Michigan’s contribution to horror movies, part I

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With its beautiful lakes and bountiful trees,  Michigan would seem like the ideal location to film more than a couple low–budget horror movies, particularly of the teen-agers out in the woods hack-and slash variety.  It has been.

In 2008,  when Michigan started offering lucrative tax incentives for filmmakers  it saw a spike in the number of such movies filmed in the Mitten state. In 2015, when Michigan’s governor in his infinite wisdom  saw fit to kill the incentives,  the woods have been relatively quiet.  But not all the horror in the Great Lakes State can be found in the woods.  Some of it can be found on the screen in front of you..

Here in time for Halloween in no particular order is just a partial list of horror films shot in the Mitten State.  Michigan can claim several recognizable titles that may amuse you for hours and keep you awake at night.   And other fiilms which will give you the heebie-jeebies.  Some will raise chills,  others will reduce you to laughter.  Have fun.

Note: click on the title of each movie (if you dare) and you will be connected to the film’s trailer.  For more information on each title click on the link to each title’s IMDb page.



This 1979 classic directed by Sam Raimi launched his career when he advanced a narrative of five college students who take time off to spend a peaceful vacation in a remote cabin. When a  book and audio tape are discovered in the cabin’s cellar, an evil is found that is more powerful than can be imagined. The friends find themselves helpless to stop the evil as it takes them one by one, with only one survivor left with the evil dead and desperately tries to fight to live until morning.

It Follows (2014), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3235888/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1


David Robert Mitchell in his breakout hit offers a story about nineteen-year-old Jay, who after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors, that seem to be only a few steps behind.

Scream4 (2011) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1262416/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1


Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill and her Aunt Kate. Unfortunately, Sidney’s appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.  This movie filmed in entirety in Northville, Michigan, was directed by Wes Craven.

Only Lovers Left Alive  (2014), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1714915/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1

Only Lovers Left Alive

This way cool vampire story directed by Jim Jarmusch is the story of an underground musician and his lover for centuries after he becomes depressed and tired with the direction human society has taken, their love is interrupted and tested by her wild and uncontrollable little sister.  This movie was filmed in Detroit, Germany, and Morocco.

Biker Zombies from Detroit  (2001), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0298250/


Biker Zombies From Detroit is a horror/comedy contrasting the dark deadly streets of outer Detroit against the posh and protected upscale community of Grosse Pointe. A series of horrific murders are committed in the Detroit area. Now it seems an evil darkness has descended onto the streets of Grosse Pointe, and hidden within is the wrath of ‘Biker Zombies from Detroit’.

Knight Chills (2001), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0269450/

Starring Richard DJ Perry as John as an avid role player. He has feelings for Brooke, a fellow role player, but when Brooke makes it clear to him that the feelings are far from mutual, John is thrown into despair and takes his own life.

Invitation (2003), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439636/


Members of the old gang all receive mysterious invitations to reunite at an old lodge. Thinking one of the group must have some “big announcement”, they all arrive at the lodge. What the group learns about the lodge and the real reason why they were “invited”, leaves them fighting for their lives.

Moontrap (1989), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097911/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1


During a routine flight, two veteran space shuttle pilots discover an alien artifact and bring it back to earth. It soon turns out to be an extraterrestrial war robot, which is able to recycle any biological or technical material for its own deadly use. The two astronauts are sent to the moon, where Nasa expects to uncover the mystery of the alien robot’s origin. They discover an ancient humanoid culture and battle the ultimate threat of the war machines heading to earth.  This movie was filmed in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Lake Michigan  Monster (2018),  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6748030/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1

Lake Michigan Monster.jpg

An eccentric ship captain and a crew of specialists plot revenge against the most mysterious creature of the deep — the Lake Michigan Monster. This horror/comedy was written by  Ryland Brickson Cole Tews stars  Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West, Beulah Peters. This movie was filmed in part in Muskegon.


DeadRise (2011),  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1552192/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1


Another Brauer directed production,  Deadrise a female inspector for the Historic Trust,  on her way home to Chicago, she gets a call from her office and is asked to check out a  once proud steamship along an industrial waterfront.  After her arrival, her car is seriously disabled and her life is about to change forever.

Richard Brauer introduced us to this Michigan folklore horror back in 2012 and then followed this up with Dogman 2: the Wrath of the Litter (2014).  In this movie, Hanklin Purvis and his wife, Dorothy, are victimized by something not human which inflicts wounds that carry deadly bacteria and the clock is ticking for those infected. Enter Hanklin’s neighbor, Francis Wellman, a Native American who believes she has discovered an ancient antidote. And will they ever find the perpetrator of these horrifying attacks? They do.


After an alien pod crash lands in the swamps,  mosquitoes begin feeding on the alien corpses. This causes the mosquitoes to grow to massive sizes and develop an unquenchable hunger for blood. A mass swarm of these mutant insects attacks a Michigan national park in a brutal onslaught that kills the entire tourist population. The few unrelated survivors – two lovers, a meteorologist, a punk rock musician, and a gang of dangerous bank robbers on the run from police- must settle their differences and band together before nightfall, when the nocturnal mosquito swarm will return for more blood. This sci-fi/horror movie filmed entirely in Detroit.

Terror at Baxter ‘U‘  (2003) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0828159/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1


Someone is terrorizing the students at nearby Baxter U… Someone or something?

Attack of the Helping Hand (1979), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0835020/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1


This campy 1979 short starring Sam Raimi as the milkman is about the General Mills Hamburger Helper mascot, also known as Helping Hand or Lefty, a four-fingered, left-hand white glove, that comes to life in a woman’s kitchen and tries to grope and kill her.





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