Hawaii: “A Perfect Getaway” (2009)
A Hitchcockian vacation nightmare thriller with a twist so shocking you’ll, well, honestly see it coming like a mile away. Look there aren’t a ton of horror movies set in Hawaii, I don’t think they even have bugs there.
Idaho: “Phantasm 3: Lord of the Dead” (1994)
Phantasm is sort of like the Idaho of horror franchises. You forget it’s there.
Illinois: “Halloween” (1978)
Another easy pick. This curse is practically lifting itself! There’s nothing more Midwest than Michael Myer’s motivation for killing—sheer boredom.
Indiana: “Demon House” (2018)
One of the most terrifying paranormal documentaries ever filmed, not because Zak Bagans buys a haunted house, but because of the squalor of Gary, Indiana he captures in the process. That cold spot the camera guy freaks out about? That’s late-stage capitalism.
Iowa: “The Funhouse” (1981)
Not only the best Iowa-based horror movie but maybe the best Iowa movie period. Being murdered by the mutant son of a carnie for discovering his secrets is the third leading cause of death in the Hawkeye State.
Kansas: “Critters” (1986)
It is medically impossible to retain how convoluted the Critters movies are, it is a treat every single time.
Kentucky: “The Clovehitch Killer” (2018)
Never seen it honestly but it was this or “Battlefield Earth” which, while deeply frightening on a number of levels, is not strictly speaking a horror film.
Louisiana: “The Beyond” (1981)
The beyond is about god knows what. It’s like watching a fever dream but with way more visceral gore. In that respect, it’s a perfect simulation of a trip to Louisiana.
Maine: “Salem’s Lot” (1979)
It had to be a Stephen King movie, obviously. There’s a lot to choose from, but my left eyebrow just transformed into an autographed cassette copy of the “Suspiria” soundtrack, so I don’t have time to overthink. Just gonna go with Toby Hooper’s underrated made-for-tv adaptation of “Salem’s Lot” and call it a day.
Maryland: “Serial Mom” (1994)
Maryland’s best horror movie comes to us from the charm city’s greatest export, John Waters. It’s more satirical dark comedy than straight-ahead horror but there’s plenty of killing. Many slasher villains are viewed as punishers for breaking moral code, like having premarital sex or smoking a joint in the woods. Beverly Sutphin takes that concept and runs with it. Mess with her kids? Dead. Fail to keep your lawn orderly? Dead. Wear white shoes after Labor Day, even after serving on the jury that acquitted her? Fucking dead.