Don’t Go In There!

It’s hard to say why I find horror movies, and haunted house movies in particular, so appealing. It probably has something to do with being frightened, but from the comfort and safety of my couch or theater seat (the credits roll, and I’m reminded that none of this is real). It could also have something to with the house I grew up in, the “original homestead” of my ancestors in Oregon. While I don’t recall it being particularly haunted, it was a shadowy old Victorian house in great disrepair, and years after we moved out I heard rumors that it was the sort of abandoned house that teenagers would dare each other to spend the night in (I will not include a photo here dear readers, because I don’t want it to haunt your dreams). Of course, scary movies might also appeal to me because of my family’s occasional visits to the Timberline Lodge for dining — the Lodge served as the exterior of one of the (imho) most creepy movies ever filmed, The Shining.

Pop Pilgrims The Shining from Timberline Lodge on Vimeo.

Whatever the reason, I like a good, scary haunted house movie. And whether you prefer your haunted house movies to be atmospheric or funny, there’s sure to be something on this list that appeals to everyone:


The Amityville Horror
A couple’s Long Island colonial house on the river’s edge seems perfect–until it isn’t.


The non-ghosts are scarier than the ghosts in this film. After a  trendy New York family moves into an old farmhouse, the former tenants (a couple of likable ghosts) contact the afterlife’s bio-exorcist “Beetlejuice” to help them scare the family away. The Danny Elfman score for the film is also killer.


The Changeling
After the death of his wife and child, a composer moves to a secluded mansion, where he attracts the unwilling attention of a possible ghost. An underrated gem, with some scenes that inspired the director of the more recent The Conjuring.


The Conjuring

One of the best haunted house movies to come out in years, this 2013 film focuses on a family terrorized by a dark presence in the secluded farmhouse they just moved into.

The Evil Dead
Five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in the Tennessee woods unwittingly resurrect malevolent demons and spirits.


The Haunting
Adapted from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, this psychological thriller tells the story of four people who come to a haunted house to study its supernatural phenomena—and may never leave.


House (1977)
After learning that she will be sharing the summer with her father’s new girlfriend, a young girl invites some friends to join her at her aunt’s house instead. With a sick aunt, a bloodthirsty cat, and evil spirits lurking around, the girls find that it might have been better to stay at home. A very weird, crazy film that is half horror, half dark humor.


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3 responses to “Don’t Go In There!

  1. I love The Changeling! I saw it late at night many years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. The Others is also very creepy and enthralling. Have you ever seen The Amazing Mr Blunden? It’s a children’s film from the seventies based on a book sort of ghostly and time travely. It may be for kids but it’s a good haunted house type film nevertheless!

  2. Pl

    It was a very dark and scary night…that afternoon, our parents dropped us off at the movies. “The Tingler” with Vincent Price was playing. Ten years old and clueless about movie stars – I happily went to the show with my two older brothers. To say it was the very scariest, bloodiest, most nightmarish movie I have ever seen in my whole life also speaks to- I’ve never seen another horror movie. The blood running out of the bath tub spigot was only surpassed in the “Ick!” category by the lobster-ish monster which scuttled around and choked people (note: people needed to be in a prone- easy access -position for the bloody, red shellfish monster to attack.) That night, our parents went out to dinner and left us alone. I slept with all the lights on, with a prayer book, a rosary, between my two older brothers. I like musicals.

  3. Pingback: 12 Creepy Horror Movies to Watch This October | Eleventh Stack

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