46+ Hotel Horror Movies

Hotel horror movies might make you rethink that next trip or vacation.

John Cusack plays a skeptical writer whose haunted hotel room makes him a believer in 1408 (2007).

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What are the absolutely scariest hotel movies? From bed bugs to hauntings to the fact that people regularly die in the rooms, there’s something about a hotel that will always be a little bit off. There’s an inherent uneasiness in being away from home in a strange place, which is why scary hotel movies have an automatic creep factor to them—anything can happen when you venture into the unknown.

Danny Torrance’s psychic intuition warns him of impending doom if he goes to the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980).

From classic films to newer scares that have evolved to include modern “hotels” like an AirBnbs, the scary stay-away genre has a multitude of films for horror fans to enjoy. Here are the best hotel (and motel, inns, AirBnb etc.) horror movies. Make sure if you’re watching this from the comfort of a king-sized hotel bed you double-check those locks.

Hotel Horror Movies

Psycho (1960)

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960).
The scariest scenes in Psycho take place at the Bates Motel.

Arguably the first modern horror movie, Psycho (1960) follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who is on the run after embezzling $40,000 from her employer. She stops for a night at the Bates Motel, hiding the money inside of a newspaper, and meets the peculiar and reclusive Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). After meeting her fate at the hands of an unseen killer in the infamous shower stabbing scene, Marion’s sister, boyfriend, and a private investigator set off to the Bates Motel to try and find out what’s happened to her only to face not only Norman but his mother Norma Bates. The Bates family home and motel are famously still on the Universal Lot and can be viewed during their studio tours.

The City Of The Dead (1960)

Despite being crucial to the plot, several lines mentioning “Lucifer” near the beginning of the film were removed in the American release as they “offended” US censors.

Titled Horror Hotel in the United States, The City of the Dead (1960) centers on a young student, Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson), who is researching witchcraft in a small Massachusetts town following a recommendation by her college professor. When the young woman fails to return home, her fiancé follows in her footsteps in an effort to find her, uncovering a sinister local tradition.

Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Delphine Seyrig in Daughters of Darkness (1971).
Delphine Seyrig stars in Daughters of Darkness as Countess Elizabeth Báthory.

Based on the legends attributed to Elizabeth Báthory, Daughters of Darkness is an erotic horror film set in a Belgian hotel during modern times. Báthory, along with her female companion Ilona (Andrea Rau), become fixated on a young newlywed couple staying in the same hotel. The film follows the couple as Báthory attempts to fracture their relationship in order to get what she wants from them. With eroticism and blood, Daughters of Darkness is a beautiful and stylish take on sexy vampire films.

Terror At Red Wolf Inn (1972)

Many critics and film buffs consider the comic elements in Terror at Red Wolf Inn to make it almost a horror parody.

Regina McKee (Linda Gillen) is a college student who finds she’s won a trip and a stay at the Red Wolf Inn. When the other guests begin to mysteriously disappear in the middle of the night, Regina discovers there’s something much darker happening at the sleepy, quiet inn, and there is something even more shocking about the family hosting what should’ve been a relaxing time away. The “fake vacation” narrative would be repeated later in films like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998).

Inn Of The Damned (1975)

Inn of the Damned (1975).
Inn of the Damned is widely considered Australia’s first “horror western“.

Set in 1896 in Victoria, Australia, a Sheriff sets off to a mysterious inn to investigate why the guests check in but never check out. The inn, run by an insane woman and her husband, are taking revenge for the deaths of their children years before. At the time of filming, Inn of the Damned was the most expensive movie to be made in Australia with a budget of AU$417,000.

Eaten Alive (1976)

Eaten Alive is loosely based on real-life serial killer Joe Ball.

Directed by the great Tobe Hooper, Eaten Alive (1976) is a super fun exploitation movie that attempted to cash in on the successes of Jaws (1975) and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). In the swamps of Texas, a woman checks in to the Starlight Hotel, only to be attacked by the hotel’s crazed owner and eaten by the owner’s pet crocodile. That is just the beginning of a wild film featuring the hotel owner, Judd (Neville Brand), repeatedly attacking people with a scythe and sometimes feeding them to his pet. Particularly notable in Eaten Alive is an appearance from Robert Englund as a sex-crazed man named Buck (who provided partial inspiration for the character of the same name in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1).

The Shining (1980)

With The Shining, Stanley Kubrick set out to create the best ghost story of all time and eventually chose to adapt Stephen King’s then unpublished novel into a film of the same name.

Arguably the most famous haunted hotel story of all time, The Shining follows a troubled man, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), as he descends into madness in an isolated (and equally troubled) hotel. Goaded by the malevolent spirits of the hotel, Jack turns on his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick disagreed about where the horror in The Shining comes from with King insisting it is scarier to believe Jack Torrance was a normal man who was driven mad by cabin fever and Kubrick casting Nicholson to play a character who seems unscrupulous from the jump.

