10 Real-Life Horror Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit
From the cursed house of Michael Myers to the deadly stairs in The Exorcist, step onto the real-life sets of your favorite horror movies … if you dare.By Orrin Grey
Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to skip the scares from our favorite horror movies. Better yet: Why not arrange a trip to visit the real-life locations where these movies took place? While many horror flicks were shot on sets, some used real places for their backdrops—locales that often possess their own spooky history every bit as ominous as what ended up on the silver screen.
1. The Stairs from The Exorcist
While you may not be able to go into the house that served as Regan’s home in The Exorcist, which is now a private residence, you can still join countless film tourists every year in exploring the famous stairs down which Father Karras took his climactic tumble. The narrow stone steps are on the corner of Prospect and 36th, leading down to M Street in Georgetown, Washington D.C.
2. Ettington Park Hotel from The Haunting of Hill House (1963)
Possibly the most famous haunted house in all of literature or film, the titular abode from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been represented on celluloid by two different but equally striking English manors. In the original 1963 version of The Haunting, the Ettington Park Hotel in Warwickshire, England portrayed the exterior of Hill House (above). The hotel has a history of paranormal phenomena, and many cast members reported feeling uncomfortable during shooting. In the lackluster 1999 remake, it’s the exterior of Harlaxton College that stands in for the outside of Hill House.
3. Timberline Lodge from The Shining
While it was the Stanley Hotel in Colorado that inspired Stephen King’s novel The Shining, most of the exteriors for Stanley Kubrick’s freaky film adaptation were shot at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon. The mountain hotel is still in operation, and offers special Shining-themed experiences. While there’s no actual room #237 at the Timberline, room #217, which is the room number used in King’s novel, remains the most sought-after unit in the hotel.
4. Villa Scott from Deep Red
Fans of Italian Giallo cinema will recognize the Villa Scott in Turin, Italy as the abandoned home at the heart of the mystery in Dario Argento’s bloody classic Deep Red. At the time that Argento was filming, the villa was a girls’ school run by nuns, which itself seems like a prime setting for a Giallo film. These days, however, it truly is abandoned, so who knows what secrets you might find walled up inside?
5. Dunsmuir House from Phantasm
Not content to lend its façade to fuel just one of our cinematic nightmares, the Dunsmuir House and Gardens located in Oakland, California has stood in for the Morningside Mortuary in Phantasm, the sinister house in the 1976 Dan Curtis film Burnt Offerings, as well as making appearances in So I Married an Axe Murderer and the Roger Moore James Bond film A View to Kill. The Dunsmuir House is available to rent for special events and weddings, as long as you don’t mind the Tall Man possibly stopping by …
6. Myers Family House from Halloween
While it boasts a more cheerful paintjob, the original home of Michael Myers still sits in Pasadena, California, where much of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween was filmed. You’re unlikely to find any masked killers or misplaced tombstones in the house these days, as it has been converted into offices for local businesses. For a freaky Halloween-themed experience, head to The Myers House of Hillsborough, North Carolina, where one rabid fan constructed a full-size replica of the cursed abode.
7. Doheny Mansion from Drag Me to Hell
Whatever you may think of Sam Raimi’s 2009 return to horror Drag Me to Hell, there’s no denying it had a great location in the form of medium Shaun San Dena’s Hollywood mansion. The estate is actually the Doheny Mansion in Beverly Hills, which offers tours and event reservations.
8. Point Reyes Lighthouse from The Fog
Much of John Carpenter’s classic 1980 ghost story The Fog was actually shot in Point Reyes Station, California, including the iconic Point Reyes Lighthouse, which sits at the bottom of 308 precipitous steps.
9. The Union Center for the Arts from Prince of Darkness
While you can visit any one of these iconic horror movie locations listed above, fans of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness recently got to double-down on their horror movie love: by watch the movie in the place where it was filmed. Originally the Japanese Union Church in LA, the church that portrayed Saint Godard’s in Prince of Darkness is now the LA Artcore Union Center for the Arts, which recently hosted a screening of the film back on October 28. Here’s to hoping they make it an annual tradition!
10. The Infamous Oakley Court Hotel
Sure, the Dunsmuir House has appeared in a couple of classic horror films—but it’s got nothing on the Oakley Court Hotel in Berkshire, England. This stately abode played the role of the big, dark manor in countless horror flicks including The Reptile, Curse of Frankenstein, Nightmare, Die, Monster, Die!, And Now the Screaming Starts!, and perhaps most famously as the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Photos (in order): Wikimedia Commons; Lenka Reznicek / Flickr; Heather Cowper / Flickr; Sonja Pieper / Flickr; Phil Beard / Flickr; John K / Flickr; Photo via The Myers House; Michael / Flickr; Lisa Williams / Flickr; Google Maps; Skivory / Flickr