16 real-life houses made famous by horror movies |
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16 real-life houses made famous by horror movies

by Jillian CariolaPublished: October 23, 2015Updated: October 6, 2017

Gearing up for a movie marathon this Halloween? Check out the history behind the properties made famous by some of the scariest films of all time.

All Hallow’s Eve is just around the corner, which most likely means watching horror movies is on your to-do list to get you in the mood. If you’re the kind of person who sees the location of freaky films as just as much a character in the movie as the people themselves, you’d probably want to know more about them. To satisfy your curiosity, we’re bringing you a rundown of 10 real-life homes and buildings used in horror movies. Bonus: some of the properties are actually allegedly haunted.


The Lutz home, The Amityville Horror (1979)

Allegedly based on a true story, a couple and their children move into a home with a questionable past, and begin to experience supernatural disturbances that eventually drive them out.

Famous houses from horror movies The Amityville Horror
Photo from Doug Kerr/Flickr Creative Commons

Popularized in 1974 when Ronald DeFeo shot and killed his entire family that led to its supposed haunting, the original Lutz home located along Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, is a Dutch colonial structure built in the 1920s. With a floor area of 3,370 square feet, it has 10 rooms and a boat house at the back. Although the actual home wasn’t used in the film, the production team visited it as part of the publicity junket. Because it was hard to keep horror film addicts away from the site and causing disturbances in nearby homes, it has since been renovated (for one, the sinister-looking quarter-circle “eyes” at the attic have been changed to square-shaped windows) and the house number changed to protect its current owners. The property in which the movie was in fact shot – a four-bedroom home in Toms River, New Jersey that was renovated to replicate the Amityville home – was sold in 2013 for $350,000.


The Overlook Hotel, The Shining (1980)

A family looking after an empty hotel for the winter experiences paranormal activity that encourages violent behavior in the father and triggers nightmarish premonitions in the clairvoyant son.

Famous houses from horror movies The Shining
Photo from Stan Wiechers/Flickr Creative Commons

The 140-room colonial revival Stanley Hotel in Colorado is the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. According to King, when he and his wife arrived at the Stanley to stay for one night, they learned that they were the only overnight guests. The echoing halls, empty rooms, and a disturbing dream inspired him to pen one of his most famous works. (It probably didn’t hurt either that the hotel is allegedly haunted to begin with.) The book was eventually brought to the silver screen by Stanley Kubrick, who used a different hotel as the Overlook. King reportedly disliked Kubrick’s adaptation, causing him to make a made-for-television version shot primarily at the Stanley Hotel.


The Eel Marsh House, The Woman in Black (2012)

A lawyer sent to an old English village to arrange the sale of an old mansion uncovers the mystery surrounding the ghost of a woman terrorizing the town.

Famous houses from horror movies The Woman in Black
Photo from

Locals in the film refer to the ancient-looking (and haunted) home as the Eel Marsh House, but its actual name is the Cotterstock Hall. Built by a small landowner and parliamentarian named John Norton during the Commonwealth, the country manor has a date stone of 1658, making it over 350 years old. For The Woman in Black, only the exterior of Cotterstock Hall was shot and used. Wondering why it looks so pleasant compared to how it appeared in the film? Fake cobwebs and ivy were draped all over the property to create the creepy appearance. That and a bit of movie magic (a.k.a. editing). The seven-bedroom Cotterstock Hall is currently listed on a real estate website with a guiding price of £1.995 million (its previous asking price of £2.150 million was slashed from £2.5 million in 2014).


The Hill House, The Haunting (1963)

A paranormal investigator invites a group of people to spend the night in a haunted mansion, which eventually comes to life.

Famous houses from horror movies The Haunting
Photo from Heather Cowper/Flickr Creative Commons

While interior shots were taken at MGM-British Studios, the exterior and grounds are of the Ettington Park Hotel in Warwickshire, England. Ettington Park Hotel is a neo-Gothic mansion with a rich history: according to historians, there is evidence that the property has been inhabited by people as far back as 2000 years ago. It was also once a nursing home, and was used as a camp for World War II prisoners. After being damaged by a fire in 1979, it was restored to its former glory in 1983 to what it is today. Lending authenticity to the movie is the fact that Ettington is considered one of the most haunted hotels in England, with reports of guests and staff seeing ghosts and hearing disembodied voices in different parts of the property.


