My Top 5 Haunted House Movies
It is no secret that I am a lover of haunted things, ghost stories, hotels full of haunted history, old cemeteries and graveyards, vampire and werewolf lore, Gothic romances, monsters, zombies and all kinds of horror films. Oh, and one of my favorites of all things spooky haunted house stories. There are quite a few to choose from, and some that seem to get added in that do not count (no hotels don’t count, they have their own category, thank you). As we near the spookiest day of the year I thought I’d do a top 5 movie list just for haunted house stories.
What is your favorite? Did I name it below, or is it one I may have missed?
5. The Amityville Horror (1979)
I was probably too young to see it (ten years old), and I know for certain I was too young to read the book (think I read it the year before, at nine), but I did both, and they both terrified me. That house, with those glowing window eyes, I couldn’t get it out of my head afterwards. That house would haunt my dreams, off and on, for years to follow.
I also think the “based on a true story” really got to me, too.
4. The Conjuring (2013)
The most recent film on my list, The Conjuring was full of well-crafted scares, and not just of the “jump-scare” variety (though I did do some jumping). James Wan is one of my favorite current horror filmmakers (though last I heard he left the genre, sadly), and the cast in this is incredible (Lili Taylor, Vera Famiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston). The basement and the bureau, and the game of Hide and Clap (what horrifying game THAT is) are what got to me the most.
I mean really, who plays this terrifying Hide and Clap?
3. Beetlejuice (1988)
I didn’t say they all had to be scary, did I? I love this movie in an all-year round kind of way. The cast (oh how I love Winona! Also, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Micheal Keaton and Catherine O’Hara) are wonderful, the wit, the writing, the characters, the special effects, and the Tim Burton magic, the music all so fantastic. I’ve felt a lot like Lydia a lot of times.
Also, I could watch the scene below over and over, and never get tired of it (dare you to not sing and dance along).
Jump in the Line
2. Poltergeist (1982)
This movie was one of my biggest childhood film-scares ever, if not the biggest. This movie terrified me in the best way, delighted me, too, but truly it terrified me. I think part of it was that it played on childhood fears – clowns, closets, trees (I had a tree right outside my big bedroom window), and even the TV (oh the days when stations actually ended for the night and went to nothing but “snow”/static). You can see a longer piece I wrote as part of a “Saturday Night Horror Movies” feature here.
I love JoBeth Williams in this movie – so much.
1. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Oh Vincent Price, how I adore you. This movie is campy, witty, snarky, a little bit evil, a little bit scary, and at times unexpected. I am completely intrigued with the house itself, too — especially from the outside (see below). I also wrote a longer piece here as part of a His and Her Drive-In feature.
I would so stay the night there, wouldn’t you?