Top 10 horror movies set or filmed in Chicago

(Candyman, Poltergeist III, Damien: Omen 2)

Chicago has become the Hollywood of the Midwest, however, it has always been home to many incredible and entertaining stories, including horror stories.

With Halloween coming up, a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday is to cozy up on the couch and binge-watch every horror film you can imagine.

This is our top ten list of horror movies set or filmed in Chicago:

10. The Unborn (2009)

Plagued by nightmares and visitations from tortured ghosts, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) turns to a spiritual adviser named Sendak (Gary Oldman) for help. They discover a family curse that dates back to Nazi Germany: an evil spirit that can take over the body of anyone and is getting stronger with each possession, as it tries to gain full entrance to this world.

The production was filmed at several locations in Chicago and in the Northwest suburbs, specifically at the Mundelein Seminary and Libertyville High School.

9. The Relic (1997)

The movie was filmed in both Los Angeles and Chicago including the Field Museum of Natural History at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Near South Side, Chicago and is about a homicide detective and an anthropologist and how they try to destroy a South American lizard-like god, who’s on a people eating rampage in a Chicago museum.

8. Damien: The Omen II (1978)

In the movie, Richard (William Holden) and Ann Thorn (Lee Grant) have taken their 13-year-old nephew, Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor), into their Chicago home following the death of Richard’s brother seven years earlier. The Thorns love the child, whom they are sending to military school, but not everyone is so sanguine about his presence.

Soon after Great Aunt Marion (Sylvia Sidney) expresses concerns about the boy, she dies suddenly and unexpectedly. And she is certainly not the last.

The film was mainly set in Chicago and was largely filmed in downtown. The Thorn Industries building was actually Chicago City Hall. Another scene took place at Graceland Cemetery. 

7. Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995) 

The film is about how a boy uses his powers of mind control to recruit Chicago children for his reign of terror against adult mankind. The movie takes place in Chicago but was filmed in Los Angeles

6. A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

Teenagers Nancy, Quentin, Kris, Jesse and Dean are all neighborhood friends who begin having the same dream of a horribly disfigured man who wears a tattered sweater and a glove made of knives. The man, Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), terrorizes them in their dreams.

The movie was filmed all over Chicago including, Bluff City Cemetery; 945 Bluff City Blvd, Elgin, the Holbrook residence was at 214 Linden Road, Barrington, Springwood High School / Elk Grove High School; 500 W. Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove, and John Hersey High School In Arlington Heights, the Fowles Residence was 233 Linden Road, Barrington, the Book Store was located at 2850 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago (no longer exists), the Preschool at 11401 S. Green Bay Avenue, Chicago, the spot where Freddy was burned by the angry parents was at E. 112th Street just east of the Calumet River, Chicago, The Pharmacy was Hawthorne And Health Pharmacy; 4785 W. Cermak Road, Cicero, and the gas station they stop in front of was at 5147 W. Roosevelt Road, Cicero. 

5. The Grudge 2 (2006)

In Chicago, Trish moves to the apartment of her boyfriend Bill, who lives with his children, the teenager Lacey and boy Jake. Weird things happen with their neighbor. Set within two years after the first film and between two countries. The film was shot almost entirely in Japan, with Tamblyn performing re-shoots in Chicago, Illinois.

4. Poltergeist III

Psychically attuned youngster Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) is sent to live in Chicago with her Uncle Bruce (Tom Skerritt) and Aunt Pat (Nancy Allen). But that doesn’t mean that she’s escaped the apparitions that have haunted her in the past two movies in the franchise.

Filming occurred throughout Chicago. The John Hancock Center served as the central high-rise building location, while additional photography occurred at the George Wellington Center, and the Francis W. Parker School, which stood in for Donna’s high school.

3. The Amityville Horror (2005)

The Amityville haunting is a modern folk story based on the true crimes of Ronald DeFeo Jr. On November 13, 1974, DeFeo shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

This remake of the 1979 classic was done in 2005 and was filmed around St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Sequoit Creek Lodge in Antioch as well as areas around Chicago, Buffalo Grove, and Fox Lake.

2. Child’s Play (1988)

The film is about how a dying murderer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) uses black magic to put his soul inside a doll named Chucky, which Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) then buys for her young son, Andy (Alex Vincent).

The quartzite stone-clad apartment block of Karen Barclay, in which the malevolent Chucky Doll goes on the rampage, is the Brewster Apartments, 2800 North Pine Grove Avenue at West Diversey Parkway in Chicago’s LakeView district.

1. Candyman (2021 and original)

The new Candyman is a ghost story about a supernatural, hook-handed killer. In the present day, an artist begins to explore the macabre history of Candyman, not knowing it would unravel his sanity and unleash a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

Chicago was the filming location for most of the film, with the North Park village, Northside Strangers Home Baptist Church and an abandoned chapel on the Cabrini-Green grounds.

The apartment complex in which Brianna (Teyonnah Paris) and Anthony live is Near North Side’s Marina City, while the Museum of Contemporary Art was also used for the gallery scenes.

The original 1992 film was filmed at the Cabrini-Green Public Housing Projects, Near North Side, University of Illinois at Chicago, Near West Side, Penn Central Freight Yards, Near West Side, and 1360 North Sandburg Terrace (Helen’s apartment building), as well as in Los Angeles. 

It’s fun to watch the end credits on YouTube to see the Chicago crew names. Our publisher, Barbara Roche appears in the credits on 3 of these films.

Happy Halloween!

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Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.