The fifth “Scream” movie opens everywhere today, starring Alabama’s Courteney Cox, so we want to dive even deeper into the state’s spooky past when it comes to horror movie history.
Sure, we’re very proud of lighter fare like “Big Fish” and “Talladega Nights,” but what makes us scream has roots in the South, ranging from some all-time classics to some underrated gems that will keep you up at night.
Whether filmed on location in Alabama or featuring actors born here, the films below are forever tied to the state, for better or worse.
Scream franchise (1996-2021)
Alabama connection: Courtney Cox.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Cox became a scream queen during her ‘Friends’ heyday in the mid-1990s, starring ruthless TV reporter Gale Weathers in Wes Craven’s meta-slasher film which spawned four sequels. . Cox’s popularity on the NBC sitcom gave this film a much-needed boost when it hit theaters and helped change the genre forever with its horror movie references nestled in the sheer terror that Craven has. unleashed. She proved a worthy foil to Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott and shared real chemistry with David Arquette’s Deputy Dewey. She’s appeared in every sequel since, including the fifth entry in the series, aptly titled “Scream.”
RELATED: 10 Things We Learned About Courteney Cox During The ‘Friends’ Reunion
Get Out (2017)
Alabama connection: Filmed in Fairhope.
Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning directorial debut remains as relevant as the day it opened in 2017. He partially filmed the weekend getaway/meet the parents story that takes a sinister turn filmed in Fairhope. Daniel Kaluuya (“Sicario”) stars as a man who visits his white girlfriend’s cursed family estate, where things get very strange and dangerous. It earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Director and Actor and won Best Original Screenplay.
Alabama connection: Shot four films in Alabama.
The creative force behind ‘Doctor Sleep’ and popular Netflix series like ‘Haunting of Hill House’ and ‘Midnight Mass’ have already shot a trio of beloved horror films in Alabama, starting with “Oculus” a supernatural thriller starring Karen Gillan shot in Fairhope, as is the 2016 film “Hush” starring John Gallagher Jr. and Kate Siegel. He would also shoot the fantasy horror movie “Before I Wake Up” with Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane in Fairhope, then the Stephen King adaptation “Gerald’s Game” in Mobile.
Alabama connection: Raised in Birmingham.
The go-to horror director on projects like “Blair Witch” and “Death threat” recently followed 2014’s ‘Godzilla’, 2017’s ‘Kong: Skull Island’ and 2019’s ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’, finally embracing the MonsterVerse in the long-awaited battle between iconic movie monsters in “Godzilla vs. Kong” which ended up with nearly $470 million worldwide (and fees certified), good enough for the global box office top 10 in 2021.
Tennessee-born Wingard, who claims Birmingham as his hometown, has made a name for himself directing independent horror features like “You’re Next” and “The guest,” as well as segments in the popular “V/H/S” anthology films.
RELATED: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Director Adam Wingard Talks Movie Monsters and His Alabama Roots
Friday the 13th Part VII: New Blood (1988)
Alabama connection: Filmed in Baldwin County.
Jason Voorhees is accidentally freed from his aquatic prison in Crystal Lake by a telekinetic teenager, the only person who can stop him in this seventh installment of the classic slasher series, this time directed by John Carl Buechler. They filmed in Byrnes Lake and Mobile.
RELATED: Baldwin County’s relationship to Friday the 13th connects iconic killer Jason to the Lake Byrnes boat launch
Alabama connection: Partially located in Birmingham.
Michael Mann’s masterful thriller about a serial killer profiler who gets inside the heads of those he sets out to catch. William Petersen’s Will Graham visits a crime scene in Birmingham, attempting to track down Tooth Fairy’s killer.
The Witches (2020)
Alabama connection: Stars Montgomery native Octavia Spencer; located in Demopolis.
This adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book by “Forrest Gump” director Robert Zemeckis stars Alabama native and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer alongside Anne Hathaway, Chris Rock and Stanley Tucci. They swapped the location of the 1983 book from Norway to Demopolis, Alabama.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
Alabama connection: Starring Montgomery native Sarah Catherine Hook.
