The greatest psychedelic films draw their inspiration from the world around us. The stimulating visuals and mind-bending backdrops of some of the most iconic films of all time are not merely the product of a director’s imagination, rather, they are the product of the surreal world we already live in.
Any person can experience the backstreets of Blade Runner or the overpowering backdrops of Metropolis if they simply follow in the footsteps of the creators. Here are four places that inspired psychedelic films that you need to visit.
Hong Kong, Blade Runner
The sprawling neon jungle of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has been permanently ingrained into our collective imaginations, spawning countless psychedelic tributes. Although the film is set in a near-future Los Angeles, the original inspiration for the film came from the dense, grimy streets of Mong Kok, a working-class neighborhood in central Hong Kong. The resemblance is so uncanny to the actual film that countless media tributes and think pieces continue to publish to this day – a source of pride and disdain for Hong Kong locals.
Nevada Desert, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
When it comes to kick-ass psychedelic films, the first one most people think of is the classic Johnny Depp trip-fest Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While the copious amounts of LSD ingested by the protagonist helps, the source material for the original book came from the stranger-than-fiction, glitter-dusted communities spread throughout the Nevada Desert, all pulled into the orbit of Las Vegas. A trip through the unique part of the world is an unforgettable one, the kind of exhilarating experience money can’t by. In fact, as this infographic by Lottoland shows, you’re better off investing your cash into a funky travel experience like this than blowing it all at Las Vegas casinos.
New York City, Metropolis
Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 film, may have been shot in Berlin, but the director was inspired by the Big Apple. Made at the height of the Art Deco movement, Lang’s film uses the exaggerated architecture of the period to instill a sense of dread toward the march of industrial progress. The visuals are truly unforgettable here, and you can experience them yourself by wandering through the urban valleys of Lower Manhattan, which have remained largely unchanged since Lang first visited almost 100 years ago. Lang himself recommended such a tour, in order to become “hypnotized” by American modernity.
London, A Clockwork Orange
London rarely features on the list of psychedelic destinations. The brutalist architecture makes much of the city resemble an open-air prison – hardly the ideal place to bliss out and kiss the sky. However, it’s this exact architecture, particularly around the imposing Barbican Estate in central London, which inspired Kubrick’s greatest psychedelic work, A Clockwork Orange. Wander the alleys and canals of this area to take in the visual utopianism of post-war Britain in ways that show how even bare concrete can be trippy.
The psychedelic is real, so you should absolutely seize the chance to visit these places at least once in your lifetime, to see what inspired the greatest minds of our generation.