body double 1984 la horror hollywood
Columbia Pictures

Horror in the Hollywood Hills: 10 Glitzy, Sexy, Scary, and Sleezy L.A. Thrillers for MaXXXine Fans

body double 1984 la horror hollywood
Columbia Pictures

5. Body Double (1984)

Brian De Palma’s Body Double is a voyeuristic thriller that pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock while crafting its own unique brand of suspense. The film follows struggling actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson), who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving murder and deception after witnessing a crime through a telescope. Set in various iconic L.A. locations, including the Chemosphere House, the film blends the allure of Hollywood with a gritty narrative that keeps you guessing until the end. It’s a twisted journey through the darker side of the city’s glitz and glam.


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mulholland drive movie
Universal

4. Mulholland Drive (2001)

David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive is a surreal masterpiece that delves into the eerie, dream-like side of Hollywood. The film tells the story of Betty Elms (Naomi Watts), an aspiring actress who befriends an amnesiac woman (Laura Harring) in her quest to uncover the truth about her identity. With its nonlinear narrative and haunting atmosphere, Mulholland Drive captures the enigmatic essence of L.A. It’s a cinematic puzzle that reflects the city’s maze-like nature, where dreams and reality often collide in the most unsettling ways.


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day of the locust 1975
Paramount Pictures

3. The Day of the Locust (1975)

Set in the 1930s, The Day of the Locust is a psychological drama with horror elements that explores the desperation and madness of those seeking fame in Hollywood. The film follows Tod Hackett (William Atherton), an artist who becomes entangled with the eccentric residents of a seedy apartment complex. As the pursuit of stardom drives them to the brink, the film paints a bleak picture of Hollywood’s golden era, showcasing the darker side of ambition and the high price of fame. It’s a haunting portrayal of how the city of dreams can easily become a city of nightmares.


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bad dreams 1988
20th Century Studios

2. Bad Dreams (1988)

Bad Dreams takes the terror to an L.A. hospital, where Cynthia (Jennifer Rubin), a woman who has just awakened from a 13-year coma, finds herself haunted by the cult she escaped. As she struggles to piece together her past, Cynthia must confront the ghost of the cult leader who’s determined to reclaim her. The film’s setting in a bustling hospital adds to the sense of claustrophobia and helplessness, making it a chilling exploration of trauma and recovery in the city of angels.


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L.A. Confidential
Warner Bros.

1. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Closing out our list is L.A. Confidential, a stylish neo-noir thriller set in the glamorous yet gritty world of 1950s Los Angeles. The film follows three very different detectives: the ambitious Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), the brutal Bud White (Russell Crowe), and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), as they investigate a series of brutal murders. Their pursuit of justice uncovers a web of corruption, scandal, and Hollywood sleaze that threatens to consume them all. The film’s intricate plot, complex characters, and sultry atmosphere make it a quintessential L.A. thriller that oozes with mystery and intrigue.


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And there you have it! 10 horror and thriller movies set in Los Angeles, perfect for anyone looking to dive into the sinister side of the City of Angels. From supernatural scares to psychological mind-benders, these films showcase the many faces of horror that L.A. has to offer. So, the next time you’re in the mood for some Hollywood horror, remember this list and get ready for a terrifying tour through Tinseltown. Whether you’re a seasoned horror buff or just dipping your toes into the genre, these movies will ensure you never look at L.A. the same way again.

Got more Hollywood horror movies to recommend? Share them with the fiends over in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord!

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