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The 20 best haunted house films of all time, ranked

From The Innocents to Paranormal Activity, most of these haunted house movies will have viewers leaving all their lights on at bedtime.

Georges Méliès' Le Manoir du diable (1896) deserves much reverence for its impact on scary movies over the years, and even though the silent film is only a few minutes long, The House of the Devil marks the beginning of the horror genre. Released as The Haunted Castle in the United States, Méliès' motion picture is the precursor to all haunted house movies.

Films in the following century like The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Old Dark House (1932), and Rebecca (1940) certainly presented creepy, decrepit manors, but their walls were haunted by earthly threats. However, The Uninvited (1944) creates the supernatural template by which horror films like The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), Crimson Peak (2015), and Hereditary (2018) still follow today.

Now, enjoy EW's ranking of the 20 best haunted house movies of all time.

20. The Amityville Horror (1979)

Not even Fixer Upper 's Chip and Joanna Gaines can salvage your house when its walls start bleeding. George Lutz ( James Brolin ) and his wife, Kathy ( Margot Kidder ), get the deal of a lifetime when they buy a home in the quaint, seaside town of Amityville, N.Y. — but their new digs come with a sordid history and house full of haunting horrors.

The Amityville Horror , a somewhat underrated flick, is based on the real-life Lutz's unsubstantiated claim that the house was actually haunted. The Dutch Colonial-style home still stands in Amityville, but its address has been changed from 112 Ocean Ave. to 108 Ocean in order to throw off curious tourists.

Where to watch The Amityville Horror : Max

19. The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Irena isn't Casper, but she certainly is a friendly ghost, and she still haunts her husband Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) and his new wife, Alice (Jane Randolph). However, Irena only allows Oliver and Alice's daughter, Amy (Ann Carter), to see her when the Reeds' lonely child wishes for a friend.

The film marks the first directing credit for Robert Wise (later of 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still and 1965's The Sound of Music glory), since he was uncredited for directing additional sequences in The Magnificent Ambersons two years prior. While virtually every character — and performer — from 1942's Cat People returns, The Curse of the Cat People is, to this day, argued by most film historians as being a sequel in name only.

Where to watch The Curse of the Cat People : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

18. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Do not wait around for the entity haunting your house to fully possess you or your partner. Don't do it! Filmmaker Oren Peli 's supernatural take finds a young couple ( Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) haunted by an unseen force, as the audience watches the couple chronicle the ghost's movements via their home security cameras.

The movie cashed in on the found-footage phenomenon that 1999's The Blair Witch Project proved to be a potential gold mine. Paranormal Activity grossed more than $193 million worldwide, and it only cost $15,000 to produce. Steven Spielberg saw the original cut of the film prior to its release in which Katie dies, and convinced Peli to reshoot the more ominous ending where Featherston simply goes missing.

Where to watch Paranormal Activity : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

17. Beetlejuice (1988)

Barbara ( Geena Davis ) and Adam ( Alec Baldwin ) Maitland might be dead, but they don't have any intention of sharing their home with its new residents, the Deetz family — parents Delia ( Catherine O'Hara ) and Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and their goth icon daughter, Lydia ( Winona Ryder ). When the Maitlands' attempts to frighten the Deetzes away fail miserably, Barbara and Adam turn to the mysterious and mischievous Beetlejuice ( Michael Keaton ) to rid them of the living.

Keaton's portrayal as the unscrupulous "ghost with the most" garnered him a Saturn Award nomination, even though he appears on screen for less than 15 minutes, and the actor acknowledges Beetlejuice as his favorite film from his own library of work.

Where to watch Beetlejuice : Max

16. The Others (2001)

While the living and dead coexist in Beetlejuice , The Others teaches horror fans a different life lesson: Sharing isn't always the answer. Grace ( Nicole Kidman ) and her two children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), live together in a Gothic country house in the aftermath of World War II, but it seems increasingly likely their Bailiwick of Jersey home is haunted.

The Others offers scary movie enthusiasts one of the genre's most memorable twists, and it's unlikely the filmmakers really wanted audiences to laugh at the very last shot of the film. It's hard not to chuckle, though, and the comedic moment certainly lends itself to the storytelling. The Others also marked the final time Kidman worked with her then-husband, Tom Cruise (executive producer), prior to their divorce.

15. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren (Vincent Price) is throwing a party, and he promises each of his guests $10,000. The catch: They have to spend the night in a haunted house and survive until morning. Filmmaker William Castle couldn't afford to pay Price the salary the actor had become accustomed to, so he offered him a percentage of the profits to land the horror movie maestro as a cast member.

House on Haunted Hill also features one of Castle's vaunted gimmicks: Emergo . When the skeleton terrorizes Mrs. Loren (Carol Ohmart) on screen, a plastic skeleton would swoop over the heads of audiences all across the country. Ever the showman, Castle wanted to give moviegoers something even better and more exciting than 3-D could ever deliver decades later.

Where to watch House on Haunted Hill: Amazon Prime Video

14. Scrooge (1951)

While there have been many fine adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol , Alastair Sim's performance as the miserly, penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge elevates this version to must-see status. With Christmas soon approaching, Ebenezer's old friend, Jacob Marley (Michael Hordern), returns from the grave to offer Scrooge a chance at redemption through the haunting of three spirits.

Invariably and inexplicably, A Christmas Carol is absent from many best-of haunted house lists, but Dickens' tale is the preeminent example of this type of supernatural story. Now, despite the positive critical and fan response to this 1951 version, there is a famous bit of dialogue omitted from this particular film: "If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."

Where to watch Scrooge : Plex

13. Poltergeist (1982)

The real estate market is always a monster, but the Freeling family lucks out and gets a good deal on a nice house. There's just one little catch: The home was built on a Native American burial ground. And those spirits are not happy about the new tenants. Poltergeist pairs two Hollywood heavyweights, with Steven Spielberg behind the story and Tobe Hooper in the director's chair — and the result is pure movie magic.

The infamous TV scene , with Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), is well-known, but it's nothing compared to what happens to the television in the last shot of the movie. No spoilers here, but viewers are bound to roll with laughter. Drew Barrymore auditioned for Spielberg for the role of Carol Anne, but, despite not landing the part, it was her Poltergeist tryout that led to her being cast in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

Where to watch Poltergeist : Max

12. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Filmmaker Kim Jee-woon 's heartbreaking horror film gives audiences valid reasons to avoid adultery. Su-mi (Im Soo-jung) returns home from a mental facility after her mother dies, but there's a strange family dynamic between her father and stepmother, Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah). Su-mi is also very protective of her younger sister, Su-yeon (Moon Geun-young).

The film's twist is one of those watercooler moments that rivals any horror movie ending. Without spoiling the climax, A Tale of Two Sisters uses the haunted house motif almost as a window dressing to obscure the psychological aspects at play in this immensely enthralling, supernatural flick.

Where to watch A Tale of Two Sisters : Kanopy

11. The Conjuring (2013)

Lorraine Warren ( Vera Farmiga ) and her husband, Ed ( Patrick Wilson ), are paranormal investigators hellbent on helping the Perron family as they're haunted in their own farmhouse. The Warrens were real people who dedicated their lives to exploring the paranormal (or as some see it, duping the vulnerable), and they also investigated the real-life mystery of the Amityville house purchased by George and Kathy Lutz.

The Perrons, too, were not just characters, and The Conjuring is based on what happened to them in their Rhode Island home. The Perrons often visited the set while the film was being shot, and Farmiga and Wilson met with the Warrens to further their understanding of the characters they were portraying.

Where to watch The Conjuring: Max

10. The Orphanage (2007)

Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can't Go Home Again , but Laura (Belén Rueda) doesn't heed the novelist's advice. Rather, Laura takes her family back to the closed orphanage she was adopted from with the hopes of reopening it to help children with disabilities. But things take a bizarre turn when her son, Simón (Roger Príncep), goes missing.

The Orphanage , which also features a cameo from producer Guillermo del Toro as the doctor attending to Laura in the emergency room, received a standing ovation when it premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival . Filmmaker J. A. Bayona found inspiration for The Orphanage from watching 1961's The Innocents and 1977's Close Encounters of the Third Kind .

Where to watch The Oprhanage : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

9. We Are Still Here (2015)

One hundred and twenty years of haunting and horror isn't going to stop Anne Sacchetti ( Barbara Crampton ) and her husband, Paul (Andrew Sensenig), from buying a rural home, but perhaps they're blinded by the death of their son, Bobby. It isn't long before the couple realizes the house is alive — and it is hungry for a blood sacrifice.

We Are Still Here is loaded with homages to other horror films, and one of the most obvious is the appearance of the home's original residents, the Dagmars. They look like the vengeful ghosts in John Carpenter 's The Fog (1980), and the stair scene is a clear nod to Nancy ( Heather Langenkamp ) trudging up the staircase in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Where to watch We Are Still Here : Amazon Prime Video

8. The Haunting (1963)

Very few horror films evoke a creepier vibe than 1963's The Haunting , even with its black-and-white cinematography. Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) assembles a team to investigate the paranormal activity of the Hill House in Massachusetts — but escaping the haunt unscathed may prove futile.

The film is based on the 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House by author Shirley Jackson. Director Robert Wise was coming off his immense success with West Side Story (1961), which he codirected with Jerome Robbins , while another west-sider joined him for the Hill House horror: Actor Russ Tamblyn , who portrayed Riff in West Side Story , tackles the role of Luke Sanderson.

Where to watch The Haunting : Max

7. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) starts her life anew when she buys a cottage in a quaint, seaside village, but her house is purported to be haunted by a seaman, Capt. Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is by far the most romantic of the haunted house films, and its storytelling — rather than fright and fear — makes it one of the top supernatural tales of all time.

Natalie Wood portrays Lucy's daughter, Anna, when she's a child, and the actress shot to stardom later that same year by appearing in Miracle on 34th Street . The screenplay for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was also adapted by Amanda Duff, and she claimed Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn were originally courted to play the lead roles.

Where to watch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

6. Lake Mungo (2008)

Alice Palmer's (Talia Zucker) drowning isn't the end of her tragedy when it comes to her family trying to cope with their loss and move on. Instead of closure, the Palmers are plagued by unexplained sightings of Alice, and, later, an even more mysterious, bloated-faced doppelgänger emerges.

Lake Mungo is chilling from start to finish, employing a mockumentary and found-footage style of filmmaking to exude an atmosphere of realism and tension that is supremely frightening to the senses. The fun of Lake Mungo , without spoiling the film's well-executed jump scare, is its use of modern technology to frighten audiences when they least expect it.

Where to watch Lake Mungo : AMC+

5. Hausu (1977)

Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) and her friends find themselves facing off against a haunted house that murders its victims like a serial killer straight out of a slasher film. The same studio that produced the Godzilla franchise, Toho, masterminds one of the most horrifying and disturbingly humorous psychedelic films to date.

Hausu's over-the-top subject matter isn't for everyone, but horror fans — particularly of Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992) — will find the movie resonating with them. The success of Jaws (1975) inspired Toho to make Hausu , and none of the lead actresses were trained thespians. Rather, the seven women were all models.

Where to watch Hausu : Max

4. The Evil Dead (1981)

Before becoming the "this is my boomstick" housewares expert of S-Mart, Ash Williams ( Bruce Campbell ) makes the unfortunate mistake of spending his vacation in a haunted house with some friends. There, they find the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in the cabin, also known as the Book of the Dead, and all hell breaks loose into two sequels (1987, 1992), two remakes (2013, 2023), and a TV series Ash vs Evil Dead .

If you don't know what the "tree scene" is, you'll never get that imagery out of your head after watching The Evil Dead for the first time. It's one of the most appalling and unforgettable scenes to appear in any horror film, ever. The Evil Dead was the feature film debut for both Campbell and his best friend since high school, director Sam Raimi .

Where to watch The Evil Dead : Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

3. The Uninvited (1944)

Rick (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) make the spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a lovely seaside home, and, as a result, Rick meets and becomes quite taken with young Stella (Gail Russell). The Uninvited is one of the first full-length haunted house movies, making it a cornerstone model moving forward for all other films to follow.

While Martin Scorsese called it one of the scariest movies of all time , The Uninvited kindles a wonderful romance between Rick and Stella. In fact, the serenade Rick writes and plays for his love, "Stella by Starlight," was composed specifically for the movie. However, it became a sensation when lyrics were later added, and it was even performed by Frank Sinatra .

2. The Innocents (1961)

Miss Giddens ( Deborah Kerr ) is hired to be a governess for Flora (Pamela Franklin) and her older brother, Miles (Martin Stephens), once he returns from boarding school. While Giddens takes an almost instant liking to Flora, she soon fears the children's secretive bond when Miles returns. And things grow even more disconcerting when Giddens begins seeing things and hearing voices.

The film is based on Henry James' 1898 horror novella, The Turn of the Screw , and both Truman Capote and William Archibald won the Edgar Allan Poe award for their screenplay. Jack Clayton directed and produced The Innocents , and he later went on to direct Hollywood icon Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby in 1974.

1. The Changeling (1980)

It's hard to have your car break down on the side of the road and not think about The Changeling . John Russell ( George C. Scott ) watches helplessly as his wife and daughter are cut down by a tow truck in the snow. Russell moves on and buys a house once owned by the family of Senator Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas), but he soon realizes he's not as alone there as he previously felt.

The character of John Russell is a music composer, but Scott wasn't musically inclined. Even so, the actor practiced the piano pieces Russell plays so that he could actually tickle the ivories on screen. Also, the actress who portrays historical society agent Claire (Trish Van Devere) was Scott's wife in real life, and they made five feature films while they were married, as well as a made-for-TV movie and a play.

