The Watson Blog Home
October
27

The late 1970s through the early 1990s was the golden age of the slasher flick, and many horror houses from that period remain unchanged today, still possessing the power to give those in the know a good spook.

So, grab your popcorn and lets continue our list of some of the most iconic scary movie houses, some fun facts, a couple Home Value Estimates, and tips on how to survive these homes should you accidentally stumble across one of them in your nightmares--- errr, I mean your travels. 

The Amityville Horror, 1979 

Address:  112 Ocean Avenue, Amity, NY, but was changed to 108 Ocean Avenue to deter tourists

Film Location:  Depicting 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, NY; shot at 18 Brooks Road, Toms River, NJ

Year Amityville House was Built:  1927

Year Toms River House was Built:  1920

Current Ocean Ave. Home Value Estimate:  $1,087,600.00

Current Toms River Home Value Estimate:  $1,162,600.00

In 1974, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr. committed an unthinkable crime in his five-bedroom Dutch Colonial in Long Island, NY, an event that inspired a book as well as The Amityville Horror movie, released in 1979.  

Thirteen months after the crime was committed, the Lutz family bought the three-story waterfront property along with its swimming pool and boathouse for a bargain $80,000.00. What transpired afterwards became the controversial and often contested subject of a 1977 best-selling book and multiple film adaptations. 

But The Amityville Horror was actually filmed at a private residence in Toms River, New Jersey after authorities in Amityville denied permission for filming at the actual location. The Cape Cod-style home in Jersey was temporarily remodeled to include the home's original iconic gambrel roof and creepy 'eye windows.'    

The Original Amity House – 112 / 108 Ocean Avenue Home: The 3,600 square feet home has five bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms and is set on the Amityville River in a quiet village that was first settled in the 1600s by Europeans. For nearly 13 months after the crime was committed, the house remained empty until George and Kathy Lutz moved in and purchased the DeFeo's furniture, left intact, for $400.00 as part of their mortgage agreement. The Lutzes lasted 28 days before moving out, claiming they experienced supernatural phenomena. 

The Hoax 

Allegations of what happened during these four weeks included George Lutz awaking at 3:15 a.m. every morning to visit the boathouse, the exact time the DeFeo crimes took place. A few other noteworthy events were swarming flies in the house despite cold winter temps, Kathy Lutz experiencing repeated nightmares, the couple hearing slamming doors and finding green goo on the walls, and observing cloven hoof prints in the snow on New Year's Day, to name a few.  

 The Lutzes even hired a priest who apparently sprinkled holy water around a room in their house, recited a prayer, and claimed he heard a loud male voice say, "Get out!" The priest warned the Lutzes not to use the room as a bedroom, so they turned it into a sewing room instead.  

 Many skeptics believed the Lutzes, who were saddled in debt, concocted the stories with the help of DeFeo's defense attorney William Weber in 1975 as a way to make money. In 1979, Weber confirmed the hoax, stating that he and the Lutzes created the story over "many bottles of wine." The priest the Lutzes hired was later defrocked by his diocese because of his involvement in the hoax. 

The Amityville House has been owned by four other families since 1974, one of which had the address changed to 108 Ocean Ave. The house was also remodeled to include the removal of the creepy demonic eyes on the top floor. 

 Amityville may never see an end to the legendary ghost stories that made it famous. The hoax and mystery surrounding the house has weathered nearly four decades, successfully spawning a cottage industry built on a haunted house hoax.  

 Fun Fact 1: Public officials refused to allow filming at the real home, so a private residence was used and converted to look like the Ocean Ave. home. 

 Fun Fact 2: The Amityville house was briefly featured in The Conjuring 2, (2016), a movie about a single mother who believed something evil was in her house and hired paranormal investigators to explore.   

 How To Survive It: GET OUT!!!!! 

 

Poltergeist, 1982 

Address:  4267 Roxbury Street, Simi Valley, CA 93063 

Location in Film:  Cuesta Verde, a California planned community 

Year Built:  1979 

Current Home Value Estimate:  $1,012,700.00

The split-level, Tudor-style house filmed in Poltergeist was only used for exterior shots and was chosen for its "suburban appearance" as it was meant to starkly contrast against the malevolent paranormal activity experienced by the Freeling family in the film. The house itself was also chosen for its various rooflines because they suggested the house had a life of its own. 

 Most of the indoor scenes were shot at the studios, and apart from maintenance and a light face-lift, the house hasn't changed much from its big debut in the classic horror film. 

 As would be expected, the seventies Tudor gets its share of visitors every year, most of whom are respectful of its owners.  

 Fun Fact 1: To capture the final scene in which the house gets sucked into a vortex, set designers built a 4-foot-wide mock-up of the house in a California studio, then placed industrial-sized vacuums above the replica with hooks attached to specific points in the house. 

 Fun Fact 2: Steven Spielberg spent a great deal of time on the set as a producer, partially because his other film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was experiencing delays. 