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren investigate a murder that may be linked to demonic possession. Sarah Catherine Hook from Alabama plays Debbie Glatzel, young David’s sister, who needs an exorcism early in the film. It was the eighth installment in “The Conjuring” franchise and a sequel to the original film.
The Final Destination (2009)
Alabama connection: Filmed at Mobile International Speedway.
The fourth installment of the supernatural horror series follows a group of people stalked by death, which eliminates them one by one. Filmed primarily in New Orleans, the production traveled to the shelving trail in Irvington, Alabama to the totally insane (and gruesome!) opening crash sequence.
Black Christmas (1974)
Alabama connection: Directed by Bob Clark, raised in Birmingham.
While on their Christmas vacation, a group of sorority girls are harassed by a stranger. Director Bob Clark (“A Christmas Story” and “Porky’s”) grew up in Birmingham. Born in New Orleans, the filmmaker grew up in Alabama before eventually moving to Fort Lauderdale. A tagline for this one: If this picture doesn’t give you goosebumps…it’s on TOO TIGHT.” Later remade in 2006 and 2019.
Body Thieves (1993)
Alabama connection: Shot and set in Alabama.
A teenage girl and her father discover alien clones replacing humans at a remote US military base in Alabama, specifically Craig Air Force Base in Selma. ‘King of New York’ director Abel Ferrara directed this third adaptation of Jack Finney’s 1955 sci-fi horror novel ‘The Body Snatchers’, better known as ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. in 1956. It starred Gabrielle Anwar.
American Psycho (1998) and Seven (1995)
Alabama connection: Reg E. Cathey, originally from Huntsville.
I’d say blink and you’ll miss the late, great Cathey, best known for her roles in “House of Cards” and “The Wire,” but the deep-voiced Alabama-born actor still makes an impression. He plays a homeless victim of Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” and coroner Dr. Santiago during one of many disturbing sequences in David Fincher’s serial killer thriller “Seven,” starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.
Corn Children (1984)
Alabama connection: RG Armstrong, native of Pleasant Grove.
Born in Pleasant Grove and raised on a farm near Birmingham, Armstrong attended Samford University before heading to the Actors Studio and continuing his career that spanned 40 years. In this Stephen King adaptation starring Linda Hamilton) about a young couple are trapped in a remote town where a dangerous religious cult of children believe anyone over the age of 18 must be killed. He plays an elderly mechanic and the last adult in town.
Alabama connection: Louise Fletcher, originally from Birmingham.
This less-hyped Stephen King adaptation follows a couple who take part in a powerful medical experiment and gain a telepathic ability that has a child (Drew Barrymore) who is pyrokinetic. Fletcher, the Oscar-winning star of “Flight Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” appears here as Norma Manders, one half of a family-welcoming couple with unlikely talents.
Alabama connection: Born in Montgomery.
We’ve mentioned the Auburn graduate’s ties to “The Witches,” but her horror pedigree doesn’t end there. Before winning an Oscar in 2009, Spencer suffered an inevitable fate at the hands of Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II”. She then gained acclaim in the chilling thriller ” Mum “, in which she plays a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start to happen that make them question their host’s intent.
Alabama connection: Born in Jasper.
The Alabama-born character actor, now better known as Yondu in the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movies, has co-starred in horror fare like “Slither”, “The Dark Half” and “The Belko Experience.” But his very first film role in 1986 “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” earned him wide recognition (and an Independent Spirit Award nomination) in a truly haunting performance.
The Fanatic (2019)
Alabama connection: Filmed in Birmingham.
Keep the best for last ? This thriller starring John Travolta and directed by Fred Durst earned three Razzie nominations (and one win for Travolta) and was named the worst movie of 2019 by The AV Club. In it, Travolta plays a rabid movie fan who tracks down his favorite action hero and destroys the star’s life.