Where to watch The Changeling : Peacock

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The 20 best haunted house movies, ranked

From the haunting to crimson peak , these truly frightening films will make you reconsider the phrase home sweet home.

Clockwise from top left: The Conjuring (Photo: Michael Tackett/Warner Bros.); The Shining (Screenshot: Warner Bros/YouTube); Beetlejuice (Screenshot: Warner Bros./YouTube); Poltergeist (Screenshot: MGM/YouTube)

This house … is clean. Or at least it should be. The enduring brilliance of the haunted house subgenre is its ability to make you feel twitchy and nervous where you should feel safest: in your very own home. The form dates back 100 years to silent films like 1927's The Cat And The Canary and early talkies like 1932's The Old Dark House starring Boris Karloff and directed by Frankenstein’ s James Whale. It’s one of the oldest and purest forms of horror storytelling and, well into the 2020s, is still a landscape rife with new ideas and critically acclaimed releases. So with the fast-approaching Halloween meaning dozens of costumed kids “gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door,” here are our 20 picks for the greatest haunted house movies ever—from The Haunting to House On Haunted Hill (look, the word ‘haunt’ is gonna show up a lot, OK?)

20. Dark Water (2002)

After the massive box office success and critical acclaim of Ring in 1998, there was a flood of new Japanese ghost stories, of which Dark Water is doubtlessly the best. This haunted house apartment horror is initially about a single mother and her young daughter facing such spooky goings-on as hair in the tap water and a reappearing red bag—then things get pants-wettingly terrifying and, finally, utterly heartbreaking. It’s infinitely better than the U.S. remake, too.

19. The Uninvited (1944)

Famously, producer Charles Brackett wanted Alfred Hitchcock to direct The Uninvited , but the Master Of Suspense was unavailable. As a result, Lewis Allen helmed this 1944 tale about a brother and sister moving into a mansion in Cornwall, England—and he made a quiet, tense thriller replete with gorgeous shots of the Cornish coast. The movie was a launchpad for young star Gail Russell, who was signposted for celebrity but tragically passed away at the young age of 36.

18. Sinister (2012)

Proven to be the scariest film of all time by actual scientists, Sinister is about a true crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) moving into the house of a murdered family and finding more horrors than he bargained for. Future Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson crammed these 109 minutes with crap-yourself jump scares, generating a word-of-mouth hype so powerful that the movie made $87 million after a meager $3 million production budget. And it’s still absolutely terrifying a decade on.

1 7. The Conjuring (2013)

Despite being released amid a wave of schlocky haunted house horrors that followed Insidious in the early 2010s, The Conjuring won critical acclaim and box office success by eschewing modern trickery and shooting straight for timelessness. Its practical effects and old-school scares even earned the film comparisons to The Exorcist —the highest of compliments. The franchise spawned by this James Wan movie is now among the most powerful and popular in all of horror.

1 6. The Woman In Black (1989)

The Daniel Radcliffe-led blockbuster is the most famous adaptation of The Woman In Black , but it isn’t the best. That honor instead goes to this obscure British TV movie. The story of solicitor Arthur Kidd traveling to a dead client’s house to sort her belongings is slow and uneasy, until it crescendos with one eye-bulging jump scare. It aired on primetime ITV on December 24, 1989, and promptly ruined Christmas for any kid that saw it.

1 5. 13 Ghosts (1960)

To horror aficionados, William Castle was and remains the god of gimmicks, often screening his movies with some kind of real-life novelty to add to the experience. In the case of 13 Ghosts , in which characters can only see the spirits with special goggles, he introduced “Illusion-O”. Basically, the audience wore 3D glasses where one lens showed the ghosts on-screen and the other didn’t. Today, this movie’s still gloriously goofy even without that in-theater touch.

1 4. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity was buoyed by a unique form of guerrilla marketing that asked anyone who watched its trailer to demand to be able to see it in their local cinema. The buzz got the attention of Paramount, and what was in 2007 a low-budget indie picture got a 2009 wide release and made nearly $200 million. The horror landscape was morphed by its ability to make big bucks using little money and a creative found-footage setup.

1 3. The Changeling (1980)

Released in 1980, The Changeling was too late to capitalize on the freaky child trend epitomized by The Exorcist and The Omen and underperformed at the box office. However, in the decades since, this story of composer John Russell (George C. Scott) being haunted by the ghost of a disabled young boy has rightfully earned cult status. It’s a hauntingly gradual crawl, deftly directed by Peter Medak and with an ever-charismatic star at its center.

1 2. The Others (2001)

Although haunted house movies enjoyed a renaissance around the turn of the millennium, it was mostly through remakes like 1999’s The Haunting and House On Haunted Hill , which crammed themselves with dreadful CGI. Despite being an original story, only The Others evokes the dread of such masterpieces as The Innocents . It also ends with a striking, inspired twist that instantly made this movie worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the classics.

1 1. The Orphanage (2007)

J.A. Bayona may be better known nowadays for directing Jurassic World , but his Spanish-language, Guillermo Del Toro-produced debut, The Orphanage , is still his masterpiece. Dark, depressing and packing some powerhouse twists, this tale of a woman returning to her old orphanage in an attempt to renovate it offers everything you need from a spine-tingling ghost story. It could well be worth prepping something more lighthearted to put on afterwards.

1 0. Lake Mungo (2008)

A fiercely effective Australian art piece, Lake Mungo takes place after teenager Alice Palmer drowns while swimming, with her ghost seemingly haunting her family home. To delve into the plot any further is to spoil a movie full of original twists and turns, represented through a mockumentary ostensibly about coming to terms with loss and grief. It also has a jump scare that will destroy you. Just watch it as soon as you can, OK?

9 . Beetlejuice (1988)

Fun fact: Betelgeuse only appears in Beetlejuice for about 17 minutes. However, that doesn’t stop this Tim Burton movie from being a classic. It creatively tells the story of a recently deceased couple trying to scare away the people who’ve moved into the house they’re haunting. Then Michael Keaton steps in as the fast-talking ‘bio-exorcist’ and steals the show. It was a breakthrough for both the actor and the director, who’d tag-team again the following year on Batman .

8. Crimson Peak (2015)

For fans of such ghostly classics as The Haunting and The Shining —not to mention the glorious, bloody excess of old Hammer Studios fare— Crimson Peak is a must-see. Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to this subgenre somewhat sinks at the hand of its predictable twists, but what’s much more memorable is the lavish visual style, not to mention show-stealing performances from Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. This is extravagance in the very best sense of the word.

7 . Poltergeist (1982)

A marriage of haunted house spooks with Steven Spielberg’s sentimentality and big-budget craftsmanship, Poltergeist was a rare bona fide horror blockbuster in its day. Forty years on, it’s persisted thanks to the relatable nuclear family at its heart—not to mention scares suited to each character, and by extension engineered so that at least one of them can freak out any demographic in the audience. As for us, it’s that puppet clown thing that messes us up.

6. House On Haunted Hill (1959)

The second appearance on this list by gimmick master William Castle, House On Haunted Hill is seemingly as barebones B-horror as you can get. It stars Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart as a couple who invite guests to a seemingly haunted house, with the promise of $10,000 each once they stay (and survive) the night. However, in theaters, Castle accompanied certain scares by flying a skeleton over the audience. This is still a brilliantly campy time without the added bells and whistles, though.

5 . His House (2020)

On the surface, this 2020 British horror is about a South Sudanese couple fleeing to the U.K. and quickly discovering they’re cursed. However, beneath the hood, His House is also a powerful allegory for the trauma of war forcing you to leave your country and relocate to a new, indifferent, sometimes racist culture. First-time director Remi Weekes instantly established himself as one to watch with this debut, as did lead actors Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku.

4. House (1977)

It’s not uncommon for a horror movie to be likened to a fever dream, but nothing in the genre quite deserves the comparison like House . This 1977 J-horror about a group of girls spending the summer in a Tokyo home is a psychedelic nightmare. Bright colors, manic editing, batshit set pieces, and a disorienting soundtrack by prog-rockers Godiego define this hellish fantasy, which, apparently, is intentionally mental to evoke the way a child would retell a traumatic experience.

3 . The Haunting (1963)

A loyal adaptation of the Shirley Jackson ghost story The Haunting Of Hill House , The Haunting is every bit as suspenseful and claustrophobic as its source material. This jewel in the crown of directing king Robert Wise (also responsible for The Andromeda Strain and The Sound Of Music —yes, really) effectively combines scares and an unreliable protagonist to make for a truly compelling chiller. Julie Harris’ lead performance is excellently erratic, as well.

2. The Shining (1980)

We’re bending the rules here, since The Shining is more a haunted hotel movie than a haunted house movie. However, this Stanley Kubrick masterpiece is so genius that it deserves to be in the upper echelons of basically every movie list ever written. Not only is it genuinely creepy—this tale of the Torrence family spending a winter stuck in a summertime resort is also rich in what-does-it-mean symbolism that’ll keep you guessing long after the credits roll.

1 . The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents wasn’t a pioneering haunted house movie, nor is it the most famous. However, director Jack Clayton’s low-budget thriller is perfect . It’s a horrifyingly atmospheric thriller that’s torturous in its quietness, making every twitching curtain and figure walking across the frame a silent terror that will imprint on your retinas. The performances are all believable and fragile, the costumes magnificent and the color contrast striking. To this day, it is one of the most visually flawless (not to mention flat-out terrifying) black-and-white movies you will ever see. Every frame truly is a painting in this master stroke that’s waiting, begging to be recognized.

The 25 Best Haunted House Movies of All Time

Because ghosts and other supernatural beings need a place to rest their weary heads, too.

By Matthew Jackson | Oct 26, 2023

On the set of 'The Haunting'

The haunted house is one of horror ’s most time-honored tropes, a dark twisting of the place we call home into a maelstrom of terror and things that go bump in the night. There’s something eternal about the idea, so it’s no wonder that hundreds upon hundreds of filmmakers have channeled it for dark visions of their own. There are, of course, dozens of classics in the genre on the big-screen, but if you’re looking for the very best to dive into this Halloween season, these are the ones you definitely won’t want to miss.

1. The Uninvited (1944)

The Uninvited , a ghost story from Hollywood’s Golden Age, has pretty much everything you’d want out of a classic black-and-white horror-drama. It’s got a spooky old house, a cast of beloved character actors led by Ray Milland, a slow-burn supernatural narrative that moves at its own leisurely pace, and of course old-school ghosts . It might move a little slowly for modern audiences, but if you’re patient with it, it’s the kind of film that will wrap you up in its own creepy comforts. In 2019, Martin Scorsese named The Uninvited one of the scariest movies of all time; “the tone is very delicate, and the sense of fear is woven into the setting [and] the gentility of the characters,“ he wrote for The Daily Beast .

2. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

If you want a haunted house story that’s not scary, and might in fact leave you buoyant with joy, look no further than this classic starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison in the title roles. A supernatural romance about a young woman and the spectral sea captain who becomes her preternatural paramour, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is both thoroughly layered with ideas and wonderfully sweet, remaining a great change of pace from the horror films where ghosts usually dwell. Bernard Herrmann, the legendary composer behind such diverse titles as Citizen Kane , Psycho , and Taxi Driver , scored The Ghost and Mrs. Muir , and considered it his best work .

3. 13 Ghosts (1960)

Legendary gimmick -happy genre director William Castle made two great haunted house films in his career, and while House on Haunted Hill (1959) is more than worth a watch, 13 Ghosts stands out now as the superior (and more overtly supernatural) picture. The story of a family that moves into a house they suddenly inherited, it’s a supernatural mystery that’s both satisfying and delightfully over-the-top, and the ghost effects (enhanced by Illusion-O, Castle’s gimmick of special glasses that allowed you to see the ghosts or avoid them at will in the theater) are still genuinely unsettling after more than 60 years.

4. The Innocents (1961)

Just like the story that inspired it, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw , Jack Clayton’s The Innocents is a film that focuses more on the haunted houses we build in our own minds than on actual ghosts reaching out from the darkness. In that regard, it’s a tremendous showcase for Deborah Kerr in the lead role of a governess slowly losing it in a big, old, possibly haunted house. She gets wonderfully, devastatingly lost in Clayton’s Gothic atmosphere, and you will, too.  The Innocents also made Scorsese’s list of scariest movies ever, with the Oscar-winner describing it as “one of the rare pictures that does justice to Henry James. It’s beautifully crafted and acted, immaculately shot (by Freddie Francis), and very scary.“

5. The Haunting (1963)

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is one of the all-time great haunted house stories, and it has given us more than one great adaptation along the way. If you’re looking for the best feature film version, though, look no further than Robert Wise’s psychologically rich, unshakably tense vision from the 1960s. The horror is subtle, but the way Wise’s camera paints with light and shadows will leave you searching every corner for a spirit.  Russ Tamblyn , who plays Luke Sannerson—the heir set to inherit Hill House—in the film also appeared in one episode of Netflix's 2018 miniseries, The Haunting of Hill House .

6. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Richard Matheson’s novel Hell House is a masterclass in pure, straightforward haunted house terror, and John Hough’s film adaptation delivers all that and more. The film follows a group of experts as they head into the title house with the goal of finding proof of the supernatural. It quickly devolves into terror as the group encounters dark image after dark image, all building toward a terrifying conclusion that’s still one of the more fascinating haunted house resolutions in the cinematic canon. More than 25 years after its original release, the film inspired the creation of the MTV horror reality series Fear .

