After seeing this rather humorous sign recently, I decided it was time to count down the best ten secret bases in movie and TV history…
10. The Hatch – LostThe focus of the end of season one and the beginning of season 2, the hidden Dharma Initiative hatch is what really leads us into the hidden world of the Initiative. And it’s only one of the numerous secret bases those crafty ‘Others’ have dotted around the island…
9. Skynet Core – Terminator 3: Rise of the MachinesThe only good thing about this sequel is the finale set in the secret bunker. Decked out in retro 1970s style, this hidden base is where John Connor finally sees the Skynet system come online, marking the beginning of the end of the world.
8. Dr Evil’s lair – Austin PowersAll three Austin Powers films are packed with Dr Evil’s bunkers and secret bases. Whether it’s the space needle (with added sharks with laser beams on their heads) to his secret ‘Death Star’ (containing the Alan Parsons Project) to Scott Evil’s lair in the Hollywood sign, Mike Myers and co really do know a thing or two about prime location real estate.
7. Tracy Island – Thunderbirds There is some debate over where, exactly, Tracy Island was. It looks as though the island is in tropical climes with outside pools and palm trees. However, though the Bahamas would be an ideal place for a secret base, it would be very impractical to have to fly halfway around the world whenever there was danger in Britain. My guess is that Tracy Island was off Wales somewhere and the palm trees were fake – they always folded down when Thunderbird 2 took off and we never ever saw anyone in the outside pool. Like all lidos, it was probably freezing – plus there’s the small matter of the ever-present risk of a great big rocket shop appearing out the bottom of it and squashing you.
6. Wing Kong Exchange – Big Trouble in Little China What initially seems like a huge import/export warehouse in Chinatown is really a front for the evil Wing Kong organised crime syndicate. However, this too is a front – in the centre of the lair hides recluse David Lo Pan, an aged eccentric businessman who also happens to be a 2,000-year-old ghost. Filled with deadly traps, evil Chinese ‘hells’ and a ornate room full of Buddhas, the Wing Kong Exchange is the home from home for any aspiring supernatural crime-lords, It even comes with an exclusive meeting hall decked out with a giant skull, only accessible by neon elevator.
5. Weapon X base, Alkali Lake – X-MenLocated in the middle of Canada, William Stryker’s Weapon X facility is a place where the unassuming Canadian government experiments on mutants and creates the Weapon Plus program. Seen in X-Men 2, the Weapon X program will feature heavily in the upcoming Origins: Wolverine films.
4. Cult of Kali temple – Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomThe opulent surrounding of Pankot palace hold a deadly secret – and with Indy on the case, it’s not long before the secret hidden base of the Cult of Kali is discovered. Based around (another) underground volcano, the sinister and deadly sacrifices made by the cult leader Mola Ramm involves secret potions poured out of skulls, flaming cages and of course the infamous heart ripping scene.
3. The hollowed-out volcano – You Only Live TwiceWhile Dr Evil may have had more bases per film than any other evil genius, it was the original Ernst Stavro Blofeld who obviously inspired the balding nemesis of Mr Powers to get into the whole evil lair real-estate game. While Hugo Drax had a space station in Moonraker and Scaramanga had a tropical island to plan and plot in, it was Blofeld’s hollowed-out volcano that started the whole craze. Super villains everywhere started scouring the property pages for the very best in designer and desirable.
2. Han’s Island – Enter the DragonNow, we all know if you do a martial arts film (be it The Quest, Mortal Kombat, A Fistful of Yen or Balls of Fury) there has to be a secret tournament based on a secret island. Han’s Island is funded by drugs and various other nefarious deeds (and they say crime doesn’t pay!). Packed to the rafters with insane opulence (a room full of mirrors – why?) the island is also the centre for the criminal mastermind’s international underworld of dirty dealings. As well as this, of course, it is also the venue of Han’s tournament, which is held every three years, and the place where John Saxon, Jim Kelly and of course the immortal Bruce Lee kick ass and take names as they punch and karate chop their way through Bolo Yeung, Robert Wall and Shih Kein.
1. The Death Star – Star Wars While the bad guys, crimelords and bosses of earth have there secret islands, underwater cities and subterranean lairs, the top secret base in the whole of the universe has to be a Death Star. As big as a moon, this secret (well, not-so-secret, really) lair comes complete with tie-fighters, giant planet-destroying lasers and hundreds of members of staff. While the health and safety and security of the base is not up to much (check out the two controllers’ platform when the laser from the Death Star destroys Alderaan) this is a base to be proud of. There is of course the slight issue of a portal-shaped vent that could possibly be hit with a torpedo and blow the whole thing up, but don’t worry! If this happens, the Empire always has another one half constructed near Endor (Death Star 2.0?) and there is no way on Earth that the residents of one of their moons, a bunch of furry cavemen, could ever defeat the vast power of the Empire and destroy this one as well! … Or, could they?