By Jefferson Grubbs
August 29, 2018
Stephen King fans know that the master of horror sets the vast majority of his scary stories within the borders of Maine, his own home state. Indeed, Hulu’s new King-inspired series is no exception. But where is Castle Rock filmed?
The Castle Rock opening credits sequence features plenty of Easter eggs for eagle-eye viewers — including a map of the Pine Tree State that highlights towns that fans will recognize from King’s oeuvre, including Derry (IT), Chester’s Mill (Under The Dome), Haven (Tommyknockers), Little Tall Island (Storm Of The Century), and more. But unless you’ve ever actually driven through Maine yourself, you may not realize that all of these towns are fictional, existing in some horrifying alternate reality of the state where clowns lurk in sewers and massive creatures crawl out of the mist. That goes for Castle Rock as well: though it’s been the setting for several King stories (The Dead Zone, Cujo, The Dark Half, Needful Things), it is entirely a figment of the author’s imagination.
So if Castle Rock doesn’t actually exist, then where is its eponymous series filmed? In fact, while the town itself is fake, the onscreen locations the characters inhabit are very much real… but you won’t find them in Maine.
Castle Rock may not have actually filmed in King’s home state, but it didn’t stray far. All of the location shooting still took place in New England — specifically the Massachusetts towns of Orange and Devens, according to the Greenfield Recorder — lending the series the same distinctive atmosphere, history, and architecture of Castle Rock without needing to worry about demonic shop owners or rabid St. Bernards.
This actually makes the Hulu show quite special; while several feature films have been shot in Massachusetts in recent years (Manchester By The Sea, American Hustle, The Town), director of the Massachusetts Production Coalition David Hartman told the Lowell Sun that it has been over 25 years since a scripted television series has been produced in the state. If you were wondering how the production team managed to make Castle Rock feel so uniquely atmospheric compared to other TV shows, now you know why.
While the quaint downtown of Orange stood in for Castle Rock’s main street, Telegram.com reported that other scenes were also set in nearby Worcester (where the Mercantile Building was used for a boardroom scene that has yet to appear on the show), and Lancaster (where old Victorian houses were used for the characters’ homes). The Tewksbury State Hospital — a distinctive architectural landmark on the National Register of Historic Places — stood in for the ill-fated Juniper Hill Psychiatric Hospital, per The Tewksbury Town Crier.
Ironically enough, the only Castle Rock location whose real-life counterpart isn’t found in Massachusetts is also probably its most famous: Shawshank State Penitentiary. Scenes taking place at in that iconic King structure were filmed at the now-defunct West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, WV — filming which, appropriately enough, overlapped with the prison’s year “Dungeons Of Horror” haunted house, according to The Wheeling News Register.
You may not be able to visit Castle Rock in person (which is probably for the best, to be honest), but you can pretend you’re traveling through the haunted towns of King’s lore next time you’re driving through Massachusetts.