7. House (1977)

If you’ve never seen House , Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 haunted house film, do yourself a favor and just go watch it. Right now. Don’t look up the plot, don’t watch trailers, just watch the movie and hold on for dear life. It’s been nearly 50 years since Obayashi’s film was released, and there’s still nothing else in the horror genre —or in any other genre—quite like it. It’s a dark dream full of imagery that will live in your head forever, and a singular achievement in haunted house storytelling. While House was an immediate hit in its native Japan, American audiences didn’t get a chance to witness it until more than 30 years later, when it began screening at festivals in 2009 and very quickly gained a cult following.

8. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott isn’t necessarily an actor you think of as an all-out horror icon, but he cemented that status for himself with a remarkable performance in this film, the story of a grieving composer who moves into a haunted house and begins to unravel a decades-old mystery. Scott is great in the central role, but it’s Peter Medak’s slow-burn horror direction, complete with antique wheelchair and menacing children’s toys, that cements this one as a haunted house classic. In order to get the details just right, screenwriters Diana Maddox and William Gray reportedly spent approximately six months poring over research for the film, including more than 700 books and close to 2000 case studies regarding parapsychological events.

9. The Shining (1980)

While technically a movie about a haunted hotel , Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining works so well in part because of the way it makes said hotel into a single-family dwelling, surrounding the Torrance trio with vastness until the building seems to swallow them all whole. Whether you consider the film a story of haunted places or a story of haunted people, Kubrick’s ability to play with our perceptions and create a sense of near-constant unease has become legendary, making The Shining one of the essential horror films in any genre. Before he took on The Shining , Kubrick was in consideration to direct The Exorcist . He turned down the gig, explaining that “I only like to develop my own stuff.” (He clearly changed his mind to adapt The Shining .)

10. Poltergeist (1982)

What’s great about Poltergeist , Tobe Hooper’s Steven Spielberg-produced classic about a family whose new house is overtaken by spirits, is just how relentless the film is. From the moment the ghostly activity starts, it never seems to stop, and it never stops escalating as the film barrels toward its conclusion. But even with that in mind, and with the loads of horror imagery packed into the film, Poltergeist never loses its prevailing sense of fun and adventure, delivering a horror classic that you can watch without fear of being bummed out by the end. Spielberg originally approached Stephen King about writing the script. “It didn’t work out because it was before the internet and we had a communication breakdown,” King told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. “I was on a ship going across the Atlantic to En­gland. It took so long to reply that Spielberg moved on.”

11. House (1985)

Steve Miner’s House is one of those movies that walks in two worlds so deftly that it’s almost head-spinning. The film follows author Roger Cobb (William Katt), who moves into his late aunt’s house to write a book, only to discover the place is haunted. Strange events ensue that are equal parts haunting and silly, and the film somehow deftly moves into a space where it works as both an outright comedy and as a rather pointed meditation of post-Vietnam anxiety in Reagan’s America. Yes, it sounds wild—but it works. George Wendt, best known for his role as Norm Peterson on Cheers , co-stars as Roger’s neighbor Harold; John Ratzenberger, who plays Norm’s BFF Cliff Clavin, appears in 1987’s House II: The Second Story .

12. Beetlejuice (1988)

While it’s firmly rooted in dark, zany comedy and not horror, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice remains one of the great haunted house movies thanks to its focus on the expected tropes and how they twist when the perspectives get flipped. In a strange world where ghosts have a kind of society and code all their own, it’s a film that not only shows you both sides of a haunting, but reveals all the ways that ghosts can express themselves beyond strange noises and horrifying apparitions. Thirty-five years later, it’s still a joy to watch. Reportedly, Burton’s first choice for the role of Beetlejuice was Sammy Davis Jr. It was producer David Geffen who suggested Michael Keaton.

13. Ghostwatch (1992)

Originally released as a supposedly real BBC television special, Ghostwatch is best remembered now for the sheer terror it inspired in viewers on Halloween night in 1992, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, Ghostwatch is a fascinating cultural artifact within the mockumentary subgenre. Yet it’s also a thoroughly engrossing and genuinely frightening haunted house story, the kind of thing that will have you watching it over and over again, looking for all the hidden specters. The UK’s Broadcasting Standards Council reportedly received more than 20,000 phone calls and thousands of letters—all of them angry—following the initial broadcast.

14. The Others (2001)

Rich with textural, chilling visuals and a reverence for the visual language of haunted houses, Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others is a film that will lure you into a sense of uncomfortable, unpredictable dread even if you already know its central twist. Thanks to wonderful work by a cast led by Nicole Kidman and Amenábar’s own assured direction, it’s one of those movies that casts a dark spell that feels unbreakable, from its meditations on post-war grief and trauma to its eventual ghostly revelations. In 2002, the movie made history at the Goya Awards—Spain’s version of the Oscars—where it won a total of eight awards, including Best Film. It’s the  first film  to earn Spain’s highest film honor in which not one word of Spanish is spoken.

15. Dark Water (2002)

Though he’s perhaps best known for films like Ringu , Japanese director Hideo Nakata’s true masterpiece might be this intimate little ghost story about a mother and daughter who move into an apartment with a very dark history. Full of atmospheric flourishes and foreboding, Dark Water is a masterclass in building suspense, delivering a payoff, and then keeping the scares going even after the story has seemingly resolved. Three years after the film’s release, an English language version starring Jennifer Connelly and John C. Reilly was released.

16. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Kim Jee-woon’s A Tale of Two Sisters is an unforgettable exercise in psychological terror for a number of reasons, but among the most striking is the way the filmmaker convinces you more than once that he’s switching genres. For a huge chunk of the runtime, the film might just be a gripping psychological drama with a few haunted house flourishes for the sake of symbolism. But by the time it’s over, and you realize it was a haunted house film all along, you realized that the ghosts of this film are all the more potent, and all the more horrifying. To this day, A Tale of Two Sisters remains the highest-grossing horror film in its native South Korea.

17. Paranormal Activity (2007)

In an age when ghost-hunting shows were growing increasingly popular, a film like Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity felt understandably inevitable, but that does nothing to diminish its impact. The setup is simple: A couple sets up cameras in their house to try and capture apparent supernatural happenings. While the found footage format is by now well-worn by many sequels and copycats, the film is still a low-fi chiller with an unforgettable ending, not to mention one of the most influential horror releases of its era. Steven Spielberg got a copy of the DVD, which he was reportedly convinced was haunted. He loved the movie, though, and the ending audiences see was suggested by the Oscar-winning director; in 2017, Peli admitted that he still prefers his original finale.

18. The Orphanage (2007)

One of the most enduring images in 21st century horror so far comes from J.A. Bayona’s The Orphanage , a haunted house narrative that features, among other things, the unforgettable specter of a little boy in a cloth mask. But that boy and that mask are only a fraction of the story. Over the course of its runtime, The Orphanage packs in loads of other scares, both otherworldly and existential, cementing its place as one of the best horror films of the last 25 years. Horror icon Guillermo del Toro makes an uncredited cameo in the film, playing a doctor.

19. Lake Mungo (2008)

A family reeling from the loss of their daughter agrees to be interviewed for a documentary exploring the possibility that their house is haunted. What happens next is one of the most remarkable horror narratives of the last 25 years. Eerie, beautiful, and full of thoughtful meditation on what we leave behind when we go, Lake Mungo is both a classic ghost story and a dazzling effort by director Joel Anderson to tell that ghost story in ways we’d never seen before. Jordan Peele considers Lake Mungo one of the scariest films he has ever seen, and used it as an inspiration in making Us (2019).

20. Sinister (2012)

We might be stretching the definition of “haunted house movie“ here a little bit, as the entity in Sinister is more demon than ghost. But director/co-writer Scott Derrickson’s film is so good that we’re ignoring that and getting right to the good stuff. Unbelievably tense and full of great, gruesome detail, Sinister is the kind of haunted house movie that will make you think twice about every corner of your own home, especially if you just moved there. And if you like found footage, the home movie segments are still chilling, even if you’ve seen them 100 times. In 2012, co-writer C. Robert Cargill told Complex how the idea for Sinister came to him from a nightmare he had after watching The Ring .

21. The Woman in Black (2012)

Built on the strong foundation that is Daniel Radcliffe ’s assured performance as a lawyer sent to a haunted house to process an estate, The Woman in Black is a film with loads of atmosphere and plenty of old-school charm. Like the ghost stories of old, it’s not afraid to take its time, but like modern ghost films it’s also willing to employ a more vicious jump scare pace to get the job done when it’s required. The result is a horror hybrid, a blend of old and new that still packs a punch. Misha Handley, the young actor who plays Radcliffe’s son Joseph in the movie, is Radcliffe’s real-life godson. The actor suggested Handley be cast in the role in order to strengthen the bond seen between father and son in the film.

“It is very hard to create that chemistry with a 4-year-old boy, who you have never met before and who is stepping onto a film set going, ‘What in the hell is all of this?’ That was one of the reasons that I suggested [director] James [Watkins] audition my real-life godson,” Radcliffe told the Associated Press.

22. The Conjuring (2013)

James Wan’s franchise-launching film is among the most successful, and most frightening , horror movies of the 2010s, and still looms large in a horror landscape that’s since moved through many sequels and spinoffs. Wan’s ability to wring maximum screams out of a good jump scare is, of course, legendary at this point. And while there’s no shortage of that kind of terror in The Conjuring , it’s the human struggle at its core that will keep you hooked. In 2021, the Rhode Island home that inspired the film hit the market for $1.2 million.

23. We Are Still Here (2015)

One of the best horror films of the 21st century so far, Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here begins with a simple premise—a grieving couple moves into a cursed old house in New England—and then wrenches the absolute maximum impact from its scares. Geoghegan’s ghosts are more violent than the spectral spirits of old, but it’s not just the gore that’ll leave your jaw on the floor. There’s an unshakable eeriness here that endures long after the film’s over. The movie is packed with references to Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981), which had a massive influence on Geoghegan; in addition to similar locations, many of We Are Still Here ’s characters are named after both characters and actors in the Italian horror master’s film.

24. Crimson Peak (2015)

Guillermo del Toro is one of horror’s great visual stylists, but even by his standards, Crimson Peak is truly stunning. A classic Gothic romance full of decay, sensuality, and ghosts, it’s a film that feels like stepping into another world, a meditation on certain well-worn tropes that somehow emerges as something entirely new. That’s thanks in part to the trio of stars—Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska—at its core, but the film’s sweeping, chillingly seductive energy is pure del Toro.

The film is partly inspired by a night spent at New Zealand’s supposedly haunted Waitomo Caves Hotel, when del Toro was scouting locations for the The Hobbit movies (which he was originally attached to direct). “I heard a horrible murder being committed in the room,“ del Toro told the New Zealand Herald . “I was actually terrified. I didn’t sleep at all that night. What was strange was the next morning I was not tired, but I was wired and scared. I never imagined having those fears. It was absolutely terrifying.“

25. His House (2020)

Two African refugees settle into government-provided housing in the United Kingdom, and quickly discover they’re not alone. Like so many horror films on this list, His House begins with something very straightforward, easily graspable by any audience, then evolves into something else entirely. The horror sequences, courtesy of director Remi Weekes, are some of the most harrowing in recent haunted house memory, but what sticks with you about His House is its focus on how the horror we witness shapes us, and how far we’ll go to survive—even knowing that the ghosts of our choices won’t ever leave.

15 Best Haunted House Movies You Really Shouldn't Watch Alone

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While some horror movies derive thrills and chills from ghosts , goblins, witches , vampires or other kinds of mad killers, others make the setting itself the centerpiece of the plot. The best haunted house movies don't just have to be about houses either — sometimes the genre sets the scene in haunted hotels, hospitals, farmhouses or other buildings where strange secrets lurk in dark corners, attics or basements.

The flicks on our list of the best haunted house movies are for adult eyes only. If you're in need of some family-friendly scary movies, check out our list of scary movies for kids . So whether you're setting up for a movie marathon for Halloween or any other night of the year, get ready for a home movie night that might make you wonder what skeletons are hiding in your very own closets...

The Haunting (1999)

haunted house movies the haunting

As if chronic sleep deprivation isn't scary enough, this 1999 film follows three insomniacs who agree to sleep in a haunted mansion as part of a sleep study. Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson star.

The Haunting (1963)

haunted house movies — the haunting

Want to watch the original? In this classic '60s-era horror film, a group confronts supernatural forces in a 90-year-old New England haunted house. What they find is truly horrific.

The Shining (1980)

haunted house movies — the shining

A bestselling writer and recovering alcoholic, played by Jack Nicholson, hopes to find a cure for his writer's block at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Needless to say, things get interesting.

Winchester (2018)

haunted house movies — winchester

Helen Mirren stars as the widow who occupies a possessed mansion in this chilling story, inspired by real events.

Poltergeist (1982)

haunted house movies — poltergeist

This classic '80s horror film is nothing short of iconic. In it, a family moving into their new house hits, uh, a few snags while unpacking their things. The biggest being their young daughter gets abducted by evil ghosts.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

haunted house movies — the amityville horror

This 2005 remake of the 1979 original inspires serious chills after a young family moves into a house with a sinister past. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Jesse James.

The Conjuring (2013)

haunted house movies — the conjuring

This movie is based on real case files from paranormal investigators, who try to assist a family terrorized by some creepy force lurking in their farmhouse.

