Classic horror films evoke memories of terrifying scares, monstrous villains and, of course, eerie and iconic sets.
But which buildings from within these seminal films have the highest amount of kills? A question we’re sure every horror film aficionado has asked themselves.
Now you can find out in our SPOILER-filled list (don’t say we didn’t warn you).
We’ve outlined a specific set of parameters to help determine the buildings in horror films with the highest kill counts:
- Films within the list should have at least 1 iconic building
- Original films only – no remakes, sequels, prequels or spinoffs
- Each kill has to be confined within the 4 walls of the designated building
- Kills can happen both on and off-screen, but need to be referenced within the film
- Zombie kills count
And that’s it. Enjoy!
Halloween – 1978
- Villain: Michael Myers
- Location: The Myers House
- Kills: 1
The story of Michael Myers is deeply haunting. The roots of this psychotic killer’s trauma can be traced back to an incident that took place at the Myers House.
One fateful evening on Halloween in 1963, a 6-year-old Michael Myers murdered his sister, Judith, with a butcher’s knife taken from the kitchen.
Upon Michael’s escape from the Warren County Smith’s Grove Sanitarium 15 years later, he seeks sanctuary in the derelict building once inhabited by his family.
Despite there being a multitude of murders in the films (mostly of promiscuous teens) only one happens in the Myers House. Although it’s perhaps the most poignant.
Psycho – 1960
- Villain: Norman Bates (Mother)
- Location: The Bates House
- Kills: 1
Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological masterpiece is another film with a surprisingly low overall body count. The most iconic kill in the film happens in The Bates Motel, but this doesn’t concern us.
The Bates house atop the hill overlooking the motel is arguably the more distressing of the two iconic locations. The first murder here is that of the private investigator Arbogast, who is stabbed by “Mrs. Bates” as he sneaks into the house to speak with her.
Now this is the part that gets slightly confusing; whether Norman did commit matricide by poisoning both his mother and her lover in a fit of jealous rage is up for debate, but what we can surmise is that it happened in that big house on the hill.
The Exorcist – 1973
- Villain: Regan MacNeil (Pazuzu)
- Location: The MacNeil Residence
- Kills: 2*
Perhaps the most chilling and disturbing film on this list, The Exorcist does not have a particularly high body count.
The majority of the film takes place within the MacNeil Residence, and this is where Burke Dennings, the film director extraordinaire, and Father Lankester Merrin are killed by Regan while he is possessed by Pazuzu.
Dennings’ head is turned 360 degrees by Regan’s supernatural strength and he is tossed outside the window. A gruesome way to go. While Father Merrin dies during the attempted exorcism of Regan.
*The third death might be cause for discussion. Father Damien Karras, after being left to complete the exorcism following Merrin’s death, is subsequently possessed by the demon and jumps through the bedroom window. The jump is initiated within the house, but he purportedly dies outside the building and therefore falls outside of our rules. So we’re not going to count this one.
Friday the 13th – 1980
- Villain: Pamela Voorhees
- Location: Cabin, Camp Crystal Lake
- Kills: 3
Three is the magic (horrific) number in this horror fare that is considered one of the first “true” slasher films. Unlike the rest of the Friday the 13th films, the original’s villain is Mrs. Voorhees – not Jason.
When a group of teenagers attempts to re-open the abandoned Camp Crystal they are subsequently murdered one-by-one. The kills happen all over the camp, but we’re focusing on one cabin in particular.
After spotting someone in said cabin and going to investigate, Ned is the first to go when his throat is slit. Marcie and Jack then go to the same cabin to have intercourse, unaware that Ned’s corpse is on the top bunk. Jack is then impaled in bed and Marcie is killed in the bathroom with an axe.
Scream – 1996
- Villain: Ghostface
- Location: The Blood Bath Mansion
- Kills: 3 (One happens outside)
Scream helped to define a new generation of slasher films. Set in the fictional town of Woodsboro, the Ghostface killers terrorise the residents with their own set of rules.