The Stewart house, The Others (2001)

A mother and her two children are terrorized by ghosts after three strangers, who seem to have other motives, move in as helpers.

Famous houses from horror movies The Others
Photo from Daniel Munoz/Flickr Creative Commons

Although the movie supposedly takes place in Jersey (off the coast of Normandy, France), much of it was shot on location in Spain’s Las Fraguas, more specifically the Palacio de los Hornillos. The six-bedroom Victorian palace was built at the beginning of the 19th century by British architect Ralph Selden Wornam for the Duke of Santo Mauro’s family. It is currently owned by the Marquis of Santa Cruz, the Duke’s great-grandson.


The Lambert house, Insidious (2010)

A couple tries to fight supernatural forces threatening to trap their comatose son in an otherworldly place called The Further.

Famous houses from horror movies Insidious
Photo from

Built in 1909, this Los Angeles home was specifically chosen for the movie for looking like it could actually be haunted. Because of budget constraints, the producers used both the exterior and interior of the house in shooting the film. Fun fact: the house the Lamberts move into in an attempt to get away from the evil forces in the first home is less than 3 miles away from this one, and both its exterior and interiors were used in the film as well.


The haunted house, House on Haunted Hill (1959)

An eccentric millionaire challenges five people to spend the night in a haunted mansion, promising to pay $10,000 to whoever survives an evening trapped with ghosts and murderers.

Famous houses from horror movies The House on Haunted Hill
Photo from Ian Rutherford/Flickr Creative Commons

Designed by award-winning architect Frank Lloyd-Wright and built in 1924, the Los Angeles property is dubbed the Ennis House after owners Charles and Mabel Ennis. Only the exterior was used in the movie, though, and the interior shots were actually done in sound stages. The entire property, which reflects ancient Mayan architecture and spans 6,200 square feet, is currently owned by American billionaire investor Ronald Burkle.


The orphanage, El Orfanato (2007)

When a woman returns with her family to the orphanage where she stayed as a child, unseen beings start fixating on her adopted son.

Famous houses from horror movies El Orfanato
Photo from Luis Villa del Campo/Flickr Creative Commons

Located in Asturias, Spain, this home is officially named El Palacio de Partarríu or Villa Parres. It was completed in 1898 as ordered by Don José Parres Piñera, a national politician. Perfect for the true isolationist who enjoys living in a scary old mansion far from civilization, El Palacio de Partarríu is located near the sea and is surrounded beaches, cliffs, and a forest. The home’s exterior and some interiors were shown in the movie, but several parts of the home were reconstructed in sound stages to achieve certain cinematographic techniques.


The Freeling house, Poltergeist (1982)

A family living in a suburban home located in a planned community is suddenly terrorized by its unseen evil occupants.

Famous houses from horror movies Poltergeist
Photo from

It’s established that the home the Freeling family occupies is at Orange County, California, but the house featured in the film is actually in Simi Valley. According to production designer Jim Spencer, the two-story mock Tudor home was chosen by director Steven Spielberg because it was at the end of the road in a normal-looking residential area. While most of the movie was filmed in sound stages at Culver City’s MGM Studios (including the infamous pool scene where Mrs. Freeling does a few laps with living skeletons), exterior scenes of Poltergeist were shot on location. The home still stands today (although parts of it have been renovated) and is a popular tourist attraction, much to the chagrin of its current residents.


The Bramford, Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

A young couple moves into an old apartment where the woman has ominous dreams, her husband becomes strangely distant, and the nice neighbors are more sinister than they appear.

Famous houses from horror movies Rosemary's Baby
Photo from Naotake Murayama/Flickr Creative Commons

Known in the film as The Bramford, The Dakota Apartments is a 1880s Gothic structure located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and is one of the most exclusive residential buildings in New York City. Some of its notable past residents include singer Roberta Flack, actor Boris Karloff, and actress Judy Garland. Director Roman Polansky wanted the interior to look bleak and shabby to match the mood of the film, but when the building’s owners refused filming inside the building, the settled for exterior shots instead. Creepy fact: The Dakota was also home to musician John Lennon, and was also the site of his murder in 1980.


