While Halloween is right around the corner, you don’t have to be knee-deep in pumpkins to appreciate a good horror film or novel. It’s a genre beloved by many, and the cornerstone of any great horror story is its setting. From creepy castles to ghoulish graveyards, many stories are set in fictional places — but there are plenty of tales that take place in real locations.
If you’ve got a road trip on your mind and horror in your heart, check out these 4 American honeymoon destinations for horror fans.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park Colorado
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is, of course, where the 1980 Stanley Kubrick horror film The Shining — based on a 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name — was filmed. (The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for the novel itself.)
The Shining tells the story of the ill-fated Torrance family. The Torrances take on a unique opportunity to be winter caretakers to a famous hotel called The Overlook, thinking that patriarch Jack Torrance can use the quiet months to write a novel. The catch? Complete isolation for basically the entire winter. Sounds kind of fun, right? Well, if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that quarantine is not all it’s cracked up to be — especially when you are quite literally trapped by mounds of Colorado snow. Good old fashioned cabin fever combined with some supernatural surprises equal a less than idyllic situation for the Torrance family.
Any horror fan is sure to recognize this setting and have it at the top of their list of places to visit. If you go, watch out for creepy twins in the hallways and shady bartenders named Lloyd.
Long Island (Amityville)
The Amityville Horror was published in the fall of 1977 and is the supposedly true tale of the Lutz family, who moved into a beautiful Dutch Colonial home in Long Island, New York and stayed only 28 days. The Lutzes claimed they were terrorized by supernatural phenomena that caused them to vacate, but it’s a widely accepted theory that the entire thing was, in fact, made up. (What isn’t made up is the fact that an entire family was murdered in the house in 1974.)
Regardless, when the book (and later, the film) was released in the 1970s, The Amityville Horror earned a spot in horror story legend. The home has since been renovated from its signature style due to an overabundance of tourists, but horror fans can still pass by the Long Island home and mark it off their list.
Georgetown, D.C. (The Exorcist)
In 1971, William Peter Blatty penned what would later become one of the most iconic horror films of all time — The Exorcist. This film follows the story of an actress named Chris MacNeil and her teenage daughter, Regan. When Regan falls inexplicably ill after using a Ouija board and allegedly starts communicating with a spirit she calls “Captain Howdy,” she begins to exhibit bizarre behavior (that’s putting it lightly) and Chris enlists the help of two Catholic priests to help. The rest is, well… disturbing.
The film was released in 1973 and received quite the reception — it was banned in several countries and there were reports of theater-goers all across the country fainting and becoming ill upon viewing the film. Today, The Exorcist is widely accepted as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Horror fans will want to put “The Exorcist steps” (if you’ve seen the film, you know the significance of these) on their travel list. You can find them in Georgetown, D.C. … perhaps after a nice lunch of pea soup.
New Orleans, Louisiana (“Lestat’s tomb” in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1)
New Orleans is home to many things: Jazz, food, Mardi Gras, and of course, ghost stories. Between the legend of Marie Laveau (who is said to haunt St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 where she is buried), the infamous LaLaurie Mansion, and countless other tales, New Orleans is the city that needs no real introduction to horror fans. For fans of Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles,” one spot in particular may be of interest: “Lestat’s tomb” in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.
This tomb does not actually house the Brat Prince, of course; it’s a tomb that belongs to the Karstendiek family. Anne Rice was so inspired by its intricate and elaborate design that it has since become a New Orleans cult favorite and dubbed as the tomb of the one and only Lestat de Lioncourt.
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