The Houses October Built (2014)

best haunted house movies — the houses october built

In this creepy, found-footage-style flick, five friends hit the road in an RV for an adventure in search of the scariest haunted houses.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

haunted house movies — the sixth sense

Even if you've never seen this timeless horror movie, you probably already know its most famous line: "I see dead people!" But nothing compares to seeing it uttered for the first time ...

Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

haunted house movies — let's scare jessica to death

In this creepy ’70s flick, a recently institutionalized woman moves into a country farmhouse, where weird things happen to her. Is she going crazy, or…?

The Attic (2007)

haunted house movies — the attic

Elisabeth Moss stars in this 2007 haunted house flick from Mary Lambert, the director of Pet Sematary . In it, Moss' character moves with her family to a new house... where a doppelganger lives in the attic.

haunted house movies — boo

Five teens trapped in a hospital on Halloween night must figure out who is alive and who is dead as spirits take them over.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

haunted house movies—don't be afraid of the dark

Katie Holmes stars in this flick written by Guillermo del Toro, based on the '70s telefilm by the same name. In it, a girl sent to live with her dad and his new girlfriend believes that she has released creatures from a sealed pit in the basement of the house.

Beetlejuice (1988)

haunted house movies — beetlejuice

Tim Burton directs this iconic '80s Oscar winner, in which a dead couple's spirits face off with the family that has moved into their home. Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Michael Keaton are all in the all-star cast.

The Resort (2021)

haunted house movies — the resort

What's more fun for chills and thrills than a haunted house? Well, a haunted resort, of course! In The Resort , friends head to Hawaii to investigate a haunting in paradise.

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27 Best Haunted House Movies Ever For Horror Lovers

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Watch the best haunted house movies for thrill-seekers and horror lovers – many of which are based on favorite books.

Are you scrolling for something spooky to watch right now? These comedic and terrifying movies about haunted houses are sure to satiate any film lover’s creepy cravings.

While you’ll find many haunted house horror movies, there are also quite a few that are a tad too ridiculous or just meant to be hilarious spoofs.

Some of these films are cult classics, and one was never allowed on TV again – it was too realistic! Of course, we are always adding newer movies too.

So, keep reading to uncover fantastic haunted house movies set around the world, including many with haunted mansions, hotels, and creepy AF buildings.

Be sure to share your favorites in the comments. Let’s get started!

Best Haunted House Movies with image of old gray house on empty road with no windows and spooky dark blue sky with clouds

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Table of Contents

27 Best Haunted House Movies

The Shining Movie Poster with white man with teeth barred and a white brunette person screaming on the other side of the door

1. The Shining (1980)

One of the best haunted house movies isn’t set in a haunted house at all: it’s a haunted hotel!

Based on the 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name, The Shining is the story of a troubled writer – Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson – and his young family.

They spend the off-season taking care of the historic Overlook Hotel.

Snowed in and isolated, the family is subjected to the influence of the malevolent supernatural forces of the hotel.

This is a classic of the horror genre – Stanley Kubrick’s shining directorial achievement – and gave rise to dozens of iconic images and lines (“Here’s Johnny!”).

If you enjoyed King’s The Shining , uncover even more hotel books – many of which are equally haunted.

Or, watch more movies set at and about hotels , and we promise, not all are as terrifying.

The Amityville Horror Film Poster with a quote in white that says For God's sake, get out and black and white image of two male and one female actors

2. The Amityville Horror (1979)

Do you know how real estate agents have to disclose if a house they’re selling was the scene of a murder?

Haunted house movies like The Amityville Horror are the reason that rule exists.

While claims of a real haunting at the actual Amityville house in New York were later revealed to be false, the legend has persisted in this wildly successful film franchise.

The original movie, released in 1979, grossed over $80 million at the box office and went on to become one of the most successful independently-produced features of all time.

In it, James Brolin and Margot Kidder portray the real-life Lutz family (George and Kathy), moving into a new house.

A year earlier, a gruesome mass murder – committed by Ronald DeFeo Jr. – took place there.

The story follows the terrifying paranormal events that force them to leave. It’s literally a house of horror.

If you’re wondering where to start with movies about haunted houses, The Amityville Horror is an excellent choice.

You might also enjoy these books featuring haunted houses .

Paranormal Activity Movie poster with blue tinted image of man and woman huddled together in bed with door open

3. Paranormal Activity (2007)

If you’re a young couple haunted by a supernatural presence in your home, there’s one thing you absolutely must do: get proof!

That’s what Katie and Micah try to do in Oren Peli’s 2007 film Paranormal Activity .

Only, as with so many haunted house horror movies, the best laid plans go totally awry when the couple decides not to enlist the help of a demonologist.

At first, the cameras they set up in their bedroom capture mundane curiosities: flickering lights, slamming doors, your average low-level haunting.

When the paranormal presence starts setting fire to Ouija boards, though, and dragging Katie out of bed at night, things ramp up to a horrifying conclusion.

For scary movies, this film series never seems to end.

Hereditary Film Poster with image of two people with long dark hair - one older and one younger - with grayed out tiny looking forward

4. Hereditary (2018)

Not many debut haunted house movies make the splash that Hereditary did back in 2018.

In director Ari Aster’s first time out, he made a film that received worldwide critical acclaim and became the studio’s highest-grossing film to date.

A bereaved family suffers shock after shock, and a particularly gruesome accident nearly tears them apart.

The matriarch, Annie Graham (played by the inimitable Toni Collette), learns to perform seances to communicate with the departed, which opens the door to a terrifying haunting.

This is psychological horror done right, with a twisted turn of events guaranteed to stay with you.

Poltergeist Movie Poster with image of young child with hands on tv screen

5. Poltergeist (1982)

It’s a familiar enough story in haunted house movies: malevolent ghosts invade a suburban family home and focus their attention on the youngest daughter.

It’s the combined powers of directors Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper that make Poltergeist a true classic of the haunted house genre.

Their unique creative relationship gave rise to some of the most iconic jump-scares and haunting reveals in movie history – including the infamous clown doll attack.

Poltergeist was such a smash that it was followed by two sequels and remade completely in 2015. However, nothing beats the raw energy of the original.

Beetlejuice Movie Poster with image of man in black and white pin stripped suit with white woman dressed as bride and headless ghost in tuxedo with white house in background

6. Beetlejuice (1998)

If you prefer lighter movies about haunted houses, check out Beetlejuice , Tim Burton’s 1998 fantasy-comedy film.

It’s a cult classic now, beloved for its camp costumes and extra characters.

It tells the haunted house story from the other side, the perspective of the ghosts doing the haunting.

A newly-dead couple – played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin – calls upon the services of a “bio-exorcist” from the Netherworld to help them haunt the new (living) inhabitants of their home.

This one has more spills than chills. It offers a fascinating insight into Burton’s early creative vision.

Skeleton Key Movie Poster with up close of person's eye with person walking toward house in reflection instead of pupil

7. The Skeleton Key (2005)

Who could forget that haunting movie poster with Kate Hudson?

Though she’s better known for her rom-coms than her movies about haunted houses, The Skeleton Key is not to be missed!

This Southern Gothic film follows a hospice nurse who takes a new job at a plantation home, not knowing that she’s stepping into a tangled web of hauntings, history, and Hoodoo.

The psychological elements of this film, along with its reckoning with the impact of America’s slave history, will have your mind reeling.

A must-see for all fans of the Southern Gothic – and keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected ending!

The Others Movie Poster with white woman holding a brightly glowing lamp in dark

8. The Others (2001)

If you’re tired of haunted house movies with over-the-top special effects and gore galore, you should try watching The Others . This is a beautifully rendered story with stellar dramatic performances.

The central character, Grace, is played to perfection by Nicole Kidman, with her characteristic understated elegance.

The critically acclaimed score ramps up the spook factor without any of the schlock.

The Henry James-inspired story – a family discovers that ghosts in their home are disturbing their perception of reality, bringing them to the brink of madness – is so well served, The Others is proof that the best haunted house movies can be true works of art.

Ghostwatch Film Poster with three white people with one wearing black suit and red tie and one in one jacket with person in pink jacket holding their arm

9. Ghostwatch (1992)

Can you imagine movies about haunted houses so scary and realistic that they cause a literal nationwide panic?

It actually happened with Ghostwatch back in 1992!

The mockumentary was aired on Halloween night, so viewers were already in the mood to have their pants scared off.

The made-for-TV movie was styled to be viewed as “breaking news” about suspected poltergeist activity in a house in London.

The broadcast caused a massive surge in phone calls to the BBC; over 1,000,000 people called the switchboard to register their complaints and concerns about its contents.

Ghostwatch has never been aired on TV again! Read more about the “ spoof that duped the nation .”

And, if you enjoy Ghostwatch , find even more scary British horror films to watch .

The Conjuring Movie poster with bare tree with rope hanging from it in front of gray white house in fog

10. The Conjuring (2013)

“Paranormal investigator” sounds like a dream job for fans of haunted house films; doesn’t it?

That’s the job title of Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring , a supernatural horror movie about a case that “changes it all.”

The investigators come to the aid of the Perron family, new residents of a farmhouse that their dog refuses to enter, subject to the whims of malevolent spirits.

This film is based on the same supposed “real life” haunting that inspired the Amityville Horror franchise. However, it’s a very different take, and still worth a watch.

The franchise also has an interesting romantic subplot that will really subvert the horror fan’s expectations.

Notably, Academy Award-nominated actress (and with an expansive career), Vera Farmiga, plays paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in all of the Conjuring  films.

The Haunting film poster with blurred spooky mansion in the dark with supernatural glow

11. The Haunting (1999)

Before the 2018 Netflix drama series, The Haunting was one of the best haunted house movies based on Shirley Jackson’s book The Haunting Of Hill House .

There have been many adaptations; it’s extremely versatile source material!

There were many big names attached to the project; Steven Spielberg worked with Stephen King on the initial script, and Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Owen Wilson all scored starring roles.

The film, about an insomnia sleep study gone horribly wrong, was panned by critics but became a blockbuster success regardless.

Insidious Movie poster with young brunette boy in red plaid shirt in front of dark gray tinted house

12. Insidious (2010)

As with so many haunted house movies, Insidious begins with a young family moving into a new home.

But the supernatural horror flick still has some twists and turns in store for viewers, including endless jump scares!

This version of the haunted house tale has one of the sons of the family fall into a coma, and astrally project to do a malevolent spirit’s bidding.

Director James Wan has said that he developed the film in response to the Saw film franchise.

He wanted to prove that a movie could be just as good and just as scary without the level of gore for which that franchise is (in)famous.

Find a famous cast, including Tony award-winning and Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Patrick Wilson, who was also in the film Phantom of the Opera .

The Sentinel Movie Poster with woman's face tinted green and hard to see people with terrified looks on their faces

13. The Sentinel (1977)

No, not the action-packed Michael Douglas political thriller of 2006 – this is the 1977 supernatural horror film of the same name, The Sentinel .

(Though surely the White House is haunted – if any filmmakers are looking for ideas for haunted house horror movies!)

It’s one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies that you’ll want to watch with friends and a big bowl of popcorn.

Cristina Raines stars as Alison Parker, an unstable fashion model who moves into a Brooklyn brownstone only to discover that it is, in fact, the gateway to Hell.

Variety called it “a grubby, grotesque excursion into religioso psychodrama,” so obviously it’s a must-watch.

The Sixth Sense Movie poster with white male in collared shirt and person walking with red golden light around them

14. The Sixth Sense (1999)

When it comes to haunted house movies and ghost stories, is there any more iconic line than “I see dead people?”

Haley Joel Osment was just eleven years old when he delivered the line to Bruce Willis’s shocked countenance in The Sixth Sense .

Over two decades later, it’s still the moment for which he’s best known.

The film’s storyline is pretty much encapsulated in that scene: a child confesses to his psychologist that he can communicate with the dead, and then there’s that twist .

This is the movie that introduced M. Night Shyamalan and his famous storyline curveballs to the world.

1408 movie poster with Black and white man's half faces one on each side of an object resembling a golden staff

15. 1408 (2007)

Another one of the best haunted house movies for horror fans based on a Stephen King story is 1408 .

John Cusak stars as Mike Enslin, the skeptical author of books about supernatural phenomena.

At a particularly low point in his life, he receives an anonymous message on the back of a postcard from the Dolphin Hotel in New York.

The message says “Don’t enter 1408,” – so, which room do you think Cusak requests upon his arrival?

Samuel L. Jackson plays a supporting role as Gerald Olin, the hotel manager who tries to warn Mike about the dozens of deaths that have occurred in that haunted room.

Watch even more terrifying movies set at and about hotels .

We Are Still Here Movie Poster with three ghosts coming out of top of haunted house surrounded in red and blue fog and lights

16. We Are Still Here (2015)

Of all the settings for haunted house movies, a former Victorian funeral home has to be one of the best!

How did the main characters of We Are Still Here not know it was going to be haunted?

Granted, Anne and Paul had a lot on their minds when they moved into the New England house.

Their son, Bobby, had recently been killed in a car accident, and Anne was spiraling into a deep depression.

When Anne starts claiming that Bobby’s spirit is with them in the house, and the neighbors warn them that they should leave, Paul is ready to pack his bags.

But Anne insists on hanging around, calling in spiritualist friends to see if she really can connect with her son across the divide.

What lies beneath movie poster with white hand only holding onto a possible railing with white background

17. What Lies Beneath (2000)

Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer were two iconic hotties in their prime.

They starred together in What Lies Beneath , making them one of the sexiest on-screen duos in the history of haunted house movies.

Ford plays a successful college professor, skeptical of his cellist wife’s belief that there is a spirit haunting their Vermont home.

