Is there any more iconic horror movie symbol than the haunted house? The pairing of horror films and haunted houses is everlasting. There’s truly nothing more frightening than thinking there is something you cannot explain happening in your own home The place where you are supposed to feel the safest, the most secure.
Here’s our list for the 10 Most Iconic Haunted houses of Horror! Continue below to see which haunted houses (ok, and one hotel) made the cut.
10. Housebound (2014)
I stumbled across this hard to categorize gem on Netflix a few years back. Young burglar Kylie is caught smashing into an ATM and put on house arrest, where she is sent to stay with her mother. It is here we are introduced to her family home that provides many bizarre, funny, and terrifying situations.
My respect to the filmmakers for accomplishing certainly one of the most difficult pairings: humor and horror.
9. The Others (2001)
Grace (Nicole Kidman) moves her and her children to a new home while her husband is deployed (and missing) following World War II. Her children suffer from a rare condition that causes them to be allergic to the sun. This allergy gives the film a reason to keep house constantly dark.
Stellar performances by the entire cast and probably one of my favorite twist endings, The Others holds up phenomenally and is worthy of more than one viewing.
8. The Changeling (1980)
After his wife and daughter die in a car crash, music composer John Russell moves to Seattle for a teaching job. He wishes to find a quiet, secluded place to grieve and he finds that in a large countryside estate. Only, it isn’t vacant.
If you were to look up underrated horror films, The Changeling is likely mentioned. The film trusts the audience to be committed to the story. Building dread is one of the most powerful ways to create an impactful horror film and The Changeling is ripe with it. The ball down the stairs, the wheelchair in the attic. The very quiet voice calling out from the dark at the top of the stairs. Ugh.
7. The Innocents (1961)
Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) cares for two orphaned children in a house she believes to be haunted. It’s one of the first horror classics to explore a female character’s terror being belittled or explained away by others as hysteria or paranoia. While this film wasn’t a hit at the time, the subtly and eerieness of the story telling was clearly ahead of its time.
Mentioned before, The Others is very reminiscent to The Innocents in regards to both the atmosphere and the supposed isolation and paranoia faced by our leading lady.
6. The Conjuring (2013)
James Wan’s 2013 adaptation to the “true” story of the Perron family haunting, as investigated by the infamous demonologist couple Ed and Lorraine Warren. Strange things start to happen after Roger and Carolyn Perron, along with their five children, move into their new home. An escalating presence in the house seems hell-bent on hurting the Perron children.
While the jumpscare count is fairly high in this one, they’re more than effective. This is the epitome of an old, creaky home where we are not surprised evils spirits roam. The hand clapping scene would be enough to make me call the realtor and pack my bags.
5. House on Haunted Hill (1958)
An extremely fun but campy pick, House on Haunted Hill invites five people to stay the night in the supposedly haunted house. Anyone who lives to see the next morning wins the prize of $10,000. Trust me if you haven’t seen this one, that really is the plot in a nutshell. This classic Vincent Price flick reminds me of Clue and any episode of The Twilight Zone.
4. The Amityville Horror (1979)
The house’s attic windows look like glowing evil eyes. Packaged and delivered from hell itself.
The Lutz family moves into a home in Amityville, New York. Little do they know it was the location of a brutal murder of an entire family by their son the year before. As activity grows in the house, it becomes clear evil spirits are responsible for the gruesome history and their current horrors.
There’s a lot of skepticism around the house truly being haunted, but that certainly doesn’t take away from the impact of this horror classic.
3. Poltergeist (1982)
The Freelings are your average California suburban family living a peaceful life until their youngest child, Carol Anne, begins communicating with the supernatural through their television. While the ghosts seem playful at first, it doesn’t take long for them to show their evil intentions.
What makes this house the unique suburban, sunny, happy atmosphere of the neighborhood. They don’t add anything to the other elements of the set to make the audience feel scared or unnerved. It’s a trap!!! There’s really no subtly to this one. It sticks the landings and packs the punches with its scares, of which there is certainly no shortage.
Do your research and please do not build your house on a burial ground. That’s truly the big takeaway here.
2. Paranormal Activity (2007)
No dark, dilapidated mansions here.
While it’s easy to scoff at the original after the countless sequels, this film is deserving of the praise it received when it came out back in 2007. This is one that is on my 31 Days of Halloween list every October, and let me tell you, in a darkened room this movie still holds up.
This home is easily the most modern looking home on the list. Which is partly what makes it so eerie. Any of us could be living in a house where all these demonic occurrences are taking place. At least this one is surrounded by palm trees?
1. The Shining (1980)
A writer (Jack Nicholson) becomes the caretaker of an old hotel where he moves his wife and son.
Not sure there’s much I can say about The Shining that hasn’t already been said. Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, you did that. The most terrifyingly iconic moments of the movie come from the place, the Overlook Hotel, itself. This is a haunted “house” that truly gets in the guests’ head.
The evil surrounding The Overlook is just one big mystery. Are we being messed with? Do these strange and horrifying occurrences actually mean anything? The not knowing is what makes this haunted location all the more foreboding.
What horror movie haunted house keeps your lights on? Let us know in our Horror Group on Facebook!