Motel Hell (1980)

Much of Motel Hell was filmed at the Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, California.

Motel Hell (1980) is an iconic cannibal horror comedy movie about “meat entrepreneurs” Vincent Smith (Rory Calhoun) and his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) who own a motel, Motel Hello. The siblings set traps for victims on the road near their motel, then they bury their victims up to the neck in their “secret garden,” slit their vocal cords so they can’t scream, and wait until they are ready to harvest. As the saying goes, “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters!”

Tower Of Terror (1997)

Tower of Terror (1997).
Tower of Terror is (very loosely) based on the famous Disney park attraction.

Starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst, Tower of Terror (1997) is a made-for-TV supernatural horror movie that follows a journalist (Guttenberg) and his niece (Dunst) who investigate the disappearance of five people from a luxury elevator sixty years prior. When it’s discovered that the five people are roaming the hotel as ghosts, the pair set out to free the spirits. With shots filmed at the actual Disney ride, this movie was the studio’s test to see if there was a market to turn their attractions into films. This inspired other based-on-attractions films such as Mission to Mars (2000), The Country Bears (2002), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), and The Haunted Mansion (2003).

Identity (2003)

John Cusack leads a fabulous cast that includes Ray Liotta, Rebecca De Mornay, Alfred Molina, Amanda Peet, John C. McGinley and Clea DuVall.

Identity is a fabulous neo-noir thriller that takes place almost entirely on the grounds of an isolated motel. Flooding caused by a rainstorm strands ten strangers at the motel, and it seems as if one of them may be a killer. As the night goes one, the group uncovers mysterious connections between themselves in an attempt to uncover the identity of the killer before they all end up dead.

Hotel (2004)

Hotel made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival where it was nominated for the Un Certain Regard award, which focuses on “weird” movies.

Written and directed by Jessica Hausner, Hotel is an Austrian horror thriller that centers around a young woman named Irene (Franziska Weisz) who takes a job as a hotel desk attendant after the previous attendant disappears. When the other employees seem unwilling to answer her questions or provide any explanation, Irene takes it upon herself to find out what happened. Described as “polarizing,” Hausner has said of her film: “Hotel is my most problematic film, in a way, because the reaction of the audience was quite controversial. Some people like the film, but a lot of people said the ending was missing; they couldn’t enjoy the fact that you cannot get any plausible explanations for what was happening.”

Hostel (2005)

Members of an elite hunting club torture backpackers who check into the wrong hostel.

Graphic, gory, and unwatchable to some, the first movie in Eli Roth’s Hostel trilogy follows a trio of backpackers hoping to find beautiful women at a hostel in Slovakia. Instead, they meet a terrifying organization that kidnaps tourists and allows their wealthy clients to torture, mutilate and ultimately murder them. The films is part of a group of 2000s horror movies derisively labeled “torture porn” because they focus so heavily on shock and in-depth violence.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

The Devil’s Rejects was initially given an NC-17 rating, and the film was submitted to the MPAA eight times before it finally received an R rating.

The Devil’s Rejects continues the story of Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) after the events of House of 1000 Corpses (2003). The trio of killers are on the run from the law and take a group of people hostage in a motel room. Writer/director Rob Zombie has stated that about two minutes of footage from the motel scene had to be cut for its theatrical release in order to get an R rating. The footage was restored for the home video version.

Bug (2006)

Asley Judd and Michael Shannon in Bug (2006).
Bug was directed by William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist (1973).

Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon star in Bug (2006), a psychological horror film that can really get under your skin. Judd play Agnes, a waitress living in a run-down motel room suffering from alcoholism as a result of trauma. Agnes meets a drifter named Peter (Shannon) who claims he is being watched by the government and the pair form a bond that only increases each other’s paranoia and belief in bizarre conspiracies (including that the government infested Agnes’ motel room with bugs as part of an experiment).

1408 (2007)

In 1408, a skeptic of the paranormal meets his match with a room in The Dolphin Hotel, based on the Stephen King story of the same name.

John Cusack stars as Mike Enslin, a skeptical writer who seeks out haunted houses, graveyards, and other places of lore in order to debunk the stories that have been told about them. While traveling between LA and New York, he checks into the otherwise “unavailable” haunted room 1408 at The Dolphin Hotel for one night. Despite the manager’s pleas to not stay in the evil room, Enslin goes ahead with it and realizes his grave mistake too late. Make sure to check out this film’s alternate ending if you haven’t seen it.

Vacancy (2007)

Frank Whaley played a creepy hotel proprietor in Vacancy (2007).

