6 Movies Filmed in Wisconsin (That Aren't Public Enemies)

Jasmine Ferrell

Hello, Wisconsin! 1975's The Giant Spider Invasion.
Hello, Wisconsin! 1975's The Giant Spider Invasion.

On the rare occasion when movie crews roll into town, it’s a pretty big deal. Clearly Wisconsin is no Hollywood or New York, but it still has a lot to offer filmmakers looking for locations. Haunted house? We can do that. Unfinished bridge for a car chase? Got that covered. Snowy back-drop for a tear-jerking, inspirational dog race? Did you even have to ask? Here are just six of the films that couldn’t resist the land of Wisconsin.

1. The Blues Brothers (1980)

Where in WI? Milwaukee
Although much of the film was shot in our neighboring Illinois, when it comes to the iconic Nazi car chase scene, the filmmakers took to Wisconsin. Filmed on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge, it served as the launch pad for the Pinto’s physics defying fall, which required a special clearance, multiple test runs and six cars.  

2. The Amityville Horror (2005)

Where in WI? Salem and Silverlake
At first the story was just a controversial novel, then it went on to inspire eleven films (at least that was the last count). This particular version adapted the historic Rustman house on the shore of Silverlake as the exterior of the “Amityville” house. If you look close enough you can smell the cheesecurds on the kitchen table.  Try it with the trailer

3. The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

Where in WI? Gleason, Merrill, Nicolet College, and UW- Stevens Point
One of the few movies to be completely filmed in Wisconsin, this low budget horror film was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The giant spiders really only consisted of VW bugs with legs attached and were manipulated by some unlucky puppeteers inside. In one particular shot, where a spider was to crush a house, those inside the vehicle were nearly impaled by the broken wood. If you're not fond of eight-legged friends, probably better refrain from watching this.

4. Iron Will (1994)

Where in WI? Oliver and Superior
This film took advantage of the epic winters of Minnesota and Wisconsin to set the scene for this 90’s family favorite. Before Balto made dog-racing all about the dogs, we all gave our heart to the little Mackenzie Astin that could. Now let’s all do it together, and whistle for Will

5. The Last Kiss (2006)

Where in WI? Madison
The American version of an Italian success and it falls a bit short. But besides that disappointment, it was shot predominately in Madison, using not only the scenic city but residents as extras. Now please, challenge yourself and scan the entire film for any vaguely familiar face. Whoever knows the most extras will receive a home-made casserole. Start counting with this clip

6. American Movie (1999)

Where in WI? Germantown, Menomonee Falls, and Milwaukee
Changing it up a bit here by highlighting not just a Wisconsin film, but a Wisconsin documentary. Filmmakers decided to follow the journey of a Wisconsin man as he tries to finance his cinematic dream by completing a neglected horror short, Coven. As the trailer will prove, the quotes alone make this movie worth watching, and try to catch all 151 times the lead says “man.”