Happy Friday the 13th! Bored with the usual slasher movie marathon routine? Experience the terror first-hand by visiting a real-life horror movie location. Just make sure to bring along a friend who’s a slower runner than you.
Friday the 13th
Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, Blairstown, New Jersey: Every summer, parents ship their kids off to Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason’s shadow (and machete) lurks around every corner. It builds character! The horror movie was filmed on the real-life location of Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, and we hope that the kids going there haven’t seen the film. Last year, in honor of the spooky date, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco even hosted a tour for some lucky fans. No word yet on whether they all survived.
Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts: Do you still hear the theme music to Jaws every time you dip a toe in the open water? You may want to avoid Martha’s Vineyard then, as it’s the real-life shooting location of the movie’s Amity Island. The sharks don’t just dine on blue blood, either—no one is safe from the beast in this horror film! Martha’s Vineyard was reportedly chosen for its sandy ocean bottom, and shallow water level, which the mechanical shark needed to function. Added bonus: Real-life great white sharks occasionally visit, too!
36th St NW and M St NW, Washington, D.C.: Feel free to reenact the famous death scene on these steep stairs, but be aware that Georgetown runners are likely to trample you. They use them as their own personal Stair-Master.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado: You’d think a hotel that was the inspiration for such a terrifying horror movie would try and distance itself from the association, but the Stanley Hotel embraces it. The Shining plays on a continuous loop in their guest rooms, the hotel offers a “night tour package,” and a K2-EMF ghost detector is even included with certain packages. For extra fun, book a room here and freak out your bed-mate by writing REDRUM on your room door while they’re sleeping.
The Dakota, New York City: Hopefully the rich and famous who inhabit this apartment building are less crazy than those who resided in the spooky Bramford in Rosemary’s Baby. The Dakota was used as a stand-in for all the location’s exterior shots, but nowadays it’s more famous for being the spot of John Lennon’s murder.
The Amityville Horror
112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York: Although this allegedly cursed house sold in 1974 for just $55,000, even the ghost stories can’t compete with the real estate market. It went on sale in 2011 for $1.35 million. The house was the real-life setting of a tragic murder in the 1970s, in which a man murdered six of his family members. Thirteen months later, a new family moved in and claimed the house was haunted. Thus a movie franchise was born!
The Blair Witch Project
Seneca Creek State Park, Maryland: Blair Witch was set in the real town of Burkittsville, most of the actual filming took place 25 miles away in Seneca Creek State Park. If you plan on wandering around the woods in search of the witch, at least wear something bright, as much of this park is used for hunting.
Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater, Australia: This beautiful crater is worth a trip, but may we suggest you avoid hitchhiking or stopping for anyone on your way to visit? The movie Wolf Creek is loosely based on true events. The film took gruesome inspiration from Ivan Milat, who was convicted of murdering several backpackers; and from Bradley John Murdoch, convicted of murdering Peter Falconio. It should be noted that although the movie was filmed at the crater, the real-life crimes didn’t actually take place there. So we’re sure you’ll be fine if you go … alone … in the dark …
Danvers State Hospital, Massachusetts: As if an abandoned mental hospital where shock therapy and lobotomies were apparently performed wasn’t creepy enough, watch the movie Session 9 to thoroughly creep yourself out. The original buildings have been demolished, but you can still visit the property’s graveyard. Fun!
Pier Avenue Junior High School, California: Bates High lives on! Visit the real-life high school where the exterior shots of Carrie were filmed. We imagine security there is pretty tight on prom night, so don’t show up with a bucket of blood.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: There are plenty of hostels in Cesky Krumlov, but choose wisely lest you end up in the deadly one from the movie. Although Hostel is set in Slovakia, is was mainly filmed in the Czech Republic, as you can see by this Flickr user’s photo, where he stages a shot from the film and compares it to the actual location. After the movie premiered, Solvakia’s tourism board extended an invitation to Eli Roth, the movie’s director, to visit the country and see how unfairly it was portrayed. Although, it could have been just a trap, to get a new victim to the hostel…
28 Days Later
London, England: The one perk of a zombie-like virus infection that leaves you as one of the few survivors: You get to experience London’s beauty without the crowds. Too bad you’ll be too busy fighting for your life to take any photos (and besides, no one will be around to “like” them on Facebook). Check out London’s South Bank for some of the iconic city views from the movie. Also, run for your life.
Forks, Washington: OK, so even with all the vampires, Twilight might not technically be a horror movie. We think this franchise is so bad it’s scary, though, so Edward and Bella and their creepy vampire baby get to be unlucky number 13 on our list. Perhaps even more horrifying is the fact that the official Forks, Washington, Chamber of Commerce website has an entire page—with sparkles!—dedicated to the series. Be sure to time your visit for Stephenie Meyer Day, which features events like Bella’s bridal shower, a look-a-like contest, and a Twi-fashion exhibit. Although you can tour the locations that the book and film were based on in Forks, you’ll have to travel to other parts of the state and to Oregon to see where the movie was actually filmed.