There are many fun and unique places to stay the night in Pennsylvania, but there is only one place where you can stay in the home of a fictional serial killer: Buffalo Bill’s House in Perryopolis.
Buffalo Bill was the main antagonist of the film “The Silence of the Lambs”, which came out in 1991 and starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, with Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill. The film is considered one of the greatest movies of all time and is the only horror film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Much of “Silence of the Lambs” was filmed in and around the Pittsburgh area, including at spots like Soldiers and Sailor Memorial Hall. This includes the home of Buffalo Bill, which is located in the Laurel Highlands.
The home used as Buffalo Bill’s is a beautiful 1910 Queen-Anne-style home on the banks of the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County, PA. This home was chosen because of its external beauty, location next to railroad tracks, and its unique interior layout, and nearly every scene that appears to be in the home was shot there. (Everything but the well scene, which was shot on a soundstage.)
This home was in private hands when the film was shot, and remained off-limits until 2021. This is when a fan of the film purchased the home with the goal of turning it into a vacation rental and tourist attraction.
Today, visitors can rent out the entire property to stay the night or take a tour of the home (typically one weekend a month from April-October).
As a movie buff, I was excited to be invited to the home and given a tour by the home’s owner, Chris Rowan.
On the exterior of the home, aside from a small front garden and fountain that has been added in the last 30 years, much of the land looks much as it did in the film. This includes not only the home, but also the adjacent garage (which was once the town’s general store), the railroad tracks, and even the abandoned trailer across the tracks.
Rowan works as a production designer for movies and commercials, and he has put his knowledge to work recreating the home to look much as it did during filming. This really allows fans of the film to fully immerse themselves in this world.
Whether you are spending the night here or simply going on a tour (all of which are personally led by Rowan), you can explore the entirety of the home and see where scenes were filmed. That being said, the home isn’t set up to be a passive experience. In fact, there are several places where interactive recreations of the movie are encouraged, including a couple of fun spaces in the basement.
The home’s owner refers to the basement of the home as the “Workshop of Horrors”, and several different scenes from the movie were shot in this space.
In one area of the basement, Buffalo Bill’s workshop has been recreated much as it looked in the film when he is seen working on his “skin suit”. Visitors can sit at a vintage sewing machine, put on clothing similar to those worn in the movie, and recreate the scene in photos and videos.
In a side room of the basement, the most recent addition to the home can be found: a four-foot-deep well. While the well scenes in the film were shot on a soundstage, it is supposed to have taken place in the basement of the home, so it’s a perfect addition for those that want to experience and recreate the film.
This fake well was designed and built by artist Tom Savini and students from his nearby special effects school. Savini has worked on many Hollywood projects including Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th, and his expertise really shows in this space.
The main floor of the home was also prominently featured in the film, and it has been restored to closely resemble how it looked during the film (other than the kitchen which has been updated for modern usage).
Throughout the space, you’ll notice tons of amazing attention to detail, including framed death’s-head moths, an empty bottle of chianti, and the amazing and one-of-a-kind pieces of art on the wall that are all made by artists and donated to the space.
Of course, there is also a TV in the parlor for you to watch “Silence of the Lambs” during your stay.
The upper two floors of the home weren’t used at all during filming, however, these spaces are still impeccably decorated.
The four bedrooms each take its theme from a character in the film (Buffalo Bill, Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling, and Precious (Buffalo Bill’s dog). These rooms all have very cool touches and custom bedding designed just for this home.
The attic is one of the most fun spots and definitely where I would personally spend most of my time if I stayed in the house overnight. In this space, you’ll find a large TV, 500 movies, a small pool table, and 10 classic arcade games. Calling this space “Buffalo Bill’s Playhouse” is very fitting.
In addition to the interior of the home, there are nearly two acres of land outside including a gazebo, firepit, pond, railroad tracks (which are still active with several trains a day), and easy access to the Youghiogheny River and Great Allegheny Passage.
Without a doubt, if you love the film “Silence of the Lambs,” Buffalo Bill’s House is somewhere that you won’t want to miss.
How to Visit Buffalo Bill’s House
You have two options for your visit to Buffalo Bill’s House: a tour or staying the night.
Tours are offered typically one weekend a month from April through October. Unless you are staying the night, the home is not open for tours outside of these scheduled opportunities.
Tours last about two hours and cover the entire house and the property, leaving plenty of time for you to get your own photos recreating the scenes throughout the property.
In 2022, tickets cost $65 per person and can be booked on the house’s website.
For those looking for the ultimate experience, you can also rent Buffalo Bill’s House and its four bedrooms for the night. Rentals are for the entire home, so you can’t just rent a single room.
House rentals are available throughout the year and allow you to really immerse yourself in this unique destination with your family and friends.
Overnight rentals are available on the house’s website.
Note: I was invited by the owner to tour the home. However, the opinions expressed are my own.