As I sat in Cape Ann, MA amid my travels along the northern east coast I have had time to reflect upon why I love this area so much. Besides the fact that I love the idea that I can blend in naturally with the sarcastic, smart, dark clothes wearing, coffee mainlining women of the north east; I especially love the fact that this area is a combination of majestic nature, bustling cities, and most importantly home of the greatest horror film locations. There is no ranking system here as it is all very subjective. So in the interest of my own compulsive need for order, I will list them from the northern most point downward. A note of consideration if you go to these sites, remember some are private property and if you feel compelled to visit, please respect their homes and lives.
10. The whole Midcoast of Maine serves as the inspiration of countless Stephen King’s horror novels and films. Pet Semetary (1989) is among those filmed on location. Should you travel to Bangor, you should certainly partake in SK Tours to take you around to “locales made famous by Stephen King”.
9. Martha’s Vineyard gave us the fictional town of Amity from Jaws (1975) Martha’s Vineyard tours and Edgartown Tour Company offer Jaws tours!
8. Harrisville, RI is the site of the Perron family farm house which served as the foundation for The Conjuring (2013).
7. Southington, CT is the location of the Snedecker household featured in The Haunting in Connecticut (2009).
6. Monroe, CT is the location of the Warren Occult Museum and home to the real Annabelle doll. Tours and special events are held on occasion.
5. In the Upper West Side of NYC sits The Dakota where Rosemary’s Baby (1968) was filmed.
4. The south shore of Long Island is home to the Amityville house.
3. Camp No Be Bo Sco in North Jersey served as the setting of the Friday the 13th series Camp Crystal Lake and home of the original female slasher, Pamela Vorhees.
2. The greater Pittsburgh, PA is a general horror Mecca. The area includes the Evans City cemetery whose film credits include NOTLD (1968) and The Crazies (1973). Only 45 minutes away from the Monroeville mall used in Dawn of the Dead (1978). Also nearby areas offered setting for Day of the Dead (1985), Creepshow (1982), and Silence of the Lambs (1991). Also noteworthy is The Living Dead Museum of Evans City will be hosting the first ever Living Dead Weekend this year beginning October 9, 2015 with FREE admission.
1. Downingtown and Phoenixville, PA home of The Blob (1958) and more recently every July since 2000 there is a three day Blobfest for classic horror fans complete with re-enactments of the Colonial Theater scene.
Simply because of a technicality I left these few places out of the list. While I certainly embrace them all with the love of a Yankee, they do fall below the Mason Dixon Line and I didn’t feel right adding them to my tour of the North East: Seneca State Park and Burkittsville, MD both provided the unique surroundings for The Blair Witch Project (1999) Washington D.C. gives us the house at Prospect St and those tall looming stairs used in The Exorcist (1973).
I wanted dearly to include the following places, but I had to make the cut somewhere. If you get the time to visit any of them, I highly recommend it. Granted most of these are not scenes of actual horror films, they provided the meat for so much horror literature and film.
5. Salem, MA. Several innocents were murdered after the accusations deeming them witches. This sight solidified for me that children are creepy and certainly worthy of my apprehension. In the words of the innocent Martha Corey, “we must not believe all that these distracted children say” for they certainly wreaked havoc. Nonetheless, Salem gives setting and situation for so many great stories, including my dirty little secret love of Hocus Pocus (1993).
4. Fall River, MA. Home of Lizzie Borden, which is also most recently the topic of Lifetime’s Lizzie Borden Chronicles and Lizzie Borden Had an Ax. Tourists are able to visit the scene of the crime just for the museum or to stay overnight in the B&B.
3. Sleepy Hollow (aka Tarry Town, NY). The scene of one of my favorite horror stories and one of the O.G.’s of horror…the headless horseman! Has anyone named their son Ichabod since!?
2. The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. For fans of AHS Freakshow, it is thought to be the basis of the Museum of Morbid Curiosities. For fans of somewhat macabre yet amazingly interesting history of bodies and medicine, it is worth the visit. And if you go here, it’s worth walking the extra mile to go to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch or ice cream.
1. Slaughter Beach, DE…for no other reason than the name. It’s worth a stop on RT 1 for a photo with the sign! Perhaps the name keeps the town census around the 215 person mark!