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20 Real-Life Spooky Locations That Inspired Iconic Halloween Films

The world is filled with unusual, dark, and sometimes just downright spooky places, and some of the most profitable and scary movies have actually been inspired by real stories and events. The good news for horror fans is that many of these places still exist today; From Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, a place where many lost souls venture into and seldom return, and the Paris Catacombs, which house the remains of more than 6 million individuals, to the strange sightings that reportedly took place in Point Pleasant and inspired a horror film, and creeped out the nation.

And then there are other locations that were simply the perfect spot to film some of the most critically acclaimed horrors, places where fans can visit to enjoy a tour, or sometimes even rent out, like the farmhouse from The Ring.

Film fans enjoy finding these locations -- and sometimes leaving their mark by vandalizing the town or stealing its signs -- because there are times when binge-watching horror films are just not creepy enough. And so, the next time a film fan finds themselves in these locations, or if they plan to make a pilgrimage somewhere spooky ahead of Halloween, these 20 places could be worth looking into.

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20 Japan's Aokigahara Forest Has Served As The Inspiration For Multiple Films

Via Mind Amuse

The Aokigahara Forest, located at the foot of Mount Fuji, is Japan’s most notorious forest because it’s a destination where lost souls often make their last journey. According to Atlas Obscura, since the 1950s, more than 500 people have wandered into this forest, many of whom have never been seen again, and sadly, this number seems to be on the rise.

This forests creepy and sad history has inspired the 2016 film, The Forest, starring Natalie Dormer. As well as the 2015 film, The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey.

19 'As Above/So Below' Actually Filmed In An Off-Limit Section Of The Paris Catacombs

Via ListVerse

If you watched As Above/So Below, then you would have seen the Paris Catacombs, which inspired the horror film. The location is one that is interesting and chilling, and according to Listverse, the spot houses the remains of more than six million humans. The catacombs first started housing remains in the 18th century when the cemeteries of Paris were running out of space and served as an effort to stop the spread of diseases.

According to The Things, the film was actually filmed in an “off limits” location of the real Catacombs.

18 Those Interesting In The Mothman Should Head To Point Pleasant

Via RoadTrippers

The Mothman Prophecies is a supernatural horror-mystery film involving a number of supernatural sightings. But the inspiration from this story comes from a city in West Virginia known as Point Pleasant, and the sightings that happened here during the 1960s are believed to be real.

According to All That’s Interesting, the first sighting of the large, flying creature, that would become known as The Mothman, was reported on Nov. 12, 1966, by five gravediggers working in a cemetery. Several sightings would follow causing fear among people in the community and becoming a national sensation.

17 'The Shining' Came About After Stephen King's Stay At The Stanley Hotel

Via The Stanley Hotel

The Shining, based on the Stephen King's best-selling novel, is based on a one-night trip King and his wife Tabitha took to The Stanley Hotel in Boulder, Colorado, in 1974.

The author revealed on his website, “We were the only guests as it turned out; the following day they were going to close the place down for the winter. Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect — maybe the archetypical — setting for a ghost story.” What followed was a dream that would create “the bones of the book” in King’s mind.

Despite nothing actually happening at this location, the hotel was eerie enough for King to be inspired.

16 The Near Ghost-Town Of Centralia, Pennsylvania, Inspired 'Silent Hill'

Via Cracked

The 2006 film Silent Hill is quite scary, and the story was inspired by the real-life town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, The 13th Floor reports. The publication notes that this now near-ghost town was once a mining town, and in the 1950’s almost 2000 people had made Centralia their home. However, that all changed when the mine beneath the town caught fire in 1962, and for 16 years, the people of the town tried to extinguish the flames, with little success.

The fire still burns today, and according to Cracked, Centralia is filled with sinkholes and gases that affect the last remaining inhabitants' health, but despite all of the problems, this place has become a Halloween vacation spot.

15 The Ennis House's Unusual Architecture Was Filmed For 'House on Haunted Hill'

Via LA Weekly

The Ennis House can be found in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, it also serves as the filming location of the 1959 horror, House on Haunted Hill.

