Revisiting the Filming Locations of The Wraith

A fascinating bit of cultural archaeology.

The Wraith is a movie that’s fascinated me ever since I saw its VHS cover on the local video rental store’s shelves back in 4th grade. Released in 1986, it’s about a teen (played by a young Charlie Sheen) who’s reincarnated as the titular supernatural warrior in order to get revenge on the violent racing gang that killed him and stole his girl. Which he does by racing them in a souped up Dodge M4S Turbo and killing them in deadly crashes. (Think The Crow meets The Road Warrior.)

Make no mistake, The Wraith — which also stars Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Clint Howard, and Nick Cassavetes — is not a good movie. It is, however, a nice, thick slice of grade A cinematic cheese that could only have emerged from the ​‘80s. Which is why I always feel compelled to watch at least part of it whenever I see it pop up on Hulu or Amazon Prime.

YouTuber Mobile Instinct is also a fan of The Wraith, and when he visited Tucson, Arizona back in 2017, he spent almost three weeks looking for the film’s various filming locations. Some locations, like the Big Kay’s burger stand, no longer exist while other locations have been updated or remodeled over the decades — or even changed dramatically by the elements. All in all, it’s a fascinating bit of cultural archaeology.

(If you like this, Mobile Instinct has several other videos on his channel where he finds the filming locations for movies and TV shows including Pippi Longstocking, Pet Sematary, and Dirty Dancing.)