT! The Frailty house actually has quite an interesting history – it was originally constructed in Watts and then moved to Sun Valley at some point thereafter. The abode is also rumored to be haunted, which is one of the reasons Bill Paxton chose to use it in the flick.
The residence is actually located on the grounds of the Rockin’ Horse Academy and I cannot tell you how much fun I had playing with the horses while we were there. So cute!
The Meiks home is one of the main locations used in Frailty and it shows up repeatedly throughout the flick. In the movie, adult Fenton (Matthew McConaughey) says, “We live right behind the Thurman Public Rose Garden [which was actually the Huntington Library rose garden, which I blogged about here], in the house where they used to keep the gardener back in the ‘50s. Dad had gotten a good deal on it back when he and mom got married.” Thankfully, the residence’s exterior looks almost exactly the same in person as it did onscreen, as you can see below.
The backyard area still looks much the same today as it did during the filming, as well.
Amazingly enough, the owner told us that the “cellar” that was used as a kill room in the movie was NOT a set. The Frailty production crew actually dug a huge hole in the home’s backyard, constructed a basement in the space, and filming took place inside of it. So incredibly cool!
After filming wrapped, the crew deconstructed the basement and tried to fill in the hole, but could not find the same type of dirt that covered the rest of the backyard. Because a different type of dirt eventually had to be used, you can still kind of see where the cellar was situated during the filming. Love it, love it, LOVE IT!
Because the real life interior of the home did not look dated enough to stand in for a 1970’s-era house, a set was constructed for the interior scenes. According to the movie’s production notes, of the set design, Bill Paxton said, “I wanted a stark, clean look, like an Edward Hopper painting.” Of the Hitchcockian-style flick, which took 37 days to shoot, he also said, “My vision of this story has always been the idea that it is a very edgy script that pushes a lot of buttons, especially because children are involved. But I thought that’s exactly the reason to give it a real, old Hollywood approach, where all of the darkness is implied instead of being explicit. We hear a chop or a scream, but we never see a drop of blood.” And that, in essence, is the movie’s magic. Without showing an ounce of gore, Frailty manages to grab you right from the very beginning and it does not let go until the credits roll. Did I mention how much I love this movie?
Big THANK YOU to Chas, from the It’sFilmedThere website, for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Meiks’ house from Frailty is located at 10641 Tuxford Street in Sun Valley.