Five Halloween movies with a connection to Florida

Creature of the Black Lagoon – Courtesy: Creature of the Black Lagoon Movies Franchise

There’s still plenty of time to get your spooky festivities in before Halloween wraps up this month. Unbeknownst to many, Florida has served as the backdrop for many terrifying films. 

Here’s a list of some movies to watch with the lights off, all with some connection to Florida.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Although this classic supernatural horror film wasn’t filmed in Florida, a state native had a key role in creating it.

Florida native Daniel Myrick wrote and directed the film alongside Eduardo Sanchez. The fictional film follows the story of three student filmmakers hiking through Maryland. 

They shot “The Blair Witch Project” for the mere amount of $60,000, and the film went on to earn $248 million at the box office.

Myrick was born in Sarasota, Florida, and grew up in Fort Myers. He studied film and graduated from the University of Central Florida. 

“It’s not a big polished Hollywood movie,” he told the News-Press in Fort Myers earlier this year. “It sort of represents that, look, if you’ve got a good concept and good execution and not a lot of money, you can make something happen.”

Cape Fear (1991)

The brilliant Martin Scorsese directs, and Robert De Niro stars in the psychological thriller “Cape Fear.”

Florida plays a major role in the film, with several scenes filmed in Fort Lauderdale nearby Dania, the Everglades, and other parts of the state.

The movie follows a convicted rapist who seeks vengeance against a public defender he blames for his own imprisonment.

Juliette Lake Lewis (who played the lawyer’s daughter) received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, as did De Niro for Best Actor. Neither of the two won an Oscar, but the film was praised with solid reviews for its terrifying moments, heralding the genius of Scorsese’s movie-making skills.

Day of the Dead (1985)

Long before “The Walking Dead” and the hundreds of zombie movies that came before it, there was “Day of the Dead.” 

This post-apocalyptic zombie horror movie was filmed mainly in Southwest Florida, with several scenes filmed in the streets of downtown Fort Myers and on Sanibel Island.

The film follows the struggling survivors of a zombie apocalypse shelter in an underground bunker in Florida, where they work hard to ensure the survival of what’s left of the human race. 

It was the third of director George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” trilogy.

The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

A hotshot lawyer from Gainesville heads to the Big Apple in a major career move. What can go wrong?

Keanu Reeves stars as the lawyer who finds out his new boss is Satan himself. Al Pacino plays the devil and Charlize Theron portrays Reeves’ character’s wife.

Florida is featured prominently throughout the film, with scenes shot in Jacksonville and Gainesville, including a downtown courthouse.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

If throwbacks and nostalgia are your thing, add the black-and-white “Creature from the Black Lagoon” that came out 67 years ago to your movie list.

The plot follows scientists who discover an amphibian-like “Gil-man” somewhere in the Amazon. Definitely a bit cheesier than what we see in today’s film technology, but “Creature” has made a name for itself as a monster classic.

Scenes were filmed throughout Florida, including Palatka, Silver Springs, Wakulla Springs near Tallahassee, Marineland, and along the St. Johns River near Jacksonville.

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