Our 13 Favorite Halloween and Horror Movie Houses
Step inside if you dare.
As any lover of horror films or Gothic literature knows, a house is more than just a backdrop; it's a living, breathing character. Take a closer look at the homes that played arguably the most important roles in our favorite spooky and not-so-spooky Halloween flicks.
South Pasadena, CA
Michael Myers' simple, two-story house was empty and abandoned when the producers of Halloween found it and decided to use it for the film. Since production wrapped, however, the house has moved across the street and found new life as a chiropractic office.
Built in 1870, Max and Dani's house in Salem is still used as a private residence. Albeit, a private residence that gets a lot of tourist attention. Located on the end of a street with no neighbors on three sides, the home is pretty easy to spot. Plus, the owners have kept the unique exterior, including the iconic lookout tower and red-trimmed porch, intact since filming wrapped in 1993.
Rose Red: Thornewood Castle
The evil, human-eating mansion from Stephen King's thriller was brought to life on the big screen in the form of Tudor Gothic-style Thornewood Castle. Similar to Rose Red, Thornewood was given as a gift from husband to bride. Unlike Rose Red, the story of the real home has a happy ending. Originally built in England at the beginning of the 16th century, the castle was bought by Mr. Chester Thorne for his wife Anna. It was then deconstructed, shipped in pieces by boat around Cape Horn and rebuilt in Lakewood, Washington.
East Corinth, Vermont
Before you get too excited (like I did) and start booking your flight to East Corinth, you should know that the Maitland's quaint, turn-of-the-century home was just a facade built for the film. All interior scenes were shot on set in California. Needless to say, the modern touches the Deetzes added to the home in the movie are pretty cool. I especially love the avant-garde porch and black and white-striped brick skirting.
The Woman in Black: Cotterstock Hall
Cotterstock, Northamptonshire, UK
Director James Watkins said he chose Gothic-style Cotterstock Hall because "it looked like it had eyes." The only drawback? The place was in pristine condition. It took the production team four days to cover the house and grounds in ivy, weeds and moss before it was ready to play the role of the sinister Eel Marsh House.
Rosemary's Baby: The Dakota
New York, NY
Renamed "The Bramford" for the 1968 horror classic Rosemary's Baby, The Dakota on New York's Upper West Side lent its stately exterior as Rosemary and Guy's new apartment in the film. When this exclusive co-op apartment building was finished in 1884, the Upper West Side was sparsely populated, but The Dakota has become known as home to celebrities including John Lennon (shot and killed at the entrance), Leonard Bernstein and Lauren Bacall.
Known as 'The Bramford' in the film, the iconic Dakota on New York's Upper West Side was used for the exterior shots of Guy and Rosemary's new apartment. When it was completed in 1884, the Dakota was one of the only buildings on the block and boasted 65 luxury apartments, with no two alike. Through the years, the building has played host and home to many celebrities including Leonard Bernstein, Lauren Bacall and John Lennon, who was shot and killed at the front entrance.
The House of the Seven Gables: Turner-Ingersoll Mansion
While the Universal Studios set used in the film was torn down in the early 2000's, the real House of the Seven Gables — built in Salem, MA in 1668 — still stands today and is open for tours. Also known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, the Jacobean/post-Medieval structure was the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel and subsequent films of the same name, the most notable being the spooky 1940 Vincent Price thriller.
The home is the one of the oldest surviving wooden houses in North America and is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of a playful young boy and Nathaniel Hawthorne's cousin, Susan Ingersoll.
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets: Alnwick Castle
Look familiar? The grand, 11th-century Alnwick Castle played the role of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter films. Scenes were shot outside and inside the castle, perhaps the most memorable being when Harry and his first year pals receive their first broom flying lesson in the courtyard (pictured below). Visitors to the castle today can take flying lessons in the same courtyard!
Beyond Harry Potter, the castle has gained international fame as one of the only English estates to feature a poison garden — a unique garden where visitors can see and learn about the world's most lethal plants including opium, nightshade and much more.
Learn More: Step Inside the Alnwick Poison Garden
The Shining: Timberline Lodge
Mount Hood, Oregon
The inspiration for Stephen King's fictional Overlook Hotel was the Stanley Hotel in Estes, Co. But the film adaptation of The Shining was shot mostly on a studio set in England, with exterior shots filmed at Timberline Lodge, a government-owned National Historic Landmark in Mount Hood, OR. Fun fact: proprietors at the Timberline asked director Stanley Kubrick to change the number of the sinister room 217 to room 237 (a room number they don't actually have) so guests wouldn't avoid booking the room.
