Unlike other X-Men movies, which tend to take place all over the world (and sometimes in space), The New Mutants is mostly confined to a single location: a psychiatric hospital where a crew of young mutants are being held. Considering the film’s horror tone, that’s certainly appropriate. Creepy hospitals are as common in horror films as bladed weapons and scary masks.

In a recent interview, director Josh Boone told us about the decision to set his X-Men film in one creepy location and how the choice was informed by a couple of classic movies.

While the film’s location was determined by the needs of the story (which adapts the “Demon Bear” storyline from the X-Men comics) and budgetary considerations, this allowed Boone to pay homage to several of his favorite movies. While speaking with us, he brought up One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, and Girl, Interrupted:

Well, I mean, we needed a place to set the Demon Bear story and we needed it to be contained from a budgetary standpoint. One of [co-writer Knate Lee] and I’s favorite movies is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and another is A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. So it was really between those two signposts, we built what this was inside that sort of movie. We talked about Girl, Interrupted a lot, too.

And yes, they filmed in a real hospital that had been closed for decades. And yes, that meant members of the crew had their fair share of creepy, unexplainable experiences:

We went and found a stand-in mental asylum that had been closed for 50 years, probably. I think it was 150 years old. It had some really terrible things with the people who had been there, and it was kind of a haunted atmosphere. Some crew members had weird experiences on set. I would always rush to wherever somebody had felt something and I was like, “Let something happen to me!” but it never did. [laughs] So we found the right place to give it the right feel, and that all added to it. It’s funny. To me, it’s like a dark outlier to most other comic book movies.

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