What is it about small towns that immediately makes us think of horror movies? Is it the unsettling way that everyone seems to know everybody else? Perhaps the town budget isn't big enough to make the place look well-maintained. The isolation itself may make it feel like anything can happen. No matter how you slice it, the formula works! Keep reading to see some of the most haunted locations in horror movies and TV series. We're going to start with some of the least haunted places and work our way to the ones you absolutely do not want to visit! We hope you enjoy your stay.
25. Summerisle, Scotland (The Wicker Man)
[Source: British Lion Films/IMDb]
While more of an island than just a town, something is unsettling about pockets of civilization that religiously follow the "old ways", so to speak. When a police sergeant goes to investigate a young girl's disappearance, he gets more than he bargained for. As it turns out, the harvest failed that year, so they need a sacrifice to appease the gods—and Neil Howie fits the bill.
24. Stepford, Connecticut (The Stepford Wives)
[Source: Paramount Pictures/Columbia Pictures/IMDb]
Everything may seem normal in Stepford, but the longer you stay, the more you can tell that something is very, very wrong. (Isn't that just how it goes sometimes?) However, the ones in the most danger here are married women. They slowly turn into perfectly obedient housewives, practically robotic in their subservience. Depending on the movie, they are either turned into robots (as in the 1975 original film) or have computer chips inserted into their brains (as in the 2004 remake). While the means and motivations are less supernatural here, they are no less sinister.
23. Haddonfield, Illinois (Halloween Franchise)
[Source: Compass International Pictures/IMDb]
While the first Halloween movie may not seem like a supernatural film, there's more to the Shape than meets the eye—as we find out in later movies. It's hard to keep a good villain down, after all. While they thought they had defeated Michael Myers at the film's end, it's unsettling how his body seemingly vanishes. How does one kill the boogeyman? Several movies later and even after a franchise reboot, we're still unsure how to save Haddonfield from Michael's reign of terror.
22. Crystal Lake, New Jersey (Friday the 13th Franchise)
[Source: Georgetown Productions Inc./Paramount Pictures/IMDb]
In a similar fashion to Halloween, nothing appears to be very supernatural in the first Friday the 13th movie—at least not right away. It isn't until the end of the film that we discover Jason's very human mother was behind it all, but he's not exactly down for the count either. Jason's body mysteriously emerges from Crystal Lake, worse for wear after he drowned years ago. (As it turns out later, he didn't actually drown, so what was he even doing there at the end of the first movie?) While his backstory remains a bit murky, we all know he's a force to be reckoned with.
21. Springwood, Ohio (A Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise)
[Source: New Line Cinema/Media Home Entertainment/IMDb]
1, 2, Freddy's coming for you! It's scary to have nightmares in Springwood, because they could be the work of Freddy Krueger. The first obviously paranormal person on our list, he's the biggest threat in town. This dream demon can haunt his victims in their dreams, so it's very difficult to escape his grasp. You may have learned a thing or two about how to win against Freddy Krueger, but the easiest way by far is not to fall asleep in Springfield. He died in his boiler room hideout in town and the only way for him to leave is in someone's dreams. However, he returns to his hometown when everything is said and done.
20. Castle Rock, Maine (Cujo, The Dark Half, The Dead Zone, Needful Things, and others)
[Source: Taft Entertainment/Sunn Classic Pictures/Warner Bros./IMDb]
Stephen King has set his works in several fictional towns. While we're not going to touch on all of them, Castle Rock, Maine is one of his most famous. Stories like Needful Things and The Dead Zone include plenty of supernatural events, but there are also more natural horrors, like a rabid dog in Cujo. The Maine town was the setting for King's novella The Body, though Rob Reiner changed it to Castle Rock, Oregon for the film adaptation, Stand by Me. The Castle Rock TV series really shows off why you should be glad it's impossible to visit!
19. Midwich, Great Britain/California (Village of the Damned)
The village of Midwich has different locations depending on which version of the film you're watching, but they're both equally creepy. The residents mysteriously black out one day to find the women of child-bearing age pregnant. The babies are born and age rapidly, and appear to be supernaturally intelligent with special abilities. While you might hope that this means there's a sudden superhero boom, nothing could be further from the truth! The children instead use their powers of persuasion to force people to do things against their will. However, the movie's conclusion brings the children's reign of terror to an abrupt end.
18. Gatlin, Nebraska (Children of the Corn)
[Source: Hal Roach Studios/New World Pictures/IMDb]
If we haven't instilled in you the fact that children are creepy yet, enter Children of the Corn. Yet another horrible event fueled by an unsuccessful harvest, the children of the town form a murderous cult that worships He Who Walks Behind the Rows. (Which turns out to be a demonic entity.) Not satisfied with merely praying for a better harvest like the other townsfolk, the children murder all the adults in town. The children stay in Gatlin and attempt to kill people visiting or stopping while passing through. After the cornfield is burned and their leader is slain, the children are adopted into other towns, where the havoc continues in later franchise movies.
