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As the earth makes a full rotation around the sun on October 31, we remember that it's once again the best holiday. The moon glows high in the sky while children don their California-inspired Halloween costumes and feast on copious amounts of candy. Leading up to Halloween evening, 'tis the season for spooky California-made TV shows on Netflix, thrilling reads, eerie ghost towns, and creepy movies. So, celebrate Halloween by visiting the state's horror film locations.
While a few movies are shot on sets, many films have been shot in real places—just begging for the brave to visit them. Historic homes, haunted hotels, and quaint diners are just a few of the locations where timeless thrillers were filmed. Put on your fearless mask, and walk with us through the horror movie film locations in California.
It's no secret that Southern California is home to many film locations. One of the best horror movie film locations is found in L.A.'s iconic Griffith Park: Bronson Canyon's caves have been used in many a movie. Made famous by the 1960s TV series Batman, the Bronson Caves was also used in the sci-fi horror movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956 and, most recently, in the zombie comedy horror film Cabin Fever.
With a title like that, you can expect many horror fanatics to flock over to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House, where this 1999 supernatural horror movie was filmed. House on Haunted Hill's plot follows a sadistic millionaire who offers a group of strangers $1 million each if they can survive staying in the creepy home (a former insane asylum) until dawn.
The Ennis House’s fame didn't end here; it was also featured in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the movie Blade Runner in 1982. The Los Angeles house can also be seen via tours through the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Based on the "King of Horror" Stephen King's novel The Body, the film Stand By Me follows a group of guys searching for the body of a missing boy in the woods. One of the most well-known scenes takes place on Lake Britton Bridge in Burney—a famous Northern California film location. As the boys are crossing the bridge's railway, a train barrels its way across the tracks, throwing the kids into a frenzy.
Director Wes Craven introduced the world to the popular film series, A Nightmare on Elm Street, which had a huge impact on the film industry. The 1984 horror flick was set in the town of Springwood, Ohio; but, similar to many Hollywood-produced horrors, it was filmed right in town. The homes of Nancy Thompson and her boyfriend, Glen, were located just a few minutes away from the set. Head to 1428 North Genesee Avenue, found between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, to really fear the terror that occurred in the film.
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A 1980s classic, Maniac follows serial killer Frank Zito, who attacks and scalps young women. The movie is filmed from Zito’s perspective, so viewers never quite know what he actually looks like. But you can visit the site of one of the creepiest scenes: In the film, the killer follows a dancer through an empty train station before doing the dirty deed at Pershing Square, which is a stop along L.A. Metro's Red Line.
Nothing says spooky like a big ol’ mansion from a movie titled Drag Me To Hell. This film follows parents that rush their sick son to a beautiful mansion looking for help, only to find out that their beloved offspring is cursed. The Doheny Mansion, built in 1899 and known as the Greystone Mansion, is a popular filming site located in Trousdale Estates of Beverly Hills. Horror fans can tour the Tudor Revival mansion to take in the sights where goriness once prevailed.
Although Ghostbusters takes place in New York City, the film was actually shot in Los Angeles. In this beloved movie, ghosts need to be expelled from the Sedgewick Hotel; in reality, the Sedgewick Hotel is none other than the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles in downtown. There's no need to book a tour to see this famous movie set, which has been used to film Splash, Beverly Hills Cop, Blow, Daredevil, and more. Book a room at the hotel and spend a night in the luxurious locale.
An Alfred Hitchcock classic and a movie that set the tone for horror films to come, Psycho is as old-school gory as they come. At Universal Studios Hollywood, visitors can take a tour of the house where infamous serial killer Norman Bates and his mother (or so we thought) resided. The motel is also currently a part of the theme park tour, making the twisted combo one of the top horror movie locations.
A black comedy horror film released in 2005, The Devil's Rejects is based on a family of sadistic serial killers named The Firefly Family. Even though the town’s sheriff and his men successfully attack and capture one of the Firefly members, the rest of the family continued kidnapping civilians, holding them hostage in a motel: The Kahiki Palms Motel is found in Lancaster and is open to the public.
Hitchcock strikes again with the 1963 release of the iconic film The Birds. This acclaimed movie follows wealthy socialite Melanie, who pursues a lawyer to the small town of Bodega Bay. Things take a sour turn when birds begin attacking Melanie and other local residents. Take in the famed film scenes by heading to Bodega Bay in Northern California town; you can stroll the streets and walk past the restaurants and schoolhouses featured in the film.
With an expressionless white mask and a big knife on Halloween night, Michael Myers was the ultimate terror in Haddonfield, Illinois. But Myers’ childhood home—a place where evil was lurking in the film Halloween—and teenager Laurie’s home are both actually located in South Pasadena. Walk Laurie’s route home from school or creep behind the hedges where Laurie first laid eyes upon Myers. The house is Halloween-themed and adorned with pumpkins year-round. It's the perfect spot for lovers of all things spooky to take photos.
While driving to these noteworthy California horror film locations, make the best use of your time and listen to one of these binge-worthy podcasts.
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