Halloween may only be celebrated on one night of the year, October 31, but Halloween movies are a popular genre all year long. If you love Halloween horror movies, why not visit some of the movie locations which were used for Halloween films? It’s a lot of fun recognizing buildings where memorable events from a movie took place; especially if you plan to visit around Halloween.
Here are our recommended Top 10 Halloween movie locations that are definitely worth a visit…if you dare!
Timberline Lodge – The Shining
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood in North Oregon was used for the exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s dark and sinister story, The Shining. This Halloween movie location is where Stanley Kubrick went on to bring the novel vividly to life in this psycho horror drama starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. What’s very interesting is how King got his original idea. He and his wife stayed a night at a huge colonial-style hotel in Estes, Colorado, known as the Stanley Hotel. Here, they discovered they were the only guests in the vast and eerily quiet 142-room hotel. This then spawned the idea for The Shining. The novel was published in 1977 and the Warner Bros. movie came shortly afterward, in 1980.
Although the movie was filmed in the Rocky Mountains at Timberline Lodge, the interior scenes were filmed back in the UK at EMI Elstree Studios. Also, at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel in California. Another fascinating fact is that Kubrick changed the name of the haunted hotel room from 217 (in the original novel) to 237. The management at the Timberline Lodge, a popular ski resort, was worried that no-one would want to stay in Room 217, with the belief it was haunted. They then changed it to Room 237 as there is no such room in the resort! It’s been a long time coming, but a sequel is planned, Doctor Sleep, due for release on November 2019.
Yankee Peddlar Inn – The Innkeepers
It’s always a little scarier if the location where the movie was filmed actually has a haunted past of its own. This is the case with the horror movie, The Innkeepers. This 2011 supernatural horror movie was actually filmed in the Yankee Peddlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut which is said to be haunted by the first proprietor, Alice Conley. She died in Room 353 and the room has had strange paranormal happenings ever since.
This historic inn was opened in 1891 and the owners were Frank and Alice Conley. After Alice died, the hotel allegedly became haunted. This includes many sightings of ghosts, flickering lights, chilly draughts, and more.
The film is based around some of the hotel’s reported supernatural activities. It follows two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), who are ghosthunters fascinated by the hotel’s haunted history. There’s also the bride who hung herself and her body was supposedly hidden in the basement, mysterious voices, the grand piano in the lobby playing by itself…you get the picture. Even film director Ti West who openly scoffed the idea of spirits had to re-evaluate when several explicable events affected filming.
The Halloween movie location hotel has been closed since 2017 for renovations to the 52 rooms which are taking much longer than the expected 7-9 months. Is it the ghosts continuing to interfere in this haunted hotel?
Bates Motel, Los Angeles – Psycho
Possibly the most famous and terrifying Halloween horror movie of all time is Pyscho. Filmed in 1960 and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the tense psychological horror movie is about a secretary called Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh), who steals money from her employer in Phoenix. Due to a heavy rainstorm, she ends up at a secluded Gothic Bates Motel. Here, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is the manager. Even though the film was made in black and white, it still has the power to chill to the core.
The area around Phoenix, Arizona was used for many of the outdoor shots. This includes Highway 99 between Fresno and Gorman, and Crane driving into Bakersfield to trade her car. There’s also a street scene shot in downtown Phoenix that actually has holiday decoration in the footage; along with 140 other real estate buildings and houses that were later recreated in part in the studio!
The scream-filled shower scene was filmed in a house in Universal City, Los Angeles. Part of Universal Studios, it is one of many film sets that are still used for tours at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. The Pscho set even includes the original Bates Motel and Bates’ house as well as the Ford Custom 300; driven that fateful night by Janet Leigh in this classic tale of murder.. and worse.
So, if you’re planning to watch the movie again, look for Hitchcock in a cameo role seen through a window wearing a stetson hat.
Perron Family Home In Currie – The Conjuring
The Conjuring was filmed on location in a solitary farmhouse property in Currie, North Carolina. The story is set in a dilapidated farmhouse in Harrisville Rhode Island. Even seen from a distance, it looks like it is straight from the horror movie. Owned by the Perron family, the house was used for many of the scenes in The Conjuring; a story based on real-life experiences and hauntings.
Directed by James Wan, the 2013 supernatural horror movie starred Patrick Wildon and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren; two paranormal investigators who are called to investigate strange happenings at the house. Their children discover a long-forgotten cellar with an antique music box; the trigger for a host of paranormal events including clocks all stopping at 3.07 am, malevolent spirits, exorcisms and more.
Strangely, there were several paranormal events that took place while the Halloween movie was being filmed. A mysterious fire broke out, then director James Wan’s dog kept growling at an unseen presence. Also, when the Perron family visit to see how the movie is progressing, a strange wind blew across the set. However, the wind did not affect the surrounding trees….spooky.
Salem, Massachusetts – Hocus Pocus
The 1993 movie Hocus Pocus actually takes place at Halloween and the story follows Max Dennison (Omri Katz) who decides to go trick-or-treating. He lights a candle to resurrect the historic witches of Salem; three sisters who in real life were executed at the famous trial in 1692. Tourists flock to Salem to see the town where altogether 25 people were executed following the witch hunt.
