The film was shot in western Marin County, California. Director John Carpenter had a house in Inverness for several years, so the location was essentially his second home at that time (as the director puts it, "his own backyard"). However, the locals were not happy to see the film crew in the area so they made the shoot very difficult by harassment and vandalism. Carpenter tells that while they were filming, for example, a sound take, a neighbor would start mowing his lawn or start up a chainsaw until he was paid to stop. Some of the people even tried to break into the equipment trucks. The whole experience essentially soured Carpenter on living in the area, where several scenes of his earlier film The Fog (1980) were also filmed.
John Carpenter had planned to work again with Universal on their long-gestating remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), but the film's box office failure killed those plans. As of 2017, the remake remains unmade, although speculation began again with the announcement of Universal's "Dark Universe" brand.