by Fionna Farrell
[originally published March 11, 2022]
It’s no secret that Oberlin has become the new Hollywood. I can remember the surge of excitement I felt when hearing Greta Gerwig’s husband would be making his new movie here— maybe he’d bring Greta to work one day! I was so jealous of all the extras from Joshua Sperling’s class who got to meet Adam Sackler last summer.
As it turns out, though, Obiewood is far from a new phenomenon. Acclaimed directors, from Bergmann, to Michael Bay, to that alumnus who won’t shut up about their short film, have all utilized this idyllic campus for over a century. According to some new and extremely taxing research, here are some films you might not have known were actually shot at Oberlin.
The Shape of Water: This Cold War film about a lady’s hot and steamy relationship with a fish was directly inspired by Oberlin. Rumor has it that the fish-man was extricated from our very own koi pond as a tadpole fetus. The second-floor Fairkid bathtub was utilized for the particularly tender scenes, so that explains that weird flapping noise you may hear at night.
Mad Max: Fury Road: Charlize Theron at Oberlin? I always knew there was something about her. Such a long legged girlboss only deserves to shit in the second floor Peters bathrooms. Tom Hardy also planned to join the coverband showcase that year, in his one-man band The Tommas and the Papas, but apparently was overcome with “stagefright”...my brother still won’t explain to me what he was doing that night. You owe me an explanation, Dylan.
Gladiator: This Ridley Scott epic—about a gladiator, btw—actually shot all of its colosseum scenes at the arb. It looked a lot different back then—especially the arb castle, which, believe it or not, was the emperor’s castle (or wherever tf Marcus DeNiro lived)!
Hellbound: Hellraiser II: I don’t know if you’ve ever been in King at night—and, no I mean night night, not 7pm for your ExCo on trees—but it definitely gives psych ward vibes. They actually shot every deleted scene from the movie in King 127, i.e. when Pinhead and Deep Throat become lovers, or consider the moral repercussions for demons for stealing from Decafe.
Fellini Satyricon: Some of it is in Latin, and we all know what language people at Oberlin took in high school. Urban legend has it that all the orgy scenes, so like half the movie, was shot behind the Azzy’s curtain, because Fellini said it felt “queer and phantasmagorical” back there.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules: The movie that makes Orson Welles turn in his grave, and it’s all thanks to me. I had an English teacher in elementary school named Miss Botnick and the actor who plays Rodrick is called Devon Bostick, so I brought them together, and she told him to do acting, and the rest is history. The Heff home was actually on South Professor, but it was, like, destroyed because of too many visitors. Devon and I have a non-parasitic relationship and he may or may not pay my tuition with his Kid spoils.