17. Twin Peaks, Washington (Twin Peaks)
[Source: Lynch/Frost Productions/Twin Peaks Productions/CBS Worldwide/IMDb]
While Killer Bob plagues Twin Peaks, there's more to it than meets the eye. Bob is an evil spirit that turns other characters into murderers, and it was spawned from The Experiment. (Which is yet another foul, formless thing.) Then we have Judy, a malevolent entity that feasts on human suffering. While these formless, faceless beings plague the small town of Twin Peaks, they fill the show with a sense of dread and unease like any other. If that wasn't enough, doppelgangers and other weird characters make Twin Peaks a truly unsettling place.
16. Antonio Bay, California (The Fog)
[Source: Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb]
What would you think if you found out that your town founders purposely sank a ship so that a wealthy leper wouldn't be able to make a leper colony in the area? If you're a horror movie fan, you probably know that that's going to lead to a bunch of angry spirits. (And you'd be right!) In the original movie, a fog rolls in, bringing with it the vengeful spirit of Blake and his crew of revenants. They take revenge on the town, intending to kill six people in place of the six founders who sent them to their deaths. However, the remake movie has the spirits simply taking out their revenge without a quota of intended victims in mind. One can only hope that the ghosts are satisfied, but there is no way to know if they're done.
15. Derry, Maine (It)
[Source: American Broadcasting Companies/IMDb]
Villains that live off the fear of others are nothing new in horror. You have Freddy Krueger, The Babadook, and Pennywise the Dancing Clown. What makes Pennywise so terrifying is not only the fact that he appears as a freaky clown, but he can appear literally anywhere. Sink drains, sewers, baseball games, you name it! Fortunately, Pennywise only returns once every 27 years, so there's a chance you could be one of the lucky ones who never have to encounter it.
14. Hobb's End, New England (In the Mouth of Madness)
[Source: New Line Cinema/IMDb]
If it mixes John Carpenter with H.P. Lovecraft, you know you're in for a ride. What starts as a tame hunt for a town mentioned in a horror novel turns into a monster fest. The townspeople have a monstrous makeover, and it's hinted that their belief in "The Old Ones" may have released a bunch of creepy critters. And that would not be good. As it turns out, the events that occurred are likely not even real by the end of the movie, but they were still very spooky!
13. Ardham, Massachusetts (Lovecraft Country)
[Source: Warner Bros. Television Studios/Monkeypaw Productions/Bad Robot Productions/IMDb]
The Lovecraft Country TV series is again based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. While it was only granted one season, we are introduced to Ardham, Massachusetts, and the terrifying shoggoths. A group of occult wizards also make for some very nasty neighbors. The series, however, hops about from Chicago to Boston and other named cities, so the potential for Ardham to show just how scary it is is less impactful. Had there been more seasons, we might have more reasons not to want to visit!
12. Cuesta Verde, California (Poltergiest)
[Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/SLM Production Group/Mist Entertainment/Amblin Productions/IMDb]
We're not sure how much of Cuesta Verde is built over a cemetery, but messing with the resting places of the dead is always a sign of bad things to come. The family in Poltergeist certainly packed their bags and left town by the movie's end! What started with unusual occurrences like bending spoons and moving furniture quickly escalated into a full-blown fright house. A demonic portal manages to take Carol Anne into a sort of spirit realm, but they rescue her with the help of a medium. In the end, they find out that the greedy real estate company merely relocated the gravestones and not the graves where their property was located. (We smell a lawsuit!)
11. Beacon Hills, California (Teen Wolf)
[Source: TV Line/MGM Television/MTV Production Development/Siesta Productions/IMDb]
While there are a few versions of Teen Wolf, we're looking at the TV series here. (The original 1985 movie takes place in small-town Nebraska.) A lot manages to happen in 6 seasons, but the town still stands at the end, so that has to count for something! The town has a pack of good werewolves who encounter other shapeshifting monsters and spooky creatures that come to town. (There are werejaguars, werecoyotes, hellhounds, and some other downright creepy critters.) On the plus side, at least you have a team fighting for you, even if it feels like your city is a supernatural magnet!
10. Ogden Marsh, Iowa (The Crazies)
[Source: Pittsburgh Films/IMDb]
Something of a contained zombie movie where they're not traveling across the country, The Crazies focuses on bizarre events in the small town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa. When the residents start exhibiting strange behavior, some early connections are made to the town's contaminated water supply. The military is sent over to help enforce a quarantine, but things quickly turn violent as word spreads that they have been ordered to kill all civilians. We later find out that a nearby military plane crash included a biological weapon, which is likely what has been turning the townspeople mad. A scene in the credits indicated that the military bombed and destroyed the town, but did they truly succeed with their containment efforts? Living in this town would have been a nightmare, but it's more or less wiped off the map.
9. Mystic Falls, Virginia (The Vampire Diaries)
[Source: Outerbanks Entertainment/Alloy Entertainment/Warner Bros. Television/CBS Television Studios/IMDb]
With a town name named Mystic Falls, you're probably expecting a few spooks and supernatural events. The main cast includes plenty of friendly vampires, witches, and werewolves, but they spend their time helping to guard the town against numerous critters. (That would mostly be from invasion by other vampires, witches, werewolves, and other supernatural beings.) The show ran for 8 seasons and inspired many related stories and spinoffs, so there are numerous reasons why Mystic Falls is a very haunted town.
