Several of the 'college campus' scenes early in the movie were shot in and around various buildings at the University of California at Riverside (UCR): the outdoor scene in which the expedition is planned was filmed in the north courtyard of Olmsted Hall; the lecture hall scenes were filmed in the (unnamed) Physics building; the academic office scene was filmed in the offices of the Anthropology department; and the scene with the jeep driving under the wavy awning was filmed at the front of the Tomas Rivera Library, UCR's central academic library. The pool deck scenes were shot at an apartment complex near the campus which was later purchased by the university.
The scene in which they are standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking a city below and Margo Hunt says, "San Bernardino, a rough speck of civilization on the edge of the Avocado belt" is an an obvious spoof of the scene in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), where Ben Kenobi and Luke Skywalker are standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking a spaceport below and Ben says, "Mos Eisley spaceport: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The film's plot loosely parallels that of novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, as well as Apocalypse Now, which was also partly based on Heart of Darkness. Both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now feature a character named Kurtz who has gone deep into the jungle to become the deranged leader of a group of "savages"; these peoples engage in barbaric rites as an alternative to the rigid and restrictive values of the outside world. The name of the character Ford Maddox, one of the men who recruits Margo to enter the jungle, refers to author Ford Madox Ford, who collaborated on three novels with Conrad (though not on Heart of Darkness). When Kurtz and Hunt battle with fencing swords, Kurtz is stabbed, and her dying words are: "You don't know what it's like, trying to face David Letterman with a book on male insensitivity ... All right, I was exploiting the Piranha women. You don't know what it was like. David Letterman, God, the horror ... the horror of that show ... the horror." In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz's dying words are: "The horror! The horror!"