New Mexico has some of the best landscape scenery in the country. The state works perfectly for filming locations that double as other places. Also, it brings a lot of income to the state and leaves the elitist Hollywood crowd at home. With the Halloween season among us let’s take a look at 14 of the most awesome horror movies filmed in New Mexico.
1. Them (1954)
Nuclear weaponry was a somewhat new concept and The Cold War was brewing. Much fear and anxiety were felt across the nation. And who capitalizes on the mental health of the masses better than Hollywood? Them is a horror film that was shot in New Mexico about giant ants that come to be thanks to nuclear bomb fallout. This may not be the best film ever made but it truly is a classic. Giant ants are freaking scary! Them does have a unique place in cinema history as one of the first horror movies filmed in New Mexico.
2. Let Me In (2010)
The very moody Let Me In is the 2010 American remake of the Swedish vampire hit Let the Right One In. It didn’t receive a lot of love upon its release, however, interest is growing and it is becoming a cult favorite. Instead of a major city like Stockholm for the location, the filmmakers decided on a suburb like Los Alamos.
3. Vampires (1998)
The legendary John Carpenter took on the vampire genre back in 1998 with the aptly titled film Vampires. Starring James Woods, this modern classic vampire hunter tale was filmed in many locations around New Mexico. The historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, to the picturesque Santa Fe, to the deserts of Cerillos; this movie was everywhere.
4. Don’t Blink (2014)
You can find Don’t Blink in the horror section of Netflix these days. It was a limited release but has grown in popularity due to the cast and plot. A group of ten friends visits a remote resort, which they subsequently find empty. As they attempt to find out what happened to the other guests, they are horrified to find that they too are disappearing. The principal shooting of the Hitchcock-like movie was filmed in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
5. The Eye (2008)
Shot primarily in Albuquerque, The Eye was meant to be located in Los Angeles. But we know better, don’t we? A supernatural horror film starring Jessica Alba, The Eye is a fun flick about a woman who went blind as a child and was donated eyes so she could see as an adult. Though her new set of eyes give her a deeper sense of vision than the rest of us. She’s seen horrible ghostly things!
6. Odd Thomas (2013)
Odd Thomas was disappointing, but not for any other reason than its poor marketing. Because the movie itself is actually quite awesome. Again, it’s another movie that is supposed to take place in California. In this case, it’s a small desert town. However, it is more than obvious that no city can be as beautiful as Santa Fe, which is where a lot of these movies actually were filmed. It’s well worth watching for those who like a lot of the supernatural and a bit of comedy.
7. Nightwing (1979)
1979’s Nightwing is an awesome horror movie about Hopi supernatural superstitions and modern science. The Hopi lead character isn’t sure if the strange deaths of plague are coming from something natural or something supernatural. But one thing is for sure, the bats own the night!
8. Fright Night (2011)
As a lover of the original, I must admit that the 2011 remake of Fright Night is beyond awesome. It is, of course, sad to see the great Anton Yelchin who passed away earlier this year, in the lead role, but he does deliver as the perfect actor for the job. Colin Farrell also plays a strange and dark vampire. Though arguably it’s Dr. Who‘s David Tennant who steals the movie as the Vegas magician/vampire hunter. I love this movie. It is supposed to take place in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada, but even though some scenes were filmed in Vegas, most of the movie was actually filmed in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and check it out. I think you’ll love it.
9. Ghosts of Mars (2001)
John Carpenter appears on the list again but with an entirely different movie. He’s a legend for a reason and that reason is that he goes above and beyond with storylines and casting. Ghosts of Mars is a science fiction horror film starring Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, and Pam Grier. Well if the unbelievable cast alone doesn’t sell you then how about the plot about ancient ghosts on Mars?
10. The Hitcher (2007)
Another remake on this list but instead of the menacing Rutger Hauer as the psychopath, the brilliant Sean Bean takes on the role. Also worth mentioning is the super-hot Sophia Bush who takes him on as he terrorizes her and her boyfriend. This is a good remake and shows many of the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico.
11. Carriers (2009)
Post-apocalyptic films will never go out of style. Actually these days they’re more common than ever before. Just look at the state of our government and the two insane candidates running for the presidential office. Take a look at that and then you won’t wonder why these movies are so popular these days. Carriers is one of many great post-apocalyptic movies filmed in New Mexico. However, it is uniquely the only horror one. Carriers are not your average global disease epidemic film, it has a lot of horrific scenes and a constant sense of dread.
12. The Burrowers (2008)
Imagine The Searchers mixed with aliens that burrow under the desert floor and you will get a pretty good idea of what The Burrowers is about. Western horror films are hard to come by and often suck. This one, however, may have its flaws, but it’s still well worth watching for the fun of it. Plus the alien monsters look pretty awesome.
13. Legion (2010)
Archangel Michael, the apocalypse, demons, horror, violence, you name it. Legion stars Paul Bettany as the Archangel Michael who comes to Earth cuts off his wings and steals an arsenal of firearms from the police. Michael claims God lost his faith in mankind and his legion of angels is wreaking havoc on Earth killing off everyone. It’s an intense apocalypse indeed and actually takes place mostly in one location; a small roadside diner.
14. The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Not entirely horror, but it still has plenty of horrific elements, The Andromeda Strain is a film that I will never get out of my head. Especially the ending (which I won’t spoil). It’s a classic film based on a Michael Crichton novel. This contagion film takes place in New Mexico and a fictional underground Nevada lab. The New Mexico desert is a perfect location for a contagion story about a plague that wipes out the world’s population from an outer space source. And while not necessarily a horror movie, it’s still one of the coolest movies filmed in New Mexico. The ending will stick in your memory forever!
Correction: It actually turns out, upon further investigation that the movie “Them” wasn’t indeed one of the movies filmed in New Mexico as I was led to believe. It turns out, like most lower budget movies of that era, that the filming took place in California in several locations. It does, however, take place in New Mexico. This was something I was trying to avoid but failed to do so on my part. I apologize. In no way does this not make “Them” a New Mexico horror masterpiece though.