 How to Survive: Stay Away from the Light! 

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974 

Location:  1010 Kings Court, Kingsland, TX 78639 

Location in Film:  La Frontera/Quick Hill Road, Round Rock, TX 

Year Built:  1909

 Built in 1909, this Queen Anne-style cottage originally stood in La Frontera, Texas in Williamson County, (now Round Rock), and was considered quite grand and luxurious for its time with fish-scale siding, chamfered corners, and gingerbread trim.  

 Through its life, the Victorian house was home to a succession of families and students until it was used for the movie in 1973.  

 In 1998, the house was purchased by The Antlers Inn – a turn of the century railroad resort on Lake LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson), dismantled, and moved to Kingsland, where it was completely refurbished and turned into the Grand Central Café in 2012. Every year, the iconic horror-house-turned-café draws thousands of hungry visitors and Chainsaw fans to enjoy a good meal and tour the house.  

 If you're ever in the area, be sure and stop in for a meal as the café boasts fine dining with award-winning fare. And if you're feeling especially daring, walk up the rickety old stairs and visit Grandpa Sawyer on the second floor!  

 Fun Fact: The same farmhouse can be seen at the beginning of a B-rated rock-n-roll comedy Roadie (1980), starring Travis W. Redfish ("Meatloaf"), Debbie Harry ("Blondie"), Roy Orbison, and Hank Williams, Jr.  

 How To Survive It: Don't pick up hitchhikers and NEVER stay for dinner! 

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984 

Address: 1428 North Genesee Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 

Location in Film:  1428 Elm Street, Springwood, OH [fictitious address] 

Year Built: 1919 

Current Home Value Estimate: $3,042,100.00 

 On Genesee Avenue in Los Angeles lies Hollywood's stand-in for the fictional Springwood, Ohio in 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street. The street name was changed for the movie because director Wes Craven didn't think A Nightmare on North Genesee Avenue had the same ring.  

 Genesee Avenue resembles a middle-class suburban neighborhood in the Midwest, which made it an ideal location for the film and its subsequent sequels. The fact that the film's production offices were located a stone's throw away on Sunset Boulevard was also a plus.  

 The house in the film belonged to main character Nancy Thompson (played by Heather Langenkamp), a teen fighting to uncover a dark secret concealed by her parents after she and her friends become targets of iconic villain-of-our-nightmares Freddy Krueger.  

 Almost four decades later, the house has undergone numerous transformations and in 2007, Angie Hill sold it for $2.1 million. The house eventually went on the market for $3.25 and was sold for a little bit less than the asking price at $2.98 million. 

 Thankfully, not a single sighting of Freddy has been reported since filming. (; 

 If you're ever in LA and wish to take a peek at the house, you can hop aboard CitySightseeing StarLine's Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour which will take you past the home! 

 Fun Fact 1: New Line Cinema was on the brink of bankruptcy when the film was released, but was ultimately saved by its success and was later jokingly nicknamed, "The House that Freddy Built." 

 Fun Fact 2: Director Wes Craven was a professor at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, which has the actual Elm Street situated between the State University of New York at Potsdam and Clarkson University. The house on which it was based is owned by a fraternity, and is listed at the address 20 U.S. 11, Potsdam, New York 13676. 

 How To Survive It: Whatever you do, don't fall asleep! 

 

Black Christmas, 1974 

Address:  6 Clarendon Crescent, Toronto, ON M4V 2P4, Canada 

Location in Film:  Montreal, Quebec 

Year Built:  1907 

"It was so cool the way it was laid out; it had every kind of wonderful potential for a horror movie," said actress Lynn Griffin who played Clare Harrison in 1974's Black Christmas. She was talking about the early 1900s Tudor-style home depicted as a college sorority house in the film, shot mostly in Toronto. 

 The house was discovered by director Bob Clark while scouting for locations, and its owners agreed to lease the home for the production. The house was chosen because of its ominous staircase, and Clark liked that he could get a good shot of someone's feet at the top without seeing their body. Other appealing traits were its dark polished wood with its contrast to the Christmas lights decorating the banisters, the trellis on the side of the house, and the creaky wooden crawlspace to access the attic. These elements are now signature to Black Christmas, a modestly budgeted Canadian film that inspired the slasher genre.  

 When the house was initially rented for film production, it had been unoccupied and was in poor shape, with old wallpaper and chipped paint, requiring the production designers to repaint every wall and replace the wallpaper. The entire movie was filmed inside the house; no movie set was used. 

 The home is currently occupied and stands to this day as a popular tourist attraction. 

 Fun Fact 1: Black Christmas was inspired by the urban legend "the babysitter and the man upstairs" and a series of crimes that took place in the Westmount neighborhood of Quebec. 

 Fun Fact 2: Some scenes in the script had to be slightly rewritten to accommodate the house's foundation and structure. 

 How to survive it: Stay out of the attic! 

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder