The Spirit of Stu Still Lives On Inside the ‘Scream’ House [Horror Reel Estate]


Horror Reel Estate takes a look at the infamous locations found in some of your favorite horror movies, old and new. It serves as a handy real estate guide, a crash course in architecture, and a one-stop reference for interesting facts about these iconic landmarks. Even if you’re not quite ready to make an offer, these places will always take up valuable space within the confines of our cherished movie memories.

The early success of Scream (2022), the fifth installment in the series, shows that fans still hold the iconic franchise in high regard and clearly haven’t grown tired of the post-modern slasher formula. Newcomers to the series, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet took what they learned from their last film, Ready or Not, and crafted a hyper-violent, well-meaning tribute to Wes Craven’s horror legacy.

The directing duo just departed from the bloody board game come-to-life in Ready or Not. That film follows Samara Weaving fighting for her life inside a Gothic Revival-style mansion owned by her new in-laws who have a very messed up wedding tradition. So, perhaps it’s fitting that their next film, Scream (2022), features Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returning to the very house that tormented her in the original back in 1996.

Also Read: Sidney Prescott & Gale Weathers: Sister Survivors and Horror Matriarchs

The setting for one of the most memorable finales in horror history, Stu Macher’s (Matthew Lillard) childhood home winds up being the perfect location for the party to end all parties. The living room is spacious enough to allow Randy (Jamie Kennedy) to lay out his rules for “How to Survive a Horror Movie” to all of his friends. The garage gives Ghostface plenty of options to kill Tatum (Rose McGowan) when she goes down to grab more beer from the second fridge (a must in any suburban home). The bedrooms upstairs provide enough privacy for Billy (Skeet Ulrich) and Sidney to sneak away. There are also plenty of hiding spots in Stu’s family home, located at 261 Turner Lane in the sleepy town of Woodsboro. (Just in case you’re late to the party and need the addy.)

Proving to be a legacy character all its own, the actual home can be found up a long country road at 3871 Tomales Petaluma Road in Tomales, California. Nestled on almost 300 acres, the Victorian-style abode was built back in 1990. Today, it’s known as the “Spring Hill Estate“. It’s also been referred to as Elk Ranch due to a past owner who planned to raise elk on the sprawling property. The 5,500 square foot re-creation of a classic Victorian backs up to Walker Creek and features incredible panoramic views of Mount St. Helena. Although you’d never know just how remote the home actually is based on the original classic and the latest installment.

David Arquette promoting the AirBnB Scream event last Halloween. Courtesy of CNN

Wes Craven used the home to reflect the same seclusion that envelops the entire town of Woodsboro once the Ghostface murders begin. In a 1996 interview, Craven had this to say about the feeling of isolation he wanted to convey:

“We wanted Stu’s home to have elements of a dark and haunted Gothic house and it needed to be very isolated.  We looked a long time for someplace that had all of those elements. The house we found was actually brand new.”

Craven went on to explain the work involved to transform the house to allow for the marathon shoot required for the finale.

“The art department went in there and did an enormous number on the house.  We put in all sorts of beams, and stained-glass windows, darkened all the colors, and brought in all the set dressings. It was done in a sort of farmhouse style, and we changed it into a Gothic farmhouse.”

Also Read: ‘Scream (2022)’ Is Bloody, Funny, And One Hell Of A Good Time

Scream‘s final sequence was shot entirely in the house, taking a staggering 21 nights to shoot. Now referred to as “the longest night in horror history,” the infamous Scene 118 was comprised of more than 20 different parts and wound up amounting to 42 minutes of total screen time. As seen in the documentary Scream: The Inside Story, the cast and crew even printed up “I survived Scene 118” t-shirts to commemorate their suffering. Scream (2022) boasts a similar finale that isn’t as grueling but it’s definitely bloodier.

The layout of the Scream house also proved to be the perfect death trap scenario that lends itself well to some of the big reveals. For instance, there’s a second staircase in the master bedroom allowing Billy to get upstairs before Sidney comes in just before he finally admits he’s the killer. For Tatum’s death scene, it always seemed like someone would have seen her body. Visiting the home in person shows that the actual garage was located on the rear side of the property around the corner from the front door. Tatum’s death was in the original script so the natural layout of the house proved to be perfectly designed to not only be memorable but explainable inside the Screamverse.

Production designer Bruce Miller knew the importance of not succumbing to “horror logic” when he described the home’s layout.

“It just doesn’t make sense that in a normal American home, murders could be happening in the upstairs bedrooms, and people watching television downstairs wouldn’t know about it.  So the house had to be big enough, and the rooms had to be separated by enough distance, to convince the audience that these things could really be happening, without the other people knowing about it.  This particular house was perfect for that, because it was very convoluted, and kind of Victorian on the inside.”

The production crew added a chandelier and the stained glass, then quickly threw in a volleyball net to make it look like a teenager actually lived there. Today, the blood-red walls are painted yellow, the stained glass is removed and the entire home has a decidedly more country-chic appeal. Not everyone wants to live in an old Victorian with Gothic touches, apparently.

Sidney Prescott faces off with the Scream house in Scream (2022). Courtesy of Paramount.

Originally, a couple named John and Carolyn MacPhail built the estate in 1991. But sadly John passed away from a “brief illness” on March 6th at the age of 59. Carolyn followed that same year on November 12. Matthew Lillard commented on their deaths in an on-set interview in the Behind the Scream documentary featured in The Ultimate Scream Collection box set.

“It’s kind of, like, an eerie house.  Actually, two people have died in this house. Literally, two people have died in the house. So coming up the hill and you’re doing a Wes Craven film and somebody tells you, ‘Oh, by the way, two people have died in the house,’ it brings on an entirely new thing.” 

Clearly, the spirit of Stu may not be the only spirit still residing inside the Scream house.

About This Home

Stu’s house was put up for sale six months after Scream 4 hit theaters in November 2011 for $2,795,000. Sadly, no horror fans could afford it at that time. It was removed from the market, eventually selling in June 2014 for $2,820,000.

3871 Tomales Petaluma Road in Tomales, California is currently estimated at a value of $3,360, 829. It features 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, a formal dining room, a magnificent living room, custom-built library, straight grain woods throughout, 3 fireplaces and 2 wood-stoves. It includes two additional homes and barns. The estate backs up to Walker Creek and enjoys panoramic views and (most of all) privacy.

Three of the four baths feature clawfoot tubs and marble counters procured from a hotel in San Francisco.

Stu’s house was also replicated on the set of the Stab 3 stage set in Scream 3.

Check out the Dead Meat Scream virtual tour for a brand new video exploring the home as they map out and explore the house.

Closing Costs

Part of what makes the original Scream and the new Scream so enjoyable is trying to figure out which killer did what and when. Who killed each victim or did they help each other some of the time? How did they use Stu’s house to sneak around and not get caught until they wanted to? Those are the kind of questions that should make the new Scream even more fun on a second (and third) watch.

Know any other facts about Scream? Any properties from the franchise that you’ve visited? Please remember to always be respectful if it’s a private residence! Thanks to I Am Not a Stalker for helping with research. Let me know on Twitter via DrewSTinnin. You can also let your voice be heard in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Dread Central is now on Google News!




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