It’s the final showdown in the aptly called Blood Bath Mansion that we have included in our list. Tatum Riley is the first to go, crushed by the garage door after trying to escape via the cat flap.
We’re not counting the death of Kenny Jones, because even though it happens on the property, his death isn’t within the four walls of the mansion.
After the big reveal (there were actually 2 killers, not 1) carnage rightfully ensues. Stu Macher is electrocuted when a TV falls on his head, while the seemingly invisible Billy Loomis is shot by Sidney.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1974
- Villain: Leatherface
- Location: The Sawyer family house
- Kills: 3
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a truly terrifying film. One-by-one a group of friends seeking refuge, after their van breaks down, fall foul to the cannibalistic Sawyer family and the murderous chainsaw-wielding Leatherface.
Their farmhouse is one of the most memorable buildings in horror film history and the place where three barbaric killings take place.
Both Kirk and Pam go looking for help and end up dead at the hands of Leatherface; Kirk is killed with a hammer as he enters the house, while Pam is impaled on a meat hook and placed in the freezer. Jerry is the third member of the gang to enter the Sawyer house and suffer a grisly end.
The Evil Dead – 1981
- Villain: Naturom Demonto
- Location: Cabin in the woods
- Kills: 3 (One happens outside the cabin)
The Evil Dead helped to establish ‘The Cabin in the Wood’ as a common theme of the horror genre.
Five friends discover Naturom Demonto, a Sumerian version of the Book of the Dead, and unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. Creepy. Ash is the only survivor from this ill-fated trip to the woods, and 3 of the deaths are localised within the now iconic cabin.
A demonically possessed Shelly attacks Scotty, who eventually dismembers her with an axe within the cabin. Both the possessed Cheryl and Scotty enter into a fight to the death with Ash in the basement of the Cabin. Ash manages to get the upper hand, throwing the Book of the Dead into the fireplace and subsequently disintegrating the possessed Cheryl and Scotty.
American Psycho – 2000
- Villain: Patrick Bateman
- Location: 55 West 81st Street, Upper West Side, in the American Gardens Building
- Kills: 5 (One happens outside, down the stairs to the apartment, so it’s not counted)
In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman appropriates his apartment as a place to host and kill. It’s also worth noting that the name “Patrick Bateman” is an homage to Norman Bates, Alfred Hitchcock’s killer in Psycho.
The first kill in the apartment is of co-worker Paul Allen with an axe to the face, while we’re later given a glimpse of a head in the freezer. A lady of the night is the next to suffer a grisly end on-screen, and when a second runs to make her escape, we see 2 bodies hanging in the wardrobe.
The Shining – 1980
- Villain: Jack Torrance
- Location: Overlook Hotel. Sidewinder, Colorado.
- Kills: 5*
We’ll let Jack’s interviewer, Ullman, set the scene: “[We] hired a man named Charles Grady as the winter caretaker. He came up here with his wife and two little girls of about eight or ten…He ran amok and eh…killed his family with an axe, stacked them neatly in one of the rooms in the West Wing, and then he um…then he put both barrels of his shotgun in his mouth.”
That’s enough, Ullman, thank you. Jack soon goes the way of his predecessor, killing the chef Dick Hallorann with an axe. We know “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but still…
*We’re sure you remember the old woman taking a bath in room 237, and although we’re told in King’s novel that Mrs. Massey killed herself with liquor and sleeping pills while taking a bath, none of this context is provided in the film. So it’s not included. Same goes for the man at the party, and the skeletons Wendy comes across.
The Amityville Horror – 1979
- Villain: Ronald DeFeo Jr
- Location: 112 Ocean View Drive, Amityville, New York
- Kills: 6
The American supernatural horror film The Amityville Horror is our winner – though no actual deaths happen during the film. But those are the rules!
A couple move into a house in which a mass murder happened the year before. During said event, a troubled young man shot his entire family to death in the house, including his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters.
Needless to say, the Lutz family should have known there was something amiss when they managed to purchase a house worth $120,000 for the price of $80,000!