This Halloween, satisfy your craving for hair-raising fun with these ‘haunted house’ flicks.
October 31 is fast approaching, and nothing gets people in the mood for Halloween festivities like good old-fashioned horror movies. One of the most popular subjects of this spine-tingling genre is the haunted house, which often renders movie goers scared of looking under their beds or going down the basement alone. But Halloween is the time when it’s most fun to get spooked, so in this spirit (pun intended), here are some of the most terrifying films centered on haunted houses:
The Amityville Horror (1979)
Newly married couple George and Kathy Lutz and their children purchase a Long Island home despite a warning from the real estate agent about the property’s grisly past. Upon witnessing strange occurrences, from the change in George’s behavior to their daughter’s claim of having a demonic imaginary friend, Kathy digs into the home’s past and makes some frightening discoveries. Lesson: think twice about moving into a house where a mass murder took place, especially if the priest that blessed the home contracts stigmata, ends up blind and suffers a nervous breakdown afterwards.
The Amityville Horror
The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is about a family that agrees to take care of an isolated hotel over the winter. Recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance plans to use his time to write a book, but is driven to madness by the spirits that haunt the hotel. Meanwhile, his psychic son Danny receives visions of the past, as well as his family’s foreboding future. The movie is based on the novel by master of macabre Stephen King himself, guaranteeing a quite a few sleepless nights afterwards.
In a quiet suburb, the Freeling family’s peaceful life is shaken when their home is invaded by evil spirits. Disturbances start with seemingly harmless stunts like moving furniture and flying utensils, but things take a turn for the worst when the spirits decide to kidnap the youngest child, Carol Anne. As if evil clowns and killer trees weren’t enough, this film also struck a nerve with couch potatoes everywhere when it turned the family television into a thing of pure evil as the spirits used it to communicate with the little girl.
Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
Social worker Nishina Rika is sent to the Tokunaga house after the disappearance of the social worker originally assigned to the family. There she discovers that there is an entity killing off the people living in the house (or anyone who enters it), and that she may be next in line to “fulfill” the curse. Complete with the token creepy child-ghost and the always-reliable “mysterious death rattle”, this Japanese horror movie will make you think twice about working in any industry where house calls are inevitable.
Ju-On: The Grudge
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Young couple Katie and Micah move into a new home, where Katie suspects she is being haunted by a presence that has been following her since childhood. To find out what happens every night, Micah sets up a camera, which captures terrifying scenes ranging from the mild (the bedroom door moving by itself) to the more terrifying (Katie being dragged off into the dark hallway by an unseen being). Banking on the based-on-a-true-story fad where the story is sourced from “found footage”, Paranormal Activity nevertheless lets you contemplate the possibility that the swaying chandelier in your dining room wasn’t caused by the wind (especially when the window is closed).
Come All Hallows Eve, grab a bucket of popcorn, snuggle under a blanket and pop one of these movies into the player for a night of scary fun. And ignore the scratching that you hear outside; it’s probably just a tree branch. Or is it? Happy Halloween!
Photos from imdb.com