Horror Movie Locations
From The Exorcist stairs to Psycho’s Bates mansion, take a closer look at the film locations of the some of the scariest horror movies ever made.
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Hitchcock fans can see the famous Psycho film set for themselves at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in Los Angeles, where the signature Studio Tour takes visitors by the legendary Bates Motel and the Bates’ mansion.
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Carnegie Museum of Natural History
In Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster plays an FBI agent who enlists the help of a serial killer named Hannibal Lecter in order to catch another killer. During her investigation, she visits the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh to meet up with an entomologist. The museum is organized into 20 galleries and has exhibits on insects, mammals, botany, dinosaurs and fossils, gems, minerals, geology and several areas of anthropology.
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In the sequel to the chilling Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter moves his killings abroad to Florence, Italy. Hannibal becomes a curator of the Capponi Library and lives in Palazzo Capponi, a Florentine palace that dates back to the 1400s and holds some of the city’s most impressive pieces of art. Across the Arno River, the gruesome balcony scene at Palazzo Vecchio was inspired by real-life killings that took place here in medieval times.
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Remember the scene from the original Omen in which a priest gets impaled by a lighting conductor? It was filmed in London’s All Saints Church, an Anglican church located in Bishop’s Park on the banks of the River Thames.
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The Amityville Horror
Despite being set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, Halloween used Griffith Park in Los Angeles as the wooded backdrop for the murder of school bully Wesley by 10-year-old Michael Myers. That moment starts his killing spree. Griffith Park has more than 4,210 acres of land, which includes picnic areas, hiking trails, mountain roads, playgrounds and tennis courts.
In the 1957 horror movie The Undead, two psychics send a woman back in time to learn about her past. She awakens as a woman accused of being a witch in medieval times. The Spadena House, also known as the Witch's House, is located in Beverly Hills and is where — you guessed it — the witch lived. Its odd-shaped roof and color make it look like something out of Hansel and Gretel, providing the perfect setting for this movie. The house is privately owned and was also seen in the movie Clueless.
The Exorcist steps, located at the end of M Street in Georgetown, are a popular tourist location for movie buffs in Washington, D.C. In the movie, Father Karras is possessed by a demon as he tries to save Regan. While the demon has control of Karras' body, he throws himself out a window and tumbles down these stairs to his death. The stairs were padded with rubber so the stuntman, who performed two takes, was protected.
Interview with the Vampire
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project is the story of three college filmmakers who traveled to Burkittsville, Maryland, to shoot a documentary on the legend of the Blair Witch but were never heard from again. The film is supposedly the students’ lost footage and is very realistic. Some of the movie was shot in the real town of Burkittsville, which is located in Fredrick County, Maryland. The rural town is a little more than an hour from Baltimore and has fewer than 200 residents.
An American Werewolf in London
The British-American horror film An American Werewolf in London is the story of two Americans who end up being attacked by a werewolf. One of them, Jack, is killed, and the other, David, gains the ability to turn into the animal at night. David and reanimated versions of Jack and the victims of David's werewolf murder spree meet up in a movie theater in West London's Piccadilly Circus. The theater was a re-creation of the old Eros News Theatre, which is now a Gap clothing store on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue in Piccadilly Circus.
John Carpenter’s 1980 cult classic features Adrienne Barbeau as a radio DJ whose sultry voice rolls across northern California from her studio in a lighthouse on (fictional) Antonio Bay. Her perch in the sky gives her a front-row seat for the eerie miasma that seeps from the Pacific Ocean to consume her town — and becomes a trap when supernatural mariners begin emerging from it. There are (probably) no ghost sailors in Marin County’s Point Reyes Lighthouse, but it couldn’t hurt to watch your step when the 143-year-old facility reopens to visitors in January 2020.
Jordan Peele tucked a nod to The Lost Boys (1987) in his 2019 blockbuster’s opening sequence; as he told Uproxx, “We shot in Santa Cruz and the first scene of our movie is there. It’s the same beach, it’s the same amusement park. And it’s even 1986 … [T]here is a reference to The Lost Boys shooting by the carousel. They’re walking down the Santa Monica boardwalk and the mother says, ‘You know they’re shooting a movie over there by the carousel.’" Fair warning: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk wears its Hollywood pedigree proudly, and you shouldn’t be surprised if the jumpsuited figures at its margins look rather familiar.
Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) makes a number of bad decisions in The Ring, Gore Verbinski’s terrifying English-language adaptation of Koji Suzuki’s Japanese cursed-cassette novel. Watching the video in question is the biggest one, of course, but catching a ferry to “Moesko Island” (from the Port Townsend Terminal in Washington) is awfully ill-advised as well. The actual boat she boards (the Quinault, built in 1927) was scrapped in 2009 — which could be for the best.
Drag Me to Hell
The Doheny Mansion, a lavish Romantic Revival estate built for an oil tycoon in 1899, is catnip for directors: the Los Angeles location has had cameos in The Princess Diaries, Mad Men, The Three Amigos and Catch Me if You Can (to name just a handful of its credits). In Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, it’s the site of an extremely expensive séance that will hopefully trap a vengeful spirit in the body of a goat and save a young loan officer from her untimely demise. Spoiler alert: $10,000 isn’t nearly enough to buy your way out of a date with the underworld. While supernatural gatherings at the house are few and far between, it frequently hosts concerts beneath its magnificent Tiffany dome.
Now a private residence, the Potter Schoolhouse in northern California’s Bodega Bay was perfect for Alfred Hitchcock’s purposes in 1963: migratory birds really do flock to it, though they don’t wreak avian vengeance on unsuspecting children as they did on the silver screen. The building’s owner told California Home & Design that when her parents bought the property, its roof was in tatters and a piano on the second floor was covered with bird droppings. She also reported that it’s haunted, which would, perhaps, make Hitchcock smile.