Best Haunted House Movies
The haunted house has been a staple of the horror genre for countless years. Creaking floorboards, broken windows, and of course ghosts. Of course these supernatural filled homes have been a long-running part of cinema.
House on Haunted Hill: Horror icons Vincent Price and William Castle both brought their A-game to this fan-favorite. A group of strangers have all been invited by the eccentric and wealthy Frederick Loren to the infamous House on Haunted Hill for his wife’s birthday. Should they survive the night he is prepared them $10,000…or their next of kin should things go wrong. As one would expect the evening’s guests find themselves terrorized by the supernatural terror within the house’s walls. Little do they know that it may not be the ghosts they have to fear, but rather their nefarious host. The House on Haunted Hill is a horror fan favorite and features Vincent Price and his charming and frightening best.
The Uninvited: Often credited as the first haunted house film sees Ruth Hussey and Ray Miland play the Fitzgeralds who have just purchased a mysterious old house. It is not long before they learn why the elderly man they bought the home from was willing to part with it at such a good deal. The spirit of the man’s daughter still lingers in the home. The object of this spirit’s wrath is her own daughter, Stella who has fallen for Roderick Fitzgerald. The siblings take it upon themselves to find out what the ghost wants and to protect Stella. It may be one of the first haunted house movies ever made, but the Uninvited has lost little of it’s spooky power in the past seven decades. The special fx still hold up, and the two Oscar caliber leads deliver terrific performances.
House: One of the best films to come from Japanese horror takes the haunted house idea to trippy new territory. A young girl named Oshare is shocked when she discovers that her father has abruptly remarried. Feeling dejected, she requests that she be allowed to stay at her aunt’s house and bring her friends with her. But once the aunt vanishes into a broken refrigerator the strangeness of the house makes itself known. One by one, each of the girls is brought into the bizarre and terrifying world of the house. While House did not receive the best reviews when it was released, the movie has gone on to be seen as a bonafide classic.
The Orphanage: Hoping to build a home to care for disabled children, Laura purchases what was once the orphanage she grew up in. Shortly thereafter, her son Simon begins playing a game with an “imaginary friend” in a burlap mask. After the boy goes missing Laura is compelled to dig through the history of this orphanage, particularly about a boy named Tomas who covered a disfigured face with a burlap mask. This atmospheric and creepy film proved to be the breakout international hit for it’s director JA Bayona.
Burnt Offerings: Written and directed by Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis featuring an all-star cast with the likes of: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and Burgess Meredith. While it did not make much impact on it’s initial release Burnt Offerings is a film which is steadily gaining a second life as it is rediscovered. The Rolf family move into a new home for the summer under the condition that they deliver meals to their landlord’s mother upstairs. Over time, Marian Rolf becomes possessed by the supernatural energy of this historic home. While the other Rolf’s try to escape, the house seemingly grows stronger off of Marian’s energy and will not let them leave.
The Innocents: Inspired by the Henry James classic the Turn of the Screw, this film sees Deborah Kerr play Miss Giddens who has taken on the job of a governess. At the estate known as Bly, she gets to know Miles and his sister Flora. While she likes the children, Giddens can not help but notice how odd they act at times, which seems to be tied with the apparition she sees of a man named Quint. The Innocents broke new ground in the style of psychological horror and remains one of the most influential horror films ever.
The Amityville Horror: Supposedly based on a “true” story about a family who found a dream home with a dark history. George and Kathy Lutz are not going let the fact that their new home’s previous owner viciously murdered his family stop them from moving in. But soon enough they learn they need to “get out!”. Unexplained events begin to plague the family as George becomes withdrawn and begins to change. As Kathy researches the home, she learns that its walls hold plenty of dark secrets. The Amityville Horror has gone on to inspire a number of remakes and sequels none are as much fun as the original.
The Changeling: Following a family tragedy, John Russell moves to an abandoned Victorian mansion for a change of scenery. After a series of supernatural events, he makes contact with the spirit of a sickly boy who reveals a sinister conspiracy involving his family and a US Senator. As John tries to uncover the truth, the spirit of the house becomes restless and dangerous. Over the years the Changeling has developed a strong cult following and a great amount of critical acclaim for being one of the best and most genuinely terrifying haunted house films ever made.
The Haunting: Loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s classic the Haunting of Hill House, legendary director Robert Wise helms this particularly moody horror film. The macabre tales of Hill House are legendary and Dr. Markway recruits a team to learn its secrets. One such person he looks to is the troubled young woman Eleanor Lance who becomes obsessed with the spooky mansion. She becomes the focal point of the supernatural forces, even if nobody else sees and hears what she does. This film is considered one of the best from Wise as he is at the top of his game going back to his horror roots in the Haunting.
Poltergeist: In the prosperous 80’s the nuclear American family expanded out to the suburbs in record numbers. And all those new houses need to be built somewhere, even if it’s on the graves of those who came before us. Craig T. Nelson plays the patriarch of the Freeling family who have just moved into a new home only to find their youngest daughter Carol Anne acting strange. On fateful night, her strange behavior proves to be supernaturally inspired, as she famously warns “they’re here” and is sucked into the television. Relying on a paranormal investigative crew led by a bizarre medium, the Freelings have to rescue their child from the forces which haunt their home. Despite her being rescued, the madness in their home is far from over.