“I Ain’t Goin’ in Those Woods” – Top 7 Horror Films Shot In Massachusetts

September 21, 2023

Written by Ella Rebecca Horton

Ella Rebecca has been in love with the horror genre since an early age. The Bride of Frankenstein began her love of the classics and she's been writing and collecting since.


Ah, Massachusetts – the land of clam chowder, vibrant fall foliage, and… unsettling horror- infused woods? That’s right, this New England state’s picturesque landscapes and historic towns have served as the eerie backdrops for some of the most memorable cinematic nightmares. This place has long been a magnet for storytellers, luring filmmakers with its storied past and atmospheric locales.


From the Salem Witch Trials to unsolved mysteries, Massachusetts offers a treasure trove of inspiration. Delve with us as we journey through the cobblestoned streets and misty forests, unveiling tales of witches, spirits, and mysterious creatures that have haunted the silver screen while embracing the rich tapestry of history the state offers.



The Witch (2015): Bewitching the 1600s


The setting of 17th-century New England offers a stark portrayal of the fear, isolation, and religious fervor that shaped early American settlements. “The Witch” masterfully explores this backdrop, portraying a family unraveled by superstition and paranoia. As crops fail, livestock turns hostile, and children behave oddly, the family’s faith is tested.


The dense and foreboding woods of Massachusetts add authenticity, making every creak and whisper all the more unnerving. The rawness of the environment, coupled with the family’s descent into madness, is a chilling reflection of the era’s collective psyche, making this film an unforgettable experience.



Hocus Pocus (1993) and Hocus Pocus 2 (2022): Witches Brewed in Salem


A lighter take on the witchcraft theme, “Hocus Pocus” and its sequel are set in the historically significant town of Salem. A place steeped in tales of magic and mischief, Salem provides the perfect setting for this comedic horror.


The Sanderson sisters, brought back from the dead, are a whirlwind of chaos and humor. The town’s landmarks, from cemeteries to colonial homes, add depth to the story, creating an interplay of history and fiction. While the films may not keep you up at night, they beautifully highlight the balance between Salem’s playful folklore and its darker past.


Slender Man (2018): The Sinister Legend of the Forest


Bridging ancient fears with modern myths, “Slender Man” dives deep into the digital age’s urban legends. This faceless entity, born from internet lore, is brought to terrifying life against Massachusetts’ haunting woodlands backdrop. Every shadowed glen and rustling leaf amplifies the tale’s tension.


The friends’ search for truth, coupled with the ominous landscapes, serves as a grim reminder that new tales of horror are still being woven, even in our technologically advanced age. Massachusetts, with its rich history and enchanting forests, proves that old and new tales of terror can coexist.



The Lodge (2019): A Wintry Descent Into Madness


Isolation, past traumas, and snow are perfect for a psychological thriller. “The Lodge” capitalizes on the bleak mid-winter Massachusetts setting. As a family becomes trapped in a snow-laden cabin, unsettling memories and strained relationships drive the narrative forward. The unforgiving cold outside mirrors the chilling discoveries made within the cabin’s walls. This film is a masterclass in building tension, with the Massachusetts winter playing a vital character, constantly reminding viewers of the inescapable and biting grip of the past.




Jaws (1975): The Seaside Terror


With its sandy shores and summer allure, Martha’s Vineyard is transformed into Amity Island, a place of sun, fun, and lurking terror in “Jaws.” This iconic film, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a masterful play on our primal fears.


The otherwise idyllic Massachusetts beach town becomes the hunting ground for a menacing great white shark. Through lingering shots of the deep blue sea, Spielberg crafts an atmosphere of suspense, making the waters of Massachusetts the unlikely star of this enduring classic. The juxtaposition of serene beach life with the lurking dangers of the ocean gives this film its iconic status.



Shutter Island (2010): Unraveling Mysteries in an Asylum


Amidst the swirling waters of Boston Harbor lies the formidable institution of “Shutter Island.” This atmospheric thriller combines the genius of Martin Scorsese with the versatility of Leonardo DiCaprio. As U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels arrives to investigate a patient’s mysterious disappearance, the island’s oppressive atmosphere, shaped by Massachusetts’ coastal tempests, thickens the plot.


Every corridor and cliff serves as a piece of an elaborate puzzle. The island, with its stormy weather and imposing architecture, becomes a character in its own right, embodying the film’s central themes of memory, trauma, and truth.




The Essence of New England Horror: Mixing Humor With Horror


Massachusetts’ diverse landscapes and histories serve as a lush canvas for filmmakers, allowing for tales ranging from spine-tingling suspense to comedic horrors. The balance between humor and horror in movies like “Hocus Pocus” showcases the state’s versatility as a setting.


Its locales, from quaint towns to expansive forests, effortlessly switch between invoking laughter and screams. Like the unexpected twists in these Massachusetts horror classics, online wagering with Massachusetts betting apps adds a layer of unpredictability to your entertainment. Will you bet on the next chilling scene?”




Conclusion: A Spooky Massachusetts Legacy


From bewitched forests to shark-infested waters, Massachusetts’ cinematic legacy is a testament to its allure. A state with such a rich tapestry of history and mystery is bound to inspire tales that captivate, entertain, and horrify. These distinct films share a common thread – the undying charm and enigma of Massachusetts.


So next time you traverse its woods or stroll down its streets, remember the stories it has whispered to filmmakers over the years. And perhaps, leave a light on for good measure. The towns and forests of Massachusetts have seen centuries come and go, with each era leaving its own mark. These silent witnesses hold countless tales, only a fraction of which have graced our screens. As the dusk sets in and shadows play tricks on the eye, one can’t help but feel the weight of history and the allure of tales yet untold. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Massachusetts promises a journey both delightful and hauntingly memorable. Its landscapes beckon adventurers, while its eerie legends whisper to the curious, ensuring every exploration becomes an unforgettable tale.

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