With Halloween fast approaching for another year, there’s only one thing that you need to do: draw the curtains and dim the lights as you put on your favourite horror film for another scary screening.
Whether you run and hide behind a cushion or face your fears head on, there’s no denying that horror films offer two hours of pure, unadulterated adrenaline rush. Reaching the ending credits feels like crossing the finishing line of the world’s most punishing race.
If you feel like your scare tolerance is getting higher every time and the same old thrills just aren’t cutting it anymore, there’s a goosebump-inducing solution just waiting for you. Dare to go one step further and throw caution to the wind by paying a visit to the actual settings of your favourite horror films.
Here’s 10 to get your gory journey started.
Horror film sets around the world: dare to visit?
Horror film sets around the world: dare to visit?
1/10 The Shining (1980) – Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
It was a bleak winter weekend in 1974 that Stephen King found himself staying in Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel. Opened in 1907 and catering to the rich and famous, unexplained sightings and peculiar happenings have been reported ever since. Pianos play of their own accord and the sounds of parties can be heard in empty rooms. The hotel inspired the events of King’s cult novel, The Shining and although the hotel didn’t feature in the subsequent film, its ties are undeniable. These days, the film plays on a continuous loop in every room on channel 42 for ever and ever more – it would drive anyone to insanity.
2/10 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – John Marshall High School, California
John Marshall High is anything but just another school filled with gossip and romance. The setting for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), its students are subjected to no escape from their haunting dreams turned real-life murders. If the school looks vaguely familiar already, it’s because it boasts an impressive film career, ranging from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause. If that’s not enough, Leonardo DiCaprio went to school here too. Sounds more like a dream than a nightmare.
3/10 The Exorcist (1973) – Georgetown, Washington DC
Starring the most terrifying of little girls, The Exorcist (1973) is a whirlwind of supernatural beings and shocking gore, based on a true story (that always makes it ten times worse, right?). At the corner of 36th Street NW and M Street NW, you’ll find the setting for one of the film’s most memorably horrifying scenes: the infamous stairway that saw the death of Father Karras. For the scene the stairs were padded with thick rubber, so be sure to stay well away from them in real life – unless you want to find yourself facing a grisly end, that is.
4/10 The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Seneca State Park, Maryland
By day, Seneca is a surprisingly picturesque park, popular with hikers and daytrippers galore. In fact, it’s the kind of place you’d take a picnic and while away a sunny afternoon. Just make sure that you don’t linger there after nightfall, unless you want to be faced with the fabled Blair Witch that is. It’s in this very park that the fate of three film students took a terrifying turn for the unknown in The Blair Witch Project (1999), none of them ever heard from again...
5/10 Dawn of the Dead (1978) – Monroeville Mall, Monroeville, Pennsylvania
The setting for the George A. Romero zombie thriller, the Monroeville Mall has seen more than its fair share of gore. In Dawn of the Dead, a zombie apocalypse has doomed the world, with the mall providing a refuge for the four still-human men and women hiding inside. Since the film, Monroeville Mall has become somewhat of a must-visit pilgrimage for zombie fans the world over, with visitors from all over the globe congregating in its eerie hallways.
6/10 The Haunting (1963) – Ettington Park Hotel, Stratford upon Avon, UK
This eerily grand hotel was used purely for the exterior shots of 1963’s The Haunting, with none of the actors actually stepping inside. But if you ever find yourself staying in this neo Gothic beauty of a building, don’t sleep too soundly by telling yourself that’s it’s all just a film; Ettington Park hotel is claimed to be one of the most haunted in the whole of the UK.
7/10 The Amityville Horror (1979) – 112 Ocean Avenue, Long Island, New York
Based on the chilling events of a true story, you’d need nerves of steel to move into 112 Ocean Avenue. Back in the 1970s, Ronald DeFeo Jr gruesomely murdered six members of his family inside the walls of this Dutch colonial house. When the Lutz family innocently moved in just 13 months later, they began to be terrorised by the sinister beings inside, their experiences turned into the 1979 cult film. The Lutz family only lasted 28 days here but believe it or not, people actually still live in the house today. Rather them than us.
8/10 Psycho (1960) – Bates Motel, Universal Studios, California
If you’re a fan of questionable mother-son relationships with a large helping of murder mystery thrown in, then you’re probably already a huge devotee of Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). A cult classic of horror and suspense, the film still has the undeniable power to shock over fifty years later. Dare to take things one step further with a visit to the very motel where all the action went down, as part of the Universal Studios tour. What could be better than a stay at the Bates’ motel and a look at the creepy house next door? Just remember to stay out of the shower.
9/10 Poltergeist (1982) – 4267 Roxbury Street, Simi Valley, California
The 1982 horror classic, Poltergeist is set in a seemingly innocent Californian suburb. Inside 4267 Roxbury Street, the Freeling family are terrorised and threatened by an otherworldly presence, haunted by a poltergeist intrusion in their home. These days the house is still actually somebody’s home, looking unnervingly like a regular house in every way. Hopefully there isn’t a television set inside.
10/10 The Others (2001) – Palacio de los Hornillos, Cantabria, Spain
As beautiful as it is haunting, the grand Palacio de los Hornillos has plenty of stories to tell. Acting as the damningly isolated home of the Stewart family, it was in these grounds that the twists and turns, trials and tribulations of 2001’s The Others took place, sending Grace Stewart to insanity. With the film containing enough unexplained events and spooky happenings to give anyone goosebumps, this is one house you don’t want to find yourself alone in after dark. Though it's also now used for weddings...
Josie Sampson writes for Expedia.co.ukReuse content