Michigan movies for the spooky season

Emily Morris, Managing Editor

Although Michigan isn’t the traditional Hollywood hotspot, some believe Michigan could be the next feature area for film with its diverse backgrounds: the Great Lakes, cities, farmland, universities and wildlife. These are the Halloween movies with Michigan ties to add a frightening and possibly familiar take.

“It Follows” 

Entirely filmed in Michigan, “It Follows” hit the screen in 2014, but the movie has developed some Oakland University fan theories since its release. The main character Jay Height (Maika Monroe) is projected to be an OU student.

After a casual sexual encounter, Heights learns she’s being followed by someone or something. To stay alive, she has to unpack her follower’s weaknesses and try to stay one step ahead. 

Her friends help her unravel the mystery she’s suddenly found herself in, but there’s a struggle for any true resolution. “It Follows” doesn’t offer a clean-cut ending with a happily ever after, and that choice is thoughtful in the horror genre. Naturally, a resolution is something a viewer is looking for, but a final note of uncertainty makes the plot seem more real and suspenseful, especially with the filming locations and fictional characters adding reliability. 

She doesn’t actually visit Oakland University while she tries to escape in the movie, but there was filming in the nearby University of Detroit. Although OU only got a fictional nod in the movie, University of Detroit is one of OU’s main rivals, making a notable and ironic set choice. 

Other filming locations that may ring a bell include the Redford Theater in Detroit, Clark’s Ice Cream and Yogurt in Berkley, High Lift Building, Water Works Park in Detroit, Clawson High School, Northville Psychiatric Hospital, the Packard Plant in Detroit and Jaycee Park in Troy. 

This is a suspenseful movie that adds more elements to the typical ghoulish encounter. The plot’s originality in “It Follows” makes it worth a watch on its own, aside from the additional local elements. 

“The Evil Dead” 

The classic horror movie from 1981, “The Evil Dead”, still holds true to its alarming and local roots. Sam Raimi, a Royal Oak native, directed the original movie and split the filming locations between Michigan and Tennessee. 

Because of its emphasis on Michigan, some believe the main characters are college students from OU’s neighbor and previous affiliate, Michigan State University. There wasn’t any filming at the university because the film largely takes place at a cabin in the woods, but there are backgrounds from Marshall and Detroit. 

“The Evil Dead” was the beginning of the classic cabin in the woods scene that has accompanied many movies since — “Cabin in the Woods,” “The Lodge,” “Cabin Fever.” 

A group of young adults venture into the woods to stay in a rickety, old cabin to find themselves and relax for a beat, but their plans quickly crumble. Someone unearths a spooky spell book that unleashes a world of terror. 

“The Evil Dead” follows a familiar horror plot, and the story comes across as nostalgic yet scary. Despite some expected scenes, the locality lets viewers feel connected to the film, giving an added thrill. 


Horror movies aren’t the only Halloween route though — the “Scooby Doo” live-action films give lighter lore, still in tune with the spooky spirit. Matthew Lillard, a Lansing native, plays Shaggy and steals the show with his lovable laughs with Scooby Doo. 

Lillard has left a lasting impression on Scooby Doo productions as he’s represented Shaggy’s sweet squirrely voice for almost two decades. His live-action Scooby Doo career includes “Scooby-Doo,” and “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” Additionally, he portrayed Shaggy in over 30 other Scooby-Doo spin-offs including cartoon recreations, shorts and video games, according to IMDb

Scooby-Doo has a range of stories, depending on the format. The cartoon series will always have a heartwarming nostalgia for young Scooby fans. Each video has a simple layout of solving a mystery with a few snacks and laughs in between. Then  the conclusion always lends to a dastardly sign-off: “I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

As long as the simple mystery plot suits you, any Scooby-Doo episode or movie should check off a Halloween Michigan movie box. Starting from the original series and answering, “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” is the best way to see where half a century of the mystery machine, Scooby-Snacks and masked villains originated.