Skip To Content

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

    Take a road trip with me to see all the best sights and scares across the United States.

    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
    Warner Bros.

    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.

    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
    New World Pictures

    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.

    4. Arkansas: The Legend of Boggy Creek

    A monster stalks a hunter in the woods
    Howco International Pictures

    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."

    5. California: Psycho

    Shadow of a woman with a knife
    Universal Pictures

    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.

    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
    Paramount Pictures

    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.

    8. Delaware: Head Case

    Man with glasses speaks to camera
    Fleet Street Films

    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.

    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
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    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.

    11. Hawaii: A Perfect Getaway

    Blonde woman looks angry
    Universal Pictures

    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.

    12. Idaho: Idaho Transfer

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

    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.

    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
    20th Century Fox

    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.

    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
    Orion Pictures

    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.

    18. Louisiana: The Last Exorcism

    Man sits in hay hugging a possessed girl
    Lionsgate

    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.

    19. Maine: Pet Sematary

    Creepy woman on bed
    Paramount Pictures

    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.

    20. Maryland: The Blair Witch Project

    Flashlight-illuminated woman cries in the darkness
    Artisan Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection

    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.

    21. Massachusetts: Session 9

    Creepy hallway with a wheelchair
    USA Films

    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.

    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
    20th Century Fox

    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.

    24. Mississippi: Straw Dogs (2011)

    Man in a doorway looks at a woman
    Steve Dietl/©Screen Gems / courtesy Everett Collection

    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.

    25. Missouri: You're Next

    Man in an animal mask holds a machete
    Lionsgate

    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.

    26. Montana: Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County

    Home video of frightened family screaming
    Paramount Home Entertainment

    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.

    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
    Vanguard

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

    29. New Hampshire: The Dead Zone

    Christopher Walken outside in the cold wearing a jacket
    Paramount

    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).

    30. New Jersey: Friday the 13th

    A woman is passed out in a canoe on the lake
    Paramount Pictures

    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.

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

    Dirty hand touches a woman's face
    Fox Searchlight Pictures

    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.

    32. New York: Jaws

    Man reaches for boat while shark bites him underwater
    Universal Pictures

    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.

    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
    Trimark Pictures

    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.

    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
    De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

    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.

    37. Oregon: Phantasm

    White-haired man in a suit
    AVCO Embassy Pictures

    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.

    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
    Warner Bros.

    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.

    40. South Carolina: Slither

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

    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.

    41. South Dakota: Beast from Haunted Cave

    Hairy monster in a cave
    Filmgroup

    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!

    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
    Herts-Lion International Corp.

    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. 

    45. Vermont: What Lies Beneath

    Woman eye-deep in a tub
    DreamWorks Pictures

    "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.

    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
    Magnet Releasing

    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.

    49. Wisconsin: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

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

    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.

    50. Wyoming: Joy Ride

    Truck drives into another car
    20th Century Fox

    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.

    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!