Want to get in the mood for All Hallows' Eve with a movie marathon? See our list of scary movies that really hit close to home.
There really is nothing like watching a great horror movie during Halloween, especially if you’re watching it at home and it just so happens to be about a spooky old house. If our list of haunted house flicks last year didn’t cut it for you, here’s another set of chillers that should have you shaking in your boots before midnight.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
An eccentric millionaire rents an old property on a hill for a haunted house party. He entices his guests with a cash prize of $10,000 (about $80,000 in present time, for the curious) to spend the night in their creepy venue. The catch is, this rented house is an old asylum where terrors of all kind lurk in every corner, and all exits are shut tight to keep the living from getting out. A remake was released in 2007, but true horror fans swear by the 1959 original. Here’s a fun fact for you: if the party host’s voice sounds familiar, it’s because it belongs to Vincent Price, who lent his talent for creepy story-telling to Michael Jackson’s hit “Thriller”.
The Innocents (1961)
Based on the novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the story follows a governess who's hired to watch over two orphaned and seemingly innocent children. Pretty soon, the kids begin displaying very odd behavior, leading the governess to believe that the home is haunted and the two are being possessed by evil spirits. Just goes to show that even back in the 60's, when you want a horror film to be even more terrifying, all you do is toss a couple of creepy children in it.
The Haunting (1963)
An adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, the film is about a doctor looking to prove the existence of ghosts who investigates the mystery surrounding a mansion with a deadly history. He invites a small group of people with past paranormal experiences to spend a few days with him in the eerie home, where multiple supernatural encounters threaten to unhinge one of the unfortunate guests. An updated version was released in 1999, but it might be best to stick with the first. The likes of British newspaper The Guradian and directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg have hailed the original film as one of the best horror movies of all time.
The Changeling (1980)
A grief-stricken music professor who recently lost his wife and daughter in an accident rents a century-old home to become inspired to write music again. Thinking he's in isolation, he witnesses supernatural events and soon learns that the home is haunted by the ghost of a child whose death is the result of an evil plot. You know what they say: sometimes it's better to fear the living than the dead.
The Others (2001)
“No door must be opened without the previous one being closed first,” goes one of the most famous lines from this ghost story about a woman and her photosensitive children living in a manor during the end of World War II. Unfortunately, supernatural forces aren't that good at following orders. When new servants move into their home, locked doors mysteriously opening are the least of their problems as one terrifying event after another lead up to a surprising conclusion.
Dark Water (2002)
Directed by the same guy who terrorized the world with the Ring movies, this Japanese horror film is about a recently divorced woman and her daughter who unwittingly relocate to a haunted apartment. Shortly after moving into the eerie old building, they begin experiencing paranormal events, particulary a massive amount of water leak from above their unit, all stemming from the grim past of the apartment's former tenants. A remake was released in 2005, but it never matched the success of the original film.
The Orphanage (2007)
This Spanish horror centers on a woman who brings her husband and their adopted son back to the place where she grew up: an orphanage now abandoned and dilapidated. Hoping to reopen the building as a home for handicapped children, the couple starts to suspect something disturbing’s going on in the orphanage when their son strikes a friendship with an invisible entity that may be influencing his increasingly ominous behavior.
A true-crime writer trying to revive his dying career moves his unknowing family into a house where a ghastly crime took place so he can investigate the case more closely. In the attic, he finds a bunch of old home movies which he watches, inadvertently putting his loved ones and himself in danger. Maybe next time he'll think twice before moving into a home with a horrifying past. If there is a next time.
The Woman in Black (2012)
Set in the Edwardian era, a young lawyer is at risk of unemployment as he grieves the death of his wife. To save his job, he is sent to a small English village to examine the documents of an old mansion. While investigating the property and its past, he discovers it's being haunted by the spirit of its recently deceased owner, who has been terrorizing the withdrawn locals. Doesn't sound like a job worth saving to me.
The Conjuring (2013)
Perhaps one of the most notorious suspense/horror movies of the decade, The Conjuring is a “based on true events” film about a husband-and-wife team of supernatural investigators (the same ones who worked on the Amityville case) and their experience of helping a family who’s being haunted by the previous owners of the Rhode Island home they had just moved into. A little tip: if you’re in the habit of covering your eyes as suspense music builds before something freaky happens, you're going to fail miserably while watching this one.
Make sure you have enough snacks nearby and everyone has gone to the bathroom before firing up the TV. After watching these, it's probably going to take a while before you get the courage to leave the room. Happy Halloween!
(Photo sources: cinemablend.com, avmaniacs.com, soniagensler.blogspot.com, forgottenflix.com, edgeofthefringe.files.wordpress.com, miramax.com, licknessmonster.blogspot.com, tooscarytowatch.blogspot.com, apnatimepass.com, thewolfmancometh.files.wordpress.com, moviepilot.de)