By Jane Boursaw
Destination: Creepy Locations Around the United States
The movie industry loves to celebrate Halloween, so I’m currently awash in spooky films, DVDs and blu-ray releases.
Last year over at Reel Life With Jane, I wrote about some of the scariest movies I’d seen and polled a few friends for their choices. Movies topping the list include Carrie, Wait Until Dark, The Silence of the Lambs , The Descent, The Shining, and Poltergeist.
For A Traveler’s Library, I thought it would be fun to focus on locations where scary movies were filmed. Of course, the first one I looked for was Transylvania, Romania. Interestingly, many of the Dracula movies were filmed elsewhere, including 1922’s Nosferatu (filmed throughout Germany and Slovakia), 1931’s Dracula (England and Universal Studios in California), 1958’s Horror of Dracula (England), and 1992’s Dracula (California).
However, after director Anthony Minghella filmed Cold Mountain in Romania in 2003, other filmmakers started flocking there to take advantage of the country’s Third World wages. “Without the savings that Romania offered, ‘Cold Mountain’ absolutely would not have gotten made,” producer Albert Berger said in a Los Angeles Times story. He estimated that the country’s low-cost labor trimmed some $20 million from the film’s budget.
But let’s take a look at five scary movie locales right here in the United States. Some of these look like normal places we all know and love, while others feel steeped in demonic spirits.
1. The Amityville Horror. On November 13, 1974, police discovered six members of the DeFeo family — father, mother and four of their five children — shot and killed execution style in their home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. By 1977, the DeFeo home was the center of a haunted house story, which spawned a book by Jay Anson and the 1979 film The Amityville Horror. Some say the whole thing is a hoax, that the Lutz family, who bought the house 13 months after the murders, was never terrorized by spirits as depicted in the film. After the Lutz family left, the home was bought by the Cromarty family, who claim that it’s just a nice, normal house. Still, would YOU want to live there? Count me out.
2. The Exorcist. Much of this classic horror movie was filmed in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and the MacNeil house was located at 3600 Prospect Street. The story follows young Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) and two priests’ attempts to rid the girl of a horrifying demon, voiced by Mercedes McCambridge. Scenes involving green vomit or a head spinning around are forever cemented in horror movie history.
3. Night of the Living Dead. This classic 1968 black-and-white thriller takes place in rural Pennsylvania, just outside of Evans City, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. The small town has gone back to a normal existence since the movie debuted 44 years ago, but you can still picture creepy ghouls wandering down the street, can’t you?
4. Halloween. This movie was set somewhere in the Midwest, but actually filmed in Pasadena, California, on Orange Grove Avenue, just off Sunset Boulevard. The home is now the Alegria Chiropractic Center and has been painted blue, but the familiar hedge where creepy Michael Myers lurked still remains. Read more about the filming locations here.
5. The Blair Witch Project. Much of this “found footage” movie, about kids who go missing in the woods while filming a documentary about the local Blair Witch legend, was filmed in small towns around Maryland, including Adamstown, Granite, Ellicott City and Burkittsville. Specific locations include:
- Adamstown Village Market – 5550 Mountville Rd., Adamstown, MD
- Patapsco Valley State Park – 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD
- Seneca Creek State Park – 11950 Clopper Rd., Gaithersburg, MD
- Silver Rail Diner – 1 S. Maple Ave., Brunswick, MD
- Staub’s Country Inn – 19800 Beallsville Rd., Beallsville, MD
Here’s a clip from the film, where the student filmmakers arrive in Burkittsville.
Zoom in with the + sign on this map if you want specific directions to each movie location. Tell us your favorite scary movie locations in the comments below.