Another day, another list of letting you know what I like, what I’m into it. For today, we’re doing something simple that you might be able to play along and suggest some of your favorites! We’ve done Top 10 Possession, Location Bound, Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes, a top 5 favorite Treehouse of Horror episodes from The Simpsons and tons more but today, we’re going to look at haunted houses.
I love the subgenre of haunted houses. I personally wouldn’t go into one because we know this about me, I can feel energy and those would probably vibrate so bad through me. I do enjoy watching them on film which is pleasant.
Let’s get started into my top 10!
10. House (1985) – Not to be confused by the OTHER film with the same title (directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, a Japanese film from 1977), this 1985 film is nuts. Ironically, I thought I was watching the 1977 film and from the first image, realized I wasn’t and it was the 1985 film but I continued to watch. I went through a lot to see it! Our protagonist, who is a survivor of the Vietnam War and an author, receives a house from his now passed aunt and well, the house isn’t exactly welcoming. His son goes missing, his past with Vietnam catches up with him, the house itself becomes a portal to another dimension.
9. The House by the Cemetery (1981) – The 3rd film in the Gates of Hell trilogy by Lucio Fulci. I saw all three last year (City of the Living Dead, The Beyond) in order and even if The Beyond is my absolute favorite, I do enjoy the other two films. The House by the Cemetery takes the themes from the previous two and condenses them into one central location: a house that has a few graves nearby. The gore is great, the “ghosts” are fun and the last half hour, especially when it comes to the basement and the climax, is really “on the edge of your seat” scare.
8. Stephen King’s Rose Red (2002) – The only miniseries and entry of Stephen King. If you’re interested in just a typical story of a house being haunted, look no further than Rose Red. To me, Rose Red is a bit underrated compared to some of King’s other works but I remember it doing very well in ratings when it was on air. A group of psychics (their abilities vary) and a professor travel to the infamous house to find evidence of activity there. The house is basically alive, feeding off of their energy. There are rooms and doors that lead to nowhere, the hallway loops, the ghosts are hiding in the shadows and can take the form of anyone or anything. And what I particularly love is that it isn’t just the house, the entire land that the house lies on is haunted.
7. Paranormal Activity (2007) – Everyone knows this movie, seen this movie and it’s countless sequels but there’s something about the first one that ranks it a bit higher than the others. We know the story of a young couple who are being tormented by “something” living in their home. And the haunting isn’t really the house, it’s more or less the character, Katie. I think, like Hell House, the entity is using the house to its advantage.
6. Thirteen Ghosts (2001) – I know there is an original (haven’t seen it) but this one is about the remake. I enjoy the remake for what it is. It’s a different take on haunted houses. What really saves this movie are 3 things: Matthew Lillard who plays a psychic named Dennis, Rah Digga who plays the nanny Maggie and the icing on this cake? The ghosts. And they do not get their shine. There’s a great behind the scenes look about the backstory and sfx of the ghosts and I really wish we had seen more of them. I think with how the house was basically a key and had this technological advancement, it was more than just a “building”. It’s a shame they didn’t explore those themes further.
5. Hell House LLC (2015) – I’ve talked about this film alot. You guys know how I feel about the first one, I will defend it to the end of time. I like that the house was already festering with negative energy (we see and find out in the sequels) so the group going in was already screwed. And again, using objects to possess is still terrifying to me. I mean, again, CLOWNS.
4. The Haunting (1963) – A classic British haunted house film from 1963 is one where the saying “less is more” is effective. It is part of my collection and I was impressed by the atmosphere of the film. The scary moments with the knocking and the walls bending in, the doors bending in, its terrifying. Also, the character Theo (Claire Bloom) was my favorite.
3. Poltergeist – Who says horror can’t thrive without a R rating? You have Tobe Hooper directing, Spielberg producing and suburbans everywhere screamed. The horror doesn’t hang out in the darkness or on the off beaten paths. It can happen in your neighborhood, next door, and that’s what Poltergeist is. It is a story of a family who resides on top of an Indian burial ground and well, things happen.
2. The Evil Dead (1981) – This is the quintessential “cabin in the woods” movie but at its core, it is a haunted house movie. I mean the ground itself is haunted. We know this movie and its sequels, remake and then television series. This cabin isn’t the typical looking house and Ash Williams is not the typical leading man or anti hero. His friends and family become possessed, the cabin becomes possessed. Instead of typical ghosts, you get demons and deadites.
1. The Changeling – The Changeling, from 1980, was first seen last year through Shudder and I’ve always wanted to watch this movie. The title and cover art alone grabbed my attention and I was excited to finally watch it. I might have done a review of this but this movie was NOTHING like I was expecting. A grieving man is still reeling from the loss of his wife and daughter in a horrible accident, and he moves to a new town (with a new job) and into a new house that seems to almost correlate with what his grief is. I originally thought the film was about him being haunted by his loved ones but in reality, there is no family connection and the spirit is using him to basically reveal the truth about what really happened in that house environment. I would highly recommend The Changeling.
I am still watching all sorts of movies about haunted houses and the list could change. I would keep that in mind… going back to see if my choices will change and add or take away one a movie in a new post.
What is your favorite haunted house movie? leave a comment!