Here's The Best Horror Movie That's Set In Your State

·13 min read

Spooky road trip! Let's take a tour across America and find each state's best horror film!

MTV

*IMPORTANT NOTE* Some films are set in fictional locations but still set in their respective states, so bare with me.

1.Alabama: Body Snatchers

Woman in a tub covered in odd vines

People aren't themselves in Body Snatchers.

This film is based on the Jack Finney story The Body Snatchers, which inspired so many movies. Not my favorite telling of this story, but I can't argue that it is the most unique retelling.

Warner Bros.

2.Alaska: 30 Days of Night

Columbia Pictures

Where else could bloodthirsty beings chill other than Alaska?

Not a ton to go off on in Alaska, so it was between The Fourth Kind and this. I'll say that 30 Days of Night is a watch and nothing is quite as chilling as the constant darkness of Alaska for two months.

3.Arizona: Creepshow 2 ("The Raft")

A skeleton covered in muck

Don't touch it!

So, as an anthology film, only two stories take place in Arizona, but one of them (in my opinion) is the best Creepshow story ever: "The Raft."

Located on the fictional Cascade Beach, this story is really unnerving and has scary effects for such a simple concept. I won't give too much away but if you have never watched Creepshow, give this one a go.

New World Pictures

4.Arkansas: The Legend of Boggy Creek

A monster stalks a hunter in the woods

This thing has big ol' feet.

Sometimes (a lot of times), location can be the true fright factor of a horror movie. The chilling way this mockumentary is filmed can sometimes be scarier than the fabled "Fouke Monster."

Howco International Pictures

5.California: Psycho

Shadow of a woman with a knife

Some boys will do anything for their mother.

California was one of the more competitive states in the country (but NOT the toughest decision as I will mention later in this post). We have Scream, Poltergeist, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fog, When a Stranger Calls, and Paranormal Activity all in the Golden State.

In the end, it was between Psycho and Scream, and as fun as Scream is, the scarier of the two won out.

Universal Pictures

6.Colorado: The Shining

Warner Bros.

Wendy? Darling? Light of my life? I'm just going to say The Shining rules Colorado.

Unease is the first word that comes to mind when I think of The Shining. I do recommend Misery if you have not seen it, but this Stephen King film is just more iconic.

7.Connecticut: Thinner

A man smiles

I'll start by saying that I unfortunately have not seen Gothika yet, so Thinner took the spot by default. I'll say one thing about it: It's weird.

It's a slow burn of a film that feels like it was originally a short story.

Paramount Pictures

8.Delaware: Head Case

Man with glasses speaks to camera

Home tapes of serial killers. What could go wrong?

This film cost $5,000 to make so that alone I say is a reason to give it a shot. The found footage style makes me wonder if this inspired Creep at all, which is one of my favorite films I have seen this year.

Fleet Street Films

9.Florida: Jeepers Creepers

United Artists

The Florida countryside never looked so creepy.

The Jeepers Creepers "Creeper" is a very underrated movie monster. Plenty of scares and chilling moments that people my age growing up thought was the scariest movie, period.

10.Georgia: Deliverance

Kid plays the banjo

Deliverance in a landslide.

The disturbing tone of this film makes it one of the more unique horror films on this list. One of the few on this list I'd also say to research before watching due to its graphic content.

Warner Bros. Pictures

11.Hawaii: A Perfect Getaway

Blonde woman looks angry

Of course, Hawaii's is a vacation/honeymoon horror. I challenge Hollywood to meaningfully include native Hawaiians next time for some much needed representation.

A solid cast consisting of Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn, and Chris Hemsworth.

Universal Pictures

12.Idaho: Idaho Transfer

Woman crawls out of a hole with a screwdriver clenched in her teeth

Not too many Idaho horror films, so Idaho Transfer will have to do. More of a sci-fi thriller than anything spooky, but the eerie setting of the lava fields is otherworldly.

Cinemation Industries

13.Illinois: Halloween

Compass International Pictures

One of the elite horror franchises, the original Halloween is another John Carpenter masterpiece that introduces the world to Michael Myers.

The state of Illinois had stiff competition with Candyman and Child's Play also contending for the top spot.

14.Indiana: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer

Abe Lincoln with an ax

I really had nothing for Indiana, but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer declared victory. More of a weird "fantasy" action film, but it is all worth it for a scene of Abe chasing Mary Todd with a basket while pretending it is trying to eat her and both of them forcing laughter. Masterful cinema.

20th Century Fox

15.Iowa: The Crazies

Overture Films

Apparently, Field of Dreams doesn't count as horror so I went with The Crazies for Iowa. It was a very polarizing film at the time that people either loved or hated.

This was probably the most mainstream horror movie to take place in Iowa.

16.Kansas: Critters

New Line Cinema

I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. Seriously, Wizard of Oz might be the scariest movie set in Kansas but it's not horror, so enjoy Critters.