It hits all the essential notes of movies about haunted houses: a failed seance, a young woman missing (or two!), demonic possessions, jewelry and locks of hair, mysterious messages appearing in the steamy mirror…

But, it’s all the better for being based on one of the filmmaker’s own personal experiences with the paranormal.

The Woman In Black Movie Poster with sepia gray tint over woman in dress standing in front of ghosts

18. The Woman In Black (2012)

The Woman In Black was a 1983 Gothic horror novel by Susan Hill, which has since been turned into two great haunted house movies.

The first, released in 1989, was made for television and reached a relatively small audience (though it won multiple BAFTAs).

The 2012 version, however, starred Daniel Radcliffe (yes, that Daniel Radcliffe) and was released to critical acclaim and major commercial success worldwide.

The story follows a widowed lawyer investigating the malevolent ghost of a young woman, who appears to be seeking vengeance in the small village where she once lived.

Both versions are worth a watch, but beginners should start with the Daniel Radcliffe one to get the full experience.

The Grudge movie poster with person with hair covering face and one eye looking out

19. The Grudge (2004)

If you’re a millennial, you probably remember The Grudge coming out in cinemas when you were in high school.

It was billed as the haunted house horror movie to beat all haunted house horror movies, with a huge (terrifying!) marketing campaign.

The worldwide theatrical release was actually a remake of the Japanese horror film Ju-On: The Grudge , though the same director worked on both versions.

The non-linear plot follows the results of a curse that is cast whenever someone dies “in the grip of extreme rage or sorrow.”

Anyone who encounters the curse will die, and it passes from victim to victim in the most twisted version of a game of pass-the-parcel ever.

Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark Movie Poster with young girl on stairs with black shadow hands on red wall

20. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2010)

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is comic book artist, Nixey’s, first full-length film, directorial debut, with the screenplay written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins.

Based on the 1973 made-for-TV movie of the same name, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark levels up all of the tropes of haunted house movies.

A family moves into a 19th-century house in Rhode Island, and the kooky loner daughter begins seeing malevolent spirits rising from the mysterious pit of ash at the bottom of the house.

Critics praised all of the leads – Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison – for the performances that Nixey (and del Toro) drew from them, as well as his direction, atmosphere, and score.

Watch even more movies based on popular books across the ages .

More of the best movies about haunted houses from Christine

Affliction Movie Poster with images of 5 people with their mouths and yes scratched out

21. Affliction (2021)

If you are craving haunted house horror movies from Indonesia , tune into Affliction.

Nina might just learn the truth about her husband, Hasan, who left Central Java to pursue a career as a psychologist in Jakarta.

Having recently lost her mother, Nina is now fearful for Hasan’s mother, Dayu, who is also sick. Is it dementia, or is there something more sinister at play?

The family heads back to Hasan’s childhood home, but something is clearly off.

Is the house haunted? Are those bones in the backyard? And most importantly, will Nina and her family leave alive?

A newer haunted house movie on this list, there is a trigger warning for suicide, which happens at the beginning of the movie.

By Indonesian horror standards, this film is fairly tame and is a slow-burn thriller. Watch even more movies in all genres from Indonesia .

We Have A Ghost Movie Poster with image of house with large moon behind it and ghost and human doing a fist bump

22. We Have A Ghost (2023)

For sweet movies about haunted houses, We Have A Ghost promises a delightful cast of your favorite actors.

Jennifer Coolidge plays a psychic while Stranger Things star David Harbour is our lost and mostly benign spirit.

You’ve also got American stand-up comedian, Tig Notaro, as well as the young Randall Pearson from This Is Us , Niles Fitch.

Based on Geoff Manaugh’s short story, “Ernest,” watch as the Presley family moves into a dilapidated haunted house.

While the father, Frank, is hoping to exploit the ghost due to his own life’s shortcomings – with newfound income/success via YouTube stardom – their youngest, Kevin, and his friend try to help Ernest crossover.

Add in a less-than-ethical intervention from the CIA, and we can all only hope that Ernest finds the peace he deserves.

The Innocents Movie Poster with image of white person with blonde hair's face

23. The Innocents (1961)

If you are looking for old-school haunted mansion movies, The Innocents is a classic ghost story you won’t soon forget.

Miss Giddens is a governess played by Deborah Kerr. She takes care of two young orphans in a remote Gothic mansion as their previous governess died suddenly.

As the days pass, Miss Giddens becomes increasingly convinced that the children are possessed by malevolent spirits she senses within the house.

This Gothic horror film masterfully builds tension and psychological unease, blurring the lines between reality and the supernatural.

Of course, we’d expect nothing less as the movie is based on Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw and adapted by Truman Capote and William Archibald. 

The Legend of Hell House Movie Poster

24. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Another one of the classic haunted house horror films, The Legend of Hell House follows a team of researchers.

They are tasked with exploring the infamous Belasco House, also known as the “Mount Everest of haunted houses.”

It was here where millionaire Emeric Belasco lived, an alleged murderer and sadist.

The current team of paranormal investigators includes psychics and mediums along with Physicist Dr. Lionel Barrett. Each brings their own unique methods to uncover the dark secrets of the house.

As they dive deeper into the mansion’s malevolent history, they encounter terrifying manifestations while facing their own inner demons.

Today, The Legend of Hell House is considered a cult classic. Nothing beats its eerie setting.

House on Haunted Hill with illustrated image of person in yellow orange dress and haunted house in background

25. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

With a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, House on Haunted Hill remains one of the best haunted house movies of all time.

Of course, it’s also 100% of its time and was remade in 1999 with a 2007 sequel, Return to House on Haunted Hill .

Eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren invites five guests to spend the night in a supposedly haunted mansion that he rents.

He promises them a substantial reward of $10,000 if they can survive until morning, with the doors locked and windows barred shut after midnight.

As the night unfolds, eerie occurrences and ghostly apparitions terrify the guests. There might also be a killer on the loose… along with secret lovers and deadly weapons.

With its atmospheric black-and-white cinematography and Vincent Price’s iconic performance, House on Haunted Hill remains a creepy horror classic that continues to captivate audiences.

The Changeling Movie Poster with image of wheelchair with cobwebs and shadowing person nearby

26. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott – known for playing complicated characters – performs as John Russell, a grieving composer who moves into a historic mansion after losing his wife and daughter in a tragic accident.

Soon after settling in, he begins to experience eerie and unexplained phenomena, including seeing disturbing apparitions and hearing loud, spooky noises.

Determined to uncover the truth behind these haunting events, John teams up with a local historian, Claire Norman, to investigate the house’s sinister past – and boarded-up rooms.

This includes the murder of its six-year-old inhabitant… who is allegedly alive and well.

The Changeling still stands as one of the great supernatural psychological horror movies about haunted houses because of George C. Scott’s outstanding performance.

However, some reviewers deemed it as a bit formulaic and predictable. But let’s be real, many haunted house movies are just that, which does not deter us.

Lake Mungo Film Poster with distorted image of mouth screaming

27. Lake Mungo (2008)

If you are looking for found-footage haunted house horror movies, Lake Mungo is a unique mockumentary and Australian film.

The Palmer family is grappling with both their grief of the tragic drowning of their teenage daughter, Alice, and the paranormal activity that follows.

Alice’s older brother sets up cameras around the house to capture Alice’s ghost.

As they unravel the mysteries surrounding her death, a series of unsettling and inexplicable events unfold, leading them to question the boundaries between life and what lies afterward.

Can they help Alice move on? What is she trying to tell them?

Grab your favorite haunted house films and books :

Amazon Prime Video  |  Netflix  |  IMDb | Hulu | Max

What are your favorite haunted house horror movies?

What are the scariest haunted house movies you’ve watched? How about the cheesiest? Let us know in the comments.

Related Movie Lists:

  • Thought-Provoking Movies With Dark Romances

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Movies About Haunted Houses Pinterest Pin with image of white grayish house with dark shutters and muted green grass with dark gray tinted sky with clouds

Sheree Strange

Sheree (pronouns: she/her) is a writer and book reviewer living on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation (known as Sydney, Australia). She has been reviewing books on her blog, Keeping Up With The Penguins , since 2017. She reads books of all kinds and shares her thoughts on them all across the internet.

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Christine Frascarelli

Christine (she/her) is the owner, lead editor, and tipsy book sommelier of The Uncorked Librarian LLC, an online literary publication showcasing books and movies to inspire travel and home to the famed Uncorked Reading Challenge.

With a BA in English & History from Smith College, an MLIS from USF-Tampa, and a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Christine's back pocket, there isn't a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from her. Christine loves brewery yoga, adopting all of the kitties, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay. Charcuterie is her favorite food group.

One to add that I highly recommend is called “The Changeling”, starring George C. Scott that came out in 1979. It’s very creepy and well written, with a mysterious twist to it. A must see!

Thanks so much for sharing! We will have to check it out.

Great list, but small note: while he did co-write the screenplay (adapted from a 1973 film), Del Toro didn’t direct “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” That credit goes to Troy Nixey ( https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2552536/?ref_=tt_ov_dr ). I agree, though, he pulled some great performances out of Pearce (who rarely misses, in my opinion) and Holmes.

Hi Amy, Thanks so much for the correction; we appreciate it. We will be sure to update that particular write-up.

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The 20 Best Haunted House Movies You Can Stream Right Now

You'll want to watch these with the lights on.

preview for Umma - Official Trailer (Sony Pictures)

Haunted house movies are also timeless. Whether it's a movie from the '70s or contemporary times, being a trapped in a house never gets old. It's exactly why a movie like The Changeling still holds up after all these years, or why James Wan's The Conjuring is one of horror's most successful franchises in recent years (along with Wan's equally spooky Insidious franchise ). And there's even room within the subgenre for comedy too, like the classic Halloween movie Beetlejuice .

Whether you're looking for a recent indie gem or a classic haunted house flick, we've got you covered. Here are the 20 of the best haunted house movies and where you can stream them right now for your movie marathons, Friday night frights, and everything in between.

The Shining

It's not a haunted house list without The Shining. Starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, the film follows a writer and his family as they stay in a snowed in hotel. The longer they stay, however, the more the hotel influences their psyches. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, though the writer famously didn't like the changes that director Stanley Kubrick made. Watch the movie and decide for yourself!

Crimson Peak

Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Jessica Chastain star in this gothic romance about a woman who falls in love with a mysterious man and goes to live with his sister. As she gets used to her new home, she learns there are secrets there that will change her forever.

Haunted Mansion

Who said every entry on this list had to be scary for adults ? Haunted Mansion stars Eddie Murphy as a workaholic who becomes trapped with his family when a rainstorm keeps them from leaving the house. During their stay, they get to know the haunted residents of the mansion and manage to discover their own hidden connection to the place.

Stream it Here


A family's house is beset by spirits who seek to take their daughter in this classic haunted house flick. Since its release, Poltergeist has often been touted as one of the best horror movies of all time.

The Amityville Horror

This 1979 film (not to be confused with the 2005 remake), centers on a young couple who purchase a home which turns out to be haunted. It's based on the real-life alleged story of a New York family who moved into a home where a mass murder was committed the year before.

Monster House

This Oscar-nominated animated flick is spooky, yet heartwarming. Three kids investigate a creepy neighborhood house when they suspect it's actually alive. The film is notable for its use of motion capture, a relatively unused technique at the time for animated films.

A couple fights to bring their son back from a coma in Insidious . To try and contact him, they bring in a medium, and are forced to contend with the evil spirits trying to get their son. It could be said the film counts as both a possession and haunted house film, if we're being particular about it.


Not only is Beetlejuice more comedy than horror, but the film flips the classic haunting story on its head. Instead of a family moving into a new house and calling in an expert to rid themselves of ghosts, it's the ghosts calling up an expert spirit to rid their house of the new living owners.

The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe stars in this film based on a book of the same name . When a young solicitor goes to a small town to settle a deceased woman's estate, he becomes embroiled in the local supernatural legend of a woman in black.

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in The Grudge , an American remake of the Japanese film Ju-On. Gellar plays a nurse sent to check on a care worker who disappears after moving into a new home with her patient. When she arrives, she comes face to face with the vengeful spirits of a family killed years before.

The Conjuring

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as the Warrens, a married team of paranormal investigators who travel the country ridding people of demonic entities, in director James Wan's first film in The Conjuring universe.

The Changeling

A New York City composer moves to a Seattle house, only to realize it's most likely haunted. Since its premiere in 1980, the film has garnered a cult classic status in the horror genre.

A horror anthology movie, V/H/S , follows a group of criminals who break into a house, only to find a dead man and a video tape. As they watch the tape, they see various horrifying tales...only to realize the dead man has now disappeared from his previous spot.

This mockumentary follows a family grieving the unexpected death of their daughter. As they mourn, they begin to experience supernatural happenings which possibly reveal secrets about their daughter's life.

Drag Me to Hell

A loan officer looking to advance in her career decides not to extend an elderly woman's loan. In retaliation, the old woman curses the officer to go to hell after three days of torture. We ranked Drag Me to Hell as one of legendary director Sam Raimi's best movies.

When a reclusive woman receives her estranged mother's ashes, she begins to suspect her mother's restless spirit is haunting her. Sandra Oh stars in this 2022 movie.

When a family movies to the UK to start a new life, they realize they're being haunted by aggressive spirits who want them to leave.

Two siblings are haunted by an antique mirror in their house and fight to escape its deadly hallucinations.

