Top 10 Terrifying Movie Streets!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

How many roads must a man walk down? Well, if you’re a hardened horror head like we all ’round these parts, a whole lot! As you know, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE opens wide today, and as a fun-little anticipatory tie-in, we started thinking it’d be cool to compile a litany of some of the most harrowing streets, roads, avenues, lanes, alleys, boulevards, highways, freeways and byways to grace the big screen. And not just in a forgotten one-off scene, but roads where almost the entirety of a genre movie takes place. You know the kind!

So you think you have what it takes to sight-see the streets in question? Good, slam it up top and let’s hit the road motherf*cking Jack!


Don’t front, you all knew the #1 destination in this highway of horrors was bound to be Wes Craven’s seminal slasher effort A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Such a great title, mainly for the ubiquity of actual Elm Streets populating so many sleepy suburbs around the globe. Hell, I still recall with great haste avoiding the Elm Street that lead out to a dusty farm-land in the quaint little town I grew up in. And it still terrifies me! Of course, Freddy Kruger going all Stretch Armstrong there with gigantic bladed-fingers is about as nightmarish as dark alleys can be…asleep or awake!


Terrifying sure, but also enthralling, relentless and highly incendiary, to say the least. MAD MAX FURY ROAD was undoubtedly the most fun I had at the movies last year, and much of that had to do with the titular stretch of war-torn wasteland known, yes, as FURY ROAD. What a place! Hell, what a pace…a 2-hour sensory assault of forward momentum that keeps the gas floored and never lets up for a second to give you a chance to catch your breath. Of course, by proxy, we’re reminded of equally dystopic desert roadways from earlier franchise entries, ROAD WARRIOR and BEYOND THUNDERDOME specifically.


Leave it to the great David Lynch to have two of his warped mind-maps on the same celebratory list. We already touched on LOST HIGHWAY, but for me, the real mind-f*ck of a journey comes via the titular MULHOLLAND DRIVE, which plays like one of the chilliest psychodramas ever attempted. Seriously, that “silencio” scene shot the hairs on my forearm upward like a static balloon. No joke. Or hell, how about that dumpster scene! Of course, much of the appeal of MULHOLLAND DRIVE is in its mysterious, dreamlike nature and uncompromising choice to keep the viewer constantly off-kilter.


It wasn’t until I moved to L.A. that I realized CLOVERFIELD was indeed a real life street. And when I did, the thought of JJ Abrams’ subrosa viral hit became instantly all the more horrifying. Now, 8 years on, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is open to frequent across the globe. Think it can have the same kind of cultural resonance as its predecessor? while I sort of doubt it, I can’t for a second dismiss how harrowing those shaky-cam action sequences in Matt Reeves’ original played back in ’08. The immediacy, the verite style, the on-the-fly capturing of a monster incursion rightfully shook the direction of low-budget genre films.


Ah, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd! As if Victorian London wasn’t dingily unnerving enough, imagine a supposedly well-to-do barber who moonlights as a throat-slasher and goes into business filling meat-pies with the fetid remains of his victims. Yup, perfect material for a musical, right? Sheesh! As a long running broadway show, props must be given to the Burton/Depp team for bringing such dark material to the big-screen, and doing so without sanitizing the abject butchery. Fleet Street is indeed no goddamn picnic!


Bleak, desolate, unforgiving, Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD was realized onscreen with great malaise by director John Hillcoat. What a soul and spirit crushing exodus into the post-apocalyptic unknown. The harshness of nature, the unraveling of humanity, the desperate cannibalistic urges, THE ROAD puts forward a grand metaphor of survivalism and Darwinian darkness in a way that shrouds hope instead of disrobing it. And speaking of undressing, why oh why couldn’t my gal Charlize flash some boobies to that poor kid to help uplift his remaining days? Why?!


Almost 20 years later and Lynch’s LOST HIGHWAY has still left me mentally stranded. My lord, what a memorable brain-scrambler of a movie! Fusing both low-budget B-movie affect with a high-art experimental mystery, the confounding character transformation halfway into the movie is one of the great sleight of hand tricks performed by any filmmaker. Of course, by instantly foreshadowing such an unknown destination by starting the flick with those freaky head-lit highway shots, Lynch perfectly sets the mood for things to come. Damn we love this flick!


DEAD END is a movie I cannot urge you all to check out enough, if you’ve not already that is. Ray Wise and Lin Shaye headline the flick about a family traveling to a relative’s house on Christmas Eve, only to be haunted by a mysterious stretch of woodland road. Deeply creepy, unexplained shite of all sorts happens to the family on the road, none more unsettling than the scene in which the daughter of the family is suddenly possessed and begins singing a Christmas carol in the backseat of the car. Real shite, I felt spine-tingles the first time witnessing the scene.


Not quite a horror joint, but terrifying just the same, I recall peeping ARLINGTON ROAD with my pops in the theater back in 1999. One of the things I remember was how unexpected the final result was, and what a disturbing character study of domestic terrorism the film showcased. As years have passed, it’s this exact reason that I’ve come to love the film, particularly how it balances the action with the drama to create an overall visceral time at the movies. And while the street ARLINGTON ROAD may not be scary on its on, the idea that an Arlington Road could be anywhere, in your neighborhood even, is!


Not even the adorably angelic spirit of young Carol Ann could save the Freeling family from the horrors of that suburban cul-de-sac in POLTERGEIST. Roxbury Street in specific, which is still available to visit in Simi Valley, California. Now, we know most of the terrifying action takes place in and around the house proper, but come on, being built atop an ancient Indian burial ground, you gotta figure the whole damn block is severely f*cked! Fast forward to POLTERGEIST 2 when old skeletal Kane ambles down the street singing in the rain. I’ll never be able to shake that image!

Tags: Hollywood

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