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Wednesday July 18th 2018

Bad Influence | 1990

Bad Influence filming location: Chez Jay, Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
Bad Influence filming location: the bar: Chez Jay, Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica

This seriously underrated Faustian thriller has badboy Alex (Rob Lowe) tempting meek officeworker Michael (James Spader) into a life of indulgence, before exacting a disturbing price.

It was written by David Koepp, who went on to write the screenplays for Jurassic Park and The Lost World (in which, in a cameo appearance, he's eaten by the T Rex).

Michael meets Alex at a seafront bar on Manhattan Beach, south of Los Angeles Airport, and is taken for a drink at artists' hangout Chez Jay, 1657 Ocean Avenue, on the seafront half a block south of Santa Monica Pier. Looking like a wooden shack, this legendary celeb dive is one of those places with a roll call of famous patrons and a small bookfull of anecdotes. Just checkout Chez Jay’s website. One great story claims that astronaut Alan Shepard took one of Jay’s peanuts to the moon, and back.

Chez Jay was more recently transformed into the 'Starboard Side' bar for Tom Ford's 2009 drama A Single Man, with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.

Alex and Michael go to Club With No Name on Highland Avenue (though the venue moves about).

Bad Influence filming location: George C Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries, Wilshire Boulevard, Hancock patk, midtown Los Angeles
Bad Influence filming location: the bar: La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, Wilshire Boulevard, Hancock Park, midtown Los Angeles

Alex dispenses dodgy career advice to Michael among the prehistoric skeletons in the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, 5801 Wilshire Boulevard at Curson Avenue – that’s the excellent museum built at the site of the famous Tar Pits, where the remains of thousands of Pleistocene Age animals (particularly wolves and sabre-tooth tigers) were preserved as fossils after becoming trapped in the sticky oil which oozes up from the depths.

After his apartment is emptied, Michael retrieves his stolen belongings from the area of oil fields at Baldwin Hills on La Cienega Boulevard, between the Culver City and Inglewood areas.

Bad Influence filming location: George C Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries, Wilshire Boulevard, Hancock patk, midtown Los Angeles
Bad Influence filming location: disposing of the body: George C Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries, Wilshire Boulevard, Hancock Park, midtown Los Angeles

It’s in the murkily bubbling La Brea Tar Pits themselves, in Hancock Park, that Michael is obliged to dispose of a body. The pits are also featured in Last Action Hero, though for that film, they were faked – recreated down in Long Beach.

And Michael finally confronts Alex on Hermosa Beach Pier, on the South Bay below Santa Monica.