Salem Haunted Happenings 2017

A festive celebration of Halloween and fall in New England, more than 250,000 people come to Salem Haunted Happenings each year.  Events include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights on Salem Common, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations. An ABA Top 100 Event.

For more information on visiting Salem in October, visit

The Witch in the Wood

The new feature film THE WITCH was released nationwide today after a series of premiere events that culminated in a fantastic evening of history and horror in Salem last night.  Writer/Director Robert Eggers and star Anya Taylor Joy came to Salem to attend the screening at CinemaSalem in addition to several media events. Eggers and Joy visited The Witch House, attended a reception at the Salem Witch Museum, and answered questions during a panel immediately following the film.

There is a lot that can go wrong with a film like THE WITCH, which is the story of “one family’s frightful unraveling,” set in 17th century New England.  The history, the setting, the dialect, the dialog, the witch could all be horribly portrayed. But they are not.  With painstaking detail, this film gets it all right. It is terrifying and accurate and it transports the audience to a place of, to quote one of the audience members at the Salem screening, “abject terror” that was the reality of 17th century New England.

My visceral reaction to the film aside, the historians in the theater agreed: this film is excellent.  (As one historian said, “So very may films have gotten the history so very wrong, we were all prepared for the worst.”)  If you want to know what the afflicted children went through in 1692, see THE WITCH. If you want to grasp the importance of religion and faith in a Puritan family, see THE WITCH. If you want to feel the fear that pulsated through the family’s farm in exile, see THE WITCH.

Eggers has created a beautiful, haunting film that will stay with me for a very long time, and Anya Taylor Joy is mesmerizing as Thomasin. It was a pleasure having them in Salem for the screening.

The film is in wide release, but we think you should see it at CinemaSalem, of course.

Lots of people are writing about THE WITCH. We really like Brunonia Barry’s perspective, which was posted on Huffington Post: The Tangled, Feminine History of The Witch

Haunted Movie Series: Ghostbusters

Salem, MA, Ghostbusters

Magic 106.7 hosts weekly movie nights in October on Salem Common.

“Ghostbusters,” starring Bill Murray, Danny Aykroyd, and Sigourney Weaver, follows a group of parapsychology professors who attempt to start a business in ghost removal services. Film debuted in 1984, and is rated PG.

Movie starts at 6:00 PM, other entertainment will be available on Salem Common beginning at 2:00 PM.

Haunted Movie Series: Hocus Pocus

Salem, MA, Hocus Pocus

Magic 106.7 hosts weekly movie nights in October on Salem Common.

300 years after the Sanderson Sisters were executed for witchcraft in Salem, MA, the trio is brought back to the living world by Max, teenager lighting the mysterious black flame candle within the witches’ house. It’s up to Max, along with the help of friend Alison and sister Dani, to spend their Halloween night fighting to put an end to the Sanderson Sisters for good.

Movie starts at 6:00 PM, other entertainment will be available on Salem Common beginning at 2:00 PM

“Hocus Pocus” Filming Locations in Salem, MA

hocus-pocusIt might be difficult to believe that Hocus Pocus, the famed cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy debuted 25 years ago, on July 16, 1993. You are probably familiar with the film’s story, which focuses on the Sanderson Sisters, who are executed as witches after casting a spell on young Thackery Binx, dooming him to roam the streets of Salem as an immortal black cat. 300 years later, a teenager named Max finds himself in the home of the Sanderson Sisters, where his lighting of the infamous black flame candle brings the trio back to life on Halloween night. Max, along with his sister Dani, and crush Allison, and Binx the cat, of course, must then work together to put an end to the Sanderson Sisters once and for all.

Pioneer Village / Salem Village

Hocus Pocus Film Locations

310 West Ave |
The opening scenes of the film, featuring Binx as a human prior to his cursing as a cat, were filmed in Pioneer Village, a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park. Pioneer Village was built in 1930, and is America’s first living history museum. Tours of the village are offered seasonally June through September, and today the park is home to different events and festivals throughout the year.

Phillips Elementary School on Salem Common / Max & Allison’s School

The Phillips Elementary School building conveniently ended its run as a functioning school in 1992, making it the perfect location for a movie filming in Salem that required some exterior high school footage. While the building is not open to the public today the exterior can still be viewed from the Common.

The Ropes Mansion / Allison’s House

Hocus Pocus Film Locations

318 Essex Street |
One of the most memorable scenes in the film was when Max attends the Halloween party at Allison’s house, the exterior of which was actually filmed using one of the most prominent 18th-century homes in Salem. The Mansion is owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, and the gardens located in the rear of the property are free to visit and open to the public.

Old Town Hall / Halloween Party


Hocus Pocus Film Locations

Photo: Nevic Stavner

161 Essex Street |
The other classic party scene in the film was actually filmed just a few blocks away at Old Town Hall in Derby Square. Famous in the film for Bette Midler’s rendition of “Put a Spell on You,” the building today is open to the public, and hosts the Salem Museum and performances of Cry Innocent.

Salem Common

Many of the outdoor scenes in the movie were filmed at Salem Common, where ironically enough the film is shown each year during Haunted Happenings. View the events calendar at to check dates for this year’s Haunted Movie Series.

