15 Fun Facts About “Vacancy”

We’ve all heard the rumors and urban legends about that infamous motel in the middle of nowhere that people get murdered in.  2007’s Vacancy took that concept and ran with it, resulting in a genuinely tense and thrilling survival horror movie.

Released amidst a sea of ultra-gory torture porn, slasher remakes, and American remakes of Asian horror films, Vacancy was largely overlooked and has sadly faded into somewhat obscurity.  So as the movie celebrates its 15th anniversary today, we thought it would be fitting to look at 15 fun facts about Vacancy!

1. Initially Sarah Jessica Parker was cast in the lead role, but was replaced by Kate Beckinsale before shooting began.

2. The Pinewood Motel was not an already standing establishment.  Both the exterior and interiors were sets constructed for the movie.

It’s quite surprising that this wasn’t an already existing location because it has such a lived in, authentic quality to it.

3. Many cast and crew were amazed at the attention to detail with the motel’s production design.  Director Nimród Antal stated that he often felt like he needed to go home and shower after filming there.

4. Writer Mark L. Smith and director Nimród Antal were mainly inspired to create a Hitchcock style thriller, rather than a gory slasher movie.  This is especially evidenced by the film’s opening titles, which are aesthetically similar to Hitchcock.

5. The snuff films were shot on the very first day of production.  They were included in their entirety on the movie’s DVD release.

6. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale had a very difficult relationship during production.  Beckinsale was reportedly annoyed that Wilson would often show up late and wouldn’t rehearse.  He also would use his stand-in to feed lines to Beckinsale when he wasn’t on camera.  The result was Beckinsale swearing she would never work with Wilson again.

Vacancy 6
Their behind the scenes tension actually translates quite well on camera because the characters are getting ready to divorce.

7. Wilson also admitted that it was a very difficult shoot for him from an emotional perspective.  He was used to doing comedies, but the film’s very dark subject matter and intensity stayed with him during production.

8. The film’s marketing campaign included a toll-free number where you would hear a message from the motel manager about their deals, while hearing people screaming in the background.  Unfortunately, the number is no longer in service.

9. Kate Beckinsale admitted that after making Vacancy, the next time she stayed in a motel during a location shoot, she was really freaked out.

10. Both Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale were nominated at the Scream Awards for Scream King and Queen respectively.  Beckinsale won, but Wilson lost to Shia LaBeouf for Disturbia, another Hitchock-inspired movie.

11. Screenwriter Mark L. Smith said that the movie helped open a lot of doors for him in the horror and thriller genres.  He would go on to co-write screenplays for The Revenant and Overlord.

12. While not an outright flop, Vacancy wasn’t exactly a hit at the box office either.  It opened at #4, behind Disturbia (in its 2nd week), Fracture, and Blades of Glory (in its 4th week).

13. However, it was successful enough to warrant a direct-to-DVD sequel a year later, Vacancy 2: The First Cut.  Despite its title, it was actually a prequel about how the staff first began murdering people in the motel.

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It’s about as good as you’d expect from an unwarranted direct-to-DVD prequel…

14. Many critics admired the decision to not overuse gore (especially during the peak of the torture porn trend), and focus more on being a Hitchcock-inspired thriller.  That said, the movie still got very mixed reviews, with the movie’s characters being heavily criticized.

15. Director Nimród Antal would go on to direct 2010’s Predators, as well as episodes of Wayward Pines, Servant, and Stranger Things.

Which of these did you already know?  Which ones surprised you?  Let us know in the comments!

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