The Popularity of Cemeteries in Horror Films
Evans City Cemetery (above) was famously used in Night of the Living Dead (1968).
At Bayer Cemetery Brokers, we are proud to provide beautiful cemeteries for peoples’ final resting places. We have great respect for the dead and are good at helping families as they grieve after loved ones have passed away. While we directly deal with the realistic factors of cemeteries, we also realize that cemeteries play other roles in society. With Halloween around the corner, we have decided to look at a unique aspect of cemeteries: their association with cemetery horror movies.
Horror film directors often use cemeteries as backdrops in their films in order to make viewers uncomfortable. Filmmakers will often use older-looking cemeteries in such films, with dark lighting and fog sometimes coming into play for spooky design purposes. Names of the deceased on headstones also provide for some mystery elements, with characters often searching for particular people on the stones. Rusty gates and unkempt grass are also often added in order to make things look abandoned and cold in cemetery horror movies. Wild cats and low-lit lanterns are occasionally thrown in for mood and scares as well. Finally, Medieval-looking cemeteries seem to be a popular choice for filmmakers as they are less well-handled looking than many modern cemeteries.
George A. Romero is famous for using cemeteries in films
Some directors like to add zombies and walking skeletons into their work with cemetery horror movies. These bodies are seen as abnormal to the peaceful state of real-life cemeteries, often disrupting the setting and scaring the characters of the story. George A. Romero is particularly famous for using zombies and cemeteries, especially with his 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. The idea of “the living dead” at cemeteries has fascinated many people throughout the years, with horror filmmakers often tapping into that fascination. Some other famous instances of “beings” in cemeteries in horror films include Pet Cemtery (1989), Army of Darkness (1990), Poltergeist (1982), and the notorious Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959).
Cemetery horror movies throughout the years have used cemetery settings because they directly connect to many humans’ fears of not being able to survive forever. Such phobias that the filmmakers try to tap into in their films include necrophobia (the fear of death or dead bodies), thanatophobia (which is more related to the fear of being dead or dying), and coimetrophobia (the fear of cemeteries). So, the cemeteries themselves don’t necessarily need to be scary-looking in order for directors to bring fear to audience members. It’s just how they use the settings and the ideas around them.
Cemetery horror movies are often very differently displayed than actual cemeteries
While use of cemeteries in horror pictures seems like a bit of a dated idea in modern times, some directors do still turn to the settings occasionally. However, it seems like directors have gone to other settings more frequently in recent years. Maybe cemeteries were just used too much in older horror films, or maybe directors have grown to have more respect for the dead and cemeteries in newer styles of film making.
The use of cemeteries in horror films is interesting, but the settings in real life are usually very different aesthetically than how they are shown on the screen for horror fare. Instead of being dark and haunting like in movies, most cemeteries are actually beautiful, clean, and peaceful places with nice grass and flowers. Bayer Cemetery Brokers is happy to represent that more realistic and comfortable take on cemeteries.