I make fun of the idea all the time. Or rather, I tell my girlfriend (more like ask) that we’re moving into the Amityville House. It was most recently on sale, and you know your pal Sir Jorge talked to a real estate agent. Not only do I not qualify, I have the worst credit you’ve ever seen. Divorces will do that to you.
Regardless, of my efforts to move into one of the most haunted places in the world, haunted houses are a staple in the horror genre. I’ve written about scary movies, hauntings, and a lot of other topics in the past, but have not posted a list of the houses that scared audiences the most. A Haunted House movie doesn’t necessarily need to scare you, which is the traditional measuring stick. However, for this list I wanted to highlight movies in which bad things happen in a house, whether ghost or otherwise. So with that in mind, here are the houses that scared audiences, or maybe just me to death.
The Amityville Horror
For goodness sakes, get out the house! Brolin’s portrayal is great in this one and was far spookier than when Van Wilder tried to do it. His porno hair and beard was definitely a highlight for this one. Oh, it wasn’t a porno? Oh, yeah, I forgot. The 1979 release of Amityville Horror stunned audiences and is a staple for horror fans. It’s not that great looking back, but it still holds enough power to scare the average viewer. You’ll also have to remember that it’s kind of based on a true story. It’s a creepy movie, especially with the steady pace, and ultimate ending. The Lutz’s account is shocking regardless of the credibility and the movie still remains one of the better haunted house films you’re going to want to see. If you want to see it in 3-D, the franchise when there…sadly.
It was 1982 and Tobe Hooper got Steven Spielberg on board to showcase a haunted house movie that is still talked about today. There is a serious creep factor in this one, and the television plays a cool roll. No, it’s not as scary as Videodrome, and of course it’s not as sexualized, but this one is definitely an instant classic. Proving that you should never build your house on ancient burial grounds, and you shouldn’t watch too much television, this scared audiences even with a PG rating. Carol Ann is a memorable role, and one that should never be remade. What? They’re remaking it? Son of a….
We’re going back to 1973, and this time around the movie is The Legend of Hell House. This is a cool movie with a lot of interesting moments. When I studied this film in college, and read the book that Matheson wrote with a similar name, I was convinced that this was the best haunted house movie and story ever created. Of course, it does have a bit of cheese involved in the making of this, but who cares, it’s awesome. The Belasco House is awesome, spooky, and the 1970s stylized horror moments create some serious scares. Even though some people claim it’s hokey, I think it’s awesome and you should too. Then after all is said and done, go and read the Matheson book of a similar name, because that was a classic. No, it is a classic.
Stephen King has the best stories. You can criticize them all you want, but the dude continues to scare people young and old. 1408 didn’t grab me at first, and I found it boring until the whole thing was turned upside down. Right when I thought it was over, it wasn’t, and John Cusack’s acting really does a great job here. He pulls out his acting chops and isn’t lamenting the loss of a woman to the point where he turns into a big dufus. I loved the way this adaptation takes the character of Mike Enslin and turns a little more believable moments than your average horror movie character. The thoughts, ideas, and notions of an author’s struggle to write and create compelling signatures creeps me out as a writer, especially when fantasy becomes reality. There are forces at work with this one, and they work out quite well.
That 1980s babysitter in peril card is played with House of the Devil. Not only that, it goes for the gusto in the third act, and finishes things off in a sweet emotional drop that you’ll swear comes from years past. Even though this is a newer entry point on this list, and it’s not a ghost story at all, it still stuns. Satanic ritual, creepy houses, and hot pizza all make for a great film. Oh, there’s more to it than that? Well maybe I want some pizza, ever thought of that? A guy has to eat. Especially when no one is buying dvd’s or paying me to write this site. How about donating some cash for a slice? Pick up a dvd via the amazon links or visit my other sites and click on an ad, I’d appreciate it. I mean, come on, a slice of pizza for a dvd that you’re going to enjoy millions of times? Whatever. House of the Devil is not only a great entry into a scary house, it reminds me of the Motley Crue song that has nothing to do with the movie.
My old professor said this was the “Mother” of all haunted house stories. If that’s the case, he definitely picked one of the strongest entry points. The Shining may not be Stephen King’s ultimate vision, but Kubrick was able to frame something so spectacular, that it became all new in many ways. The creep factor really is elevated here, and every single moment is well thought out. Kubrick has a way of making art out of horror and Jack Torrance is a daring character that goes insane. Performance heavy, lengthy, moody, and full of color, this is definitely a stunning display of art and film mixed with horror. You don’t get a lot of movies pushing the envelope like this in the horror genre.
Ok, so this is an oddly written piece. It has terrible infrastructure, and it is more about what happens in the houses than about the houses themselves. But then again, maybe it’s on point. These movies are examples of scary things going on in scary houses.