4 Ocean Avenue / Max’s House

This house on the end of Ocean Avenue was home to Max and his sister Dani in the film. While Hocus Pocus fans may view the exterior of the home from the street, please be advised that this site is PRIVATE PROPERTY and should be treated with respect.

Old Burial Hill / Cemetery

Orne Street, Marblehead, MA |
The day-time cemetery scenes showing Max interacting with his new, not-so-welcoming classmates actually were not filmed in Salem at all. This footage was shot in nearby Marblehead at Old Burial Hill, one of the oldest graveyards in New England.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

217 Essex Street |
While this museum was not featured in the filming for Hocus Pocus, it is home to an impressive figure of Winifred Sanderson, portrayed in the film by Bette Midler. Count Orlok’s is located at 217 Street and is open as a museum and haunted house throughout the summer and October.

Do have a good time visiting some of the locations from this classic film, but please don’t “run amok!”

10th Annual Salem Film Fest

Salem Film Fest is one of the largest documentary film festivals in New England, and it has been featuring exceptional works of film for the past ten years. This year’s event will showcase over fifty documentaries and shorts between March 2-9.

Films are chosen to be a part of Salem Film Fest based on their technical and artistic grandeur and their abilities to incite new interests and responses from the audience. Additionally, two out of three filmmakers involved in producing the works shown during Salem Film Fest attend related events and speaking engagements throughout the week.

Salem Film Fest begins tomorrow evening with the event’s opening gala at the Hawthorne Hotel. The gala will celebrate the accomplishments of Salem Film Fest in New England, and honor David Fanning, Founder and Executive Producer at Large of FRONTLINE. David will be in attendance to receive the Salem Film Fest Storyteller Award.

Proceeds from the opening gala will be used to support Salem Film Fest, an organization which is maintained entirely by volunteers who have passions for documentary filmmaking.

This year’s Film Fest will present a variety of topics. From After Spring, which follows two families as they search for a permanent home from their temporary stay at a refugee camp in Jordan, to First Lady of the Revolution, which portrays the fascinating life of Henrietta Boggs, the Alabama native who eventually becomes First Lady of Costa Rica. The complete schedule of films and events may be viewed at

Films will be shown at the Morse Auditorium at the Peabody Essex Museum, CinemaSalem, and the Salem Regional Visitors Center. Tickets are $11-13 per film, and may be purchased online in advance through the Salem Film Fest website.

In addition to the films, Salem Film Fest includes film after parties, lectures, five-minute student film contests, and live music. Complete event schedules for Salem Film Fest are available online at

“Night of the Living Dead” Film Showing

1968. America is at war with itself as the walking dead rise from within the crumbing facade of daily of life. Taking shelter in an abandoned farm house, seven strangers must navigate their differences before the boarded walls give way to the ravenous zombie horde.

This festival debut screening will honor Duane Jones as the first recipient of the Salem Horror Award for his cultural contribution to the cinema as one of the first positive portrayals of a person of color on the big screen.

Film will be shown at the Peabody Essex Museum, and tickets may be purchased online once available.

“The Haunting” Film Screening & Panel

A scientist, skeptic, psychic and lesbian question reality as they explore a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of death and insanity in this 1963 horror classic.

This screening is in partnership with The Shirley Jackson Awards and Women Film & TV New England. Music performance by New York’s Victorian goth-punk band The Long Losts. Panel discussion to follow.

Film is presented as part of Salem Horror. For more information or to purchase tickets ($13+) please visit

“Matinee” Film Screening & Panel

The escalation of the Cuban Missile Crisis collides with the premiere of a new atomic-age monster picture, MANT. This comedic homage to legendary producer William Castle celebrates the joy of horror cinema and theatrical gimmicks in one of Joe Dante’s (Gremlins, The Burbs) most underrated films.

Film is presented as part of Salem Horror Fest. Tickets ($13+) are available at

Panel discussion to follow.

“Gods and Monsters” Film Screening & Panel

The last days and career of renown gay horror director James Whale (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man) are explored in this biographical drama set in the time following the Korean War.

Panel discussion to follow.

Film is presented as part of Salem Horror Fest. For more information or to purchase tickets ($13+) visit

Women with Guts

Salem Horror Fest partners with Rue Morgue Magazine to celebrate women in horror for the New England premiere of SXSW hit Tragedy Girls!

The screening will be paired with Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood followed by a post-credit Q&A with the film’s stars Lar Park Lincoln and man behind the mask, Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) moderated by The Faculty of Horror hosts Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West.

The celebration will also feature a reading by FunDead Publications, comedy by Kylie Alexander, and a midnight paranormal investigation with Shari Marie DeBenedetti from Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters (admission to investigation sold separately).

Rue Morgue Library’s Women With Guts: Horror Heroines From Film, TV, and Print is now available for pre-order.

Haunted Movie Series: Casper

Magic 106.7 hosts weekly movie nights in October on Salem Common.

Casper starring Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, and Cathy Moriarty, follows a paranormal investigator and his daughter on a trip to an abandoned house with a few frightful (but one friendly) ghosts. Film debuted in 1995 and is rated PG.

Movie starts at 6:00 PM, other entertainment will be available on Salem Common beginning at 2:00 PM.