The mansion was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and is often celebrated for its unique architecture, which according to Architect Magazine, is “one of the best examples of Mayan revival architecture.” In 2018, the home went on sale for $23 million, but for fans of horror films, this house is fascinating because the exteriors were filmed for House on Haunted Hill, Pale of Future reports.

14 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' Was Created By A Visit To A Sleepy Town

Via Getaway Mavens

The 1999 film, Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci was based on the book by Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. But the interesting thing about both of these works is that there's actually a village called Sleepy Hollow in New York’s Hudson Valley -- although that was not it’s original name, and according to Mental Floss, the town voted to change its name in 1997.

The original town was called North Tarrytown, and it served as Irving’s inspiration. In fact, the cemetery known as the Old Dutch Burying Grounds was where he found inspiration for the people he used in his book.

13 'Wonderland' Was Inspired By The Awful Events That Happened In A Los Angeles Home

Via All That's Interesting

The 2003 film, Wonderland, which focuses on a man involved in the criminal underworld, was inspired by a horrific real-life event. According to People, the events involved the passing on of four people, a crime that was thought to be retaliation by gangster Eddie Nash against the Wonderland Gang, who are believed to have robbed his home. That said, Nash has never been convicted for the events.

The real house is located on Wonderland Avenue in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles, All That’s Interesting reports.

12 The Dakota Building Was The Set Of A Film, But It Also Has A Sad History

Via Thought Co.

The Dakota building in New York City is iconic for many reasons; it has been the home to the rich and famous, it was the setting for Roman Polanski's Rosemary’s Baby in 1968, and years later, the home of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, and the last place Lennon was seen alive in 1980.

According to On Location Tours, the outside of the building was filmed to represent the home of the characters, and in the film, the building was referred to as The Bramford.

11 'The Ring' Farmhouse Can Be Found (And Rented) On Woods Creek Road

Via Spark Public

If you were a teenager in 2004, you probably screamed when you saw The Ring. It is a horror film that can give you sleepless nights, and the farmhouse where it was filmed is an iconic building which can still be visited today. According to Screen Rant, the property is located on the Woods Creek Road.

There is so much fascination surrounding the farmhouse, that when it came up for rent in 2016, three fans decided to move in. Luckily for them, there is no real person named Samara who lived here, but the film was based on a “true” story in Japan, The Sun reports.

10 The Real Events That Inspired 'The Conjuring' Took Place In A Rhode Island Farmhouse

Via The Blaze

The 2013 horror film, The Conjuring, is based on a story from Ed and Lorraine Warren’s accounts, and according to All That’s Interesting, it involves the Perron family and their haunting.

In January of 1971, the family of seven are believed to have moved into a farmhouse in a country town of Harrisville, Rhode Island. The house is believed to have an awful and dark history, and after the family moved in, they began to notice strange events. The real home is located in Harrisville, although the filming was done in California.

9  The Small Town Of Sierra Madre Has Been The Location Of Multiple Film Sets

Via Only In Your State

The film Invasion of the Body Snatchers was creepy at the time, and this film, which is set in the town of Santa Mira, was based on the Californian city of Sierra Madre, Screen Rant reports. The city was founded in 1881 and lies in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains, but the most spectacular thing about it, at least for movie buffs, is that it has been the location of many film sets since 1910.

According to the City of Sierra Madre, these films include Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but also The Great Man's Lady, Kicking & Screaming, and The Princess Diaries.

8 In Amityville On Long Island, You Will Find A Real Home With A Creepy History

Via Pix11

Like all truly creepy horror films, the Andrew Douglas-directed film, The Amityville Horror was based on a real story. The crimes committed by the eldest son, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr. against his family took place in a 5-bedroom house located on Long Island at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York, History Vs Hollywood reports. This is a different home to the one that is featured in the movies.

Later, the Lutz family moved into the home, after purchasing it at a low cost. But according to Biography, the family stayed just 28 days because of their claims of paranormal activity.

