The Big Apple has played host to some big monsters: serial killers, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons and even The Devil himself. What New York’s boroughs lack in civility they make up for in prime accommodations for creatures of the night, and after an evening of killing a blood spattered sidewalk is always a bodega manager’s hose away from being swept clean in the morning.
In anticipation of the Blu-ray/DVD release of Scott Derrickson’s Bronx-set Deliver Us from Evil, we’re running down borough by borough Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Roosevelt Island and Long Island- to give you the best route to New York terror. Manhattan gets four slots because it’s Manhattan, duh!
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Manhattan
When it comes to capturing the atmosphere of New York in the most foreboding way imaginable, leave it to Roman Polanski. Shortly after he redefined psychological horror with Repulsion, the Polish filmmaker masterminded one of the most terrifying movies of all time, one that remains potent to this day. The director utilized Upper West Side apartment building The Dakota, later infamous for John Lennon’s murder, for all exterior shots of Rosemary’s (Mia Farrow) complex crawling with devil worshippers. What little we see of Farrow’s devil child at the end was enough to frighten women into stocking up on birth control for decades to come. Hail Satan indeed.
Jacob’s Ladder (1990) – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens
Although Tim Robbins’ postal worker besieged by nightmares technically lives in Brooklyn, this is very much a triborough movie, with footage shot in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Long Island City (Queens) and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Director Adrian Lyne’s insistence on having all effects executed practically is crucial to creating the harrowing mental landscape of disturbed Vietnam vet Jacob Singer’s hellish visions that may be hallucinations stemming from exposure to chemicals or straight-up demons. It’s also arguably the late Elizabeth Peña’s finest role as Jezebel, Jacob’s girlfriend with uncertain motivations.
Head to page 2 for two sexy Manhattan-set chillers!