Top 5 Haunted House Movies

Once a week, this October, I will share a Top 5 Halloween themed Movie list. First up is one of my favorite genres of Horror Movies – the Haunted House. I credit growing-up near Disneyland as my earliest introduction to the lure of the Haunted House. The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride at the “Happiest Place On Earth”, and also (fun fact) the location of my first kiss.

The Haunted Mansion

My Top 5 Haunted House Movies

So, obviously, 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.

I did mention I’m forever a spooky goth girl before, right?

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 continue the October Movie theme, and countdown to the spookiest day of the year let me share with my My Top 5 Haunted House Movies.

1. The House On Haunted Hill (1959)
Directed by William Castle
Screenplay by Robb White

House On Haunted Hill MOTD Top 5

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 by the house itself, too — especially from the outside.

Also, I love William Castle movies!

House On Haunted Hill Top 5

I would so stay the night there, wouldn’t you?

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2. Poltergeist (1982)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Screenplay by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor

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Poltergeist 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).

I love JoBeth Williams in this movie – so much.

Poltergeist Top 5

3. Beetlejuice (1988)
Directed by Tim Burton
Screenplay by Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren

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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).

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4. The Conjuring (2013)
Directed by James Wan
Screenplay by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes

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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, and the cast in this is incredible (Lili Taylor, Vera Farmiga, 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?

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5. The Amityville Horror (1979)
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Screenplay by Sandor Stern

The Amityville Horror MOTD

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 afterward. 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.


What is your favorite? Did I call it out above, or is it one I may have missed?


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