‘Silence of the Lambs’ Movie House Sold
Does Buffalo Bill’s house really have a murder hole in the basement?
That’s the first question many movie aficionados ask about the fictitious serial killer’s creepy home near Perryopolis made famous for its climatic role in “Silence of the Lambs” that was filmed in the region three decades ago.
The house has four bedrooms and one bathroom, but a dungeon-like hole in the basement is not one of the listed features of the dwelling.
But for anyone who would like to see all the other spooky nooks and crannies of the Fayette County house nestled on the edge of the Youghiogheny River — or better yet, buy a piece of movie history — the house was recently listed for sale with an asking price of $298,500.
Real estate agents Eileen Allan and Shannon Assad of Berkshire Hathaway in McMurray presented an online video tour of the house at 8 Circle St. in Layton, Pennsylvania, leading potential buyers and movie buffs on a meandering walk through each room, including where key moments of the movie were filmed.
“Most of America has probably seen this house, but now you actually have a chance to buy it,” Allan said.
Trinkets from the movie are staged throughout the house, such as an FBI hat on an office desk and a movie poster hanging on the wall behind it. The foyer, dining room and kitchen appear briefly in the movie, but it’s the basement scene where FBI trainee Clarice Starling is chased by Buffalo Bill in the pitch blackness that gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing.
“Everyone always asks, ‘Is there really the hole in the basement?'” Allan said, alluding to the place where Buffalo Bill kept his victims in the movie.
“You’re going to have to come down and see, and we will show you,” Allan added as she slowly opens a door leading toward narrow steps to the basement.
For the most part, it looks like a typical Western Pennsylvania basement, except for a dark and “creepy” cold cellar room that was included in the final cut in the movie. But potential buyers will be happy to know there isn’t a deep well with a gory history to cap.
“There’s not a well in the basement,” Assad said. “That part of the film was actually filmed on a soundstage.”
The property features other amenities for people who may not care about the house’s cinematic history. It includes an in-ground pool with a nearby train caboose that could double as a pool house. There’s also a detached three-car garage and workshop that once served as the Layton train station and the local post office.
Scott Cavinee, broker of record for SWC Realty in Washington and Waynesburg, showed the house to a client Thursday and said he was impressed by it. He said the showing made him interested in watching the movie again to recall the house’s details in the fateful final scenes.
“It’s a really great, old house,” Cavinee said. “You can tell they’ve tried to keep the house in the (condition) it was for the movie.”
This is the second time the house has been for sale in the past four years. Its current owner, David Villarreal, paid $195,000 for the home in July 2016, according to Fayette County property records.