Scary movie road trip: 5 film sites to visit this October

From Pennsylvania to West Virginia, here’s where horror movie fans should travel to during spooky season.

foggy forest with man in it
© andreiuc88 /

On most days, being scared is not a feeling people typically enjoy. Yet throughout the month of October, thrill-seekers go from haunted house to open cornfield to abandoned mansion in an effort to be frightened. Plus, streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu push viewers to scare themselves through film by advertising the vast variety of horror movies all month long.

This year, daredevils can go even further by stepping away from the screen and taking a drive to where some of their favorite horror movies were filmed, all less than five hours away from Northern Virginia.   

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The Mothman Prophecies
Set in Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Starring famed-actors Richard Gere, Laura Linnley and Debra Messing, The Mothman Prophecies takes viewers on a journey of The Washington Post journalist John Klein’s mission to uncover the mysteries of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The film, which focuses on appearances of two red eyes attached to wings known as the Mothman, is based on true events that occurred in Point Pleasant during 1966 and 1967. While mostly shot in Pittsburgh, Point Pleasant is where thrill-seekers should drive to, as the legend still haunts real-life stopping points in the area. Plus, be sure to stop by the local Mothman Museum,  detailing the urban legend. 

The Blair Witch Project
Burkittsville and Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland
While released in 1999, the Blair Witch Project is a horror film that has continued to accumulate attention for decades. The plot follows student filmmakers who venture into the woods of Maryland in search of the fabled Blair Witch, who allegedly haunted the small town for centuries. Though the story is not true, the small town of Burkittsville appears eerie in its quaintness with a population of 200 people, cemeteries and farmlands, and has since been a stopping point for horror film lovers since the Blair Witch Project’s release. 

House of Good and Evil
Floyd County, Virginia
Six years ago, House of Good and Evil was filmed in Floyd County, Virginia, telling the story of two couples of similar circumstances who live in a shared duplex in a rural town. When newcomers Chris and Maggie Conley arrive in the town in an attempt to save their marriage, the strange coincidence of similarities with their neighbors continues to come up, eventually causing trouble for both couples. One weekend this October, take time to travel south to see the eerie, shared home for yourself. 

The Silence of the Lambs
Pittsburgh and Perryopolis, Pennsylvania
If you’re a fan of films in the thriller genre, chances are you’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs at least once. The 28-year-old movie features Jodie Foster as an FBI trainee who is tasked with questioning Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the fictional sociopath who has entranced movie lovers, readers and scientists alike for years. The majority of the movie takes place in neighboring, small towns of Pittsburgh, that are easily accessible via car. Be sure to drive by Layton, Pennsylvania to see the 1910 Victorian mansion that was portrayed as serial killer Buffalo Bill’s home in the film. While the home eventually sold in 2016, according to The New York Times, the couple who owned it had a very hard time shaking the haunted image away from the site.

The Wrong Turn
Set in the woods of West Virginia
While this 2003 original was filmed in Ontario, Canada, the entire plot takes place in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, telling the tale of a group of young people who have car trouble and find themselves stuck in the middle of the woods. In an effort to get help, the group unknowingly enters a building home to cannibalistic mountain men and is forced to fight back for survival. The plot line continued with another five films all set in West Virginia and now 16 years later, the franchise creator Alan McElroy is making a reboot. Before it debuts next year, visit the rural mountains and try to find the mainstay cannibal known as Three Finger for yourself.

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