Nicole Kidman shines (or screams?) throughout this delightfully eerie Victorian-era spookfest. Ignore the fact that you want to punch the little boy right in his pouty mouth the whole time and just relish in the fact that there are still some horror movies out there that can surprise you.
Of course I’m talking about the original, you monster. This one is just such a solid classic and really quite scary even with the PG rating. Add to that the alleged curse that hung over the film’s series (because apparently the skeletons in the pool are REAL?!) and you’ve got a true haunter on your hands. Bonus fun fact: it took me until last year to watch the skin-pulling part and I still watched it through my fingers.
Okay, so technically the Overlook isn’t a house, it’s a hotel. But that’s even more bang for your buck! Roam the halls with Danny and lose your mind with Jack as the specters slowly reveal exactly how powerful they truly are. After all… you’ve always been the caretaker.
Bear with me here, I’m going to toss in another hotel movie because JFC this movie is SCARY. I mean, downright terrifying. It’s one of my favorite Stephen King short stories and one of the more effective film versions of his work; I think this is mainly because it deals with the very psychology of fear. I mean, Room 1408 literally knows EXACTLY what will scare its occupant, and rather than stick to one subject it simply throws ALL of them their way. This one spooked me good.
The Amityville Horror
It would be remiss of me not to include this absolute classic. This film deals with the very basic concept of buying your dream house only to find out it’s actually a nightmare. I love the way that the house actually affects members of the family in a deep way rather than just having spirits roaming the halls at night. If you haven’t seen this yet — what are you waiting for?! Even the remake has its charm (but I’d definitely stick with the original.)
One might argue that Insidious is more about the haunting of an individual than a house but that doesn’t make the haunting any less scary. Besides, haunted people live in the house — doesn’t that make the house itself haunted? I’m getting into semantics here. Anyway, James Wan does some amazing things with visual terror in this film; it’s so worth a watch.
This movie always seemed to be on television when I was in high school and every time I found it I would inevitably watch the whole thing. The house itself is just so bizarre but my favorite part was the range of ghosts and their unique back stories. If I recall, there was even a website where you could go to read all about how they died… those stories were brutal. Also, Tony Shalhoub is there!
The House On Haunted Hill
I’m not particularly fond of this one but it’s still pretty fun. Also, the words ‘house’ and ‘haunted’ are in the title, so it would feel weird to leave it out.
This one takes on a very interesting new concept. I love the “home movies” that Ethan Hawke finds and even the certain vagueness left behind in the wake of what’s causing the mayhem inside his new home. I don’t want to give anything away so just give it a shot, trust me.
Another James Wan masterpiece, this introduces us to the most famous ghost-hunting couple in the USA: the Warrens. I love the nostalgic atmosphere, the peek into ghost hunting of the past, and of course, the disturbing imagery that Wan seems just to excel at. This is a staple of haunted house horror and one of the scariest films to come out in years. So if you choose to watch this one alone, well… don’t say I didn’t warn you.