I stumbled on these photos of the ginormous sets from James Cameron's 1989 film, The Abyss, which were left derelict in the
North South Carolina abandoned nuclear power plant where they were filmed. In stark contrast to Cameron's most recent film, Avatar, which is almost entirely CGI, The Abyss was almost entirely filmed in real-scale with real sets.
In most cases, the lifetime of movie sets is extremely brief. Entire cities and vehicles are used for a matter of mere months before being torn down to make way for the next movie production. However, as is apparent in this case, the left-behind sets became a sort of surreal architecture wherein a real version of a fake structure becomes real over time. I suppose this would be like building a life-sized model of a skyscraper that wouldn't actually house anyone inside.
An absolutely fantastic and candid making-of documentary shows a lot of the set construction that went into the filming of The Abyss:
This segment focuses on the innovation varieties of techniques used to shoot the real portions of the film.
Lastly, this last segment starts off with some rather harrowing tales about Ed Harris almost dying, but then goes into the massive dry-land sets that featured dump tanks suspended above.
The production was plagued by countless screw-ups and mechanical failures, prompting such puns as "son of Abyss" and "life's Abyss then you die." I've never made it through the entire movie, but sometimes the stories behind the story are even more enticing.