Poor Critters got overlooked because of Gremlins two years earlier, but these carnivorous little fur balls are equally as mischievous.

17.Kentucky: Return of the Living Dead

A decayed body smiles

Fun fact: This is one of two movies on this list to take place on Fourth of July weekend. And it wouldn't be a Kentucky film if it wasn't set in Louisville.

If you're into horror comedies, rock music, and zombies, this might be a solid mix for you.

Orion Pictures

18.Louisiana: The Last Exorcism

Man sits in hay hugging a possessed girl

Something's not right in Baton Rogue.

People really criticized this movie when it came out but if you enjoy exorcism movies, this is a fun watch. Cool scenes and a wild ending make it worth the watch.

Come on, not every movie can be The Exorcist.

Lionsgate

19.Maine: Pet Sematary

Creepy woman on bed

Sometimes dead is better.

Zelda gave me nightmares so I gave Pet Sematary the spot. Everything else is equally as weird about this film.

I also recommend watching (or reading) other Stephen King gems set in Maine like 'Salem's Lot and Cycle of the Werewolf.

Paramount Pictures

20.Maryland: The Blair Witch Project

Flashlight-illuminated woman cries in the darkness

Enter the woods in Burkittsville, Maryland, and you may not come out.

The O.G. of found footage horror. Not the most thrilling film if you expect nonstop scares but it is a very important movie to the world of horror.

Artisan Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection

21.Massachusetts: Session 9

Creepy hallway with a wheelchair

I adore The Witch, but I chose to select a more modern setting in Danvers, Massachusetts. Session 9 might be the greatest horror movie without a single jump scare.

USA Films

22.Michigan: It Follows

RADiUS-TWC

Moments in this film are very memorable and the bizarre choice to not have a clear year makes this a disorienting film.

23.Minnesota: Jennifer's Body

Woman on the phone holds a lighter to her tongue

It feels like every year that passes, the fanbase for Jennifer's Body grows more and more. This is one of the more popular dark comedies I can recall that has a massive cult following.

20th Century Fox

24.Mississippi: Straw Dogs (2011)

Man in a doorway looks at a woman

A disturbing film set in Mississippi where a young couple deals with the terrible locals.

I actually saw the remake first, but I always suggest you watch the originals of remakes.

Steve Dietl/©Screen Gems / courtesy Everett Collection

25.Missouri: You're Next

Man in an animal mask holds a machete

You're Next is a nice twist and change of pace to the home invasion horror movie. Plenty of slasher gore if you are into that, too.

Lionsgate

26.Montana: Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County

Home video of frightened family screaming

Blair Witch Project before it was cool.

Not a lot of horror in Montana, so I really had to dig for this made-for-TV film and man, do I want to see what this one is about. Something about VHS films is creepy in the first place, so this is a must-watch for me.

Paramount Home Entertainment

27.Nebraska: Children of the Corn

New World Pictures

Creepy children are creepy. Jokes aside, people underestimate the creepiness of cornfields. Imagine driving 30 minutes and seeing nothing but cornstalks... Unsettling.

28.Nevada: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Deformed man grimaces

Starting to realize how disturbing some of these movies are across the states. Wes Craven's vision is a frightening one of cannibals.

Vanguard

29.New Hampshire: The Dead Zone

Christopher Walken outside in the cold wearing a jacket

If this were a game of "Risk!", Stephen King would be controlling the board.

If you're a Stephen King fan: watch it. If you're a Christopher Walken fan: whachit (my attempt at a Walken impression).

Paramount

30.New Jersey: Friday the 13th

A woman is passed out in a canoe on the lake

Next stop: Camp Crystal Lake!

No one in New Jersey stood a chance against Jason. Speaking of that kid, this movie was so unexpected to me (kind of like The Ring) and that made it all the better.

Paramount Pictures

31.New Mexico: The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Dirty hand touches a woman's face

You're not seeing double. Both Hills Have Eyes films have stops on this road trip taking both New Mexico and Nevada. The benefit of having your film located in less populated parts of the country.

Go watch both and decide which you like more.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

32.New York: Jaws

Man reaches for boat while shark bites him underwater

Just close the damn beaches, man!

Filmed in Massachusetts, this story takes place in fictional Amity Island, New York. Arguably one of the best movies of all time, Jaws really changed the landscape for terror. If you have a fear of sharks, 25-foot sharks (3 tons of 'em), this is the film for you!

Seriously, if you've gone through life without seeing this one, please give it a shot.

Universal Pictures

33.North Carolina: The Descent

Pathé Distribution

North Carolina was the "Group of Death," meaning the highest point of competition. Carrie and Pumpkinhead are two all-timers for me BUT The Descent might be the best horror movie of this century.

I love anything with a small cast and man, this British horror movie killed it.

