Hoosier Halloween: Spooky Shows and Films with Indy Connections

Hoosiers love horror, apparently.

If you don’t like scary movies, well, too bad. Pretty soon, all the spooky stuff will go away and we’ll all be watching Elf on repeat for the entire month of December. But for now, you have to watch at least one thing this month that makes you break out in a cold sweat.

If you’re not a fan of having nightmares for a full week after a film, we have a tip: Every time something in the movie makes you jump, eat a piece of Halloween candy. Just like a drinking game, except it’s a completely sober and sweet Halloween version, right?

Another piece of Halloween film advice: Watch something that one of your fellow Hoosiers either starred in or worked on behind the scenes. That way, whatever you’re watching will seem more relatable and less frightening. You can say to yourself, “Oh, look! Another Hoosier, just like me. Not so scary after all, huh?”

Well, maybe.

To get started, here are 10 shows/films to check out that feature Indiana talent at its scariest.

#1: American Horror Story

Ryan Murphy, co-creator and producer of AHS, was born in Indianapolis and graduated from IU.

The show’s premiere was the highest-rated series premiere in FX history. “I couldn’t get past episode three or four of that show,” says Craig Mince, executive director of Indy Film Fest. “When you turn it into an episodic show of constant mind traps, it really gets to me.”

Each season of the show, which is in its sixth go-round, contains a separate miniseries. This season, the plot revolves around Roanoke, Virginia.

More on Ryan Murphy in our June 2012 feature: Ryan Murphy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

#2: Nightmare on Elm Street

Robert Rusler, who plays Ron Grady in Nightmare on Elm Street 2, was born in Fort Wayne.

Mimi Craven, who plays a nurse in the first Elm Street (and also appeared as a receptionist in The Twilight Zone) was born in Indianapolis.

One scene in the first movie was actually filmed at a church in Gary, Indiana, says Mince.

#3: The Silence of the Lambs

Dan Butler, who plays Roden in The Silence of the Lambs, was born in Fort Wayne and is also known for his role as “Bulldog” on the show Frasier.

#4: Dawn of the Dead

Ken Foree, who plays Peter in the original Dawn of the Dead, was born in Indianapolis. He also plays Big Joe Grizzly in the 2007 movie Halloween and Homer in the 2015 movie Blood Brothers. Might as well have a Ken Foree Halloween marathon.

#5: Son of Dracula

Throwin’ it back to the ’40s with this one.

Robert Paige, who plays Frank Stanley in Son of Dracula, was born in Indianapolis.

#6: The Innkeepers

George Riddle, who plays an old man in The Innkeepers, was born in Auburn, Indiana. “It’s got a couple of moments in it where you just jump,” says Mince. “I got this weird tingle.”

The plot centers around two hotel employees who experience odd events when trying to uncover the place’s haunted past.

#7: Sharknado

Vivica A. Fox, who plays Skye in the second Sharknado movie, was born in South Bend.

There are four installments of this made-for-TV movie. Watching sharks terrorize Los Angeles might be a good place to start if you’re looking for something a little less creepy, a little more weird.

#8: The Shining

Scatman Crothers, who plays Dick Hallorann in The Shining, was born in Terre Haute.

If you haven’t seen this classic, just a friendly reminder that it’s two and half hours long—in case you need to mentally prepare yourself before watching.

#9: Crimson Peak

Doug Jones, who plays Lady Sharpe in Crimson Peak, was born in Indianapolis and graduated from Ball State.

This Guillermo del Toro Film sounds like a harmless mystery at first, but the movie is rated R. Get ready for ghosts galore.

#10: Stranger Things

Warning: Binging is required (and unavoidable) with this highly addictive Netflix original series. The show takes place in the fictional area of Rowan County, Indiana. “I’m a massive Stranger Things fan,” says Mince.

If you grew up in the ’80s, you may find yourself particularly relating to the retro-style show. And if you finish the first season (it’s only eight episodes), a second season is on the way for next year.


Happy watching and happy nightmares for days! You’re welcome.