A woman grieving the loss of her mother begins experiencing strange and inexplicable happenings that terrorize her family. You'll want to watch this one with the lights on.

The Innkeepers

Before his huge 2022 releasing both X and Pearl , Ti West directed The Innkeepers , a tale of two ghost-hunting hotel workers who are terrorized by a ghostly apparition and have to get the hotel's guests out alive.

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The Best Haunted House Movies of All Time, Ranked

From The Shining to Poltergeist, these are some of the scariest Haunted Houses movies that have ever terrified audiences.

When Roger Corman told American International Pictures (AIP) that he wanted to make a film based on Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher , the studio balked. They didn't think that younger people would pay to see a movie based on reading that teachers handed out in school. Never one to take "no" for an answer, Roger Corman pressed the issue. He loved reading Edgar Allan Poe when he was younger. The classic author's gothic tales of the ghastly and the macabre were ripe for the film treatment. The issue was that The Fall of the House of Usher was more psychological. AIP was known for quick films featuring creatures of every ilk that viewers knew were bad. Edgar Allan Poe's story didn't seem to have that going for it.

Eventually, AIP, probably thinking they had him licked, asked Roger Corman, "Where's the monster?" He replied, "The house is the monster." And with that, Roger Corman would begin a cycle of films based on the many works of Edgar Allan Poe. There had been horror movies that had taken place in scary homes before, but these works from Edgar Allan Poe represented a whole new level that horror could reach in the haunted house genre. We're celebrating the haunted house and all the richness that the milieu can give a film on the screen. In this small space, terror can be lurking around every corner. The familiar becomes unfamiliar. The place that is supposed to be one's sanctuary can become their own personal hell in the best haunted house movies.

Updated on July 31st, 2023 by Rachel Johnson : This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.

22 Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967)

A scene from Hillbillys in a Haunted House

What can you make of a film that features country singers, ghosts, a gorilla, and a spy ring all under one roof? Hillbillys in a Haunted House also features such film icons as Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney Jr., and John Carradine. If you are looking for a good scare... This movie isn't it.

If you want camp, comedy, and the occasional WTF moment then you have found your film. A movie like this was probably met with head-scratching befuddlement when it was released in 1967. In 2022... It would probably be compared and canonized much in the same way The Evil Dead was.

21 We Are Still Here (2015)

Barbara Crampton as Anne in We Are Still Here

Following the devastating death of their beloved son in a car crash, grief-stricken parents Anne and Paul Sacchetti move to a remote home in New England to cope with their loss, where they become the target of the malevolent spirits of the family that once inhabited the centuries-old manor in We Are Still Here .

The spine-tingling film features terrifying twists despite its seemingly formulaic premise, as the married couple faces an unfathomable evil that bleeds out of their new home and into the nearby town; Rolling Stone named the chilling picture as one of the ten best horror films of the year.

20 The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe plays a lawyer who ventures to a distant village and soon discovers that a female ghost is wreaking havoc. From there this movie follows the usual tropes we are used to seeing in horror movies.

Things appear and then just as quickly disappear; the lines between reality and illusion are blurred, and most importantly, the story builds to a climax that pretty much comes out of nowhere. The Woman in Black disarms us with moments that, on the face of it, seem typical. However, as the movie plays on it becomes something unique and truly terrifying.

19 Stir of Echoes (1999)

Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes

Stir of Echoes is more a film about a haunted mind than a house. Still, it is pretty darn creepy and given the time of year we are in, it is one that deserves its spot on this list. The story follows a man ( Kevin Bacon ) who is hypnotized.

After waking from a deep trance, suddenly finds himself trying to figure out a murder from beyond. While not one of the haunted house films that people might deem a classic, Stir of Echoes endures because, while haunted houses are scary, a tormented mind is even more so.

18 The Innkeepers (2012)

The Innkeepers

Ti West is not afraid of big sets with which to cast his lot in. For The Innkeepers , this tale is set in the Yankee Pedlar Inn. The story follows two employees who want to let the world know about the paranormal events that have gone on here.

This whole plan gets upended when ghosts, literally, begin to re-inhabit the inn. This movie may not be as groundbreaking as The House of the Devil , but a haunted hotel film from Ti West is better than most films of this ilk.

Related: 10 Scary Haunted House Movies From the '60s and '70s

17 The House of the Devil (2009)

The House of the Devil

This movie burst on the scene in 2009 and knocked just about everybody who saw it on their butt. With its 1980s visual style and pacing, and its seemingly thrown-away title; the moment the first frame of the film lands on your eyeballs, you know you are seeing the work of a true horror genius.

The house in the title truly seems to have a mind of its own. The way it is shot throughout this movie, it seems to grow and grow, engulfing both the viewer and the actors until we realize that there really is no escape. This movie could've been number one on this list. A truly original gem that shows that you can take something old and make it truly something original.

16 The Changeling (1980)

The Changeling stairs shot

Widely regarded as one of the most influential Canadian films of all time, The Changeling centers on a brilliant New York City composer who relocates to Seattle after tragically losing his wife and daughter, only to discover that the vacant mansion he's renting has a malicious evil lurking within its walls.

The gripping film is a tension-building spectacle that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with its taut atmosphere and profound feeling of impending dread and was lauded for leaning into the ghost story premise while keeping audiences temporarily at ease due to the fearless and formidable performance of lead star George C. Scott.

15 The Orphanage (2007)

The Orphanage

The Spanish have a way with horror films, and The Orphanage certainly is a standout, even among the best haunted ones. This film sees a mother taking her family to the house she grew up in. The haunted home used to be an orphanage.

Before anybody knows what is happening, her son is communicating with entities both past and present. Shot with what seems like a candle lighting each scene, The Orphanage is literally crawling with horror. If you like your haunted house films to burn slowly, then bundle up on a cold Fall night and get ready to be scared... really scared.

14 The House on Haunted Hill (1959)

The House on Haunted Hill

Just the name alone qualifies that film for this list, right? The premise is simple. A millionaire offers five people a lot of money if they can stay in a house overnight. Vincent Price leads this cast, who was a favorite of Roger Corman and his haunted house films.

However, one needs to look no further than the title to see that the house in this movie is a character unto itself. With dark corridors lurking around every turn, this monstrous house (both in size and inhabitants), certainly takes its place amongst the cast, which also includes a credited skeleton!

13 The Others (2001)

The Others

Revered for its epic plot twist that left moviegoers both dazzled and speechless, Alejandro Amenábar's acclaimed horror masterpiece The Others stars Nicole Kidman as a mother of two children who reside in a remote country house in the island country of Jersey in the wake of World War II.

They come to suspect their residence may be haunted after the young brother and sister experience strange paranormal phenomena. With its gothic atmosphere, almost suffocating tension, and Kidman's intense and vulnerable role, The Others won numerous accolades like three Saturn Awards and a whopping eight Goya Awards (including Best Director and Best Film).

Related: 10 Horror Movies That Take Place in Haunted House Attractions

12 What Lies Beneath (2000)

Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath

Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford have never been better in this thriller with a twist, that masquerades as a haunted house film. Basically, Michelle Pfeiffer's character thinks that her house is haunted.

Of course, her husband thinks she is crazy. Then things start happening that prove the house is being visited by the paranormal. From there, this horror movie turns into a thriller with truly unexpected consequences. While the house itself isn't ever really at the forefront of the scares, it is there enough to remind you to never let your guard down.

11 The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting (1963)

Adapted from the celebrated Shirley Jackson novel, the phenomenal horror classic The Haunting tells the spooky story of a group of strangers who are brought together to help investigate the paranormal activity allegedly occurring at the 90-year-old Hill House in Massachusetts, with the study being conducted by anthropologist Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson). The souls that were brave enough to accept the invitation quickly realize an overpowering force of evil dwells on the land and in the foreboding mansion, becoming terrorized by the sinister entity attached to the home.

The Haunting utilizes its erie black-and-white cinematography and delivers a truly terrifying ghost story that is sure to dazzle horror movie enthusiasts; it has landed on numerous critics' lists as one of the scariest horror films of all time and since its release has continued amassing praise and appreciation in the decades since its debut.

10 Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice movie

Michael Keaton is so big as the title character, we almost miss what an incredible house Beetlejuice takes place in. With its white exterior, multiple levels, long hallways, and hidden spaces throughout, Beetlejuice works because we honestly believe that the events on screen could take place here.

There is so much happening in this movie that we need to believe that this house is real. We want it to be real. Sure, Beetlejuice may not be that scary. However, it does show that sometimes what happens in the spirit world vs. what happens in the real world makes a lot more sense.

9 1408 (2007)

A scene from the Stephen King adaptation, 1408.

John Cusack is darn near perfect in this haunted hotel room tale. He plays a man who specializes in showing how certain paranormal experiences aren't paranormal at all. He checks into the famed 1408 room at the Dolphin Hotel. This room is known for a brand of terror all its own.

It is so bad that Cusack's character has to threaten the hotel with a lawsuit just to be let in. As you can guess, what starts off as his character's tongue-in-cheek take on the room, soon changes dramatically when he realizes that everything he's heard is real. Set inside this claustrophobic, one-room set, we as viewers find ourselves wanting to break out.

8 The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead

The making of this demonic tale is just about as iconic as the film itself. Taking place inside one cabin, with cheaply done FX that looks fantastic, The Evil Dead mixes horror and humor in the best way. This collaboration between director Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell shows just how perfect these two men were for one another.

The most amazing thing about this film is that it never feels small. It essentially takes place in one spot, but once the demons are unleashed that never seems to call attention to itself. This film isn't a haunted house movie so much as a haunted movie that just happens to take place in a house!

Related: Evil Dead: Every Film in the Franchise, Ranke

7 The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents

Based on the novella The Turning of the Screw , The Innocents stars Deborah Kerr as a first-time governess who travels to a large Victorian country estate to take care of two orphans, and quickly becomes uneasy when the older child returns home from boarding school and bizarre occurrences begin to happen.

Miss Giddens (Kerr) begins to believe both the sprawling mansion and its grounds are haunted by the spirits of the former governess and valet and sets out to protect her wards from being possessed by supernatural entities. The Innocents is a revered psychological horror classic that has retrospectively been praised for its creepy atmosphere, heart-racing thrills and chills, and layered storyline, with both scholars and critics analyzing the '60s masterpiece via film theory.

6 Insidious (2011)


Taking place in the present, the first three-fourths of Insidious are quite possibly some of the best moments ever put on screen. Not just in the haunted house genre but in any genre. The home in this movie is as unassuming as it gets.

There is nothing about it that calls attention to itself. However, it plays with us, making us wonder... is the house possessed? Is it someone in the family? Eventually, all is revealed, and the final 1/4 of this film (especially when the paranormal people arrive) leaves little to be desired. However, if you want a good scare inside your home, Insidious certainly fills that need.

5 The Conjuring (2013)

Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring 2

It is saying something about films of the past like The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror that The Conjuring , a film very much of that ilk, did as well as it did upon its release in 2013. This tale of a large family moving into their home in the 1970s knocked the YouTube Generation on its keister.

Set in a huge house that was in need of a lot of work, this movie played and worked like a relic of a bygone era. Once it becomes apparent to the parents just how much danger their family is in, it is only a matter of time until this large, darkly lit home seems to be working against everybody in the film.

4 Paranormal Activity (2007)

Katie being possessed while she sleeps in Paranormal Activity

Like Poltergeist , Paranormal Activity was set in familiar suburbia. So when this little tale came out of nowhere to scare the hell out of us, it was really jarring because horror films had kinda lost their mojo. The Saw franchise had become ridiculous, and other "scary" movies were banking on editing, rather than their own content, to provide the chills.

Oren Peli set his movie in "Everywhere, USA". The house was nondescript. This worked to excellent effect because once the scares started happening, viewers got to see them in a place they were familiar with. Also, by the time things were really going crazy, the house seemed to creep up on us. As if it was saying, "Hey, I'm a part of this too, and you've made a big mistake ignoring me."

3 The Amityville Horror (1979)

the amityville horror true story movie

With eyes that look like windows, this creepy house (to this day!) is a place that I find hard to visit on film. There is something about the way it is structured that just seems to be a den of evil. Add the fact that the film is based on a true story and that makes it even that much scarier. This film follows the Lutz clan. This family of 5 moves into their new home even though they are told by their realtor of the previous carnage that has happened there.

Things start getting crazy, then they get crazier, priests are brought in, and suddenly it becomes apparent that everything going on isn't just bad pipes and a rotting foundation. The Amityville Horror is a great horror movie. It functions like The Exorcist in its ability to scare. This is probably because it is based on true events, and thus we can't keep it at arm's length.

Related: Best Haunted Houses in Horror Movies, Ranked

Bloody Disgusting!

The 20 All-Time Best Haunted House Horror Movies

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Haunted houses are a standard in horror for a reason. Inhabiting a space where the disembodied spirits of the deceased comes with compounded fears. It’s not just that there’s an unsettling invasion of the very space that’s meant to provide comfort and security, but the chilling level of unpredictability that comes with ghostly presences. A masked maniac can be stopped, or at least temporarily subdued, but all bets are off in haunted houses.

Both housing and ghost stories have evolved over the decades, too, keeping this subgenre fresh. From decrepit gothic mansions to newly built subdivisions in suburbia, any abode can be haunted. Even submarines or space ships. That’s a whole other article, though. Here we look back specifically at homes and living spaces whose ghosts spook audiences in spine-tingling ways.

These 20 are the all-time best haunted house horror movies.

