Salem, Massachusetts, also known as “The Witch City,” is most famous for the Salem witch trials of 1692 and still hosts the locations that prove it. The Jonathan Corwin House (the only structure standing in Salem with ties to the trial) and the Tercentenary Memorial are just two of the city’s haunted attractions dedicated to the area’s history. Though the hysteria of the infamous trials was spurred by religious persecution and vengeance, many modern day witches dwell in the city even today. In fact, the Witches’ League for Public Awareness, a group founded in 1986 by Laurie Cabot, the “official Witch of Salem,” still calls the city home.
Over the years Salem has been the fictional setting for many movies and the practical location for many more, including witch documentaries and the 1993 feature Hocus Pocus. But this city is good for a lot more than educational videos and witch flicks. Salem (a mere half hour away from Boston) offers beautiful scenery, from its landmark streets to its harbor with historic lighthouses. Most recently it served as a location for the upcoming Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson movie Bride Wars, in which two best friends become enemies after they schedule their weddings for the same day.
No doubt part of the attraction to filming a movie in Salem is due to Massachusetts’ tax incentives. Productions filming in the city are eligible for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of their total spending in the state, as long as at least half of the movie is shot there or at least half of the budget is spent there. Plus, from the start of pre-production through the ensuing 12 months, productions are eligible for a 100 percent sales tax exemption on any production-related items purchased in the state.