Rebecca May Ristow | A&E Editor
Halloween is rapidly approaching and in the midst of midterms, classes, jobs, and our sometimes crazy social lives, lots of us have had an exceptionally hard time getting into the spooky spirit. However, the answer is right under our noses: Connecticut.
Yes, Connecticut locals may often say that the most exciting thing in our state is the Dunkin Donuts on every corner, but we actually have a rich, haunted, history. Connecticut is filled with spooky places and our cold nights, and sometimes barren streets, serve as the perfect locations for a spooky story!
So, whether you're someone who loves horror, wants a fun watch with a couple friends, or is looking for something totally unique, this list is a look at the best Halloween movies set in or inspired by the Nutmeg State.
While the film is set in Rhode Island, The Conjuring (2013) launched an entire franchise of beloved horror films following Connecticut's most famous paranormal couple. As the second highest grossing horror series of all time, the movies do not disappoint! The series follows Lorraine and Ed, two Bridgeport natives. Lorraine, a clairvoyant medium, and Ed, a devout Catholic and self-proclaimed ‘demonologist’, explore the haunted world through these films, often referencing their hometown state.
The best part is, Ed and Lorraine are real people! These two have been investigating the paranormal world for decades and are regarded as some of the best in their field. In 1952, the couple even established The New England Society for Psychic Research. It makes sense why their stories have inspired tons of books and films.
While The Conjuring (2013) follows many of their first paranormal stories and findings, it is Annabelle (2014) that takes the cake for Connecticut representation. Yes, for those of you that don’t know, the most haunted Raggedy Ann doll of all time, Annabelle, is a Connecticut native as well. The doll was first given as a gift to a Hartford nurse in 1970, but when she took it home, her roommates began to notice Annabelle’s strange behavior. They soon reported to Ed and Lorraine that the doll was moving on its own, and even that it attacked one of the nurse’s friends. After performing an exorcism at their apartment, the couple agreed to take the doll home and lock it up themselves. Pretty brave for a couple of Connecticut residents!
Besides these films, Connecticut is also the place behind the iconic horror flick, Friday the 13th (1980). While the film is said to take place in fictional, small-town New Jersey, director/producer Sean S. Cunningham and screenplay writer Victor Miller actually resided in Stratford, Connecticut when they wrote the script for this well-known film. According to their book, "Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday The 13th", the two derived their inspiration for the franchise from the surrounding area where they grew up. The entire film has many New England nuances, and it isn’t hard to tell that the film was inspired by the East Coast.
While that movie is extremely iconic, at the end of the day, The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) is Connecticut’s titular Halloween film. The film, while receiving negative critic reviews, is still a scary watch for the Halloween season. It follows a fictional family, the Campbells, who are in desperate need of a place to stay in Connecticut. Clearly suffering from classic horror movie logic, the family gets coerced into renting an old mortuary instead. While staying there, they have visions of hauntings, séances, deaths, and demonic carvings. The family’s son, Matt, is then forced to take matters into his own hands, deciding to free the spirits himself. Is it the best horror film of all time? No. Did simply reading the Wikipedia page keep me up all night? Yes. It is definitely worth a watch this season.
These aren’t the only horror films to be inspired by our state, however! Beetlejuice (1988) takes place in the fictional town of Winter River, Connecticut. The House of the Devil (2009) was filmed entirely in Connecticut and, if you look close enough, you can even see Central Connecticut State University is a location in the movie! The Innkeepers (2009) was based on the haunted Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington and almost the entire movie was filmed on location! Even Stephen King’s Thinner (1996) takes place here!
So, if you’re looking for an extra spooky way to get involved in Halloween this year, consider watching one of these films! Or really scare yourself by going to visit these locations yourself. Good luck, and don’t get too freaked out!