If you’ve ever seen the movie Silence of the Lambs, it only takes a few words to remind you of the abject terror you felt watching the Academy Award-winning film. A suggestion of “fava beans and a nice Chianti” sends shivers down yaour spine; the idea of putting “the lotion on its skin” raises goosebumps on your arms. And could you even imagine spending the night in the same home where serial killer Buffalo Bill lived?
Now you can—if you’ve got the nerve.
When film prop stylist and art director Chris Rowan first saw the 2,400 sq. ft. home in Perryopolis, PA come up for sale, he knew that it could become something special. So he decided to buy the vintage 1910 home and restore it to its former glory—while also honoring the iconic and terrifying movie, parts of which were filmed at this location.
“While it is the home of a psychopathic killer in the film, I didn’t want to just create a haunted house,” said Rowan, who has served as the host of the New York City Horror Film Festival since 2012. “As a fan of the movie and a horror film buff myself, I wanted to preserve and share a famous filming location.”
The home offers an intriguing mix of movie references while also remaining true to the time period in which it was built. Rowan spent months searching for the perfect period pieces to make up the home’s décor while also paying homage to the scenes filmed on site.
“It’s a unique happy meeting of beautiful vintage pieces that would have existed in this Victorian home while also honoring the movie that was filmed here,” said Rowan.
Classic pieces, like a clawfoot tub and the home’s original 100-year-old stained glass window exist peacefully with the Buffalo Bill body lotion dispenser in the bathroom; the wallpaper featured in the film remains in the kitchen, as does a touch of the green paint around the basement door that leads to Bill’s workshop down below. Fan art, featuring portraits of Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill decorate the walls; visitors can even browse a Hannibal cookbook if they are so inclined. A disco ball in the basement provides the perfect setting to re-enact Bill’s creepy and yet captivating dance scene.
The top floor of the house has been renovated to become Buffalo Bill’s Playhouse, a retro recreation room featuring a massive TV, couches, VHS, DVD and cassette tape entertainment, as well as a pool table and arcade games like Pac-Man and Galaga.
“I wanted to make sure that this home was not just for hardcore horror fans—it’s for everybody,” said Rowan of the many entertainment options.
In order to preserve the space and to allow guests to enjoy the full effects of the four-bedroom home, Rowan is only opening it to overnight stays limited to single groups of up to eight people.
“You don’t rent a room; you rent the whole house,” explained Rowan of the boutique cinematic destination in Fayette County. Later in 2022, he may add guided tours when the house is not occupied, or host private events relating to film. He is also marketing the home to movie companies for on-location filming of movies, TV and video.
The two-acre property, which abuts railroad tracks and a pond, includes a pool and a massive garage, which was originally a package goods store and post office. There is also a decommissioned train car on site that Rowan plans to turn into a pool house in the future.
“It’s a real honor to be the facilitator and curator of his iconic film location and to be able to share it with the world,” said Rowan. “It’s my goal to provide a fun, unique, scary, immersive experience for anyone who stays here.”
Rowan is now taking online reservations for the home, which at the time of this article, still had an opening on Halloween weekend for those brave enough to stay. More information can be found at www.buffalobillshouse.com.