7 Evans Park Cemetery Is Where The Opening Scene Of A 1968 Horror Film Was Created

Via Romes Monuments

If you’re a fan of the 1968 horror film, Night of the Living Dead, then ahead of Halloween you may want to take a trip to the Evans Park Cemetery, which was used in the opening scene. The cemetery is located on Franklin Road in the small city outside of Evans City, Pennsylvania, Movie Locations reports.

According to RoadTrippers, Karl Hardman said this of their location choice: "We knew that we could not raise enough money to shoot a film on a par with the classic horror films with which we had all grown up. The best that we could do was to place our cast in a remote spot and then bring the horror to be visited on them in that spot.”

6 'Wolf Creek's Real Story Actually Happened 2,000 km from Wolf Creek National Park

Via The Conversation

Wolf Creek is loosely based on the true events, and the movie plot focuses on the Wolf Creek National Park in the Australian outback. But according to Outback Australia Travel Secrets, the incident actually happened 2,000 km from this destination, just outside Barrow Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The events involved British tourists Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees, who had been driving when their car broke down in the night. They were approached by a drifter, who initially pretended he was helping them, and only Joanne was able to escape.

5 'The Blair Witch Project's' Success Has Annoyed Residents Of Burkittsville

Via Thrillist

The Blair Witch Project’s found-footage style made it even scarier, and it’s become one of the most well-known independent films, despite the tiny budget. The opening scenes were filmed in Burkittsville in Maryland, and since the popularity of the film, the Burkittsville natives have had to deal with vandalism, and Mental Floss reports their signs have been stolen.

The forest in the movie is Seneca Creek State Park, about 25 miles west of Burkittsville, Movie Locations reports. And as for that farmhouse? According to the publication, it is the Griggs House in Patapsco Valley State Park.

4 The Camp From 'Friday the 13th' Is Off Limits, Except To A Lucky Few

Via Pinterest

Of all the horror film locations on this list, it is Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco (or Camp Crystal Lake as it’s referred to in Friday the 13th) that is one of the hardest to access because it is the property of the Boy Scouts of America.

Camp Crystal Lake is at the center of the film, and the real-life location is in New Jersey, but because it belongs to the Boy Scouts, access has been restricted, except for a rare tour. The decision to open it to the public was taken after “countless requests,” and a limited amount of tickets are offered every two years -- although there are no new tour dates at this time.

3 'Jaws' Made Swimmers Avoid The Beachers, But You Can Visit The Location In Martha’s Vineyard

Via The Studio Tour

Jaws were first believed to be inspired by a rogue shark who claimed several lives in 1916, Smithsonian Mag reports. However, Peter Benchley, the author of the novel that inspired Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film, denied this in an interview with the New York Times.

Although Amity Island does not exist in real life, many scenes from Jaws were filmed in the town of Edgartown on the island of Martha's Vineyard. There is even a walking tour provided by Edgartown Tour Company which allows fans to see where some of their favorite scenes were filmed and learn about the production.

2 The Entity House May Look Cheerful -- It's Anything But

Via Road Trippers

This strangely bright house has been the site of paranormal activities, or so claimed it’s former owner, Doris Bither, RoadTrippers reports.

Bither and her children lived in the house in Culver City in California, and she recruited paranormal researchers Kerry Gaynor and Barry Taff to try and help solved what plagued her. It is her story that inspired the 1982 horror film, The Entity. Although, according to IMDB, it seems the original house was not featured in the movie, and the house in the movie was instead filmed in El Segundo, California.

1 The Real 'The Exorcist' Home Lies In St. Louis, Missouri

Via RentPost

The Exorcist is a blockbuster, but it was also based on a true story. According to The Mirror, the real version involved a 13-year-old Maryland boy, who was named Roland Doe in the press to keep his identity secret. Doe claimed he was being affected by paranormal activity in his home.

It was this story, published in the Washington Post, that inspired William Peter Blatty’s novel, and the many exorcist films that have followed. But the real house is different from the one featured in the 1973 film, and according to RoadTrippers, it’s a private residence located in St. Louis, Missouri.

References: Atlas Obscura, IMDB, ListVerse, The Things, All That's InterestingMental Floss

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