Posted October 25, 2019

Eight scary movies with Philly-area connections

Watch them if you dare.


It's no secret that the makers of many major motion pictures (think Rocky, Philadelphia or Silver Linings Playbook) choose to shoot in our fair city. When a film crew is in town, the closed streets brightly lit at all hours of the night and frequent celebrity sightings at local restaurants are an easy give away. What some of you may not know is that Philly has also served as home to well-known writers and directors.  

For this Halloween season, we got to thinking—which SCARY movies are Philly-made? 

After carefully searching the archives (metaphorically speaking), we came up with a list that is sure to induce goosebumps while shining a spotlight on our city’s rich cinematic roots.

It and It Chapter Two
The feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s supernatural horror novel about a group of bullied kids who battle a demonic clown was co-written by Gary Dauberman, TFM ’02. The Temple grad also wrote the screenplay for the sequel.

The Lovely Bones
A young woman watches from the afterlife as her family comes to terms with her gruesome rape and murder. The author of the novel upon which the movie is based grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, which serves as the setting for both.
Philly locations to look for: Valley Forge National Historical Park and more

The Sixth Sense
Known for its masterful narrative and ability to deliver on the shivers, this haunting ghost story launched a thousand “I see dead people” memes and catapulted director M. Night Shyamalan, who hails from nearby Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, to fame. Most of the film was shot in and around Center City.
Philly locations to look for: Old Pine Presbyterian Church, Pine Street, Saint Albans Street, Delancey Street and more

Twelve Monkeys
Set in Philadelphia, this sci-fi movie starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis follows a time-travelling convict who is sent back from the future to the ’90s to learn more about a man-made virus that wipes out civilization.
Philly locations to look for: City Hall, Delaware Power Station, Eastern State Penitentiary, abandoned Met Theater, Fairmount Park, Macy’s Center City, Pennsylvania Convention Center and more

Blow Out
This Hitchcockesque ’80s suspense/thriller from famed director and Philadelphia native Brian DePalma follows a low-budget slasher audio editor (John Travolta) who witnesses a car careening off a bridge. He later realizes his recorded sounds prove the accident was murder,  and as a result, he finds his own life is in danger. Hint: If you like the twists and turns in this DePalma edge-of-your-seater, check out his Dressed to Kill, which also takes place in Philly.
Philly locations to look for: Wissahickon Memorial Bridge, Henry Avenue and more

Although not technically filmed here, acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch (of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet fame) used his time studying in our city in the 1960s as inspiration for this bleak, surrealist cult classic about a man who lives alone in an apartment in a post-industrial area. P.S. It's shot in black and white.

The Blob  
This 1958 oldie-but-goodie takes place in nearby Chester County and features a big gooey alien that terrorizes a town. Fun fact: every spring Phoenixville’s Colonial Theater hosts Blobfest, a three-day festival that includes a screening of the film and other horror classics, a reenactment of the theater escape sequence (a scene in the movie that takes place at that theater), street fairs and more.

Thanks to IMDb, Pennlive, Billy Penn, Wikipedia and our team of horror aficionados for references.

—Jared Michael Lowe and Kim Fischer