Best Haunted House Movies Ever Made
Who doesn’t love a good scary movie? Popping a big bowl of popcorn, turning down the lights, curling up with a nice big blanket to shield your eyes when the moment calls for it? There are plenty of great scary movies that require all of the above, but ones that are set in a haunted house can be even more effective for great scares.
So, what makes a haunted house film so terrifying? It could be the very relatable setting of a home, in general. Here are eight of the best haunted house movies ever made.
8. The Others (2001)
The Others is a highly regarded 2001 haunted house film starring Nicole Kidman, as Grace Stewart, who lives with her two children in a gothic mansion shortly after World War II. It isn’t long before the house begins to show signs of being haunted, as Grace and her children begin to uncover the eerie secrets of the household. The scares are effective and the film reveals a fun little twist at the end.
7. The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Prior to The Legend of Hell House, most of the haunted house scares were subtle. Then, Hell House arrived in 1973 and chose to be more of an in-your-face type of horror. The film stars screen legend Roddy McDowell, who plays psychic Ben, along with his sister Florence (Pamela Franklin), also a psychic. They are brought to Hell House to investigate its hauntings and also to determine if there is an afterlife. The house has a horrid history and it bares its nasty teeth early and often.
6. House on Haunted Hill (1999)
There are two versions of this creepy haunted house film – the original William Castle movie from 1959 that starred horror legend Vincent Price and the 1999 remake that starred Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen.
Both films held the same premise; a rich man brings guests to a home (for the remake it was an abandoned insane asylum) and offers them a large sum of money if they can survive the night.
The 1999 remake offered more thrills and a large amount of gore, making it one of the best haunted house (asylum) films.
5. The Shining (1980)
You are either pro-Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining or, like author Stephen King (who wrote the novel), are against the Kubrick version. Those who are for the 1980 haunted house (hotel) film will go to great lengths to call it the scariest film ever.
Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrence, a recovering alcoholic who finds a job at the Overlook Hotel as a caretaker for the winter. With him are his wife Wendy and their young son Danny, who has the unfortunate ability to see all the terrifying ghosts within the hotel.
4. Sinister (2012)
Sinister is a truly effective haunted house film that stars Ethan Hawke as a struggling true-crime author who moves with his family into a new home. Not long after their arrival, Hawke’s Ellison Oswalt finds a box filled with snuff films that show horrific murders in his new house. This discovery awakens a sinister presence that puts Ellison and his family in danger.
3. The Conjuring (2013)
2013’s The Conjuring is our introduction to real-life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, are brought to the Perron family farmhouse to investigate a possible malevolent presence. What makes this film effective, especially in the first half, is that the hauntings are shown by sounds and smells, giving it a really creepy atmosphere.
2. The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror is one of the most popular of the haunted house movies because it was first a best-selling novel by Jay Anson. Based on a true story (one that the Warrens even investigated), it tells the story of George and Kathy Lutz, who move with their kids to a house in Amityville, Long Island. They were able to remain in the home for 28 days before supernatural entities forced them out of the home.
1. The Haunting (1963)
As with The House on Haunted Hill, there are a couple of versions of The Haunting. Both are based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. In the original 1963 version, director Robert Wise brought to the screen what is routinely considered to be the greatest haunted house movie ever.
The story tells of four people who arrive at Hill House in order to investigate the supposed supernatural goings-on. The film is creepy and Wise mines its scares not by what you see, but the things that you don’t.