Would you spend the night in the house of Buffalo Bill, from the terrifying film “Silence of the Lambs”? One horror superfan, Chris Rowan, hopes so.
He recently sewed up a purchase of the Perryopolis, PA, home that was the scene of some of the most chilling scenes in the classic flick, and he plans to turn it into a “cinematic destination.”
Work to add some film-based flourishes to the property will be a labor of love for this New Jersey-based art director and prop stylist.
“It seems to be a match made in heaven,” he says.
Rowan, 39, has loved horror films since he was a kid, and for a decade, he’s hosted the New York City Horror Film Festival.
As an aficionado of all things creepy, he was excited to find the home back on the market last fall for $298,500. He visited the Pittsburgh-area house and walked up the infamous path to the front door.
“It was a really special moment for me. As a fan, it was an amazing feeling,” he says.
Now that he has the keys to the not-so-spooky residence, Rowan is ready to lean in to the home’s cinematic connection. He plans to turn the Queen Anne Victorian into a “boutique accommodation” for overnight stays, as well as guided tours.
The unforgettable movie, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, starred Anthony Hopkins as an imprisoned serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, and Jodie Foster as an agent in training for the FBI, Clarice Starling. The film, based on a novel by Thomas Harris, won five Academy Awards and continues to resonate throughout pop culture.
This house served as the residence of the sadistic murderer Buffalo Bill, played by Ted Levine, who imprisons his female victims at the bottom of an old well in the basement before killing them.
Scenes from the movie were shot on site, and the home’s exterior, kitchen, living room, and basement can be seen in the film.
As for the well in the basement where the serial killer kept his victims lotioned up? That was actually a sound stage.
Rowan has his own designs in mind for bringing a well into focus. He’s “actively working” to recreate some of the scenes from the movie in the home’s cellar.
Once everything is completed, guests will be able to set up scary fun photo shoots in the faux dungeon and Buffalo Bill’s “workshop of horrors,” as Rowan calls it, complete with mannequins and sewing machine.
He may even throw in a pair of night-vision goggles.
Beyond its creepy cinematic ties, the home, which is over 100 years old, bears little resemblance to a “house of horrors.”
The space measures nearly 2,400 square feet and has four bedrooms and plenty of vintage quirks, including a wraparound deck, pocket doors, original wallpaper, and hardwood floors.
Rowan has filled the place with movie memorabilia, including an animatronic Hannibal at the front door. A third-floor loft could be the perfect place to set up a modern media room to screen your favorite scary movie, Rowan says. You, like Hannibal Lecter, might want to pair it with a “fine Chianti.”
Set on almost 2 acres, the picturesque property is on the Youghiogheny River, and includes a pool, rose gardens, and fountains. Other notable features outside include an antique train caboose and a three-car garage that was once a general store.
In 2016, the home attracted a ton of buzz before finally selling for $195,000. Records show that it was sold for $290,000 late last month.
For those who can’t resist a spooky thrill, the home will be set up for visitors sometime in the future. Along with short-term rentals, the homeowner also plans to provide guided tours and rent the space out for film shoots.
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