Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Location: Kingsland, Texas
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre featured a demented family of cannibals and the disturbingly psycho Leatherface, who was inspired by gruesome murderer Ed Gein. Gein's house of horrors was located in Wisconsin and was burnt down by a fire in 1958 shortly after his arrest. The house used for the film and home of the Sawyer family farmhouse is now called the Grand Central Café. It was moved from La Frontera to Kingsland after being purchased by The Antlers Inn in 1998. It has been home to the Grand Central Café since 2012.
Fun Fact: The farmhouse was built in the early 1900s and was considered very luxurious for its time, with its fish scale roofing and gingerbread trim.
Location: South Pasadena, California
The iconic independent slasher film introduced the world to the unstoppable, mask wearing killer Michael Myers, and in doing so created a mega-popular franchise. The house was built in 1888 and historians consider it to be the city's first duplex. Producers of Halloween found the two-story house abandoned and rundown when they decided to use it for the film. The house was set to be demolished in 1987 in order to make way for a hospital, but it was salvaged and moved to a new location across the street. It now serves as a chiropractic office.
Fun Fact: The iconic Michael Myers mask was created from a Captain Kirk mask, purchased for $1.98 from a costume shop on Hollywood Boulevard.
Location: Simi Valley, California
Poltergeist features a suburban family whose home is terrorized by malevolent ghosts that abduct their daughter. The film's screenplay and story were created by Stephen Spielberg, and he wanted a nice, unassuming cookie-cutter like home to be the center for the paranormal. The Tudor-style suburban home served as the perfect backdrop for the frightening film and still stands today. The original owners sold it in 2009.
Fun Fact: Steven Spielberg spent a great deal of time on the set as a producer, partially due to the fact that his other film was experiencing delays. He was working on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
Location: Toms River, New Jersey
Both famous and infamous, The Amityville Horror has been the subject to much scrutiny but is still considered a classic in the horror genre. The film follows a young couple who purchase a home haunted by supernatural forces. It is based on a book by Jay Anson and details the alleged experiences of the Lutz family. Ronald DeFeo Jr. was a mass murderer convicted of the 1974 killings of his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters, and he was the inspiration for the book and film.
Fun Fact: Public officials refused to allow filming at the real home, so a private residence was used and converted to look like the 112 Ocean Avenue home.
The Shining (1980)
Location: Mount Hood, Oregon
Arguably one of Stephen King's most iconic works, The Shining is based off the novel of the same name and follows writer Jack Torrance and his wife and son as they serve as caretakers for an isolated lodge. The inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel was actually the Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado. King wrote most of the book there and based it off his personal experiences. However, the exterior shots featured not the Stanley Hotel but the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon.
Fun Fact: Management of the Timberline Lodge asked director Stanley Kubrick to change the room from Room 217 to the fictional Room 237, in order to appease concerned guests not wanting to stay in a "haunted" room.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Location: Salem, Massachusetts
Beloved Halloween cult classic Hocus Pocus follows villainous sisters and witches Winnie, Sarah and Mary Sanderson, who are resurrected on Halloween night by a teenage boy. The iconic Salem home is a private residence on Ocean Avenue, and served as the home to Max and Dani. Built in 1870, the owners have kept the distinguishable exterior, including the famous lookout tower and red-trimmed porch.
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Fun Fact: The animatronic cat used as Binx would go on to later be used in Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996).
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Location: Windsor, Berkshire, UK
The glamorous and stunning Victorian Gothic country house served as Dr. Frank-N-Furter's castle, and was shot at Oakley Court. The impressive home was built in 1857 and sits on a sprawling 35 acres of lush land, overlooking the River Thames. Oakley Court currently serves as a hotel and has once housed a lot of English royalty. The British film production company Hammer Films shot five films there, though during the time of filming the country house was not in the best of conditions.
Fun Fact: Barry Bostwick, who portrayed Brad Majors, claimed he was always wet during filming because the castle had a leak. There was one room that cast members called the "warm room" that was full of space heaters, but it caught fire.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Iconic villain of our nightmares Freddy Krueger made his film debut in 1984, where he tormented and killed teenagers in their dreams. The fictional home at 1428 Elm Street featured in the film belonged to final girl Nancy, and served as the site for terror and fear. The actual Los Angeles home looks much like it did during filming, but underwent renovations in 2007 and was sold in 2013 for over $2 million.
Fun Fact: New Line Cinema was on the brink of bankruptcy when the film was released, but was ultimately saved by its success and was later jokingly nicknamed "The House that Freddy Built."
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Location: New York, New York
Widely regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, Rosemary's Baby follows a young, pregnant wife who begins to suspect her elderly Manhattan neighbors are members of a satanic cult and want to groom her for rituals. Known as "The Bramford" in the film, the famous The Dakota in New York was used for exterior shots of Rosemary's apartment. Constructed between 1880 and 1884, the hotel was designated as a city landmark in 1969.
Fun Fact: The Dakota was the host and home of many celebrities, including Lauren Bacall, Rosemary Clooney, Boris Karloff and Judy Garland. John Lennon was tragically shot and killed at the front entrance in 1980.
About The Chainsaw House. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved October 22, 2021 from https://www.kingslandgrandcentral.com/about-the-chainsaw-house
Chelsea Faulkner. (n.d.). Our 13 Favorite Halloween and Horror Movie Houses. HGTV. Retrieved October 22, 2021 from https://www.hgtv.com/design/design-blog/design/our-favorite-horror-and-halloween-movie-houses
The Myers House NC/ Original. (n.d.). Myershousenc. Retrieved October 22, 2021 from https://www.myershousenc.com/original
The Real Buildings Behind Iconic Horror Movies -- That You Can Visit This Halloween Season! (2021, October 22). RentCafe Rental Blog. https://www.rentcafe.com/blog/apartmentliving/lifestyle/the-real-buildings-behind-iconic-horror-movies-that-you-can-visit-this-halloween-season/
© 2021 Rachel M Johnson
Rachel M Johnson (author) on October 22, 2021:
@Liza, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! My favorite is also the Hocus Pocus house but I’m a little bias since it’s my favorite Halloween movie!
Liza from USA on October 22, 2021:
This week I have started watching some of my favorite Halloween movies, which include horror movies such as the original Halloween series. Thanks for sharing these real houses' locations and the fun facts. Oh, my favorite one is in the Hocus Pocus because I love Victorian-style houses.