You only have to spend a short amount of time in Wisconsin to realize it’s the perfect place to shoot a horror movie. Our woods and back roads are full of creepy legends, there are 150-year old rural cemeteries around every turn. Wisconsin is home to the two most infamous serial killer cannibals. And the horrifying true case of demonic possession that inspired the rite depicted in The Exorcist happened right here.
Every once in a while this great weird state manages to attract the attention of a film production. Here are six horror movies you may not have known were filmed right here in Wisconsin.
We must begin with…
1. The Giant Spider Invasion
Heralded as the worst movie ever made, The Giant Spider Invasion begins when a meteorite crashes somewhere in rural Wisconsin and begins to spawn hordes of spiders through some kind of interdimensional gateway. The 1975 film stars Alan Hale, Jr. as Sheriff Jones. Hale is best known as The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island.
The invasion was filmed in Gleason, Merrill, and other Wisconsin locations and directed by the now-legendary Bill Rebane, a man who says he’s never been a fan of horror.
In 2013, the metal frame of the giant spider was stolen and scrapped from the field outside Merrill where it had sat rusting since the movie was filmed.
2. The Amityville Horror (2005)
While the real Amityville Horror house can be found in New York, the 2005 remake of the controversial movie was filmed using a house on Silver Lake Rd in Salem, WI. The production crew built a new façade onto the 1880 old world Victorian home to give it that iconic colonial gambrel found on the real Amityville Horror house on Ocean Ave in Amityville, New York.
Some of the props used in the production, including the creepy eye-shaped windows, were left behind when filming was complete. They were sold at an estate sale at the house in 2017.
3. The Pit (1981)
Though it was one of my personal favorites, my childhood was irreparably damaged by The Pit. I developed an unhealthy paranoia of stuffed animals, and holes in the ground obviously contained tra-la-logs who were trying to eat me. Until researching this post, however, I had no idea how close to home that movie really was.
The Pit was filmed almost entirely in Beaver Dam. Jamie’s house can still be found there, as well as his school, library and other locations. The pit itself, however, was dug out and filmed in a wooded area outside of Waupun.
4. Children of the Night (1991)
Children of the Night begins as any good horror movie should: Teenage girls stripping down to their underwear to go swimming in the flooded crypt of an abandoned church as a rite of passage where where they accidentally awaken a grotesque sleeping vampire. This one is pretty bonkers, with a partying vampires, vampire cocoons, vampires who expel their lungs outside of their bodies to breathe, and a fornicating priest who teams up with a local school teacher to fight them all off.
Calumet, MI is home to St. Anne’s Church where the girls for a swim, but the rest of this Fangoria-produced flick was filmed in various locations around northern Wisconsin, including Crandon, Phelps, Rhinelander, Sugar Camp and Three Lakes.
5. Fever Lake (1997)
Corey Haim, Mario Lopez and Bo Hopkins star in this straight-to-video slasher about a group of teenagers who spend the night in a cursed house on Fever Lake despite warnings from locals.
Fever Lake was filmed in Kenosha and Twin Lakes.
The film premiered on October 9, 1997 in Kenosha.
If you really want to attempt a watch, we recommend you check out the 2015 RiffTrax version.
6. Witches’ Night (2007)
Rarely do indie horror flicks live up to their hype, often suffering from bad acting, thin plots, lame gore effects and more. I haven’t seen Witches’ Night yet, but it seems to be surprisingly good if the reviews are to be trusted. Also, it stars Betsy Baker of Evil Dead fame.
According to the website, Witches’ Night was filmed at locations along the Wisconsin River, including Tower Hill State Park and the “Witches’ Cliff” at Ferry Bluff.
How many of these have you seen? What else belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments below!