COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Scary movies are as much a part of Halloween season as trick or treating, costumes, and jumping out of the bushes to give your younger sibling a scare.
While there are literally thousands upon thousands of horror movies to choose from, those searching for a taste of Ohio to enjoy with their bucket of bite-size candy this month don’t have quite as many choices.
However, there are some highly regarded (and some not so much) horror films set in (mostly fictional) Ohio locations.
Below are 10 of the more famous and infamous horror films set in Ohio.
Deadbeat at Dawn
Filmed on a shoestring budget over four years in Dayton, Ohio, this 1988 cult favorite tells the story of the leader of a street gang looking to retire until he finds his girlfriend beaten to death by a rival gang. The film evokes a low-budget early Quentin Tarantino vibe without the pop culture references or, honestly, filmmaking skills, but you can tell the filmmakers had a passion for making the movie.
Set at the fictional Our Blessing farm in an unnamed Ohio location, this film from Cleveland native Wes Craven (a name that appears a lot on this list) is known mostly for featuring Sharon Stone in an early role and Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine chewing up the scenery as the head of an Amish-like religious sect that may or may not be coming after a woman who loses her ex-sect member husband in a tractor “accident.”
By no means is this a good film. However, filmed in Granville, Ohio, it is one of those “so bad, it’s good” entries that follows a group of travelers being stalked by a “fowl”-mouthed murderous turkey. The bird puns fly fast and furious (as do the feathers and gore) in a no-budget effort best enjoyed late in the evening. Oh, and there’s a sequel, too… called ThanksKilling 3.
Paying homage to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this Robert Rodriguez-directed film starred a who’s who of late 90s young actors including pre-Hobbit Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, as well as appearances by Jon Stewart, Salma Hayek, and Famke Janssen. A student at a high school in fictional Herrington, Ohio, finds the school nurse dead one minute, alive the next, setting off a battle between the students and whatever is taking over the faculty.
Trick ‘r Treat
Set in the fictional Warren Valley, Ohio, this anthology film centers around one Halloween night, interweaving five separate narratives that all come to a head with the introduction of one of the 2000s most endearing horror mascots, Sam.
This sequel to Wes Craven’s genre-skewering original moves the setting from California to the fictional Windsor College in Ohio. Much like the first Scream, this sequel uses horror movie tropes to inform the story and shows that much like other horror follow-ups, no one is safe.
J.J. Abrams’ ode to young backyard filmmakers is equal parts terrifying and heartwarming. Set in an unnamed Ohio town, the movie follows a group of young amateur filmmakers who happen to catch a train derailment on film while making a movie. What follows next is a Spielberg-ian tale of monsters, friendship, and families.
Set in the fictional town Sherwood, Ohio, this early vehicle in the careers of Christian Slater and Winona Ryder is more dark comedy than an out-right horror film. However, the dark tale of high school outcasts taking on the popular clique is good for scaring up a few laughs.
The Silence of the Lambs
The climactic confrontation of this multi-Academy Award-winning film was set in an unnamed Ohio town. While no filming took place in the Buckeye state, Clarice Starling’s solo investigation and her confrontation with the film’s serial killer are both set in Ohio. Arguably the best film on this list.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Set in the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio, Wes Craven’s seminal 1980s horror movie spawned six sequels, a slasher crossover, a less-than-stellar remake, and merchandise encompassing everything from children’s toys to replica razor gloves. Featuring cultural icon Freddy Kruger, this series combined witty one-liners with the silent serial killer gimmick, making the character the most talkative of the 80s slashers. While the series can be an exercise in diminishing returns, the original is a horror classic, Dream Warriors plays with superhero tropes at a time when Iron Man was mostly known as a heavy metal song, and New Nightmare was Craven dipping his toes into meta-commentary before meta-commentary in horror became a genre unto itself.
Zombieland and Zombieland: Double Tap
This horror-comedy franchise does not take place in Ohio, but with characters identified by their hometowns (it’s a thing – just go with it), Jesse Eisenberg’s character identifies himself as a Columbus native.