When a married couple (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale) becomes stranded at the isolated Pinewood Motel and finds hidden cameras in their room, they realize that they need to either escape or become the latest victims in a snuff film ring. Similar to films like Paranormal Activity (2007), Vacancy relied on the internet and viral marketing in order to drum up hype for the film. One tactic was TV spots with a toll-free phone number which, when called, would lead callers to a sound that mimicked the motel in the film informing them about “slashing” prices and the “killer” deals that the motel would offer—if there were a vacancy. 

Across the Hall (2009)

Across the Hall is a neo-noir film starring Brittany Murphy, Mike Vogel, and Danny Pino.

Expanding on his short film also titled Across the Hall, director Alex Merkin tells the story of a man convinced his fiancée is cheating on him. After he follows her to a hotel, he calls his best friend to join him as he waits across the hall. A month after Across the Hall was released, star Brittany Murphy was tragically found dead in her home. The film would be the last to be released while the young starlet was still alive.

The Innkeepers (2011)

Many scenes in The Innkeepers were filmed at the actual Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut.

Set in the real-life haunted Yankee Pedlar Inn, The Innkeepers follows two hotel employees, Claire and Luke (Sara Paxton and Pat Healy) who are determined to capture evidence of paranormal activity in the hotel before it shuts down at the end of the week. With only a few guests, the empty hotel is the perfect setting for a haunted hotel movie. Heavy on suspense and light on blood, The Innkeepers is a great light horror movie to watch with people who are easily scared.

American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)

Kathy Bates plays hotel manager Iris.

While not a movie, AHS: Hotel is a standalone 12-episode story set at the fictional Hotel Cortez. Lady Gaga stars as the Countess, a woman with a dark secret who oversees the hotel and its eccentric guests. The season drew inspiration from the infamous Hotel Cecil in downtown Los Angeles. Episode four of the season, “Devil’s Night,” even calls back to the Cecil’s well-documented history with housing serial killers.

Hell House LLC (2015)

Hell House LLC (2015).
Hell House LLC explores the aftermath of a haunted attraction gone wrong.

Portrayed as a documentary, Hell House LLC investigates an event at a haunted house set up in an abandoned hotel that left fifteen guests and all but one staff member dead. The investigation takes place five years after the incident and includes footage taken during the original event, as well as new footage of the documentary crew searching through the hotel. Hell House LLC is considered one of the scariest films in the found footage subgenre.

Bad Times At The El Royale (2018)

The film’s all-star cast all-star cast includes Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm.

The El Royale is a creepy hotel on the California-Nevada border. One night six strangers and an El Royale employee meet at the hotel. Their secrets are revealed throughout a single night that is scary, gross, and completely gonzo. Bad Times at The El Royale can be compared to Tarantino films like Pulp Fiction (1994).

Hotel Artemis (2018)

Hotel Artemis has a stellar cast that includes Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista, Brian Tyree Henry, Jeff Goldblum and more.

The Hotel Artemis only has three rules: “no weapons,” “no non-members,” and “no killing of other guests.” Jodie Foster stars as Jean Thomas, a nurse running a secret, member’s only hospital for criminals in dystopian Los Angeles. Despite receiving critical praise for its script, concept, visuals, and Foster’s performance, the film was a box office bomb.

Piercing (2018)

Piercing (2018).
The tables turn on the murderer in this mystery horror thriller film.

Piercing (2018) opens with a haunting visual: a man is standing over his baby with an ice pick, practicing for murder. When Reed (Christopher Abbott) arrives at his hotel room, his intent is to murder a sex worker. However, he is greeted by Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) instead of his intended mark. Jackie is nothing like Reed could’ve expected, and what ensues is a thrilling ride with an unexpected twist that left critics praising the film.

Followed (2018)

Elements of Followed (2018) bear a chilling resemblance to the true story of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel, one of the scariest real life hotel horror stories.

Told almost entirely through a single screencast of various videos and vlogs, Followed (2018) is a scary movie that watches as a controversial internet personality goes to a supposedly cursed hotel and brings the viewer(s) along with him. Mimicking instances like the Elisa Lam case at the Hotel Cecil, the notorious “Elevator Game,” and infamous Creepypastas, Followed is a horror movie for the digital age. The film has widely received acclaim for its commentary on millennial culture and social media.

The Night (2020)

The Night is the first American-made film to receive theatrical release in Iran since 1979.

Iranian couple Babak and Neda (Shahab Hosseini and Niousha Noor) are driving to their Los Angeles home late one night with their one-year-old daughter. When their navigation system malfunctions, the family decides to spend the night at the Hotel Normandie. Strange events begin happening immediately and the night devolves into a nightmare from there. Variety called the psychological thriller “cerebral” and made note that the final scene is one viewers won’t be able to forget.

The Rental (2020)

Dave Franco presents the first Airbnb horror movie.