34.North Dakota: Leprechaun

A man places a four-leaf clover on a box

Not a lot going on in North Dakota so I give you Leprechaun. Warwick Davis brings misfortune to others as a killer leprechaun.

It's weird, dumb, and a cult classic.

Trimark Pictures

35.Ohio: Trick 'r Treat

Warner Bros. Pictures

My most controversial pick because this edged out the original Nightmare on Elm Street, but man, do I love Trick 'r Treat. This anthology movie is my go-to for Halloween and I am glad I'm finally starting to see merchandise in Halloween stores as its popularity continues to grow.

36.Oklahoma: Near Dark

Man in sunglasses smiles while mouth is covered in blood

Bill Paxton...you lovely, lovely, ridiculous character actor, you. Near Dark is best watched going into it without knowing anything about it. This is also Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's (Hurt Locker) directorial debut.

I won't lie: It's weird, but the world she created is very fun and distinct compared to other series like it.

De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

37.Oregon: Phantasm

White-haired man in a suit

Maybe one of the biggest cult horror series of the '80s. Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man was a very distinctive and creepy character.

It was so popular, they made five movies...and I bet if you're not into horror, you had never even heard of them. A lot of free movie streaming apps offer this series to watch. Go find it if you dare.

AVCO Embassy Pictures

38.Pennsylvania: Sinister

Lionsgate

True story: When I saw this movie opening weekend, people ran out of the theater the second it ended. Sinister freaked a lot of people out, had a lot of cool scares, and a really neat design for its monster.

39.Rhode Island: The Conjuring

Woman looks behind her, frightened

The Conjuring universe starts with a bang. It's tough to make a great horror film and claim land in Stephen King territory, but James Wan managed to create quite the series.

Warner Bros.

40.South Carolina: Slither

Red slug slithers into a bath and near an unaware bathing woman

Shockingly, not a ton of horror films set in South Carolina. Slither is not my cup of tea but people into graphic horror will enjoy this one.

I don't think my stomach can handle this one so I'll pass.

Universal Pictures

41.South Dakota: Beast from Haunted Cave

Hairy monster in a cave

One of the few films on here that I still haven't seen but I really want to soon. Something about the beast really creeps me out. I had never heard of this movie before researching for this list.

See, this is why we take road trips, friends: discovery!

Filmgroup

42.Tennessee: The Evil Dead (1981)

New Line Cinema

Sam Raimi's iconic horror movie is a lot to take in, for it is a grotesque journey. It is an essential watch for horror fans.

I saw the new one and thought it also had some good moments. A very unsettling story from start to finish.

43.Texas: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Bryanston Distributing Company

Could there be any other movie to win the state of Texas? Director Tobe Hooper really created a unique-looking film that has a very specific feel to it. Oh yeah, and all those kills are pretty scary too.

44.Utah: Carnival of Souls

Man in black and black eye shadow

One of my all-time favorites. There is something about this movie that gives me the heebie-jeebies and it could just be the way it was filmed.

This is available on HBO Max and if you are looking for a throwback, I highly recommend.

Herts-Lion International Corp.

45.Vermont: What Lies Beneath

Woman eye-deep in a tub

"Mixed reviews" is putting it lightly for this film but it is Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford, so why not give it a shot? Without a doubt, it is a supernatural horror loved more by the audience than by critics.

Plus, the bathtub scene is one of the best executed horror moments ever.

DreamWorks Pictures

46.Virginia: Mama

Universal Pictures

Based on the wonderful short film by Argentine director Andy Muschietti, this film was directed by the same man. It's very cool when you think about it; they easily could have found a big-name horror director.

I'll say this: The "Mama" is quite scary.

47.Washington: The Ring

DreamWorks Pictures

This ain't Shrek DreamWorks. I saw this film for the first time this year and it was not at all what I had expected. It is worth the watch and is one of the better mainstream modern horrors.

48.West Virginia: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Man laughs nervously while holding a sickle

This will be the most controversial pick of the list, but I love Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. It is one of those movies where it feels like all the jokes land and it is a hilarious concept.

Magnet Releasing

49.Wisconsin: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Man holds up sign with the words "So what's the bad news?"

I was never a big zombie guy but people really liked this one in the early 2000s. My favorite thing is seeking refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie apocalypse. A simple setting but it opened the door to plenty of interesting scenes.

Universal Pictures

50.Wyoming: Joy Ride

Truck drives into another car

A prank leads to a nightmare. To me, this movie is a joy to watch (pun intended). A fun movie with the villain's voice being scarier than anything.

It's a film that managed to make a truck scary and intimidating so hats off to J.J. Abrams.

20th Century Fox

Washington D.C.: The Exorcist (1973)

Warner Bros.

I have to include Washington, DC for this horror classic.

From Linda Blair to Ellen Burstyn, this film is remembered for its scary moments but carried by wonderful and raw performances.

What movie represented your state? Do you agree with all the state-movie pairings? Comment below!