The Thompson house, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A number of teenagers end up dead in real life after a murderous encounter with a serial killer in their dreams.

Famous houses from horror movies A Nightmare on Elm Street
Photo from

Found in Los Angeles, the 250-sqm house with the red door was, for lack of a better word, nightmarish when it was purchased back in 2008 for $1.15 million. A year of renovation involved taking apart about 90% of the home, according to the buyer, who burned sage to get rid of the home’s bad vibe before getting to work. The floor plan was redone, the woodwork replaced, and the aesthetics was made to be a fusion of traditional and modern design. Outside, the garden was reworked and the backyard swimming pool fixed. Despite all the work, the buyer kept the façade, which still reeled in fans on tour buses and on foot who wanted to have their photo taken in front of the iconic home. In 2013, the property was sold for $2.1 million.


The MacNeil house, The Exorcist (1973)

Loosely based on actual events, two priests are summoned by a desperate mother whose young daughter displays signs of demonic possession.

Famous houses from horror movies The Exorcist
Photo from

Who can forget the huge brick home in front of which Father Merrin stood bathed by the glow of Regan’s bedroom, creating the now iconic image for the film? The house, which stands in Georgetown, Washington D.C., as it says in the film, was altered by adding a false wing and fake roofing to keep it faithful to the book. However, to capture the authenticity of the actors’ icy breath in scenes in Regan’s bedroom, the producers shot the exorcism scenes in a refrigerated room built in a studio in Manhattan. The wrought iron fence surrounding the home in the movie has since been replaced with a solid wooden wall, perhaps to protect the owners from the prying eyes of the film’s fans.


Gramma Jess’ house, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1991)

A year after the first poltergeist activities that forced them out of their house, the Freelings have moved to a new home, but the spirits will not leave them alone until they take possession of the family’s youngest member, Carol-Anne.

Famous houses from horror movies Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Photo from

According to the movie, Gramma Jess lives in Phoenix, Arizona, but this home is actually located in Altadena, California. Although wide shots of the property’s exterior are featured prominently in the film, interior as well as tight exterior shots were taken on sound stages, where a crew had created an exact replica of the home inside and out. In 1973, the three-bedroom home built in 1913 was sold for $18,500, but Zillow now estimates the property to be almost $1.5 million.


The Creed house, Pet Sematary (1989)

A couple and their two young children move into a new home near an old cemetery, which holds a dangerous secret they soon discover when tragedy strikes the family.

Famous houses from horror movies Pet Sematary
Photo from

Any Stephen King fan will know that most of his works, including Pet Sematary, are set in his home state of Maine as if to stay loyal to his roots. Understandably, he sold the book’s film rights to Paramount Pictures with the stipulation that the movie be shot in Maine as well. Found in the town of Hancock is the bright yellow red-roofed home owned by an elderly couple, who was paid $10,000 for the use of their dwelling. Across the road is the couple’s winter home, a smaller property that was also featured in the movie as the residence of another major character. The home still stands today, and various real estate websites have assessed the property’s value to be anywhere from $371,100 to $389,000.


The Perron house, The Conjuring (2013)

A man, his wife, and their five daughters move to an old farmhouse in the country, where their desire for a quiet life is disturbed by unseen forces tied to the home’s dark past.

Famous houses from horror movies The Conjuring
Photo from

The actual home where the Perron family was supposedly terrorized by the supernatural—the Old Arnold Estate—can be found in Harrisville, Rhode Island, but the two-story property featured on screen is located in Pender County, North Carolina. Known in real life as the Keith House, the 464-sqm farmhouse in the community of Currie was built in 1910 and houses four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and (fortunately) no spirits. Exterior shots were taken here, while interior scenes were done in an exact replica of the house built in a studio in Wilmington, North Carolina. By Zillow’s estimate, the century-old Keith House is worth over $420,000. Fun fact: the property has appeared in various movies and TV shows, including another horror movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer.


Sources:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Yahoo! Movies,,,,,,,,,

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