Shot in 2010, the cult sci-fi horror flick Beyond The Black Rainbow takes place in 1983 and is set in a trippy asylum/institute, where an Evil Doctor is experimenting on a girl with potentially strange and dangerous powers. The film is short on plot, but creates an effective horror-scape as it unfolds at a surreal (and deliberately slow) pace, laced with an unnerving synth score.
What’s interesting is that the movie creates such a unique headspace that it’s hard to believe that it was shot anywhere in specific. It plays out like a weird nightmare being beamed into your directly brain from some early-’80s alternate reality.
At least it seems that way until the final act, when the girl — Elena, played by Eva Bourne — escapes the psychedelic horror-maze, and finds herself on the verge of freedom: walking through Vancouver’s Bloedel Conservatory — a tourist staple for the city, that like the Vancouver Public Library downtown and Science World, easily lends itself to science fiction. The scene unfolds like a dark postcard as she exits into the world.
In interviews, director Panos Cosmatos talked about filming in Vancouver — he had lived on Vancouver Island, and wanted to shoot somewhere nearby, with an easy-to-assemble crew — but mentions here, specifically filming at the conservatory, a building suited for the mind-bender:
“No way we could have afforded to build that. We were just lucky enough to find that in Vancouver. It was incredibly cheap to film there too. Only cost a couple hundreds bucks to film there for the night!”