New Mexico: “Them!” (1954)
More kitsch than scary today but the “atomic tests creating monsters” subgenere dominated horror in the ‘50s and played on a very real fear of the unknown. Seeing this movie prompted Oppenheimer’s second most famous quote, “I am become death, creator of giant man-eating ants.”
New York: “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)
New York is possibly the biggest hotbed for movie settings in the country, and thus the toughest choice. The indecision is really making my curse flair up. I’m currently undergoing a gooey, pulsating “An American Werewolf in London” type transformation, only instead of fangs I’m growing voodoo doll keychains, and instead of claws I’m growing the power-loader arms from “Aliens.” All in all pretty hard to type. Uh… screw it, “Rosemary’s Baby!”
North Carolina: “Cape Fear” (1991)
One of the few examples of a remake being way scarier than the original, “Cape Fear” presents its protagonist with one of the most frightening scenarios imaginable: What if some dude from North Carolina would not leave you alone?
North Dakota: “Jesus Camp” (2006)
Okay, it’s not at all a horror movie, it’s a straight-ahead documentary about a religious youth camp, but its real depiction of child brainwashing is one of the scariest things you’ll ever see. Also, they don’t make a ton of movies in North Dakota, cut me some slack.
Ohio: “Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: The Dream Warriors” (1987)
Sometimes things are over-hyped because they are objectively, irrefutably awesome. The franchise stumbled a bit with Freddy’s Revenge, but part 3 takes the initial dream-killer concept and blows it out with peak special effects, shameless stylization, and a bitchin Dokken song. Release me from this hideous curse, BITCH!
Oklahoma: “Near Dark” (1987)
A criminally underappreciated movie from the criminally underrated director Kathryn Bigelow about a roving pack of punk vampires who are criminals. Criminally underappreciated actor Bill Paxton gives one of his most criminally overlooked performances as Severen, the vampire who does crimes because he is a criminal. If you can’t find it streaming just torrent it, great movie.
Oregon: “Green Room” (2015)
An instant classic of the punk-horror subgenre and a great example of a movie capitalizing on the inherent fear of the state it’s set in. If you’re going to find yourself trapped in a militia compound, it’s probably going to be in Oregon.
Pennsylvania: “Dawn of the Dead” (1977)
The remake is fine, but the original “Dawn of the Dead” is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It’s not the greatest representation of the state of Pennsylvania since it mostly takes place in a shopping mall, but honestly, what else is there to do in Pennsylvania? Come to think of it the two things we see outside the mall are roving hillbilly gangs shooting everyone and cops being racist in Philadelphia, so yeah, Pennsylvania is represented.
Rhode Island: “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987)
There’s nothing more old New England than witchy well-to-do ladies.
South Carolina: “Slither” (2006)
James Gunn’s directorial debut walks the line between homage and direct ripoff of ’80s horror comedies but it’s still the best thing that has anything to do with South Carolina.