Visit Hollywood’s most iconic horror movie houses for a real fright
By Megan Seling
Candy, costumes, the annual screening of Hocus Pocus—that’s all child’s play. If you really want a scare this season, pack your electromagnetic field sensors and take a trip to some of the country’s most iconic haunted and horror movie houses. In some cases, you can even stay the night!
For example, this month Airbnb gave scary movie fans a chance to sleep over in the Northern California house where much of Wes Cravens’ 1996 slasher flick Scream was filmed. The home is where Ghostface murdered multiple characters during a house party before being unmasked by protagonist Sidney Prescott. The promotional stays sold out quickly—there were only three reservations available—but short-term rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo have several more spooky getaways that are worth checking out.
Want less of a fright night and more of a fright day-trip? Here are eight more famous haunted houses and horror movie homes that you can visit in real life (the last one is a twofer!). Some are private residences, so you’ll have to respect private property if you hope to snap a picture, but other spots, as you’ll see as you read on, happily embrace horror fans.
The Rosenheim Mansion
There are several supposedly haunted houses in Los Angeles, but one standout is The Rosenheim Mansion at 1120 Westchester Place in the Olympic Park neighborhood. The house, designed and built by architect Alfred Rosenheim and built in 1908, is believed to be haunted by two ghosts. But that’s not the scary part!
The six-bedroom estate was used as the inspiration and filming location for the popular television show American Horror Story: Murder House starring Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, and Evan Peters. Ever since, the show’s fervent fanbase has gone to great lengths to get a peek inside.
Living in the home has been such a nuisance—because of trespassing fans and, the owners say, multiple attempted break-ins—the residents are suing the brokers who sold them the home because they feel the brokers weren’t completely forthcoming about the house’s reputation. Yikes!
Still, the current owners have been able to have a little fun with the mansion’s fame—in 2020 they hosted a three-day virtual event that included live streams of paranormal investigations and a seance.
The Poltergeist House
The 2,373-square-foot home at 4267 Roxbury Street in Simi Valley, California, will look familiar to anyone who’s seen Steven Spielberg’s 1982 supernatural scare Poltergeist.
The house, built in 1979, is where the fictional Freeling family was terrorized by ghosts that came into the home through the television set. The angry spirits broke drinking glasses, bent silverware, and, oh right, kidnapped the family’s young daughter Carol Anne.
These days the home is a private residence, though it doesn’t look much different from its Hollywood days. The trees out front have gotten bigger and blocked some of the view from the street, but the exterior paint is still the same color scheme, making it easily recognizable for movie fans looking to stop by and take photos.
No word on whether or not there’s a TV inside.
Buffalo Bill’s House
Buffalo Bill, portrayed by Ted Levine in the 1991 horror film The Silence of the Lambs, is one of cinema’s creepiest characters. Now, 30 years after the movie first hit theaters, fans can spend a night in the Pennsylvania house where Buffalo Bill kept his victims.
According to the The Philadelphia Inquirer, a man named Chris Rowan bought the home for $290,000 in January 2021 and has since turned the former film set into a “boutique private house rental.” Your overnight stay comes with a complimentary travel size bottle of Buffalo Bill’s House body lotion.
The property is currently open only to guests who make reservations, but Rowan says on buffalobillshouse.com that he hopes to offer guided tours in 2022. He also wants to renovate the home’s basement to further appeal to Silence of the Lambs megafans, telling the Inquirer, “I’m going to try to recreate the well and [Bill’s] workshop of horrors.” Eek!
The Amityville Horror House
The farmhouse-style home that still stands at 112 Ocean Avenue in Long Island, New York, is considered by many to be one of the most haunted houses in the country. It’s where, on November 13, 1974, Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. murdered his six family members while they slept.
The Lutz family moved into the home 13 months later, and their terrifying experiences inspired a series of books and films, starting with the 1977 novel The Amityville Horror. The family moved out after just 28 days.
The home has since been renovated and Business Insider reports the property sold for $605,000 in 2017.
The Ennis House
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Ennis House in Los Angeles, California, is considered a famous landmark even without its impressive Hollywood resume. Still, it’s pretty cool that the mansion and private residence—built in 1924 and one of just four of Wright’s textile block houses—has been featured in films and television shows for more than half a century.
Its recognizable exterior can be spotted in the 1959 flick House on Haunted Hill starring horror icon Vincent Price, the 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner, and the television adaptation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name a few.
Billionaire Ron Burkle owned the home for the better part of a decade, but the Los Angeles Times reports he sold the house for $18 million in 2019.
The Conjuring House
Another house that conjured up a horror film franchise is the rustic farmhouse at 1677 Round Top Road in Burrillville, RI. The home is believed to be cursed by Bathsheba Sherman, a witch who lived there in the 1800s, and the property’s history of paranormal activity inspired the 2013 film The Conjuring.
In September 2021, the 3,109-square-foot estate went on the market for $1.2 million, and it could be a business opportunity for the right buyer.
CNN reports that owners Jennifer and Cory Heinzen purchased the home for $439,000 in 2019 and the couple has embraced the property’s fame by hosting events and renting rooms to paranormal investigators. The couple’s daughter Maddie also regularly posts about her unusual experiences in the home on TikTok, where she has racked up more than one million followers.
The Halloween Houses
A Halloween-y haunted house write-up wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the 1978 classic Halloween. In the film, killer Michael Myers terrorizes a fictional town in Illinois but much of the movie was actually filmed in South Pasadena, California, and several filming locations still exist today.
Myers’ home can be found at 1000 Mission Street—it still has the same front porch entryway Myers famously stood in—and protagonist Laurie Strode’s house is just a few minutes away at 1115 Oxley Street.
According to recent Instagram posts, the owners of the Strode home have embraced their place in the horror movie world. In one particularly famous scene, Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) sits outside the home holding a pumpkin. So, the real-life owners leave out an artificial pumpkin year-round for fans looking to recreate the shot.
This list is only the top of the trick-or-treat bag when it comes to haunted houses and horror movie homes in America. The house from A Nightmare on Elm Street, where protagonist Nancy Thompson lived, still stands at 1428 N. Genessee Ave. in Los Angeles.
And have you seen The Exorcist? The house at the center of that film’s origin story was purchased in 2020—the couple who lives there told Washingtonian in September that “there have been no encounters with the supernatural.”
If you feel as though your house belongs on this list, and aren’t sure you want to continue living with the ghosts—whether they’re of the supernatural or metaphorical variety—we dug into how to sell a haunted or stigmatized property, because even the country’s most haunted houses eventually find the right owner.
About the author: Megan Seling is an author and journalist who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves to write about music, snacks, hockey, and haunted houses. Her favorite scary movie is Get Out, her favorite podcast is My Favorite Murder, and her favorite Halloween candy is 100 Grand. While she likes to think ghosts are real, she has never actually encountered one.
Cover photo: The Ennis House, photo by Darren Vorel