The all-star cast of this comedy horror drama includes tarring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The original script included much younger protectionists. However, when Bette Midler expressed an interest in the role, Walt Disney Pictures revised the script to include older sisters.
Much of the story was filmed in Salem, where the story was set. However, there are also other places in which the movie was shot. This includes the Old Burial Head in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The opening scenes were shot in Pioneer Village, a recreated early colonial Salem. Look for the Old Town Hall in Salem, the venue where the Halloween Party takes place. Also, close by is Phipps Elementary School, where the witches are trapped in a kiln. Salem continues to celebrate its association with the movie and hosts many Hocus Pocus themed events; especially in the lead-up to Halloween.
Wismar, Germany – Nosferatu
If you want to see where the 1922 Gothic vampire movie Nosferatu was made, you’ll have to visit Wismar in northern Germany. It was renamed Wisborg in the horror movie which is loosely based on the story of Dracula by Bram Stoker. You will quickly recognize the pretty harbor surrounded by merchant’s houses, St Mary’s Church with its landmark square tower, and the huge open market square; one of the biggest areas in Germany.
After that, you should drive to Lübeck to see the old salt stores (Salzspeicher in German) where Nosferatu lived. This lovely UNESCO-listed town is well worth exploring. It has the Museum of Theatre Puppets; just the thing to calm frayed nerves after visiting so many vampire haunts!
Tribeca, New York – Ghostbusters
Remember Ghostbusters? If you visit Tribeca, south of Manhattan in New York, you can visit the fire station building known in the movie as “Hook and Ladder 8”. It is located at 14 North Moore St where it intersects with Varrick Street. More fantasy comedy than dark horror, Ghostbusters was filmed in 1984 and is filled with amazing special effects. It has since become a cult phenomenon.
The story follows scientists from Columbia University played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis. In this movie, the trio of eccentric para-psychologists investigates paranormal sightings and manifestations. This also includes how paranormal activities affected cellist Dana Barrett, played by Sigourney Weaver. They convert a disused firehouse (the one in Tribeca) and use it as their base to capture ghosts using high-tech equipment. Business booms until they are told to shut it down and an ensuing explosion releases all their captured ghosts.
Since its moment of fame, this Halloween movie location firehouse has reverted to being just a regular firehouse. It was listed for closure in 2011 due to budget cuts. However, local residents protested and managed to save their beloved local station which dates back to 1895.
Interestingly, the firehouse is close to Ground Zero; the site of 9/11, and many of the officers were called to assist. There are also several phones later exhumed from the ruins, now on display. Additionally, if they are not busy, firefighters are happy to pose for photos with the many visitors who drop in to see the Ghostbusters HQ for themselves.
Seneca Creek State Park, Maryland – Blair Witch Project
Most scenes from the cult classic The Blair Witch Project were filmed in the Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland. In the 1999 documentary-style movie, the park became the Black Hills Forest. It was where amateur filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Michael C, Williams, and Joshua Leonard) disappeared. They had been attempting to track down a witch. The final scenes were filmed at the historic Griggs House in the Patapsco Valley State Park near Granite, Maryland.
Launched at the Sundance Film Festival, it became one of the most successful independent films of all time. Filming wrapped up on October 31, 1997 – Halloween!
Look out for the Shack and Coffin Rock among other sightings, and make sure you’re home before nightfall!
Forks, Washington State, USA – Twilight Saga
The small town of Forks is a frequent place of pilgrimage for those in search of young vampires and werewolves. It was where novelist Stephanie Meyer’s based her series of Twilight books which were later turned into movies. Forks was used as the Halloween movie location set for filming.
You can visit the Forks Chamber of Commerce and get a selfie next to Bella’s Truck. Your next stop should be First Beach, a popular surfing spot featured in the movie. You’ll also recognize the High School, police station and City Hall.
Additionally, the best time to visit Forks, Washington is in September. This is when the town celebrates its moment of fame with the annual festival “Forever Twilight in Forks”.
Scotland, United Kingdom – The Wicker Man
Follow in the footsteps of policeman Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) as he tries to find the missing schoolgirl in the eerie community on the fictional Scottish island of Summerisle, not to be confused with the real Summer Isles in northwest Scotland. The Wicker Man was filmed in 1973 and used a number of locations in mainland Scotland that can easily be visited. Start at Culzean Castle near Ayr, used as Lord Summerisle’s mansion. It’s open to the public for tours.
Head to Galloway in southwest Scotland and you’ll find St Ninian’s Cave on the seashore. This spot is where the missing person in The Wicker Man was eventually discovered. It is also believed to be where St Ninian, Scotland’s first saint, lived a life of solitude.
Many of the excavated findings from the cave are on display in nearby Whithorn Priory Museum, three miles away. You’ll recognize the church ruins from the film in the village of Anwoth. Finally, head to the Isle of Skye. Here, you can see the magical Fairy Pools and many aerial shots used in the movie.