Dead Man’s Drive: CreepyLA goes on the murder tour

House at the End of the Street horror movie poster“Fear reaches out… for the girl next door.” is the tagline for the upcoming movie “House at the End of the Street.” In that vein of exploring the hidden danger that quietly lurks on your block, Relativity Media arranged for CreepyLA an evening of revisiting grisly murders that all occurred in otherwise peaceful neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Our first stop was the Museum of Death in Hollywood with a guided tour, pointing out highlights from their collection that emphasized this idea of the macabre mayhem that happens next door (unbeknownst to the neighbors) like the random nature of the Manson murders, and the “Night Stalker” Murders, or the bizarre murder/suicide pact of the Heaven’s Gate cult.

Next, came a nocturnal field trip out to visit some actual murder houses courtesy of the good people at Dearly Departed Tours. Our trip focused on the hidden crime scenes in the residential areas of Los Feliz, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. As someone who has grown up in Los Angeles, I have always avoided guided tours of my home town. I never saw the point of having a guide take me past all the sites I already drive past everyday. After this excursion, I have to admit I was wrong.

This Dearly Departed tour taught me two lessons. One, that apparently as much as I think I know about the dark under-belly of our fair city, there is still more to discover. Secondly, as much as Los Angeles seems to cater to individuality and individual behavior (i.e. driving alone), we can forget how interconnected we all are. The horribly tragic events our tour spot-lighted not only happen on the same streets and neighborhoods that we pass through daily, but because of that, there are not too many degrees of separation between us and those affected by these crimes.

On a personal note, I knew one of the victims discussed that night on our tour. She was a former neighbor. Although I wasn’t close to her, she was someone I said hello to just about everyday. I never imagined then, that she would be murdered in a way that would make headlines, or how close geographically I would be to a seemingly random act of violence.

Perhaps that weird issue of proximately to death (while surviving yourself) is the appeal of horror films like “The House at the End of the Street,” or the Museum of Death, or Dearly Departed Tours. Sometimes fear does reach out… for the girl next door.

“House at the End of the Street” is now out in theatres everywhere.