Tag Archives: Desert

This week I have mostly been flicking through this: Once Upon a Time in Almeria by Mark Parascandola

I stumbled across Mark’s Blog about a year ago while looking into the possibility of visiting “El Condor” (the remains of the purpose built filmset Fort used for the film of the same name). His blog had a post talking about his visit to the site then going on to explain that the land owner had turned up with a gun and loosely threatened to shoot him. Obviously I was rather put off by this idea as I never trained to be a teacher in Trump’s America and would therefore be unable to overpower him. Reading on I discovered that Mark was a photographer with a fondness for the Almeria region and also a huge interest in Spain’s historical Spaghetti Western film history.

He has spent many years documenting the villages, forts and farms that are slowly being reclaimed by nature. So much so that to the untrained eye there isn’t a village with a bar, a church and a ferreteria at all where Alex Cox filmed his 1987 movie “Straight to Hell” and previous to that Charles Bronson took the lead as Chino in “Valdez the Halfbreed” in 1973 right beside the  Autovia A-92 just outside Tabernas……

……. after reading through Mark’s blog I discovered that he had book that was very close to being published featuring lots of photos of his visits and naturally I had to own one.
To cut a long and tedious story of how my mind (doesn’t) work it arrived at the beginning of this week and It is fantastic…. Lots of lovely photos of places I’ve visited and some that I haven’t  that aren’t all totally overexposed like mine always are.

Credit: Mark Parascandola

Fun Fact: The “Flagstone” Set for Sergio Leone’s 1968 Once Upon a Time in The West Movie was also used in the KLF’s 1991 White Room Film (find it here on Youtube).

If you have any interest in the Spaghetti Western genre then this is a great book to have,
It’s about £25 (find it here on Amazon)

** I’m not selling it by the way **
** I’m just informing you because I like it very much 🙂 **

Paper over Board, 10 X 12 In. / 148 Pages / 70 Color Photographs
ISBN 9781942084396

Tabernas Desert Film Sets (Part #1) Straight to Hell and Chino

Something we love doing when in Spain is visiting filming locations, as you probably know the Tabernas Desert in Almeria was and still is used as the setting for many a Spaghetti Western. Films such as The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and Once Upon a Time in America were all largely filmed in the area. I’m starting here with a somewhat less obvious one, the location for  The 1986 Alex Cox film Straight to Hell which starred (to name but a few) Joe Strummer, The Pogues, Elvis Costello, Grace Jones, Dennis Hopper, Sy Richardson and Courtney Love. This set was originally built in the Tabernas Desert for the 1973 Film Chino starring Charles Bronson.

We headed down here on our way to San Jose and in typical (of me) fashion we arrived in the midday sun that was hitting the low 40’s and what was supposed to be 1 mile as the crow flies was about 3 miles each way….. Blistering Heat and No Water (not the best combination).

As you can see from the photos most of the site has now collapsed and is slowly eroding back into the desert so I guess in another 10 or 15 years or so there will be nothing left here to see except for some roof tiles and broken bottles.  I was rather taken with how close the site is to the motorway but how out in the wilderness it feels. To me there is something quite special about walking around this area knowing how many famous feet have trampled here, In the UK you would expect to see a parking area with an Ice Cream van and people trying to sell you  Cowboy Hats and Cap Guns but in somewhat typical Spanish Fashion it has just been left to crumble away.

More Info on these two movies can be found by following the links below:
Chino aka Valdez the Half Breed
Straight to Hell

I will post some other sets I have visited over some time so if you are interested please check back 🙂