Based on Thomas Harris’s book of the same name, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is a psychological thriller that tells the story of an FBI agent who has to use the help of one serial killer to catch the other. Jodie Foster plays the role of Clarice Starling who is sent to interview Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer, who is also a brilliant forensic psychiatrist. She visits him in the prison where he gives her insights about Buffalo Bill, the serial killer who skins his victims.
The film is one of the best psychological thrillers of all time. It received critical acclaim on its release and also won Academy Awards in all the major categories, becoming the only film in the horror genre to do so. While the movie delivers some brilliant performances from the cast, its surroundings also help in inducing the fear in the story. If you want to know where ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ has been filmed, here’s the answer.
The Silence of the Lambs Filming Locations
‘The Silence of the Lambs’ follows the story of a young FBI trainee whose chase of a serial killer leads her to several parts in the country. From Quantico to Baltimore, to Tennessee to Ohio, Clarice Starling has to run here and there to piece together the crimes of Buffalo Bill and catch him. For the filming, however, the production mostly remained in one place. A major part of the film has been shot in Pennsylvania, with some scenes filmed in Virginia.
Pittsburgh served as the primary filming location for ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, with most important scenes filmed on location here. The exterior scenes featuring Buffalo Bill’s house were filmed in Layton. For the basement scenes, the production employed what used to be an airplane turbine factory. The multilevel set allowed them to film the scenes from above, giving the impression of a trapdoor and increasing the claustrophobia of the story.
Buffalo Bill's house from the 1991 classic film, "Silence of the Lambs"
The exterior scenes of Grieg Funeral Home were filmed at Main Street West in Rural Valley. The exteriors of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane were filmed at the Western Center near Canonsburg. If you were thinking about visiting the site, you should drop the idea because the building was demolished in 2012.
Behind the Scenes: Filming "Silence of the Lambs"
For the interior scenes inside the morgue, the production used a place in McKeesport. For the interiors of the Baltimore State Forensic Hospital, the Old Allegheny County Jail was used. The scenes in the Shelby County Courthouse were filmed at Soldiers and Sailors Museum and Memorial.
Additional filming locations include Lindbergh Avenue in Shaler Township; 8 Circle Street in Perryopolis; 8th Ave & Amity St in Homestead; Pittsburgh International Airport; and Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
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While the case takes Clarice Starling to several locations, her story begins at Quantico. In a rare feat, the FBI Academy allowed the shooting of the film in their premises. Some of the FBI agents also appear as background actors. Apart from this, the production also shot several scenes in Clay County in West Virginia.