There is nothing quite like coming home after a long strenuous day. You can take off your shoes, kick your feet up, watch Game Of Thrones on HBO and eat a nice bowl of Franken Berry cereal (or whatever it is you do to relax). Well, sometimes the house you live in won’t let you have such a relaxing evening. These next films feature houses, hotels, etc, that are in some way shape or form haunted. These are the twenty five greatest haunted house movies. Leave your own personal favorite in the comment section below.
25. House (1977)
The first entry on the list proves a haunted house doesn’t have to be necessarily spooky to be entertaining, it can quite funny as well. This horror comedy follows a schoolgirl traveling with her six classmates to her ill aunt’s country home, where they come face to face with supernatural events as the girls are, one by one, devoured by the home. The film is ultimately unmatched in its hallucinate and trippy vibe.
24. Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
A remake of the 1960s film, Thirteen Ghosts begins when the Kriticos family (Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth and…Rah Digga?), still mourning the death of their mother, discover that they have inherited an elaborate glass mansion. Once they arrive, they learn that the mansion also houses twelve violent spirits (The First Born Son, The Torso, The Bound Woman, The Withered Lover, The Torn Prince, The Angry Princess, The Pilgrimess, The Hammer, The Jackal, The Juggernaut, and The Great Child & The Dire Mother). It’s later revealed that the mansion requires a thirteenth ghost to complete a diabolical plan, forcing the Kriticos family to fight for survival.
23. 1408 (2007)
Based on the Stephen King short story, 1408 centers on author, Mike Enslin (John Cusack) who, after the passing away of his daughter, writes about supernatural proceedings. Despite his aptitude to write about the supernatural, Mike does not actually believe in the afterlife himself. After being informed about, and advised not to enter, a haunted room in The Dolphin Hotel, Mike insists on staying the night since he does not believe that anything ghostly will take place. However, to his unavoidable surprise, Mike is forced to undergo an evening of terrors.
22. Stir of Echoes (1999)
Loosely based on the novel A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson, the film follows Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) who, after being hypnotized by his sister-in-law, begins experiencing supernatural encounters with a young woman (Jennifer Morrison) who has disappeared from his neighborhood. As the spirit becomes more unrelenting, so does Tom’s aspiration to find out exactly what happened to her, and who is responsible for her disappearance. This film will keep you on the edge of your seat and give you a good half-dozen or so jump out of your skin scares.
21. The Grudge (2004)
Yes, the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge is arguably better, but today we are looking at the US remake. The film follows an ancient supernatural spirit who wreaks murderous vengeance on anyone coming within its powerful grip of rage; namely Sarah Michelle Gellar. After a Japanese family dies in a suburban home, the curse commences and all those who enter the house are ultimately killed by the angry spirits. For a PG-13 horror film it achieved it’s fair share of scares.
20. Session 9 (2001)
Session 9 stars David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Paul Guilfoyle, Stephen Gevedon, Brendan Sexton III, and Josh Lucas as an asbestos abatement team who start to experience mounting tensions while working in a vacant mental asylum, which is paralleled by the slow but sure revelation of a past patient’s distressed past through recorded audio tapes of the patient’s hypnotherapy sessions. The film itself is open to interpretation, it’s not quite clear if there is a demon or a ghost responsible for the characters actions. The conversations it encourages are all part of the movie’s brilliance.
19. Burnt Offerings (1976)
Based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Robert Marasco, Burnt Offerings follows the story of a family who moves into an aged house that rejuvenates itself by means of feeding off the life force of whichever inhabitant is most in sync with the house’s power. The film also features excellent performances by a young Karen Black and Oliver Reed as Marian and Ben Rolf respectively.
18. The Innkeepers (2011)
Directed and edited by Ti West, The Innkeepers takes place at The Yankee Pedlar Inn which is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees – Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) – are unwavering in their quest to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England’s most haunted hotels. The film relentlessly works your patience but it definitely pays off. The Innkeepers serves as proof that Ti West is a young director that astute horror fans can trust.
17. The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay based on his own novel Hell House. The film follows a team who is sent in to a haunted house to prove or disprove survival after death. The film stars Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall, Clive Revill, and Gayle Hunnicutt. Strong performances and the horrific interiors of the house itself make this one worth watching, but it’s the downright absurd and exhaustively quotable conclusion that makes this a film to remember.
16. The Innocents (1961)
Based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Innocents follows Deborah Kerr who stars as a governess who moves into an old mansion to care for two kids who may or may not be possessed by the ghosts of two former workers. Aside from the film’s superbly subtle and precise pacing, The Innocents contains one of ghost cinema’s greatest opening sequences of all time.
15. What Lies Beneath (2000)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, What Lies Beneath follows Norman (Harrison Ford) and Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) as a well-to-do couple who experience a bizarre haunting in their home that uncovers secrets about their past. Zemeckis brings us a wonderfully and astoundingly taut and well-balanced thriller filmed in the grand tradition of the great Alfred Hitchcock. Great acting, great scares, and great direction make for a very entertaining movie experience.
14. Evil Dead (2013)
The fourth chapter of the Evil Dead franchise, served as both a remake, a reboot and as a loose continuation of the series; the first neither to have Bruce Campbell as the main star or to be directed by Sam Raimi. Many horror fans were skeptical all the way up to the minute of the release of the film. Fans were then given everything that a great horror movie should; demonic possession, gore, terrifying moments and plenty of blood. Groovy!
