CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – With October here, many horror fans are starting their lists of movies to watch before Halloween. From sci-fi, psychological thriller, horror, and everything in between, a number of chilling films have been either set or filmed in West Virginia. Here are 12 movies that fans of the paranormal might consider adding to their list.
Super 8 (2011)
This sci-fi film was directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, 2004-2010) and produced by Steven Spielberg (E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, 1982). Filmed in Weirton, West Virginia, the movie follows a group of kids who discover a supernatural phenomenon while filming an amateur zombie movie with a Super 8 camera. Among others, the film stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, 2014), Joel Courtney (The Kissing Booth, 2018), and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, 2006-2011)
The film was well-received by critics, getting an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the movie featuring children characters, Common Sense Media rates the film as for 13+ for violence, language, and drinking/drugs content. The film is currently available for rent on YouTube for $2.99.
The Devil All the Time (2020)
This psychological thriller has a star-studded cast, including Tom Holland (Spider-man: Homecoming, 2017) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight, 2008). While the movie was filmed in Alabama, it is set in the fictional town of Coal Creek, West Virginia post-WWII. The movie is based off of a book of the same name by Ohio native Donald Ray Pollock.
The movie is currently available for streaming on Netflix. According to the Netflix summary: “Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.” Although not a horror movie in the classical sense, Common Sense Media describes the film as “extremely graphic” and “disturbing.” The Devil All the Time has a 64% Rotten Tomatoes score, but retained a Top 10 spot on Netflix’s charts for 13 days, according to Filx Patrol.
An indie film, Kecksburg was filmed in Kingwood, West Virginia. The movie is based off of a real life phenomenon known as the Kecksburg UFO Incident. IMDB’s summary explains, “A reporter investigates a mysterious crash and uncovers more than an object, but a massive government conspiracy. Inspired by the real life events of December 9, 1965 and one of America’s most mysterious UFO incidents.”
The movie was directed by Pennsylvania native Cody Knotts and is currently available to stream for free on Tubi. The film received a score of 5.5 out of 10 on IMDB, with most users reporting that it’s a fun watch.
Castle Rock (2018-2019)
This psychological horror TV series is created by Stephen King and set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. For the first season, the Moundsville penitentiary was transformed into the Shawshank State Prison in which Bill Skarsgård (It, 2017) starred as a prisoner.
The series can currently be streamed on Hulu. According to the streaming site, “Misery has arrived. Lizzy Caplan plays a young Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s MISERY. In season two of this psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, Castle Rock combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King’s literary career: Cujo, The Dark Half, IT and Needful Things, as well as novella The Body and numerous short stories such as Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock.”
Although not a movie, it still might interest horror fans during this spooky season.
Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies (2014)
Wrestling fans might recognize a few faces in this indie film. Starring legends such as Roddy Piper, Matt Hardy, and Kurt Angle, this film is billed as a horror comedy on IMDB. The storyline on the site states, “The Franchise Shane Douglas accidentally kills a wrestler in the ring. The wrestler’s brother Angus seeks revenge by surrendering his soul to an ancient demon to gain the power to raise the undead. Angus then pays for a private show at an empty prison to lure Douglas and his friend Rowdy Roddy Piper into a death trap.”
The film is directed by Cody Knotts and was filmed in Parkersburg. The film received a 3.5 out of 10 on IMDB, but a Bleacher Report review said, “If you are a wrestling fan, you will love this movie.” The movie can currently be rented on YouTube for $2.99.
The Hunted (2013)
A 2013 indie found footage thriller, The Hunted was set and filmed in Webster County. The film is directorial debut of actor Josh Stewart (The Collection, 2012) who was born in Diana, West Virginia and was inspired to write the film after a strange hunting experience, according to interviews.
The film can be streamed for free on Tubi. The streaming site gives the following summary: “Chasing their dream of landing their own hunting show, two friends head into the woods to bag a fabled deer, only to realize they’re the prey.” The movie received a 32% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. HorrorNews.net‘s review reads, “This film is the horror film equivalent of getting up in the morning to go on a road trip, stopping at a diner and someone’s child screaming through the meal.”
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
A comedy horror film, this movie was set in West Virginia. The summary, according to IMDB: “Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students.”
The film has received great critical reviews with a 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. According to MovieFreak.com, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is “extremely witty, has far more intelligence than you might originally expect.” The film can be rented on YouTube for $2.99.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)
This thriller film is the second feature film installment of the X-Files franchise and is set in rural West Virginia. According to a Google summary, “Though FBI special agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and his partner Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) once chased things that go bump in the night, his tireless search for the truth out there has led to his professional exile. However, a missing-persons case leads to the agents’ reunion, along with an encounter with a priest (Billy Connolly) who may or may not be experiencing psychic visions.”
Silent Hill (2006)
An adaptation of the video game of the same name, Silent Hill is a psychological horror film that takes place in the fictional town of Silent Hill, West Virginia that was abandoned due to a massive coal seam fire. According to IMDB’s summary, “A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.”
Although the film received a 32% on the TomatoMeter on Rotten Tomatoes, the film had developed a cult following which afforded it a 63% audience score. The film is currently available to stream on Hulu.
Wrong Turn (2003)
Perhaps the most controversial on this list, this slasher film is set in the remote forest of West Virginia. The storyline, according to IMDB: “Chris Flynn is driving his car for a job interview in another city. However, an accident with a trunk transporting chemical products blocks the highway and Chris looks for an alternative route through the mountains of West Virginia to accomplish his schedule. Due to a lack of attention, he crashes another car parked in the middle of the road with flat tires. Chris meets a group of five friends, who intended to camp in the forest, and they decide to leave the couple Francine and Evan on the place, while Chris, Jessie, Carly and her fiancé Scott tries to find some help. They find a weird cabin in the middle of nowhere, where three violent cannibalistic mountain men with the appearance of monsters live. The two couples try to escape from the mountain men while chased by them.”
Wrong Turn received a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, but had gained a cult following over the years. Many have criticized it for making a mockery of poor people, but the movie gained enough interest to warrant six sequels and a 2021 remake. The film is currently available to rent on YouTube for $3.99
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
You’d be hard pressed to find a West Virginia native who doesn’t know the Mothman legend. Set and filmed in Point Pleasant, this supernatural thriller has become a West Virginia classic. The Mothman Museum even features costumes, set pieces, and other items from the film. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “‘The Mothman Prophecies’ examines a series of inexplicable occurrences through the eyes – and mind- of one man. A man (Richard Gere) is driven to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his wife’s (Debra Messing) death — and how they might be connected to the strange phenomena in a town four hundred miles away.”
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This classic horror film starring Jodie Foster and Ted Levine became the fifth highest grossing film of 1991 worldwide. The film was set and shot in the northern West Virginia area, as FBI agent character, Clarice Starling, returns to her hometown to take on the infamous Buffalo Bill case. It is the second out of five films in the franchise based on the novels of the same name.