8 spooky real life horror movie locations
You’ve watched these creepy flicks from the comfort of your couch, but would you have the guts to visit the filming locations in real life?
Camp No Be Bo Sco, Blairstown, New Jersey, from Friday The 13th
Image: Enzo Arcamone/Wikimedia Commons
Well, what do you know? The kids’ summer camp terrorised by Mrs Vorhees in one of the most iconic horror movies of all time – and then her son, Jason, in umpteen sequels – actually exists. And it actually offers a summer camp program. For kids. Kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it? The only real difference is that the creepy camp known in the movies as Camp Crystal Lake is actually called Camp No Be Bo Sco. And, of course, it isn’t the location of countless murders. It’s a good thing most of the kids that go to the camp aren’t old enough to have watched Friday The 13th or any of its sequels. Makes you wonder about the parents though.
Seneca Creek State Park, Maryland – Blair Witch Project
Ever since the release of this now infamous “found footage” horror movie, tourists have flocked to the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland in search of the fabled Blair Witch. For an authentic experience, however, you should travel about 60 kilometres south of the small town to Seneca Creek State Park – that’s where most of the movie was actually filmed. Considering Burkittsville has a population of just 200 people, and probably not much of a night life, getting lost in the woods might just be the best way to spend your time anyway. If you do decide to pitch a tent and spend the night in the woods, make sure to wear bright clothes and watch out for hunters – the type that shoot deer, not the type that ritualistically murder you in the basement of abandoned houses.
Toms River, New Jersey – Amityville Horror house
Image: Seulatr/Wikimedia Commons
It’s a true story: a man killed five members of his family before killing himself in his home. About a year later, the home’s new inhabitants claimed to be terrorised by ghosts, inspiring The Amityville Horror. The movie, however, was not actually filmed in the supposedly haunted house in Amityville, New York. Presumably looking to avoid shelling out money to otherworldly extras, The Amityville Horror was actually shot at a non-haunted home in Toms River, New Jersey. It makes sense. The Amityville home – a former crime scene – is one scary spot you might genuinely want to avoid.
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, Oregon – The Shining
All work and no play making you, well, ready for a holiday? Why not visit the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon? The now notorious hotel – known in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining as The Overlook Hotel – is a favourite destination among horror movie fans hoping to catch a glimpse of ghostly twins or get lost in a hedge maze. Movie buffs should note, however, that the hotel was only actually used for some exterior shots in the movie. The rest was filmed at a studio. And Stephen King, author of the book that inspired the movie, actually pictured a different hotel when he wrote his spooky story: The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
“The Exorcist Steps,” Washington, D.C.
Think it’s hard enough to get through The Exorcist with your eyes open? Try living in the neighbourhood where the movie many consider to be the “scariest of all time” was filmed. The house itself actually exists in a regular neighbourhood just steps from Georgetown University, but it isn’t quite as seen in the movie. For one thing, you won’t be able to see the window into Regan MacNeil’s room, where the possessed little girl famously terrorised her visitors – the interior of the house was actually filmed in a studio. Nearby, you’ll also find the stone steps down which Father Damien Karras plunged in a bid to purge the demon from his body. On October 30, 2015, the steps were graced with a plaque in honour of the location’s legendary status among horror movie buffs.
Monroeville Mall, Pennsylvania – Dawn of the Dead
Image: Daveynin/Wikimedia Commons
It’s a mall that inspired a mega-horror hit. While walking through the Monroeville Mall – one of the biggest of its kind at the time – horror movie legend George A. Romero supposedly came up with the idea to pit humans against zombies in this temple of consumerism. Production of Dawn of the Dead took place in the mall, during closing hours, in the winter of 1977. One can only imagine what shoppers must have thought about all the fake blood-soaked rags and severed limbs stuffed in the garbage cans. The actual mall is now home to stores like Macy’s, American Eagle and Forever 21, but it pays homage to its role in horror movie history with annual zombie-themed events – including the occasional zombie walk (above).
Simi Valley, California – Poltergeist
As if Poltergeist wasn’t scary enough, some believe the movie, itself, is cursed. Since the making of the first movie in the trilogy, four cast-members have died. Most notably Heather O’Rourke, who played young Carol Anne in all three movies, died of septic shock from bacterial toxins in her bloodstream at the age of 12. The house the movie was filmed in – in Simi Valley, California – was not actually built on an ancient Indian burial ground, however.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California – The Lost Boys
In order to avoid demonising real places with unsavoury plots, horror movie makers usually opt to invent fake settings for their films. When it came to the Joel Schumaker-directed ’80s favourite The Lost Boys, however, moviemakers didn’t work very hard to disguise the fact that the movie was shot in Santa Cruz, California. The movie takes place in a fictional city called Santa Carla and, in many scenes, clearly depicts the flashy Santa Cruz boardwalk, which offered a perfect contrast to the dark deeds of the vampires. If you visit the boardwalk in real life, however, you’re more likely to encounter a pickpocket than a neck-biter.
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