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Hilton Sonoma Wine Country – Where the Cast of “Scream” Stayed During Filming

Oct 23rd, 2017 | By | Category: Haunted Hollywood

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190370-2

I typically begin compiling notes on a location and roughly outlining a post weeks before I hit publish.  Today’s article, about the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, where the cast and crew of Scream stayed during the 1996 film’s 55-day shoot, is no different.  Sadly though, devastation struck shortly after I penned that preliminary edit.  I am extremely sorry to report that the Santa Rosa-area hotel was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire in the early morning hours of October 9th.  When I learned the news last Friday morning, just as I was sitting down to write this post, I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  I could not – and still cannot – believe the Scream hotel is gone.  I am heartbroken.  And yes, I do realize it is a bit silly to be heartbroken over the loss considering the fact that the property didn’t even appear in the movie, but, at the same time, it was such an important part of the production and has been talked about by the cast in so many interviews that it honestly feels as if a piece of history has been lost.  I am so thankful that I was able to stalk the Hilton last October during a trip up north and, even though it is no longer, figured I should still continue on with the post and share the many images I took of it for posterity.

I learned about the Hilton and its role in the production of Scream from my friend Ashley, of The Drewseum website, who (as I’ve mentioned previously) was kind enough to share with me some call sheets from the flick that she has managed to get her hands on over the years.  Besides detailing scene, wardrobe, and prop information for a particular date, each sheet also notes both the pickup time and location of the various actors scheduled to work that day.  As indicated in the sheets, Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Matthew Lillard, and the rest of the cast were picked up in the lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel located at 3555 Round Barn Boulevard in Santa Rosa prior to each shoot.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190388

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190389

At some point after Scream was filmed in 1996, the property was transitioned to a Hilton, though, according to my aunt who lives in the area, not much of it was altered during the changeover and, up until the fire, it still looked much the same as it did in the ‘90s.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190377

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190375

Typically, a hotel where a cast and crew stayed during the filming of a movie wouldn’t have that much meaning to me, but, in this case, because of Santa Rosa’s small-town vibe, the Scream team spent much of their free time together on the property.  Unlike New York or L.A. or any other metropolis, where actors can step outside of their lodging and find a wide array of nightlife and activities at their fingertips, Sonoma County is a rather sleepy area.  So the group hung out together, entertaining themselves on the hotel grounds, which created a tight-knit family atmosphere that I doubt would have occurred (at least not to the same degree) had Scream been shot elsewhere.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190361

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190373

The Hilton was actually the location I was most excited about seeing during my NorCal trip, mainly because of an interview with Matthew Lillard that I watched years prior.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a clip of the interview anywhere online, but, in it, the actor talked about holing up with the rest of the cast in Neve Campbell’s hotel room after filming wrapped each day or night and watching horror flicks.  I love any and all behind-the-scenes tidbits like that and the thought of the cast huddled up watching scary movies together, while in the midst of shooting what turned out to be one of the most influential scary movies of all time, is pretty incredible.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190364

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190348

Matthew is hardly the only Scream cast member to have mentioned the hotel in interviews over the years.  In fact, I’ve found that, more than any other location associated with the movie, the Hilton is the one talked about the most.  In the 2011 documentary Still Screaming: The Ultimate Scary Movie Retrospective, Neve Campbell reminisces, “We were all staying in the hotel – in like a little motel – the whole crew and cast.  And we were just having a great time.  I think we kind of couldn’t believe we were getting paid to have fun like that.”  (Though the Hilton was actually quite large, because of the way it was laid out, with outcroppings of two- and three-story buildings dotted around the premises, it did have the feel of a small motel.)

 Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190378

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190379

 That same year, in an Entertainment Weekly article, Jamie Kennedy also reminisced about the property, saying “We’d go home at night to the DoubleTree Hotel, and it was the first hotel I ever went to that gave you a cookie at night.”

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190360

Neve spoke of the Hilton again in a 2016 Entertainment Tonight exclusive, stating, “The cast would hang out in the mornings because we would shoot all night.  We would get in cars and go back to our hotel and we would be covered in blood and there would be people going to work at 6 or 7 a.m. and they’d see me covered in corn syrup.  The look on those peoples’ faces was always humorous.  We would close all the curtains and hang out and have a drink.  We were sitting in one of our bedrooms and we were like, ‘Could you imagine if this was good enough that there might be a Halloween costume?’  And we were like, ‘No, that couldn’t possibly happen!’  And now it’s 20 years later and I still see the Halloween costume every year in all the shops.  It’s pretty amazing.”

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190359

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190355

Just this past July, Skeet Ulrich, who played killer Billy Loomis, gave an interview to The AV Club in which he mentioned the Hilton.  He said, “I was fortunate in that the hotel suite they gave me had two rooms, so I used one just to sleep, and the other one . . . I was 26, I think, when I made it, and I was playing a 17- or 18-year-old, so I went straight to the mall and bought every hard-rock poster and black lights and everything, and I turned the other room into Billy’s room.  And I’d sit in there and just read about John Wayne Gacy and play the most satanic music I could find and just try and find him rather quickly in that environment.”

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190380

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190386

All the anecdotes and tidbits I had heard about the hotel over the years enveloped me as I walked around the property.  I couldn’t help but wonder which room each cast member stayed in;

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190381

if they were all grouped in the same area or spread apart;

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if they checked in themselves;

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190358

did they walk down this hall;

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or that one;

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if they swam in the pool during their off-time;

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if they sat by the fire;

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hung out in the lobby;

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ate at the on-site restaurant – etc., etc., etc.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190374

Needless to say, my mind was buzzing.  And yes, I am fully aware that I have an unnatural obsession with anything and everything related to Scream.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190351

You can see some photographs of what the property looks like post-fire here, here, and here.  And you can read an interview with a man who was staying at the Hilton when the inferno struck here.  The hotel was actually one of the first places hit by the Tubbs blaze and, because it broke out so quickly, guests had virtually no warning.  Most were awakened by a knock on the door from security guards at around 3 a.m. on October 9th and told to evacuate immediately.  The man in the interview did not even have time to put on shoes.  I can’t imagine how scary that must have been.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190387

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190382

In watching this drone footage of the Hilton site, it seems that the three buildings surrounding the pool, on the western edge of the property, remain intact.  So at least a part of the location still stands.  A word of warning – watching the video clip is extremely disheartening.  The devastation that citizens of Sonoma County are facing is unfathomable.  My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190383

Big THANK YOU to my friends Ashley, from the Drewseum, for telling me about this location and Katie, from Matthew Lillard Online, for trying to help me pinpoint the interview in which Matthew talked about the hotel !  Smile

For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country from Scream-1190376

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, where the cast of Scream stayed during filming, was formerly located at 3555 Round Barn Boulevard in Santa Rosa.  Sadly, the property was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire and no longer stands.


One comment

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  1. Her mom says:

    The drone footage makes for a scary, albeit horrendous, movie itself. So very sad.

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