Horror film "Us" brings tourists to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Just ask his fans, in the new movie "Us," Jordan Peele has made Santa Cruz scary.

Mike Medina of Fremont saw it on opening day. "It's suspenseful, edge of your seat action. Definitely mysterious," he said.

But while social media is filled with people saying they're too afraid to visit, or will never look at Santa Cruz the same way again, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is filled with people who came because of the movie.

"We saw us on Friday and then I didn't realize that it was filmed in Santa Cruz. So then we were like we have to stop by the boardwalk to check it out... see if we can find the underground tunnels and everything like that," Medina said.

Cassandra Medina added, "When I think about Santa Cruz i still think it's a lot of fun. I am looking for certain things I've seen in the film like we were headed down to where the first scene is."

Us was filmed over 8 days last year and brought about a million dollars to the local economy.
But Santa Cruz officials expect the real benefit will be long a long term boost to tourism.

Kris Reyes of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk said, "We know the vast majority of our guests are excited about this movie. They recognize that the horror content in it is fantasy and not real. And they love coming down here and seeing where it was filmed. So on the whole this is a really popular and positive thing for us."

The same was true of the vampire movie Lost Boys when it filmed in Santa Cruz 30 years ago. There are still walking tours of the sights. And the Boardwalk still plays it to great fanfare once a year.
Really, it was that movie that made this one possible.

Christina Glynn with the Santa Cruz County Film Commission said, "In fact, Jordan Peele was so inspired by The Lost Boys which filmed here in 1987 that he promised himself if he ever became a director, he would come back to Santa Cruz and make a movie. And he did."

Us just had a 70-million dollar opening weekend, the biggest ever for a horror movie. And Santa Cruz officials think it will stand the test of time.

"So I think it will be a lot like Lost Boys and have legs for many years to come," said Reyes.

And the message to tourists: don't be afraid. Or if you are, come anyway.

"It's only make believe just remember that. It's make believe," said Barbara Sullivan from San Diego.

Boardwalk employees are getting a private screening of Us on Tuesday.