What makes a great horror film? The settings for horror movies play a major role in shaping the narrative of a particular film. These settings include isolated cabins as seen in Friday the 13th and dorms in the set of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Interestingly, every horror movie centers around the similar set of settings. From the blockbuster horror tales like The Conjuring and Shutter, to disaster adaptations like Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror and the over-hyped IT, here’s six spooky horror movie settings. 

1. Cabins

From time to time, cabins have been one of the main settings for horror films. This includes small cottages by the lake or isolated homes, away from urban neighborhoods. The sheer remoteness makes this a hot spot for demonic activity. On most occasions, these cabins host families who had just moved into a new area and are unaware of the dark history of their new home. Alternatively, a cabin also serves as an accommodation for college kids on a summer getaway. Unaware of their surroundings, these characters often fall victim to the cabin and its grueling past. Therefore, forming the perfect narrative for a classic horror film.

2. Dorms

This is another addition to the favorite settings for horror movies. Young adults are a classic prey for the evil, especially when considering their recklessness and their need to try anything that upsets the order. Additionally, dorms also leads to the feeling of loneliness as students are away from homes. This creates a window of opportunity for a typical horror narrative to take over. For directors and producers who are looking to amplify the horror, dorms which have previously seen murder or suicide are a must for sinister activity.

3. Amusement Parks

Anyone up for running into Pennywise? From afar, amusement parks are all fun and laughs. What could go wrong with cotton candy, roller coaster rides and carefree and kids? For one, the ride could malfunction, sending victims plunging to their death and into the scripts of Final Destination. And as for the clowns, imagine walking into a dimly lit tunnel only to find a clown breathing down your neck while grinning from ear to ear and whispering “why so serious?” Yup, let’s just skip that tunnel.

4. Forests

This right here, is an all-time classic. It is one of the best settings for Hollywood horror movies, as there is always something eerie about the woods. It can be used to hide a dead body or even to practice witchcraft, away from the eye of the public. Real world harrowing tales of people gone missing in forests only add to the goosebumps of this setting. Japan’s legendary Suicide Forest which sits on the foot on Mount Fuji is a perfect example of this.

5. Cemeteries

Along with forests, the cemetery is another important element in a horror film. Sorry to disappoint, but no one is interested in punching through the grave and grabbing your ankle. Although, the abundance of dead bodies and skeletons available make this a natural setting for a horror movie. Films like The Omen have successfully used the creepiness of a cemetery to great effect. Furthermore, the cemetery could also act as the site for unholy practices and rituals. The eerie aura of the place is only amplified when the living arrive to contemplate on the trauma and mysteries of death.   

6. Abandoned / Old buildings

Anything abandoned seems like a great place to feature a horror film. An abandoned cabin by the lake, or a run down hospital are perfect for housing dark histories. The deterioration of these buildings are perfect for paranormal activity. Whispers of tales of the dead seemingly travels through the air and makes for a hair-raising experience. Also, an old, underground bunker is another great horror film location. The sheer remoteness of these spots leads to the “what happens here, stays here” feeling. Netflix’s Arabian folklore monster-inspired Ghoul, brilliantly exploits this sense of terror and isolation.

There you have it, six essential settings for horror movies. From cabins to cemeteries, these spots are perfect for terrifying tales of the undead. For more Halloween inspiration, check out our guide to dark tourism around the world.