Some horror movie sets are burned into the brains of avid horror fans. From Jack chasing Danny around the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, to demonic forces pushing Father Karras down the stairs in The Exorcist, these settings have become iconic. While many horror movie locations are locked away in some sound stage in Hollywood, there are a few places that horror fans can visit today. Check out my list of the best horror movie locations that anyone can visit.
A note before we begin. A few of these locations are on private property so if you plan to visit these locations, do so respectfully.
The Amityville Horror – Amityville House
The Amityville Horror (1979) is based on the true story of the paranormal encounters the Lutz Family had after moving into a new house in Amityville, NY. The house is not just any house. It was the location where Robert DeFeo Jr. killed six of his family members in one night. Since then, the house has had a reputation for being a center for paranormal activity. However, many owners since the Lutz family have not experienced any demonic or ghostly encounters since moving into the house. While the house has been remodeled to look less menacing and less recognizable, you can still visit the Amityville house at this address: 112 Ocean Ave, Amityville, NY.
Night of the Living Dead – Evans City Cemetery
Down a winding road in Evans City, PA, hides one of the most iconic horror movie locations: the graveyard from the Night of The Living Dead (1968). At the Evans City Cemetery, you can see the gravestones that Johnny and Barbara rush past and cling to as they are hunted by the living dead. The famous headstones marked “Nichols Kramer” and “BLAIR” can still be seen to this day and look very similar to how they did in 1968, only a little more weathered from spending decades exposed to the elements.
The Shining – Timberline Lodge
Any horror fan can tell you that the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s novel, The Shining, is based on the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. However, the Timberline Lodge was used as the exterior location for the movie adaptation of The Shining (1980). This ski resort in Oregon is still a popular vacation destination to this day. Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy the slopes while horror fans can visit an iconic movie location. In fact, the Overlook Film Festival was held at the Timberline Lodge in May of 2017. If you want to visit the infamous exterior of the Overlook Hotel, you can visit the Timberline Lodge at 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, OR.
The Exorcist – Prospect Street and The M Street Stairs
If you are wandering the streets of Washington D.C., you might just overlook two horror movie locations from The Exorcist (1973). The first location is at the corner of Prospect Street and 36th Street. This is where the famous cover shot of the priest about to enter the MacNeil home to attempt to cast out Regan’s demons was filmed. While the spot has been renovated since the movie’s filming, you can still see some of the buildings and the streetlamp from the original shot.
The second location is the M Street stairs which are located right behind the Prospect Street location. This is the sight where the demonic powers push Father Karras out a window and down the 75 concrete steps that lay beneath. The stairs look pretty much the same as they did in 1973. When visiting you are sure to run into a few horror fans taking pictures or a few locals who run the stairs for exercise. Both the stairs and the MacNeil home exterior location can be easy to miss. In fact, I drove right by these streets a few times when I was in D.C. this August without even noticing them. This location is must-see for many horror fans so make sure you keep an eye out for them when you’re in D.C.
Jaws – Sylvia State Beach
Jaws (1975) was the first summer blockbuster and made thousands afraid of going into the water for years to come. Most horror fans know the plot: the sleepy beach town of Amity is terrorized by a bloodthirsty shark. While the town of Amity is fictional, a real location was used to shoot the beach scenes. Sylvia State Beach in Martha’s Vineyard, MA is easy for anyone to visit and while it may one of the most memorable horror movie locations, it’s great for a family getaway. Since Massachusetts winters by the beach are no fun, it is recommended that you visit this horror movie location in the spring or summer.
Winchester – Winchester Mystery House
Legend has it that Sarah Winchester, wife of the founder of the Winchester Arms Company was told by a medium following her husband’s death that she needed to build a house for all the souls lost to Winchester rifles. She then moved from Connecticut to San Jose, CA, and purchased a farm house she would later turn into one of the strangest pieces of architecture of all time. During the time Sarah lived in the house, she made sure elaborate construction projects where constantly being undertaken on the house. These projects included stairs that led to nowhere and doors that open to a three story drop to the ground below. This peculiar woman and her equally peculiar house will be the subject of the upcoming film, Winchester: The House That Ghosts Build (2018). Many are looking forward to Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Sarah Winchester.
You can still visit the Winchester Mystery House today as the ground is open for tourists to explore this extraordinary property.
Rosemary’s Baby – The Dakota
Located in the busy Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan, you will find the Dakota building. This Gothic-looking structure was the location used for Rosemary’s Baby (1968). While director Roman Polanski wanted to use the interior and exterior of this building for the film, he was disappointed with how cheery the interior looked compared to its gargoyle and spire covered exterior. So, the outside shots of the Woodhouses’ apartment where Rosemary was mercilessly offered to the Devil were filmed at the Dakota while the interior shots were filmed on a set in California. Adding to the dark atmosphere of the building, this is also the location where John Lennon was killed by Mark Chapman.
It Follows – Jay’s House
It Follows (2015) is one of those modern horror movies that helping revive the genre. The plot follows twenty-something Jay as she and her friends are stalked by a demonic entity that is transferred from one sexual partner to the other. The film is set in the decaying greater Detroit area with Jay’s modest house being the location for many encounters with the demon that follows. You can see the real house that Jay and her friends hide out in as they try to escape the pursuit of the entity at 38721 Trafalgar Way, Sterling Heights, MI. The above ground pool where Jay is often seen swimming is there as well.
Nightmare on Elm Street – Nancy’s House
You can’t have a post about great horror movie locations without mentioning Nightmare on Elm Street (1987). This horror classic focuses on a group of teens who are hunted by the killer, Freddy Kruger in their dreams. After seeing her friends fall victim to Kruger, Nancy is determined to save herself and her boyfriend, Glen by killing Freddy in her dreams. The house where Nancy must do battle with Kruger can be found at 1428 N. Genesee Ave. Los Angeles, CA. And just like in the movie, you can spot Glen’s house from across the street.