The Fremont Theater on Monterey Street, where scenes from “I Know Who Killed Me” were shot.
The Fremont Theater on Monterey Street, where scenes from “I Know Who Killed Me” were shot.

Like any town, San Luis Obispo has its quirks — Bubblegum Alley, Pirate’s Cove, Bike Night. While Week of Welcome (WOW) might provide you with information on these SLOcal places and happenings, let us educate you on your new town’s prevalence on the big screen. Yes, Lindsay Lohan has walked down Monterey Street (but we’re not sure if she flashed her junk) and your favorite dad-next-door Steve Martin brought his radiant white hair to our town before you were born. Although it doesn’t get much credit, our happy town surely has a place on the silver screen.

“Commando” (1985) – San Simeon

Let us not forget that before governing our state for eight years, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Prince, nay, the King, of sweaty ’80s action movies. One of which — “Commando” — was shot at a few locations 45 minutes down U.S. Highway 1 in San Simeon and at the Hearst Estate. Jam-packed with bazookas, murders and minimal, unenthusiastic dialogue on Schwarzenegger’s part, this is a classic fit in the Aaahh-nold library — right next to “Junior” and “Kindergarten Cop.” My opinion: Just watch “The Terminator” or “Total Recall” and forget this movie ever existed.

“My Blue Heaven” (1990) – San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Paso Robles

Any movie starring Steve Martin with an accent is a guaranteed winner. In “My Blue Heaven,” which was primarily filmed in our town, he plays a smack-talkin’ ex-mobster who has just entered the witness protection program. While the film leads up to a testimony against the mob, the hilarity emerges from Martin and co-star Rick Moranis trying to find a common ground as colleagues, as well as Martin trying to lay low to protect his identity in small-town suburbia.

“Arachnophobia” (1990) – Cambria

Eight legs, two fangs and an attitude. Add Jeff Daniels and John Goodman and you’ve got the 1990 thrillomedy “Arachnophobia,” which follows a family that moves into the “country” (in this case, Cambria) only to find out their new remote abode is infested with fast-breeding, poisonous spiders. San Luis Obispo County was a wise choice for this movie, as tarantulas roam the hills behind campus (I’ve seen two in my four years at Cal Poly). But don’t worry, we haven’t heard of any fatal spider attacks in SLO … yet.

“Little Giants” (1994) – San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande

A personal favorite on the list, this kiddie cult classic joins the ranks of flicks like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “The Goonies,” embodying the hardships endured by a group of sensitive fourth graders facing peewee football rejection. While it’s not in the least bit related to your life now (unless your future intramural flag football team of misfits finds a way to win the championships), “Little Giants” is a perfect complement to a bag of crunchy Ranch Corn Nuts and a Capri Sun Cooler. Plus, Cal Poly alumnus and NFL legend John Madden stars in the movie. Come finals week, trade your bro tank in for a 49ers shirt and flip your ball cap backward. Intramural championships are fast approaching!

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007) – Guadalupe, Dunes

While a bulk of the movie wasn’t shot in our area, a few scenes were shot 30 miles south of SLO at the Guadalupe Dunes. If you’re looking for some dune action but don’t want to drive 30 miles to a no-name town, take Los Osos Valley Road to Montano De Oro State Park, where you’ll find huge sand dunes, gnarly surf spots, mountain biking, great hiking and wicked tide pools. Guadalupe Dunes, you can have Johnny Depp in greasy makeup. I’ll take the beautiful coastal state park any day.

“I Know Who Killed Me” (2007) – San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay

While this movie has the most San Luis Obispo action (The Fremont Theater, San Luis Obispo High School, Morro Bay), it has the worst rating. Coming in at an embarrassing 9 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, this 2007 Lindsay Lohan horror thriller just didn’t sit well with audiences, much like several other aspects of Lohan’s life. The one cool thing about this movie is that you can see the Fremont Theater in the trailer. Check it out if you absolutely, 100 percent have nothing better to do.

For a complete list of links to trailers, visit

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