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13 Famous Scary Movie Towns Around the World

Lights, camera, screams. Grab your broomsticks and your flashlights—it’s time for a real-life scary movie marathon.

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Hi, I'm Andrea!

Andrea is a California-based writer and editor with a passion for traveling, interior design, and coming-of-age art. She has visited six continents thus far and is looking forward to continuing her worldwide adventures.

This Halloween season, don’t settle for experiencing all the spooky fun from your couch. Leave the popcorn behind and opt for a more memorable holiday exploring one of your favorite spine-tingling big screen sets in real life. Here are 13 towns around the world where some of the most popular scary movies were filmed, from cult classics to recent hits.

1. “Hocus Pocus”

Halloween at a haunted house in Salem, with pumpkins strewn about.
Salem has many historic and haunted locations.Photo Credit: Alena Kuzub / Viator

Salem, Massachusetts

If you grew up watching Disney movies as a kid, then Hocus Pocus probably gave you a good scare. Although it’s not as spooky from an adult’s perspective, this movie is still a Halloween classic. Filmed in Salem, Massachusetts—a town known for the Salem Witch TrialsHocus Pocus taught us that not all witches play nice (and that Sarah Jessica Parker looks stunning in literally any role). The movie now has a sequel, but whether you embrace the new chapter or not, visiting some of the spots where the original movie was filmed will leave you spellbound.

Related: Haunted Salem: A Spooky City Guide to Salem

2. “A Quiet Place”

A family in upstate New York in late winter go for a woodland walk where “A Quiet Place” was filmed.
The forests of upstate New York made it the perfect backdrop for "A Quiet Place."Photo Credit: Jaclyn Vernace / Shutterstock

Dutchess County, New York

A refreshingly new take on post-apocalyptic horror, A Quiet Place is a supernatural thriller that proved John Krasinski could successfully shed his Jim Halpert persona. Dutchess County in upstate New York made the perfect backdrop for this blockbuster due to its thick forests and untouched landscapes. On your way upstate, make some time for a spooky burial ground walking tour or a visit to the New York catacombs.

3. “Scream”

A leafy spring day on a residential day in Wilmington, NC, where scary movie “Scream” was filmed.
Scream was filmed in the unassuming town of Wilmington, NC.Photo Credit: PatGallery / Shutterstock

Wilmington, North Carolina

It’s almost impossible to go trick-or-treating without seeing someone dressed up as the notorious knife-slinging slayer from the movie Scream. The original 1996 blockbuster was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, a port city that has become known as Hollywood East. This charming destination offers a variety of activities for visitors (Scream fans included), such as e-bike tours, sunset sails, and city-wide scavenger hunts.

4. “Insidious”

Downtown LA, where you can enjoy “Insidious” scary movie filming locations.
When in LA, plan a trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Photo Credit: Oscity / Shutterstock

Los Angeles, California

The infamously scary Insidious was made on a shoestring budget but went on to become one of the most profitable films of 2011. Much of the movie takes place inside two houses, both located in Los Angeles, California. Conveniently, LA is also home to Hollywood, the film capital of the world. Film fans planning a visit to Los Angeles won’t want to miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a sightseeing tour of celebrity homes, or a hike to the Hollywood sign.

5. “The Ring”

The Seattle skyline at Golden Hour, which is where scary movie “The Ring” was set.
Seattle served as the ideal setting for "The Ring."Photo Credit: TomKli / Shutterstock

Seattle, Washington

Although VHS tapes may seem like relics in today’s streaming world, this motion picture—featuring a haunted video tape that dooms all who watch it—still entertains modern-day audiences with its jump scares. Though filmed in multiple locations around the US, Washington State’s chilly atmosphere served the movie’s narrative particularly well and major parts of the film were also shot in Seattle, known for its coffee culture and iconic landmarks including the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.

6. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”

A tour guide in a cemetery regales tales, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” scary movie style.
Texas has plenty of spooky activites, including haunted cemetery tours.Photo Credit: Allaboutit / Shutterstock

Bastrop, Texas

The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released in 1974, was filmed in—you guessed it—Texas. Shot with a grainy 16mm camera, and an array of amateur actors pulled from the drama department of the University of Texas, this grotesque movie follows the narrative of a boy and his chainsaw. Filming locations include various places in the Lone Star State, which isn’t short of supernatural activities such as historic ghost tours, haunted bus rides, cemetery strolls, and even haunted pub crawls.

Insider tip: The gas station from the film—Bilbo’s Texas Landmark—has since turned into a restaurant, memorabilia store, and resort called We Slaughter Barbecue in Bastrop.

