Scary movie origins: Terrifying locations that inspired classic films

Amityville, N.Y.: Exterior of the house (known as the "Amityville Horror") where Ronald DeFeo murdered his family, taken on Nov.14, 1974. (Photo by Stan Wolfson/Newsday RM via Getty Images)
Amityville, N.Y.: Exterior of the house (known as the "Amityville Horror") where Ronald DeFeo murdered his family, taken on Nov.14, 1974. (Photo by Stan Wolfson/Newsday RM via Getty Images) /

Scary movies have been scaring people for a really long time. Some of these movies get their scary ideas from real places that are said to be haunted by ghosts.

These haunted places have creepy stories and strange things happening, making them perfect for making scary movies even scarier. In this article, we’ll explore some of these spooky places that have inspired classic scary movies.

1. The Stanley Hotel – The place that inspired The Shining

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado is a really cool old hotel surrounded by tall mountains. It’s said that the hotel has ghosts living in it.

The famous writer, Stephen King, stayed there once and got some ideas for his scary book, The Shining. In the book and movie, the hotel is haunted by spooky things, like a ghostly piano playing by itself and ghosts showing up in mirrors.

Scary places
ESTES PARK, COLORADO, UNITED STATES – 2016/07/17: The historic Stanley Hotel. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

2. The Amityville Horror House – The real-life scary house

The Amityville Horror is a really scary movie about a family that moves into a haunted house. The movie is based on a true story that happened in a house in Amityville, New York.

A long time ago, someone did a bad thing in that house and after that, people said it was haunted. The spooky things that the family in the movie experiences were inspired by the real scary things that happened in that house.

3. The Bell Witch cave – A haunted cave story

The Bell Witch Cave is a dark and spooky cave in Tennessee. A long time ago, a family living there said they were bothered by a ghost witch.

This scary story inspired the movie An American Haunting. People who visit the cave now say they feel strange and sometimes hear weird noises.

4. The Poveglia island – The scary island

Poveglia Island is a small island in Italy with a really scary history. It was used as a place to keep sick people a long time ago and many of them died there.

Later, it was a place for people who were not well in their minds. Some people say the island is so haunted that it’s the most haunted island in the world. The scary stories from this place influenced the movie Shutter Island.

5. The Eastern State Penitentiary – A prison full of ghosts

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a big, old prison in Philadelphia. Many bad people were kept there in very small rooms, all alone. It’s said that the place is haunted by the ghosts of some of these prisoners.

The prison is now closed, but people who visit say they can hear strange sounds and see shadows moving. The spooky atmosphere of this place was shown in the movie 12 Monkeys and was also explored by the team on the TV show Ghost Hunters.

6. The Salem Witch House – Witches and scary stories

A long, long time ago, there were some very scary stories about witches in Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem Witch House is a house where a judge used to live and it was a place where people accused of being witches were judged.

Even though it’s been a very long time, some people still say they see ghosts of the accused witches. The spooky stories from this house inspired the movies The Crucible and The Lords of Salem.

7. The Aokigahara Forest – The mysterious forest

The Aokigahara Forest in Japan is a very dense and dark forest. Some people go there to end their lives and because of that, some people say the place is haunted. The creepy atmosphere of the forest served as inspiration for the movie The Forest.

8. The Myrtles Plantation – A house with ghosts

The Myrtles Plantation is an old house in Louisiana with a lot of history. Many people say the house is haunted by ghosts from the past.

There are scary stories about the house and some people believe that the ghosts of those who died there still wander around. The spooky legends of this place were used in the movie Winchester.

9. The Catacombs of Paris – The underground maze

Underneath the busy streets of Paris, there are underground tunnels called the Catacombs. These tunnels are filled with the bones of millions of people.

It’s a really creepy place and some people say they feel scared and hear strange things when they go inside. The eerie setting of the Catacombs inspired the movie As Above, So Below.

10. The Winchester Mystery House – A house full of surprises

The Winchester Mystery House is a big, strange house in California. A long time ago, a lady named Sarah Winchester lived there and she kept adding rooms to the house all the time.

Some people say she did that because she believed the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles were after her and she wanted to confuse them. The house is said to have ghosts and it’s a very mysterious place. The stories from this house inspired the movie Winchester.

Beyond the screen

Scary movies can be even scarier when they take inspiration from real haunted places. These spooky locations have creepy stories and unexplained happenings that add an extra layer of terror to the films.

Whether it’s an old haunted hotel, a creepy cave, or a mysterious forest, these places fuel our fascination with the unknown and keep us captivated by the world of horror beyond the screen.

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