Scaring Up Business: Horror Movies Filmed in Utah

In the May/June 2022 issue of Salt Lake, we’re celebrating the legacy of Utah’s movies. Check out our 10 favorite Beehive State movies. Read more about the current state of the film industry in the Utah. Celebrate the iconic film history of Monument Valley’s magnificent landscapes.

Whether seriously scary, laughably campy, or just plain cringey, horror movies and splatter flicks inevitably find an audience at the theater or on streaming. Many are made in Utah, something best explained with an economics lecture. “Horror movies are usually low-budget, and much of the screen is dark, so you can shoot anywhere,” says U of U film professor William Siska. Here’s a quick peek at Utah’s horror history.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

The Saltair looked great, but not as scary as a typical heavy metal concert there these days. Still, it’s lauded for its cinematography and foreboding atmosphere.

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) 

This Christmas-themed splatter flick falls under the “so bad it’s good” label (director Quentin Tarantino has also listed it as inspiration if that’s any indication), with Santa slaying folks from Salt Lake to Heber City and back again. 

Halloween 4 (1988)

The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) and Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) were all filmed here. None of these sequels holds a candle to John Carpenter’s classic original, but it’s cool that a horror icon like Michael Myers has slashed a few teenagers in Utah.

Troll 2 (1990) 

You know that “so bad it’s good” label? This movie, which is not actually a sequel, is just “so bad,” but it’s found a global audience nonetheless. 

The Stand (1994) 

The TV miniseries is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The adaptation was filmed everywhere from Pleasant Grove to Ogden.

Species (1995) 

An alien in the form of a leggy blonde kills several men while looking for a mate, including a stop in Brigham City. 

Bats (1999) 

In Magna, Park City and American Fork, the dude from La Bamba battles, you guessed it, bats!

Frozen (2010) 

Three skiers, stranded on a chairlift, have to make some impossible choices to make it through the night. The film was shot at Snowbasin Resort and around the Ogden area.

Hereditary (2018) 

The critically-acclaimed supernatural horror film, written and directed by Ari Aster, premiered in the Midnight section at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The production became A24’s highest-grossing film worldwide.

Midsommar (2019) 

Ari Aster’s Midsommar begins as an idyllic visit to a small town festival in Sweden and devolves into a gory and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. This one is a bit of a stretch, with just one or two scenes filmed at Utah locations in Draper. 

Christie Porter
Christie Porter
Christie Porter is the managing editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade, writing about everything under the sun, but she really loves writing about nerdy things and the weird stuff. She recently published her first comic book short this year.

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