Filmed in Utah Horror: 2020 Edition
Utah has long been the setting for many indie-horror films, and on the week of Halloween, what can be better than being scared of your own backyard? To help us get ready in the spooky season, the Utah Film Commission has compiled this list of must-see (at least once) filmed in Utah horror classics, and others that have a special place in our hearts.
Cover photo from ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’ and provided by writer/director, Jim Cummings.
Carnival of Souls (1962)
Filmed in Salt Lake City, the film has been contemporarily noted by critics and film scholars for its cinematography and foreboding atmosphere. Director, Herk Harvey, was driving from California to his hometown in Kansas when he passed by the old Saltair Pavilion and the idea for Carnival of Souls came to him.
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
The sequel to the 1973 film, The Exorcist, stars Richard Burton and Linda Blair. The film is considered one of the worst sequels ever made, but is still worth a watch, particularly if you are planning a movie-marathon.
The Car (1977)
A 70s film starring James Brolin, and a possessed 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III that terrorizes a small desert town. Who can stop it? Only the town sheriff! The film shot around Kanab, Hurricane, and St. George, Utah, and also featured Snow Canyon, Zion National Park, and Glen Canyon.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Silent Night, Deadly Night was one of the most controversial films of the 1980s, particularly because their marketing campaign put an emphasis on the killer being dressed as Santa Clause. As the ads were terrifying children, large crowds formed outside theatres to protest its release, and the distribution company pulled its promotional efforts six days after the release of the film. The film shot around Salt Lake City and Summit County.
The Stand (1994)
The made-in-Utah TV miniseries is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Stephen King and originally aired on ABC in May 1994. The adaptation was filmed everywhere from Pleasant Grove to Ogden. The series won two Emmy awards, as well as garnering a number of nominations for Emmys and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The American slasher film stars Paul Rudd and Donald Pleasence. It is the sixth installment in the Halloween film series, three of which were filmed in Utah. The feature shot in various Utah locations, including Salt Lake, Midvale, Ogden, during the winter of 1994-95. The crew was hit by an unexpected early winter snowstorm which complicated production and, as a result, several scenes which were due to take place outdoors were quickly moved to indoor locations.
The American science fiction horror film includes an all-star cast of Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger and Natasha Henstridge. Several scenes were filmed in Utah, including the opening scenes, which were captured at the Tooele Army Depot, and a Victorian-era train station in Brigham City. The feature turned out to be a box office success. A theatrical sequel, Species II, was later produced, followed by a book adaptation and two comic book series.
As if The Birds didn’t scare us enough, Bats is a film about genetically mutated bats that take over the town. Of course it’s up to the town’s leading bat expert and local sheriff to stop them. The film shot in Genola, Magna, American Fork, and Park City, Utah.
Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)
Easily the scariest Disney Channel Original Movie ever made. Don’t Look Under the Bed follows no-nonsense teenager, Frances, who enlists the help of her imaginary friend, Larry Houdini. Together, they team up to take on the bogeyman, who is framing Frances. The film shot around Ogden, Utah, and who can forget the infamous scene of the bogeyman on top of Ogden High School.
This thriller follows three skiers stranded on a chairlift and forced to make life-or-death choices, which is bound to scare anyone who lives near a ski town. The film shot at Snowbasin Resort and around the Ogden area.
The critically-acclaimed supernatural horror film, written and directed by Ari Aster, premiered in the Midnight section at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Starring Toni Collette and filmed in Utah, the production became A24’s highest-grossing film worldwide. Opening scenes of Aster’s sophomore film Midsommar were also shot in Utah.
The Appearance (2018)
This feature also received a Community Film Incentive to film in Utah. Written and directed by Kurt Knight, the thriller tells of witchcraft and medieval monks and stars Jake Stormoen (The Outpost) and Kristian Nairn (Game of Thrones). The Appearance won awards for Best Sound and Best Score at Utah’s 2018 FilmQuest Festival.
The horror-comedy film premiered initially as a web series at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Later released as a feature length, the series shot in Utah and received support from the state’s Motion Picture Incentive Program. The film was released last year and is available to rent/own on your preferred streaming service.
Behind You (2020)
Shot in Utah County in 2017, Behind You received support from the state’s Community Film Incentive Program, a fund established to encourage Utah-based talent to keep productions in state. It was co-written and co-directed by Andrew Mecham and Matthew Whedon. “We believe strongly in supporting and keeping film jobs in Utah. The majority of our team is local, including 100 percent of our crew. Although this film falls in the horror genre, it is projected to be PG-13, with a positive, uplifting message that love is more powerful than fear,” Mecham said. The film is out now on Hulu.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)
Jim Cummings met the Utah Film Commission office at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and mentioned the idea of shooting his next project in Utah. The Wolf of Snow Hollow received support from the state’s Motion Picture Incentive Program and began shooting in the Spring of 2019 around Salt Lake and Summit Counties. The film is out now in select theatres and available on your preferred VOD platform.
Kinderfänger and Mira Mira are both series produced by Crypt TV. Kinderfänger follows a hard of hearing/deaf teacher (Angel Theory) who discovers she may hold the key to finding an ancient evil force that is assembling an army of troubled souls. See more on Facebook Watch.
They Live Inside Us (2020)
Witching Season Films is a horror film production company started by Utah local, Michael Ballif. The Witching Season horror anthology is a series of short horror films released on their YouTube as a free webseries. The fourth installment, They Live Inside Us, was made into their debut feature film and shot completely in Utah. Now available to watch on your favorite VOD streaming service.
Top Dead Center Films is a production company started by Utah residents, Gary and Julie Auerbach. Stay Out of the F***ing Attic and Babysitter Must Die are two of their upcoming films that shot completely in Utah.
The Canyonlands (2021)
Shot entirely in and around Moab, the film follows 5 people after they win a rafting trip down the Colorado River in Utah when their adventure takes a deadly turn. Now available on your favorite VOD streaming service.
Two mysterious siblings find themselves at odds over caring for their frail and sickly younger brother. Now available on your favorite VOD streaming service.
Check out our Virtual Entertainment blog for a list of the made-in-Utah films and television series and where you can watch online.
Allie Russell is the Marketing Coordinator for the Utah Film Commission.
For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at email@example.com.