Produced, directed, and co-written by Dave Franco, The Rental is an Airbnb nightmare: what happens when you find hidden cameras on the property and realize your idyllic vacation is about to become worse than any ghost story you could’ve come up with? Four friends live out this scenario in The Rental. Franco has said that the film’s ambiguous ending was intentional, partially because it leaves the possibility for a sequel wide open.

Barbarian (2022)

Barbarian (2022) is a wild film that could have been even more shocking.

The second big AirBnb horror movie stars Bill Skarsgård and Georgina Campbell as two people who realize they’ve booked the same AirBnb for the same night. Unsure whether they can trust each other, the two nevertheless decide to spend the night together. Scream King Justin Long also stars as a sleazy Hollywood actor who is also the AirBnb’s slumlord.

Bad Things (2023)

The hotel Bad Things is set in steals the show.

Ruthie inherits her grandmother’s abandoned hotel and invites her friends to visit. Aware of it’s supposedly haunted history, the friends enjoy their time swimming in the pool, drinking in the corridors and having the place to themselves. However, cheating, fights and secrets fracture the group as the paranormal activity reaches a fever pitch.

More Scary Hotel Movies:

  • Slaughter Hotel (1971) – This 1970s giallo horror film is set in a sanatorium for wealthy women to rest and recuperate after psychological episodes.
  • A Candle For The Devil (1973) – Murderous sisters suffering from religious repression and paranoia attempt to hide a murder from the victim’s sister in this Spanish horror classic.
  • New Year’s Evil (1980) a mysterious killer threatens to off someone in each time zone on New Year’s Eve as a punishment for “naughty girls.” The killer repeatedly calls the host of a televised New Year’s Eve party hosted inside a hotel.
  • Ghostkeeper (1981) – Inspired by the legend of the Wendigo, several snowmobilers find themselves stranded in a seemingly abandoned hotel in this cult classic film that almost-was-not released due to budget restraints.
  • The Beyond (1981) – Filmed on location in New Orleans, this Lucio Fulci movie follows a woman who inherits an (allegedly) haunted hotel in Louisiana that may or may not be a gateway directly to hell.
  • Basket Case (1982) – A young man checks into a cheap hotel in New York City with the intent of getting revenge on the doctor who separated him from his deranged, deformed, and murderous conjoined twin he keeps in a basket. It’s kind of goofy, but it’s also kind of great.
  • Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983) – Described as an “early 1980s drive-in gem,” this low-budget film centers around a psychotic woman who returns to her former place of employment after a stay in an asylum and begins murdering the guests one by one.
  • Psycho II (1983) – Serial killer Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is released after serving 22 years in a psychiatric institution and the bodies start piling up at the Bates Motel again.
  • Bloody New Year (1987) – Partygoers attempt to survive a haunted hotel secluded on a remote island in this ’80s British horror movie.
  • Angel Heart (1987) – Mickey Rourke stars as a private detective who becomes entangled in a neo-noir plot involving dark forces and death in Louisiana. The film got itself into ratings trouble for a sex scene in a hotel, cutting about 10 seconds to downgrade it from an X to an R.
  • The Witches (1990) – Based on the Roald Dahl story and shot at the Headland Hotel in Cornwall, England, this cult classic starring Anjelica Huston follows a group of evil witches at their hotel convention who masquerade as normal women in order to kill children.
  • Bride Of Chucky (1998) – The fourth installment in the Child’s Play/Chucky increases the comedy in a road movie/love story featuring Chucky and his old flame Tiffany. As dolls, the two share an intimate encounter (AKA: doll sex) in a hotel.
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) – One year after the events of the first film, the murderous villain has returned to stalk the teens, this time at a luxury island resort.
  • One Hour Photo (2002) – Starring Robin Williams, this psychological thriller and voyeur film is about a photo technician becomes obsessed with a family and devolves into madness. A rendezvous at a hotel room plays a large role in the later stages of the film.
  • Red Eye (2005) – The horror in this scary airplane movie mostly takes place high in the sky but a key plot point involves a luxury hotel in Miami.
  • House (2008) – Set in a run-down inn in Alabama, this movie watches seven individuals locked in by a homicidal maniac who demands a dead body by sunrise—or else.
  • No Vacancy (2012) – A group of people is stranded at a motel inhabited by torturers and murderers. Also known as The Helpers.
  • Reaper (2014) – Horror Cult Films wrote that “The Last Chance hotel is also one of the stars of the film in its own little way.”
  • Puppet Master (2018) – The reboot of the series that started in 1989 was dubbed “certifiably bonkers and cheerfully offensive” by The New York Times.
  • Doctor Sleep (2019) – The follow-up to Kubrick’s The Shining revisits little Danny Torrance, now a grown-up, who must protect a young girl with abilities much like his own.
  • The Resort (2021) – A group of adventurous friends get trapped inside a haunted hotel resort in Hawaii.

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