The Sentinel

best haunted houses movies

This underseen horror movie arrived at the tale end of a wave of Satanic/Catholic-centered horror that began in earnest with Rosemary’s Baby , peaked with the Exorcist , and started to wind down with The Omen . Though the eerie hauntings at the heart of the film are occult in nature, The Sentinel adheres to the rules of a haunted house story. Allison Parker moves into an apartment in an attempt to gain some independence, and it doesn’t take long before she starts hearing strange noises. And meeting her neighbors means bizarre encounters; that’s before she discovers through her real estate agent that she doesn’t actually have any neighbors. There may be hellish reasons behind it all, but this is one haunted apartment building.

The Legend of Hell House

best haunted houses movies

Based on the novel Hell House by Richard Matheson, who also penned the screenplay, the haunted abode in this one is the Belasco House, a sprawling estate formerly owned by a rich serial killer. Physicist Lionel Barrett and his wife lead a team of mediums to investigate the “Mount Everest of haunted houses.” A set up that’s not unlike another classic haunted house feature also on this list, but the execution couldn’t be any more different. What it lacks in special effects it makes up for in atmosphere and one very menacing entity.

best haunted houses movies

Or simply House , this Japanese cult classic takes the haunted house concept to wacky extremes. The premise has a group of seven high school girls traveling to a remote home belonging to one of their aunts, and it happens to be haunted. That doesn’t adequately prepare the viewer for the madness within. Take the haunted house tropes, like spooky cats, bleeding walls, vengeful ghosts, and combine it with hallucinogenic visuals and funhouse sensibilities, and you have the most bizarre haunted house horror movie you’ll ever see. I mean that as a compliment.

Paranormal Activity

best haunted houses movies

The 2007 found footage film that launched a franchise proved you don’t need much to create atmosphere. For Micah and Katie, moving into a new home turns into an inescapable nightmare when strange activity becomes a nightly occurrence, ramping up with every passing night. The personalities of the two lead characters and the slow build of tension and scare-crafting has proven divisive in the years since release, but it’s hard to discount a movie that delivers such chilling moments. And the original kickstarted a series with even better sequels.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

The breakout hit of M. Night Shyamalan’s career and the movie that embedded “I see dead people,” into the pop culture collective pulled at our heartstrings thanks to Cole Sear, the shy boy terrorized by ghosts in his own home. The scares are extremely effective, and the emotional arcs of the central characters grounds the supernatural aspects. It’s not the twist that makes The Sixth Sense such a doozy (though that’s memorable), but that it’s not actually Cole’s home that’s haunted- it’s him.

The Uninvited

best haunted houses movies

Horror taught us from its early stages that if the price tag on a home seems too good to be true, well, it is. For a composer and his sister, they’re elated to acquire a seaside mansion for a bargain. It’s due to an unsavory history, of course. Though not scary by modern standards, this is a bonafide classic and early pioneer of some of the tropes of the subgenre. The ghostly mysteries, the atmosphere, and a chilling score makes for a fantastic, traditional ghost story.

Ju-On: The Grudge

best haunted houses movies

The third entry in Takashi Shimizu’s terrifying franchise introduced Kayako and her equally terrifying son Toshio to international audiences. While most haunted houses bear the imprint of past traumas through its ghostly residences, Ju-On takes it a step further by ensuring that house is irrevocably cursed. Kayako and Toshio suffered horrible deaths, and their pain manifested in the form of vengeful spirits that doom anyone who steps foot into their former home to suffer the same fate.

best haunted houses movies

A haunting portrayal of a family coping with loss after the drowning of 16-year-old Alice during a lake outing leads to some unexpected discoveries about the daughter and sister the family thought they knew. Handled mockumentary style, Lake Mungo uses interviews with the family to help piece together the puzzle of Alice’s secretive life, and with it, the potential of her spirit still lingering within their home. There are twists, chills, and a lot of heartbreak in one of the best haunted house tales you might not have seen.

best haunted houses movies

This made for TV movie stirred up controversy for the BBC upon initial airing, as its mockumentary style left viewers convinced what they’d just watched had been real. It plays like a live TV special with a camera crew on-site attempting to investigate the truth behind the most haunted house in the country. Neither they nor the viewer was prepared for the scares that would ensue. That mockumentary, TV special style is precisely why this show works- you aren’t expecting the scares, so you’re caught completely off guard every single time. Even the subtle ones.

The Orphanage

Best Horror Films

What a debut by director J.A. Bayona ( A Monster Calls , Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ). As an adult, Laura returns to the closed down orphanage in which she grew up with plans to reopen it as a center for disabled children. But when her HIV positive son learns he’s adopted and goes missing soon after, strange things begin happening within the expansive orphanage. Laura’s former friends from childhood may never have left at all. It’s creepy, it’s moving, and it takes a few unexpected turns in terms of plot. Kids in horror are creepy, but kid ghosts? Even creepier.

House on Haunted Hill

best haunted houses movies

Produced and directed by the king of the gimmick, William Castle, this Vincent Price vehicle followed a group of people who agree to be locked in a large haunted house overnight for a chance at $10,000. Their millionaire host and his wife have all sorts of spooky plans to help scare them out of their chance at cash, making for a fun twist on the haunted house tale. Despite some scares and suspense building, there aren’t any actual ghosts in this movie- just a vicious spousal spat that culminates in murder plots. The 1999 remake made sure to include them, but of course, we pay our respects to the original.

The Innocents

best haunted houses movies

With Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of The Turn of the Screw heading to Netflix next year, as The Haunting of Bly Manor , now is a perfect time to revisit the earliest screen adaptation. Despite no job experience, a wealthy bachelor hires Miss Giddens to care for his orphaned niece and nephew so he can resume his travels abroad without a care. Miss Giddens soon comes to suspect that both the house and the children are haunted. The Innocents takes an ambiguous approach that works; is Miss Giddens having a mental break down or is there an actual haunting? That psychological turmoil, combined with the subtle and well-crafted chills, makes this a classic.

best haunted houses movies

After a string of haunts in suburbia and modern settings, this one brought the ghost story back to its gothic roots. Set in 1945, a mother cares for her light-sensitive children while her husband is away at war. Things start going bump in the night, and soon the children claim to see other people inhabiting their home with threats that the house actually belongs to them. This traditional ghost story eventually gives way to a tragic reveal that changes the perspective of the entire film. If there’s one recurring theme of haunted houses, it’s residual grief that refuses to mend.

The Amityville Horror

best haunted houses movies

Rapidly approaching its 40th anniversary, this adaptation of a novel of the same name launched an ongoing franchise that refuses to die. The plot sees newlyweds purchase a large lakeside house for a bargain price, unaware of the gruesome murders that had taken place prior. It doesn’t take long for evil to present itself in ominous ways, and this haunter is among the first to present a plausible reason the family simply can’t flee- they’ve sunk everything they have into this new home. The Amityville Horror was a huge hit at the box office thanks to the popularity of the book and the cast. The iconic scares helped too.

The Conjuring

The Conjuring

James Wan took everything he’d learned from Insidious and Dead Silence , poured it into this franchise starter and perfected the art of the scare. Like the Lutz family from The Amityville Horror , the Perron family sink everything into their purchase of a fixer-upper farmhouse only to find they’re unwanted guests of the entities who live there. The Lutz family didn’t have the Warrens to aide them, though. The Conjuring offers up an all-you-can-scare buffet, but with characters you sympathize with. The box office never stood a chance.

Burnt Offerings

best haunted houses movies

Adapted from a novel and brought to life by horror TV master Dan Curtis ( Dark Shadows , The Night Stalker ), a lot of the familiar tropes in haunted house horror took their cues from this one. The Rolf family get an opportunity to trade their cramped New York apartment for a mansion on the cheap for summer vacation. The only caveat to the low rental fee is that they have to consent to bringing the owners’ elderly mother three meals a day up in the attic room. But despite the familiarity with modern haunted house fare as we know it, Burnt Offerings presents the most unique haunted house of them all. I won’t spoil it, but between the refreshing concept and its talented cast, this is a must.

The Changeling

best haunted houses movies

After suffering the devastating and traumatic loss of his wife and child, composer John Russell relocates across the country, renting a historic Victorian mansion. The mansion’s history means that Russell has ghostly encounters to deal with in addition to his still raw grief. Peter Medak’s seminal haunted house film is definitely slow burn, but with the deliberate unraveling of the mystery behind the unhappy entity and the bone-chilling scares, The Changeling is an all-timer. You’ll never look at a seemingly benign red ball the same way ever again.

The Haunting

best haunted houses movies

Based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House novel, The Haunting sees Dr. John Markway enlist a team to investigate the reported paranormal activity at 90-year-old mansion Hill House, the original home to the Crain family before tragedy befell them. One of the investigators, Nell, came into the investigation already wracked with guilt over a loss, making her fragile mind susceptible to the house. The Haunting takes a two-prong approach to the terror; Nell’s psychological deterioration and the legit paranormal activity. Director Robert Wise delivers a masterful treatise on grief and horror, and proves even a G-rated movie can get under your skin.


best haunted houses movies

We can thank this seminal horror film for the advent of the PG-13 rating system, as this PG film isn’t for the faint of heart. The Tobe Hooper-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced haunter is a special effects bonanza that helped transition the haunted house away from the sprawling decrepit estates that were customary and into the familiar setting of suburbia. In a brand new neighborhood, no less. Of course, we soon learn it’s because the developers built it upon a cemetery. And the poor Freeling family suffered most of all for it.

The Shining

best haunted houses movies

Yes, the Overlook Hotel technically isn’t a house, but the Torrance family did use it as living quarters during Jack’s tenure as hotel caretaker during the offseason. For all intents and purposes, the Overlook became their home. At least until the ghosts of its past helped usher in Jack’s mental breakdown. Stanley Kubrick focused on the psychological element of Stephen King’s haunting novel, but that didn’t make it any less supernatural or horrifying. Kubrick’s disturbing vision, the talented cast, and the memorable iconography of this adaptation forever solidified its ranking as an all-time cinematic masterpiece.

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Horror journalist, RT Top Critic, and Critics Choice Association member. Co-Host of the Bloody Disgusting Podcast. Has appeared on PBS series' Monstrum, served on the SXSW Midnighter shorts jury, and moderated horror panels for WonderCon and SeriesFest.

best haunted houses movies

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A Boy and His Satanic Dog – The Trashy Thrills of “Mr. Pickles” 10 Years Later

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From possessed children to homicidal animatronic mascots, horror has a long history of taking seemingly innocent concepts and turning them into bona fide nightmare fuel. And when looking for wholesome imagery to corrupt, what better place to start than the adorable bond between a boy and his dog?

This is likely what Will Carsola and Dave Stewart had in mind when they began the brainstorming session that led to one of Adult Swim’s most disturbing cartoons, Mr. Pickles . An unabashedly nasty show that wasn’t afraid to blend low-brow comedy with deeply unsettling violence, this surprisingly popular experiment stood out even among its hyper-violent contemporaries. And with the show celebrating its 10 th anniversary, I think that this is the perfect time to look back on this touching story about a small town under siege by an incredibly satanic dog.

Carsola and Stewart had previously collaborated on HBO’s Funny or Die Presents , a televised spin-off of the popular comedy website, which is how they originally came into contact with Adult Swim executives who invited them to try and pitch a new TV show. Repurposing concepts from one of their recurring “write-offs” (where the duo would try to impress each other with silly drawings and story ideas until they came upon something special), the two presented the studio with a one-line pitch for what would ultimately become Mr. Pickles .

Borrowing the basic premise from Lassie and many of the more cutesy elements from Stewart’s own experiences with his Australian Cattle Dog (which he lovingly refers to as Ms. Pickles and was even used as a model in test animations for the pilot), the show’s creators also drew inspiration from a few less than conventional sources.

Mr. Pickles adult swim

He’s a good boy.

There’s actually a long-standing rumor that the entire show is in fact an elaborate reference to the real-life Son of Sam murders, as convicted serial killer David Berkowitz initially claimed he was simply following orders from his neighbor’s black dog – which he insisted was possessed by a demon. While neither Carsola nor Stewart have ever confirmed this widely publicized connection, I’d be surprised if this infamous demonic canine didn’t have at least some impact on the creation of the show.

Regardless of this unconfirmed bit of gossip, a stand-alone pilot for Mr. Pickles would finally surface in August of 2013, with Adult Swim liking it enough to order a full 10-episode season which premiered the following year. In the finished show, we follow the day-to-day life of the Goodmans, a stereotypically happy family living in the aptly named Old Town with their Border Collie, Mr. Pickles. Unbeknownst to the family, however, their dog is actually a satanic monster that sadistically tortures and murders his victims in a horrific underground lair while also being best friends with the Goodman’s six-year-old child, Tommy.

With each episode running a little over eleven minutes, it’s honestly amazing how the writers manage to cram so much story into such a short runtime. A typical episode will usually combine several classic sitcom yarns (and the occasional movie reference) into a single narrative while also having the titular dog go on some kind of absurd murder spree before tying everything together in the final few minutes. This densely packed formula may not appeal to everyone, but it allows for a high rate of jokes per minute even if it also results in the whole thing feeling like a high-octane speedrun of a half-hour comedy.

Of course, shock value is the name of the game here, as most of Mr. Pickles’ humor comes from the contrast between the cartoon’s wholesome inspirations and its moments of extreme gore and sexuality. From full-body flaying to victims being sewn together into unholy abominations, nearly every form of terrifying depravity is on display here in full two-dimensional glory. In some ways, I’d even compare the show to a classic Troma film, where it seems like the creators are using the story as an excuse to test the audience and see just how much they can get away with before we all walk out of the experience in disgust.

best haunted houses movies

Unexpectedly wholesome.

