Inspiration for a story can come from anywhere, and for tales of horror, it may even come from real-life events. Knowledge of actual encounters, murderers, first-person accounts, ghost stories, and haunted places has been heard, told, and passed down over the years, and a few of them have been made into successful, scary films. As Halloween approaches, it seems only fitting to expand celebrations from trick-or-treating and pumpkin patches to real-life properties that have inspired horror movies.
In honor of Halloween quickly approaching, today we will be looking at some of the most infamous real-life properties across the country that went on to inspire popular Hollywood horror films. Ranging from the Amityville Horror house to the Old Arnold Estate in Rhode Island that inspired the first Conjuring film, these properties seldomly fetch sale prices that are well below the list price. If you’re interested in behind-the-scenes details of this genre should read and learn about these spooky, yet fascinating homes –
Amityville Horror House – Long Island, New York
The movie, Amityville Horror came out in 1979. It was based on a book from 1977, which was originally based on events that happened in 1974 and 1975. The Amityville Horror house is perhaps the most notorious haunted home in America. The murders that occurred at the property and subsequent paranormal activity inspired a best-selling book in addition to a film franchise that spans 38 years and 10 movies. The home rekindled interest in March 2021 when the convicted serial killer who perpetrated his crimes in the home, died in prison. The property was last listed in June 2016 for $850,000 and sold in March 2017 for $605,000.
The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
This real-life hotel inspired the setting for The Shining, a 1980 film and book by Stephen King from 1977. It was even used as the filming location for the TV miniseries in 1997. While this makes it spooky enough, many claim that the hotel is actually haunted. Paranormal activity has been reported, investigators have come to check it out, and it has been featured on several ghost-hunting television series.
Pet Sematary House – Orrington, Maine
The Pet Sematary house is a four-bedroom property that Stephen King and his family rented in the late 1970s. It was there that King came up with the idea for his best-selling novel. Events such as King’s daughter’s cat being hit by a truck in front of the home and local children constructing a pet cemetery in its backyard helped inspire King to write the novel.
Located on River Road in Orrington, Maine, the home was last listed in August 2017 for $255,000, but a sale was never reported.
The Old Arnold Estate – Harrisville, Rhode Island
Following the release of The Conjuring in 2013, the owners of this centuries-old 14-room farmhouse in Rhode Island threatened to sue Warner Bros. Their property and the investigation conducted there by the late, famous paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren inspired the film, but it was constantly trespassed upon after the film became a box office hit.
In the wake of the film’s release, the nuisances became too much for the homeowners and they listed the estate for sale, but eventually took it off the market. The property was again listed for sale in September 2021 for $1,200,000.
The Sowden House – Los Angeles, California
The Sowden House garnered the nation’s attention in 1947 in the wake of the Black Dahlia murder. Built in 1927 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the home is where Dr. George Hill Hodel lived and allegedly dissected the body of Elizabeth Short.
In the early 2000s, Hodel’s son Steve brought a cadaver dog into the home’s basement and claims it detected the scent of decomposed human remains. However, nothing came of the younger Hodel’s investigation. The home was most recently sold in January 2018 for $4.7 million.
The Dakota – New York, New York
Perhaps most notorious for being the location of John Lennon’s assassination, The Dakota is one of the most prestigious co-ops in Manhattan with many celebrities who have called it home over the years. The Dakota also has a storied supernatural history, with the most famous ghost in the building being the Crying Lady who is said to walk the co-op’s halls.
Several movies have been filmed in The Dakota, most famously Rosemary’s Baby in 1968. The film is set in The Bramford, which is actually The Dakota, where many of the movie’s interior and exterior were filmed. Most recently, a four-bedroom apartment sold in the building in March 2020 for $9.75 million.
On behalf of Seven Gables, we hope that everyone has a fun, spooky-filled Halloween weekend!
Visit here to read the RISMedia article that inspired today’s blog post!