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Saturday September 23rd 2023

I Know What You Did Last Summer | 1997

This Kevin Williamson-penned slasher used mostly real locations – the fishing village celebrating the ‘Fourth of July Croaker Festival’ is just what it says; Southport, North Carolina, which was also the location for Crimes Of The Heart and The Birds II: Lands End (the disappeared-without-trace TV movie sequel to the Alfred Hitchcock classic), as well as Williamson’s TV series, Dawson’s Creek.

Apart from providing a picturesque seafront backdrop, the city is conveniently just south of Wilmington, the site of a major film studio where loads of films, including David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, were made.

The ‘Southport Community Theatre’, where Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) becomes ‘Croaker Queen’, and things later turn nasty for Barry (Ryan Phillippe) in the theatre’s balcony, is Southport’s Amuzu Theater, 111 North Howe Street. Built as a cinema in 1918, the Amuzu closed down in 1979 but has since reopened as a concert venue.

With her friends, Helen heads off to celebrate winning the coveted title at ‘Ollie’s Oyster Bar’ which in reality is the Old American Fish Company, 150 Yacht Basin Drive, at the western end of Southport’s waterfront.

The fateful road accident which changes their lives forever provides another connection with The Birds. This section of the film was shot around Bodega Bay, on the coast of northern California, the town under attack by feathered hordes in the Hitchcock movie.

The four kids relate their differing versions of an urban myth around a fire at Schoolhouse Beach, about 5 miles north of Bodega Bay.

A few miles further north still, past Fort Ross, is the scary double hairpin bend where the car runs into a stranger in the road. It’s Kolmer Gulch, on Coast Highway, at the southern end of Timber Cove, just to the south of the Fort Ross Lodge.

Skip forward a year and Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is attending Duke University, in Durham, way to the north of North Carolina.

She’s about to return to Southport for the summer. Her home, where she receives the ominous note which gives the film its title, is 209 Short Street at Brunswick Street, just a few blocks north of the Old American Fish Company.

And on the waterfront, halfway between these two locations, you’ll find Fishy Fishy Cafe, 106 Yacht Basin Drive, which was ‘Southport Muscle’, the gym where Barry is menaced by the mysterious fisherman.

Julie finds things haven’t worked out for Helen as she’s working in the family store, ‘Shiver’s’, which is actually Harrell’s Department Store, 107 South Wright Street, on the town square of Burgaw, about 50 miles north of Southport. It”s here that it’s Julie’s turn to face the hook-wielding killer.