8. Crescent Cove, California (Killer Klowns from Outer Space)
[Source: Chiodo Bros./IMDb]
In a very abrupt and quirky turn of events, Crescent Cove, California, ranks very high on our list of fictional places we're glad we can't visit. While it might look like a bunch of silly alien clowns that shoot cotton candy and popcorn, these are, after all, killer clowns. When our town's heroes break onto the alien ship, we find a room filled with cotton candy cocoons—that also happen to be filled with the bodies of captured townspeople. It's pretty safe to say that the clowns did a number on the town, judging by the number of cocoons on the ship.
7. Sunnydale, California (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
[Source: 20th Century Fox Television/Mutant Enemy Productions/Sandollar Television/Kuzi Enterprises/IMDb]
In a town plagued by supernatural occurrences and creatures-of-the-week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has some very high-stakes villains. They're not just vampires, ghosts, and the like; they battle actual demons and entities of pure evil. If you knew these big bads were around, would you want to stick it out? There are real consequences, too, as Buffy loses some close friends and (spoilers) her life in the end. Now, if you'll excuse us, we'll grab a box of tissues and some chocolate to help us recover from this emotional rollercoaster of a show.
6. Hawkins, Indiana (Stranger Things)
[Source: Netflix/21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre/Upside Down Pictures/IMDb]
Behind the shiny veneer of neon lights and 80s nostalgia lies the unassuming town of Hawkins, Indiana. Or is it? They have had their fair share of strange disappearances, malicious creatures, and city-wide catastrophes. Portals to the upside-down? Child's play. Violent creatures reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons villains? Bring it. Without the aid of their all-powerful friend Eleven to close the rifts, the town would have been mincemeat seasons ago. (And we're only 4 seasons in.) It's only bound to get worse from here.
5. Potter's Bluff, New England (Dead and Buried)
[Source: Aspen Productions/Barclays Mercantile INdistrial Finance/AVCO Embassy Pictures/IMDb]
How would you like to visit a town where the inhabitants are all murderous, reanimated dead people? Enter Potter's Bluff, a town that's ambiguously located somewhere in New England. As it turns out, only one of the inhabitants is actually alive—Dobbs, a former chief pathologist who was fired for conducting experiments in the county morgue. Naturally, he takes his work elsewhere and his zombie army kills the living so he can create even more undead. The deception is unprecedented here, as nothing seems amiss until it's too late.
4. Wheelsy, Carolina (Slither)
[Source: Brightlight Pictures/Gold Circle Films/Strike Entertainment/IMDb]
Extraterrestrial parasites lead to a town filled with breeding slugs and a nearly complete hivemind. Doesn't that sound move-in ready? Add in some body-horror tentacle monsters and there's certainly no place like home. Okay, so maybe it's uninhabitable at this point, as are the rest of the towns on our list. If you can't beat 'em, get outta town.
3. Jerusalem's Lot, Maine (Salem's Lot)
[Source: Warner Bros. Television/CBS/IMDb]
May we interest you in a town with a vampire epidemic? Straker is an unusual businessman who comes to Jerusalem's Lot, but as it turns out, he's really a willing thrall of the ancient vampire Kurt Barlow. The vampire's victims become other vampires capable of mentally manipulating their next victims, which quickly consumes the town. Mears and Mark manage to kill both Straker and Barlow and burn down Marsten House, but apparently, destroying the head vampire isn't enough to end this town full of vampires. They flee to Guatemala, where the town's vampires still pursue them, and we can only imagine how far the plague has spread from Jerusalem's Lot.
2. Raccoon City, Arklay County (Resident Evil Franchise)
[Source: Screen Gems/Constantin Film/Davis Raccoon Films/IMDb]
A city made infamous through numerous movies and video games connected to the Resident Evil franchise, Raccoon City is not where you want to be. Now utterly destroyed and overrun by zombies, they're far worse than anything from the likes of Night of the Living Dead. The Umbrella corporation was running several experiments and dabbling in bio-weapons that created the entire mess, resulting in some of the worst zombies you can imagine. (And they include humans and animals!)
1. Silent Hill, West Virginia (Silent Hill)
[Source: Konami/Davis Films/Silent Hill DCP, Inc./IMDb]
Silent Hill is both a video game franchise and a movie—but for the sake of this list, we'll be discussing the movie version. We first find the town already abandoned town due to a massive coal seam fire. Rather than leave well enough alone, Sharon's constant nightmares about the city lead her to go there with her mother, Rose. Upon arrival, it's clear that Silent Hill is an uninhabitable, haunted hellscape. Inhuman creatures prowl about, locations have the ability to shift and change and the road out of town simply disappears. It's very spooky and deadly, and we're having none of that.
If you enjoyed our list, we hope you found a few movies or TV series to add to your watchlist! Are there any scary fictional towns that you feel would be a good fit for this list? (We're sure that books, video games, and other media have even more to offer.) While you may not be able to hop in your car and drive to these locations, you can make your home feel spooky for the holidays with our favorite scary Halloween décor. Of course, we won't stop you if you want to keep skeletons up all year!