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Horror movies and Halloween classics you didn't know were filmed in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has a long history in film production and celebration, and there’s a Halloween-festive film made in Utah for everyone.

Many movies are filmed here for a tax break or to use unique nature to appear as another world. Then there’s the Sundance Film Festival, which attracts celebrities and filmmakers from around the world.

And if you didn’t know about Lehi’s Roller Mills in “Footloose” or East High School in “High School Musical,” well you probably haven’t been to Utah much.

But did you know that Michael Myers lived in Salt Lake City?

Some of Utah’s spooky films are not just horror stories but true crime stories that happened right here.

Here is a list of films made in Utah to watch this Halloween, including scary movies, horrifyingly true documentaries and cheesy Halloween-themed shows.

‘Halloween’ 4, 5, and 6: The Return (1988), Revenge (1989) and Curse of Michael Myers (1995) (R)

The film series originally came to Utah for a less expensive setting that could look like Pasadena, California, where previous “Halloween” installments were filmed.

“Haddonfield” is Midvale, montage farmland is in Honeyville and Brigham City, search scenes and the crashed ambulance were filmed in Ogden, deserted gas stations and old victorian buildings in the Avenues of Salt Lake City were essential settings in “Halloween 4,” hence the franchise’s return to Utah for the next two movies.

“Halloween 5” features Michael Myers’ childhood home and several others in the avenues and Ogden and Orem.

“Halloween 6” was filmed in Cottonwood Heights, Layton, Ogden and Salt Lake City.

‘Carnival of Souls’ (1962) (PG)

Director Herk Harvey passed through Utah after filming in California and noticed the Great Saltair, and directed this movie around the eerie setting. It follows a woman who was in a serious car crash and was offered a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City.

Ghouls follow her to an abandoned lakeside pavilion where carnivals were once held. She is seen strolling parks near the capitol and businesses downtown. Then, an unexpected plot twist occurs when she is caught by ghouls on the beaches surrounding the Great Saltair.

road and vintage car to the saltair

The causeway to the Saltair as seen in Carnival of Souls. (Utah Film Commission)

‘The Exorcist II: The Heretic’ (1977) (R)

Though this was often considered the worst of the sequel, it is sure to give viewers the creeps. Parts of the movie were filmed near Lake Powell and Glen Canyon, popular tourist sites in Utah and Arizona.

‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ (1984) (R)

This film is festive for Halloween and Christmas if you like spooky Christmas movies. This film was controversial because the killer was dressed as Santa Clause. People protested its release because of its ads scaring children. It was filmed in Salt Lake City, Heber City and Midway, using Westminster College as an asylum. It was released the same week as “Nightmare on Elm Street” and actually had higher ratings until it was pulled from the box office due to its controversy.

Cover of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). (Utah Film Commission)

‘The Stand’ (1994)

A TV series based on the Stephen King novel was set in mostly Baja California but was filmed in several locations in Utah, including Salt Lake City, Magna, the University of Utah and more. Other settings were in Virginia at the Center for Disease Control building but were actually filmed at a building on Park Avenue in Salt Lake City, featuring Primary Children’s Memorial Park, also used in “Halloween” 4 and 6.

Secret government lab in California, actually a gas company in Coalville, Utah, used in the cover photo for the movie. (Google Earth Pro)

‘Halloweentown High’ (2004), ‘Return to Halloweentown’ (2005) (PG)

The four-part Disney classic was originally set and filmed in St. Helens, Oregon. The last two installations of the movie series were filmed in Utah. Halloweentown High was actually Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper. Filming required strategic prop placement in order to disguise catholic symbols and artwork around campus. It was also filmed at Cottonwood Mall in Holladay.

‘Don’t Look Under The Bed’ (1999) (PG)

Though it is TV-PG, it is considered by some to be the scariest Disney movie. It was filmed in Ogden and Salt Lake City and featured Ogden High School. The film follows a girl who is being framed by the boogeyman, and she and her imaginary friend are on a quest to stop him.

Scenes featured the boogeyman on top of Ogden High School. (Google Earth Pro)

‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ (2022) (TV-MA)

This mini-series is based on the book of the same title, overall based on the true story of the 1984 murder of Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old baby. It follows the story of two members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, who were excommunicated for extreme religious views, and proceeded to brutally murder Brenda and her baby. The film involves deep investigation of true crime, faith and history. Though the story is based in Utah, it was actually filmed in Alberta, Canada, disguised as familiar settings in Salt Lake City and American Fork.

‘American Murderer’ (2022) (R)

Based on the true story of Jason Derek Brown, one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. He was a thief and con artist, who executed elaborate schemes to keep up with a luxurious lifestyle. His crimes escalated to cold-blood murder. The film begins in Salt Lake City as the main character is pawning off valued possessions for money. It is still in theaters.

EXTRA: Check out this interactive story map with more film history, and this map with films in Utah, including a horror movie filter.