13. The Others (2001)
In this creepy thriller Nicole Kidman plays a woman who lives alone with her two children who have an uncommon disease, xeroderma pigmentosum, in other words they’re extremely sensitive to light. She slowly becomes convinced that her home is haunted, but is it? Kidman shines as a mother unable to connect to her kids, a mother who hides her fragility behind a strict countenance. The Others is as affecting as it is unsettling.
12. Paranormal Activity (2009)
Over the half a decade since its release the original Paranormal Activity has produced several sub par sequels and seemingly endless parody videos on the internet. This shouldn’t take away from the fact that the original entry of the series is still a hair-raising and taut little horror film. The film follows a young, middle class couple who move into what seems like a typical suburban house, only to become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic. Yeah, it helped reinvigorate and subsequently kill the shaky cam as a horror gimmick but it still deserves our respect.
11. The Amityville Horror (1979)
Based on the Jay Anson’s bestselling 1977 novel of the same name The Amityville Horror is based on the supposed real life occurrence of the Lutz family who buy a new home in Amityville, New York, a house where a mass murder had been committed the year before. After the family move into the house, they experience a series of alarming paranormal events. James Brolin and Margot Kidder play the unsuspecting new tenants. Considering the year it came out, Amityville is still an effective little horror film.
10. The Orphanage (2007)
From producer Guillermo del Toro and Spanish director J.A. Bayona, The Orphanage centers on Laura (Belén Rueda) who buys her much-loved childhood orphanage with dreams of restoring and reopening the long neglected facility as a place for disabled children. A masked friend named Tomás shows up and things get creepy. The visual effects, the music, the sets, the camera angles…everything works.
9. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren. He and his wife invite five people to a “haunted house” party. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn $10,000 each. As the night develops, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, and other things that go bump in the night. If you love Vincent Price, this is always an enjoyable film.
8. Insidious (2010)
Directed by James Wan, starring Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, and Barbara Hershey, Insidious centers on a couple whose son, without explanation, enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension. Insidious is an effective, well-developed, spine-chilling film that uses atmosphere and building tension to give viewers authentic scares.
7. The Haunting (1963)
Based on the popular novel, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Haunting follows a small group of people invited to stay at a haunted house by a paranormal investigator. Dr Markway (Richard Johnson) wants to prove the existence of ghosts, by just about any means necessary. The slowly building sense of terror will surely leave a lasting impression on you. An inferior and needless remake was released in 1999.
6. The Changeling (1980)
The Changeling is based upon the so-called true events that writer Russell Hunter said he experienced while he was living in the Henry Treat Rogers Mansion of Denver, Colorado. The film’s protagonist John Russell (George C. Scott), moves cross-country following the deaths of his wife and daughter in a traffic accident. He rents an eerie Victorian-era mansion and things start to get creepy. The film ultimately gives up the facade of a being a haunted house movie around the mid-way point, choosing instead for fairly routine murder-mystery fare. With that said, the film indeed deserves its spot on the list. This film is a true classic of haunted house horror that scares from beginning to end.
5. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring tells the “true story” of Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga & Patrick Wilson), world renowned paranormal investigators, who are called to help a family being threatened by an evil presence in a secluded farmhouse. Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor play the parents of the household being haunted by these demons. Director James Wan did an admirable job of creating a terrifying film that doesn’t have any clichés, keeps an old-school vibe and also doesn’t take itself not too seriously. Also, that Annabelle doll is creepy as could be.
4. Beetlejuice (1988)
It’s sad to think that if you were born in the ‘90s you might only be familiar with Tim Burton via films like Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland, Planet of the Apes or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Any ’80s kid fondly remembers pre-Batman Michael Keaton starring in Burton’s tale of a recently deceased young couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) who become ghosts haunting their former home and an insufferable, devious ghost named Beetlejuice (Keaton) from the Netherworld who tries to scare away the new inhabitants. Also, let’s not forget about a young Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz, the quintessential goth chick during the late ‘80s.
3. Poltergeist (1982)
Directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written & produced by Steven Spielberg. The film follows a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family’s younger daughter. Carol Anne’s cry of “They’re heeeere” against the crackle of TV static is one of the most genuinely frightening moments in horror history. Not to mention, that creepy clown will haunt your nightmares forever.
2. Evil Dead II (1987)
As we’ve said before in similar lists, it seems a little redundant to include the original Evil Dead simply due to the fact that its sequel is fundamentally the same thing…only better. Ash (Bruce Campbell), the sole survivor of the first film, returns to the identical cabin in the woods and again lets loose the forces of the dead. With his girlfriend possessed by demons and his body parts running amok, Ash is forced to once again battle the flock of the damned as the most deadly – and groovy – hero in horror movie history!
1. The Shining (1980)
Stephen King may have hated it but Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s novel is still frightening thirty years later. In the film, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a writer and recovering alcoholic, takes a job as an off-season caretaker at an secluded hotel called the Overlook Hotel. His young son Danny (played by Danny Lloyd), possesses psychic capabilities and is able to see things from the future and past, such as the ghosts who inhabit the hotel. Nicholson is completely over-the-top but is still quite bloodcurdling as the caretaker who’s slowing losing it until he’s completely lost.
Honorable mentions; The Ghost and Mr Chicken (1966), This House Possessed (1981), The Awakening (2011), The Pact (2012), The Woman in Black (2012), Mama (2013), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), The Entity (1982), Suspiria (1977), and the kid-friendly Monster House (2006).
What’s your favorite haunted house movie? Sound off in the comment section below.