If you worship at the temple of horror movies and prefer a fright to a romantic Valentine's weekend, here's where you can find some of our favorite haunting destinations.
1. The Exorcist
This 1973 horror classic was set in Washington, D.C. and many an avid fan has been seen stalking the house at 3600 Prospect Avenue at 36th Street NW in Georgetown. The house looks a little different than it did in the film, but there's no way to miss the infamous steep steps alongside the house leading down from Prospect Avenue to M Street, where Jason Miller's character Father Karras plunges to his cinematic death.
2. The Blob
Sure, this 1958 schlock horror seems cheesy now, but back then, it made audiences squirm. One of the most defining scenes was set at the Colonial Theatre, where the blob eats the film projectionist and then attacks the movie goers sending them scrambling. The Colonial Theatre still exists and is located at 227 Bridge St, Phoenixville, about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Proud of its Blob immortality, the theatre actually holds a Blobfest event each July (this year from July 10 to 12; www.thecolonialtheatre.com/blobfest), hosting screenings of The Blob and other sci-fi/horror classics, an amateur film competition, panel discussions with the cast and crew from The Blob and the actual Blob prop on display. The re-enactment of the famous crowd fleeing scene is an event highlight.
3. Amityville Horror
his 1979 film stars a Dutch Colonial home as its main character and although you may be tempted to look for 112 Ocean Avenue in the Long Island, NY town of Amityville, the exterior scenes of the movie were actually filmed at 18 Dock St, Toms River, NJ after the Amityville local council refused permission to film there. Although the Tom's River home still stands the home's exterior has changed significantly from the way appeared in the movie, mainly because the owners got fed up with people stopping out front to take photographs. The real 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville also exists but likewise is unrecognizable. People are particularly drawn to the Long Island home as they insist the film really is haunted following the real life murder of six people there in the early 1970s.
With a cult following and some nine films already in its stable, the Halloween series is about to release its tenth film, H2 by the appropriately named Rob Zombie (his real name is Rob Cummings). But the 1976 original is still considered the best in this slasher series and most devotees are particularly attracted to the house of Jamie Lee Curtis' character, Laurie Strode. The home is located in a quiet leafy area at 1115 Oxley Street, South Pasadena and the home where all the action started while she was baby-sitting at 1530 Orange Grove Avenue, Hollywood.
5. Texas Chain Saw Massacre
This grisly 1974 movie is loosely based on the life and unspeakable activities of Ed Gein, who murdered several people in rural Wisconsin (not Texas). The movie was filmed in and around the town of Kingsland, Texas, northwest of Austin. The house at the center of the plot is now the Junction House Restaurant and Lounge (www.junction-house.com), located at 1010 King Street, Kingsland. About 25 miles further northwest of Kingsland, you'll find the Bagdad Cemetery which was also featured in the film, located on Bagdad Road, Leander, off Route 183.
6. The Shining
This 1980 masterpiece directed by Stanley Kubrick was based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The Overlook Hotel featured in the movie is actually the historic 1930's Timberline Lodge (www.timberlinelodge.com), now a National Historic Landmark, located in Mount Hood Oregon. Devotees of the book know that the scariest room was #217, but in the film it becomes #237. The hotel does have a real room 217, but not 237. The movie interiors were actually shot on a set, so don't go looking inside the Timberline for flashbacks.
7. Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven's 1984 slasher extravaganza was set on a fictitious Elm Street but the real houses (both of the main character Nancy Thompson and her boyfriend Glen) are located on Genessee Avenue in West Hollywood. Freddie Krueger came a-calling first at number 1428 Genessee Avenue (between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard) and then he popped over the road to 1419 North Genessee Avenue, to take care of Glen (played by a very young Johnny Depp) in the great scene where he gets sucked into his bed.
8. Night of the Living Dead
This 1968 zombie original was remade in 1990 but the '60s version was filmed near Evans City, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. The opening scene was shot at the Evans City Cemetery on Franklin Road in the city's south side, and several other pivotal scenes were filmed in the downtown area at a home on South Washington Street (also known as Mars-Evans City Road), between South Jackson and Van Buren Streets.
9. Rosemary's Baby
Roman Polanski's seminal film about devil worshippers is set in a fictitious apartment block in New York City -- The Bramford. The 1884 Gothic building is in real life the Dakota Apartments at 1 West 72nd Street at Central Park West. A National Historic Landmark, the building also gained notoriety as the place where John Lennon was shot is 1980. In another horror twist, Boris Karloff, who played Frankenstein in three 1930s films, also once lived here.
10. Friday the 13th
Although the main goriness of the 1980 original (the first of eight Jason movies) takes place at a camp named Crystal Lake (in real life a boy scouts' camp named Camp NoBeBoSco), there are several other film location sites that can be visited. In fact there is an entire website devoted to tracking down Friday the 13th places at www.fridaythe13thfilms.com/bts/locations/part1.html. Many scenes were shot in Blairstown, NJ a small town in the northwestern corner of the state, close to the Pennsylvania border. Fans of the film who visit Blairstown will recognize the bridge, the arches, the downtown area, and the Blairstown Diner. Other scenes were shot is Hope, NJ and around Hardwick Township, NJ, the site of Camp NoBeBoSco.