The “Silence of the Lambs” house transformed into a cinematographic holiday stay | Local News
Art director and prop stylist Chris Rowan merged his talents with his love of classic horror films to create a film destination in Fayette County from the original set of “Silence of the Lambs”.
Rowan bought the iconic house in the movie from Buffalo Bill last year and spent months turning the property into a quirky and spooky vacation rental worthy of the movie’s serial killer. Rowan lives near New York and opened Layton’s home near Perryopolis to vacationers in September.
âIt was really kind of an epiphany moment,â Rowan said of the property listing in October 2020. âI knew I was about to embark on this crazy journey to bring this back to its original form and bring the audience. “
Rowan has highlighted scenes from the film and details of the original set on the property. His film career has been about perfecting the aesthetic details of a set to make it look realistic on camera, he said. He brought the same approach to Buffalo Bill’s house and “treated it like a movie set” to create an immersive experience for guests, he said.
The three-story, four-bedroom Queen Anne Victorian House was built in 1910 and was never opened to the public until Rowan’s purchase.
âNo one has ever been inside, so I thought there was a really cool factor,â he said.
Guests can visit other famous horror film locations nearby during their stay at the property. The Pittsburgh area has a rich history in horror films, including the 1968 George Romero film, “Night of the Living Dead” and the 2021 Netflix thriller “Sweet Girl,” starring Jason Momoa. Guests at the Buffalo Bills house cross the Layton Bridge used to film a climactic scene from the Netflix movie and other productions.
âThere are all these guys from Pittsburgh who had a big hit in Hollywood,â Rowan said. “It’s kind of the perfect position for people who are huge horror fans like me.”
A recurring theme of the house is the skull and crossbones sphinx, a giant butterfly with a skull-shaped mark on its thorax, which features prominently in the film.
Film buffs and artists have donated their work to the property, including a taxidermy skull and crossbones and artwork depicting the moth, Buffalo Bill and other iconic images.
âHe took on this incredible life of his own,â he said.
Rowan also framed the wallpaper used on the film, and the green paint from the shoot remains on the doorframe entering the basement.
Crossing the basement threshold triggers a motion detector and one of Rowan’s immersive experiences.
The basement was the setting for an iconic stage where Buffalo Bill dances in nothing but an open kimono under a disco ball. Guests hear the song as they enter the basement, where they are greeted by the kimono under a rotating disco ball, mannequins, an accessory head in a jar, a sewing machine, and a full-length mirror.
âYou walk in and see a few scantily clad models and you’re like, ‘OK, that’s weird,'” Rowan said.
Rowan juxtaposes Victorian charm with horror throughout the house with period furniture. The kitchen has a cozy charm with a teapot and lavender alongside a decor mixing skulls and vegetables.
The top-floor loft is home to the “Buffalo Bill’s Game Room”.
âComing out of Buffalo Bill, it sounds a little crazy, and it’s supposed to do it,â he said.
The Game Room is a retro game room with arcade games, a pool table and air hockey table and hundreds of DVDs and VHS tapes from Rowan’s own collection.
“It’s the last thing they expect to see in this setting,” he said.
It also features an original shot of the entire “Silence of the Lambs” production crew, which includes notes such as “full of trash” and “Ed Gein-style cooking”, referencing a real murderer. and grave robber. A display on another wall includes thank you notes from Jodie Foster and other team members sent to the original owners.
A caboose with its original furnishings is also on the property. The property is also home to Layton’s former general store and post office. The original owners of the house lived in the old store until they made enough money to build the house, Rowan said.
Customers rent the entire property for overnight stays. It has a covered terrace, a swimming pool and other accommodation.
Rowan plans to open the house for on-site filming. It will offer guided tours in 2022, in addition to opening the house for special events, he said.
âI feel very honored, in some ways humbled, to be able to do this, to be able to bring the Buffalo Bill house back to its original form,â Rowan said.