Why good horror flicks aren’t set in New York City anymore


A slasher is on the loose, whipping out a razor blade and slicing helpless bystanders without motive or provocation. Flames shoot out of manholes on one of the city’s busiest streets just steps away from bustling businesses. Thousands of live crickets are unleashed on a packed subway train, terrifying passengers who are stalled on a bridge above the water.

Are these the freakiest scenes from “Halloween 2”?

No, they are completely real news stories that took place in New York City in recent years. Despite there being significantly less violent crime here than during the 1980s and ’90s, there’s still plenty to keep New Yorkers paranoid and constantly on edge. But horror movies rarely seize upon the unique emotional and psychological hellscape that is the five boroughs.

Just look at “Greta,” which opened earlier this month. The dreadful film is about twenty-something Brooklynite Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz), who finds a lost handbag on a 6 train. She returns the bag to its owner, a French woman named Greta (Isabelle Huppert) who lives in Manhattan, and they became fast friends. But Frances soon discovers that Greta is really a nefarious stalker with a dangerous, completely unpredictable mental state.

Savvy city dwellers will spot inconsistencies with their way of life: Moronic Frances not only touches a random purse on a train (see something, say something!) but trudges it to the home of a stranger across the river and brings it inside. I know people who won’t date beyond their borough, let alone make free deliveries. That home, by the way, is a freestanding house in Manhattan. Where can I get one of those?

Movies like “Greta” ignore the very real horrors of New York that are evident everywhere you look. Next time you’re on the FDR, take a gander at Roosevelt Island in the middle of the river. It used to be home to the New York Lunatic Asylum. Head farther uptown and you’ll find Randall’s Island, where once stood the New York City Asylum for the Insane. The city is overrun with haunted houses, possessed churches, ghoul-hosting fire stations, you name it.

We’ve got everyday terrors, too. At least four people have been killed by falling air-conditioner units here since 2006. Commuters being pushed onto subway tracks is a common occurrence. A person could even plummet through a dreaded sidewalk cellar door to his death (it happened in 2015).