7. “The Shining”

Friends outside a London pub, linked to Jack the Ripper.
Many places in England (like the pub pictured above) are linked to Jack the Ripper.Photo Credit: Alena Veasey / Shutterstock

Hertfordshire, England

What happens when you combine the genius of Stanley Kubrick, a book by the infamous Stephen King, and the on-screen talent of Jack Nicholson? You get a cinematic masterpiece full of psychological thrills and terrifying suspense. Released in 1980, much of this movie was filmed inside a studio in Hertfordshire, England—a country which is also associated with the Harry Potter franchise; English serial killer, Jack the Ripper; and Sherlock Holmes.

Insider tip: Stephen King actually based his book on paranormal experiences he had while staying at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. So, to get a real feel for the film’s true horror, book a room and pay a visit to the nearby Estes Park.

8. “Orphan”

Friends in yellow ponchos enjoy Niagara Falls after checking out “Orphan” scary movie locations.
Tack on a visit to Niagara Falls after exploring the "Orphan" filming locations.Photo Credit: Nick Starichenko / Shutterstock

Toronto, Canada

If you’re on the lookout for an incredibly effective Halloween costume, call the girl from Orphan since she was able to conceal her identity from her adoptive family for months, after all. Given that the classic now has a prequel, Orphan: First Kill, it’s the perfect time to rewatch the old favorite and visit its most prominent filming location: Toronto, Canada. Once there, head to Niagara Falls, take a local food tour, or keep things eerie by familiarizing yourself with the ghosts of Toronto’s Distillery District.

9. “IT”

A boat takes on placid waters in Ontario, “IT” scary movie style.
Take a scenic boat ride on Lake Ontario.Photo Credit: Brian Lasenby / Shutterstock

Port Hope, Canada

If you’ve seen the movie IT, you’re probably going to avoid red balloons this Halloween. Another classic based on a novel by Stephen King, this film capitalizes on an oh-so-common fear: clowns. Most of the movie was filmed in Port Hope, Canada, located in the southern end of Ontario. While there, avoid provoking any killer clowns but do consider stopping by Lake Ontario, indulging in a full-day wine tour, or taking a haunted jail tour in nearby Ottawa.

10. “The Strangers”

A cemetery in South Carolina can remind one of a scary movie.
South Carolina reportedly has plenty of paranormal spaces.Photo Credit: Sean Moorefield / Shutterstock

Florence County, South Carolina

One of the few scary movies that isn’t based on paranormal happenings, The Strangers takes place inside a secluded vacation home. The exterior of said home (and surrounding homes) were located in Timmonsville, which is roughly 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside the city of Florence, South Carolina. Scary movie fans are in luck, too, since this southern state isn’t short on spooky happenings. Not convinced? Try a haunted horse and carriage ride, a nighttime tour inside a church graveyard, or a walk through a dark dungeon and then get back to us.

11. “Hereditary”

A woman takes photos among the red rocks of Utah's national parks, “Hereditary” scary movie style.
Marvel at the red rock formations in Utah.Photo Credit: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator

Salt Lake City, Utah

With a mix of satanic worship, decapitation, and self-immolation, Hereditary is near-unforgettable. Described by director Ari Aster as “a family tragedy that curdles into a nightmare,” the movie was filmed in multiple locations in Utah including Park City and Salt Lake City, the ideal spots for scary movie lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. If you’re considering Utah for your next trip, roam the sandstone domes of Hell’s Revenge with a 4WD; take a backcountry jeep tour; or try your hand at a canyoneering experience.

12. “Paranormal Activity”

San Diego surfers enjoy sunset, “Paranormal Activity” scary movie style.
Spend a full day doing ocean activities on the beaches of San Diego.Photo Credit: Sebastien Burel / Shutterstock

San Diego, California

The house showcased in this flick belonged to the director himself—who was inspired to create the film after hearing strange noises inside his own home—and it’s located on Bavarian Drive in San Diego, California. While he didn’t have prior moviemaking experience, the home video camera used for filming added a nice grainy touch to the final product. If you find yourself in town, and you’re looking to go beyond the paranormal, try your hand at sunset sailing, whale watching, speed boating, or cave snorkeling.

13. “Friday the 13th”

Friends in New Jersey camp, “Friday the 13th” scary movie style.
Consider a campsite in New Jersey (one that's Jason Voorhees free).Photo Credit: Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Hardwick, New Jersey

Appropriately coming in at number 13 is none other than Friday the 13th. The success of this 1980 motion picture prompted one of the most iconic scary movie franchises of all time. While the movie’s setting, Camp Crystal Lake, may be a fictional spot in the middle of the woods, it was filmed at a real camp—Camp NoBeBoSco, a Boy Scouts retreat in Hardwick, New Jersey. While you’re in the area, consider heading to a poltergeist-themed escape room or taking a haunted ghost tour to keep things interesting.

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