The Amityville Horror
Filming Location: Toms River, NJ
The Amityville Horror
Although 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, N.Y., is the real-life location of the DeFeo family murder in 1974 and the supposed events of the book and movie The Amityville Horror, the movie itself was filmed at this lovely home at 18 Brooks Road in Toms River, N.J. The home was remodeled to feature the "eye" windows famous in the original home, but were removed after filming.
Tony Urban Photography
In 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed his parents and four siblings in their five-bedroom Dutch Colonial house on Long Island. Thirteen months later, the Lutz family bought the three-story waterfront home along with its swimming pool and boathouse for a bargain $80,000. What transpired afterwards became the controversial and often contested subject of a 1977 best-selling book and multiple film adaptations. The first film was shot in 1979 in this Cape Cod-style home in Toms River, NJ, which was temporarily remodeled to include the original home's iconic gambrel roof and chilling 'eye windows.'
As of June 2016, the Amityville, NY Home is for Sale: See the Listing
In case you were wondering, Bill Murray's Hollywood estate in Zombieland isn't his actual house. At the time of filming, it belonged to real estate developer Lee Najjar, ex-boyfriend of Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Kim Zolciak. What's more, the house itself isn't even in California, but in the residential neighborhood of Buckhead in Atlanta, Ga. Nevertheless, the sprawling, multi-million dollar mansion is pretty incredible and boasts some of the most awesome ceilings I've ever seen.
Simi Valley, CA
This cookie-cutter, mock-Tudor-style home was exactly what director Steven Spielberg had in mind when scouting out houses for his creepy paranormal thriller. Who would ever suspect that the Freelings' nice suburban home was harboring an evil secret beneath its foundation? Fun fact: To capture the final scene in which the house gets sucked up into a vortex, set designers built a 4-foot wide mock-up in a California studio, then placed industrial-sized vacuums above the replica with hooks attached to specific points in the house. When the camera started rolling, the special effects team shot at the tiny house with a shot gun while the vacuums seemingly whisked it away into the Netherworld. Watch the scene here.
Rocky Horror Picture Show: Oakley Court
Windsor, Berkshire, UK
An ideal setting for Dr. Frank-N-Furter's devious dealings, this stunning Victorian Gothic country house sits on a sprawling 35 acres overlooking the river Thames. When it isn't being used as a film set, Oakley Court is a hotel and event center that entertains its fair share of English royalty.
Villisca Ax Murder House - Villisca, Iowa
On June 10, 1912, two adults and six children were murdered in their sleep, presumably with an ax. The Villisca Ax Murder House in Iowa now contains wandering spirits, children's crying voices and a door with a mind of its own. The house is open to visitors for daytime tours and overnight stays.
Joshua Ward House - Salem, Massachusetts
Joshua Ward, a wealthy sea captain in the 1780s, built his home where Sheriff George Corwin once held the infamous Salem witch trials. Corwin's body remained buried in the cellar for many years until it was moved to a proper grave, but the house remains haunted by Corwin and two individuals convicted of witchcraft.
Amityville House - Amityville, Long Island, New York
This location became notorious as the site of yet another family mass murder. Inside, the oldest son of the DeFeo family shot and killed his parents and four siblings in 1974. Later inhabitants abandoned the home after reporting eerie apparitions, cold drafts and strange odors.
Winchester Mystery House – San Jose, California
A depressed Sarah Winchester bought and renovated this house in 1884 after losing her daughter and husband to illnesses. In an effort to avoid stalking spirits, she built and rebuilt the house multiple times and slept in a different room every night to confuse them. Hidden passages, maze-like hallways and a séance room all add to the mystery of this eerie house.
Franklin Castle – Cleveland, Ohio
Many mysteries surround the Franklin Castle. Built by Hannes Tiedemann in 1865, multiple deaths in the house raised suspicion. His wife, mother and four children died in the house. Baby skeletons, hidden rooms, a woman in black and strange voices add to the house's ominous lure.
The White House - Washington, D.C.
Yes, even The White House is not immune to ghosts. Visitors, staff and residents claim to have seen ghosts of Abraham Lincoln, Abigail Adams and Andrew Jackson. The Obamas said they heard odd sounds in the hallway during the night and reported feeling strange sensations of someone gnawing at their feet.
Hotel Chelsea - New York, New York
Some locals call it the most haunted place in New York City. With all the celebrity ghosts wandering around, the Hotel Chelsea just might be. Many visitors claim to have seen Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, poet Dylan Thomas and even Mark Twain, Jimi Hendrix and Tennessee Williams.
Charleston, South Carolina
Known for its Southern charm and Spanish moss, Charleston has a lesser-known haunted side. John Wilkes Booth's father haunts the Dock Street Theater, where he once performed; the Unitarian Church Graveyard houses the ghost of Annabel Lee, the subject of Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem of the same name; and the Battery Carriage Inn, where several ghosts give guests "friendly" visits.