That being said, the idyllic presentation and amusing side characters end up making this bloody ordeal at least somewhat funny instead of completely off-putting. I mean, the creators themselves describe their show as only 30% horror and 70% animated silliness, and I think that ratio is responsible for Mr. Pickles ’ success. For example, I appreciate how the titular canine actually seems to love Tommy despite his homicidal proclivities, with the boy’s naïve trust in his evil dog making the eventual horror elements that much more insane.

There are also plenty of horror references here for genre aficionados to pick apart, with entire episodes paying homage to classic slasher flicks and even some familiar religious horror elements that pop up every now and again. However, none of the nightmarish imagery would have quite the same impact if it wasn’t for the simultaneously gorgeous/hideous artwork inspired by Will Carsola’s hyper-detailed style. Mr. Pickles may have been limited by simplified Flash animation, but the memorable visuals and character designs certainly make up for that.

Ultimately, Mr. Pickles is a quintessential “love it or hate it” program. It didn’t exactly reinvent the adult animated comedy wheel, forgoing witty dialogue and three-dimensional characters in favor of crude jokes and hardcore violence in order to entertain late-night viewers, but I think it’s safe to say that there’s an underlying charm beneath all the blood and guts here. That’s why I’d argue that the show is still highly rewatchable a decade later, even if this formula seems a lot more familiar than it did back in 2014.

And if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you’d like to give Mr. Pickles a chance, I’d recommend taking a gander at its incredibly metal intro in order to decide if this insane dive into demonic comedy is right for you.

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The 13 Best Haunted House Movies And Where To Watch Them

Do not watch these movies when you're home alone.

The house from The Amityville Horror

Everything that I every needed to know about house hunting, I learned from horror movies . Specifically, films such as the Conjuring movies , for instance, taught me to never move into (let alone step foot inside) the site of any previous deaths or satanic rituals, the former location of a cemetery, or anything else that will significantly lower the market value. Of course, some of the best haunted house movies now available on streaming, for digital rental, or purchase on physical media, are not so faithful to that rule, as you will see in the following list of our favorite examples of residential horror, which begins with an aforementioned, modern classic of the sub-genre. 

The Conjuring (2013)

A family of five calls on the help of a couple of married paranormal researchers to help them rid their new Rhode Island home of the incessant and seemingly evil presence tormenting them in the early 1970s.  

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: Insidious star Patrick Wilson and Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga play the real-life, famed demonology experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, whose own case files (the validity of which remains up for debate) inspired director James Wan’s The Conjuring , which saw something of a revival for the old school haunted house genre and the birth of one of Hollywood’s most enduring horror movie franchises today.

Stream The Conjuring on HBO Max .  Rent/buy The Conjuring digitally on Amazon .  Buy The Conjuring on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

The Amityville Horror (1979)

A land surveyor (James Brolin), his new wife ( Margot Kidder ), and their three children move into a large Long Island estate despite its deadly history, believing it to be the home of their dreams, only to find themselves living a nightmare.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: One of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most famous cases involved the true events that inspired Jay Anson’s book The Amityville Horror , which director Stuart Rosenberg’s adapted into one the most essential and influential examples of the modern haunted house film, that would also inspire a lengthy franchise and a 2005 remake.

Stream The Amityville Horror on HBO Max .  Rent/buy The Amityville Horror digitally on Amazon .  Buy The Amityville Horror on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Poltergeist (1982)

A real estate developer (Craig T. Nelson), his wife (JoBeth Williams), and their three children suddenly find themselves living a nightmare as malevolent spirits invade their longtime home and kidnap their youngest daughter (the late Heather O’Rourke).

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: Instead of borrowing from any strange crimes or alleged paranormal case files, producer and co-writer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame looked to their own personal fears as inspiration for 1982’s Poltergeist - a masterpiece in supernatural terror grounded by JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson’s authentic performances.

Stream Poltergeist on HBO Max .  Rent/buy Poltergeist digitally on Amazon.   Buy Poltergeist on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

House (1985)

A Vietnam War veteran (William Katt) who has made a successful living writing horror novels finds his life is suddenly imitating his art when he inherits his late aunt’s former home, which happens to already be inhabited by some unfriendly (and undead) tenants.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: Another classic ‘80s horror movie that offers a funnier take on the haunted house sub-genre is House - not to be confused with the medical drama starring Hugh Laurie - which earns a spot among the finest horror-comedy movies for its cartoonish bursts of gore and Cheers cast member George Wendt’s scene-stealing supporting role.

Stream House on Shudder . Stream House on Amazon Prime . Stream House on Tubi .  Rent/buy House digitally on Amazon .  Buy House on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

The Haunting (1963)

A psychologist invites an insecure loner, a provocative clairvoyant, and a young skeptic to stay with him inside a large, luxurious New England estate in the hope of proving whether or not it truly does house spirits.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: None of these films might have existed without the influence of director Robert Wise’s chilling, gothic, psychological thriller The Haunting - the earliest of adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s iconic novel that would later serve as a loose inspiration for Mike Flanagan ’s acclaimed Netflix miniseries The Haunting of Hill House .

Rent/buy The Haunting digitally on Amazon .  Buy The Haunting on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Paranormal Activity (2009)

A man (Micah Sloat) sets up cameras where he and his girlfriend (Katie Featherston) live in the hope of disproving her suspicions that their home does have spirits, only to find evidence of the opposite.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: The trend of found footage thrillers might not have become as popular if not for the success of Paranormal Activity - writer, editor, producer, and director Oren Peli’s debut that cleverly taps into common paranoid thoughts before curdling into more extreme horrors, all with the use of atmospheric tension and a shoestring budget.

Stream Paranormal Activity on Starz .  Rent/buy Paranormal Activity digitally on Amazon .  Buy Paranormal Activity on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Lake Mungo (2008)

While interviewed by a documentary film crew, a family recalls the strange, unexplainable phenomena they began to experience shortly after their teenage daughter was found dead by drowning in Australia.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: Another mockumentary style modern favorite, but one that is far more underrated than the Paranormal Activity movies, is Lake Mungo - the sole feature-length film written and directed by Joel Anderson (who would go on to be a script editor for Netflix’s Clickbait ) and a far more sophisticated, arresting, and perfectly acted ghost story than you would ever expect from a film that premiered at the After Dark Horrorfest.

Stream Lake Mungo on Amazon Prime . Stream Lake Mungo on Tubi .  Rent/buy Lake Mungo digitally on Amazon .  Buy Lake Mungo on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Hell House LLC (2015)

The young owners of a business specializing in scares are unwittingly in for the scare of their lives when they begin to suspect that the abandoned hotel they chose for their latest haunted house attraction is an actual haunted house.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: Another sorely underrated found footage movie, which is also my all-time personal favorite of the sub-genre, is Hell House LLC - the first of a trilogy from writer and director Stephen Cognetti with an inventive blend of amateur style footage with professional documentary-style cinematography that results in a frightening exercise in slow-building, thoroughly engrossing dread.

Stream Hell House LLC on Amazon Prime . Stream Hell House LLC on Tubi .  Rent/buy Hell House LLC digitally on Amazon .  Buy Hell House LLC on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

The Orphanage (2007)

A woman (Belén Rueda) returns with her husband (Fernando Cayo) to the former home for orphaned children that she used to live at to raise their adopted son (Roger Príncep), but his claims of making a new friend and other unexplainable occurrences lead her suspect that they are not alone.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: From A Monster Calls director J.A. Bayona and producer Guillermo del Toro , The Orphanage is a gothic, Spanish-language supernatural tale that will stick with you long after the credits role, especially if the creepy kids trope still manages to get under your skin.

Stream The Orphanage on Starz .  Rent/buy The Orphanage digitally on Amazon .  Buy The Orphanage on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Sinister (2012)

Desperate to put out another bestseller, a washed-up true crime writer ( Ethan Hawke ) moves his family into the site of a horrifying murder where, upon further researching the case, he finds it has a strange connection to other, grisly crimes that lead him to fear for him and his family’s own safety.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: The creepy kid trope is also used to great effect in Sinister - perhaps co-writer and director Scott Derrickson ’s most terrifying film yet that also saw the beginning of Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke’s reign as a modern horror icon - but what really makes the supernatural mystery thriller an instant classic is the increasingly disturbing 8mm reels through which Hawke’s character learns the bizarre truth behind his new house’s deadly history.

Stream Sinister on Showtime .  Rent/buy Sinister digitally on Amazon .  Buy Sinister on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

The Shining (1980)

Hoping to find the solitude he needs to put out another bestseller, a writer and recovering alcoholic (Academy Award winner Jack Nicholson ) moves his family into a luxurious Colorado hotel where they will act as caretakers for the winter, but the seclusion proves to have a violent effect on the author as his uniquely gifted son falls prey to a series of foreboding visions.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: Writer and director Stanley Kubrick’s iconic adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining is not just a classic haunted house movie but is considered to be one of the best horror movies ever (if not the all-time best) for Jack Nicholson’s unbelievable grim performance and its dizzying, surreal, and paralyzing imagery that continues to puzzle fans to this day.

Stream The Shining on HBO Max .  Rent/buy The Shining digitally on Amazon .  Buy The Shining on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Insidious (2011)

A school teacher (Patrick Wilson) and his wife (Rose Byrne) move their family into a new house, where they begin to fall prey to a series of startling and strange intrusions after their oldest son (Ty Simpkins) suddenly and inexplicably falls into a coma.

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: The aforementioned The Conjuring may be the more popular James Wan flick and Saw may be his most iconic collaboration with writer Leigh Whannell, but Insidious is easily my favorite film from the duo for its indelible, otherworldly visuals and clever twist on the haunted house genre, being that the house itself is not what is haunted.

Rent/buy Insidious digitally on Amazon .  Buy Insidious on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Monster House (2006)

An imaginative boy (Mitchell Musso), his best friend (Sam Lerner), and a prep school girl (Spencer Locke) try to save their neighborhood from the creepy house across the street after it somehow comes to life following the supposed death of its cantankerous owner (Steve Buscemi).

Why it is one of the best haunted house movies: A rare kind of film that is suitable for younger audiences but creepy enough to qualify as a bonafide horror movie is the animated, Academy Award nominated hit Monster House - which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis and offers another clever twist on the haunted genre, being that it is not the house that is haunted, but that the house itself that is haunting .

Stream Monster House on Netflix .  Rent/buy Monster House digitally on Amazon .  Buy Monster House on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon .

Monster House actually raises an interesting question of what is scarier: a house inhabited by spirits that are a danger to anyone who enters it or a house possessed by a spirit that is a danger to anyone merely standing nearby? Hopefully, watching these 13 classics will be the only way you will need to find out the answer for yourself.


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Jason Wiese

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.

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The Best Haunted House Movies and TV Shows of All Time

Do houses have memories? These ones seem to. We pick our favorite haunted house movies and TV shows...

best haunted houses movies

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Nyack Haunted House

The haunted house is a staple horror device. Usually hundreds of years old, ideally massive, and imposing with as many turrets as its roof can bear, there’s nothing like a haunted house to give you the creeps.

But making this list wasn’t as easy as you’d think. To qualify for the list, a film had to feature an actual haunted house – which immediately rules out many of the films that spring to mind when you read that title. The Shining , for example, is about a haunted hotel, not a house. Paranormal Activity initially seems like it’s about a haunted house, but it’s not the house that’s haunted, and also the supernatural entity is a demon, not a ghost. Ditto Insidious , which has some ghosts, but they’re not tied to any house in particular. Conversely, Rebecca has a brilliant and creepy house in it, but despite the second Mrs. De Winter’s anxieties, it’s not actually haunted.

So, yes, a lot of the films that tend to crop up on these kinds of list had to be ruled out. What follows is a list of great haunted house movies and TV shows that really do have haunted houses in them…

Poltergeist (1982)

It’s hard to get more haunted than the Freelings’ house in Poltergeist . Despite being a brand new home in a shiny new development, something’s moving the furniture around, causing people to have violent hallucinations, and even talking to the kids through the TV.

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It sounds terrifying, but since it was produced by Steven Spielberg, it’s actually pretty tame. If you fancy something spooky that won’t give you nightmares, this might be the one. It wouldn’t be a disaster if you accidentally picked up the 2015 remake, either; it’s faithful enough to the original without being slavish about it, and it’s got some decently funny moments thrown in for good measure.

13 Ghosts (1960)

William Castle’s 13 Ghosts is also relatively light on scares, but it’s so incredibly charming you won’t mind. The haunted house in this one was left to the Zorba family by their occult-loving uncle, and came fully furnished – with 12 ghosts.

Castle loved his gimmicks, and 13 Ghosts is presented in “Illusion-O,” a take on stereoscopic 3D that meant if audiences looked through coloured lenses, they could either amp up the appearance of the ghosts or block them out completely. It’s silly, but the dialogue is snappy, and the ghosts are at least original – where else have you seen the spectre of a circus lion and his trainer?

Unfortunately, this time round I wouldn’t recommend picking up the remake, which tries to be terrifying and fails, killing all of the original’s cozy fun in the process.

The Legend Of Hell House (1973)

Based on Richard Matheson’s novel Hell House , The Legend Of Hell House sees a group of psychic investigators moving into the home of Emeric “The Roaring Giant” Belasco. Belasco was supposedly an evil murderer, and his spirit is said to still walk the halls of his former estate. Sure enough, as soon as the investigators start setting up their bizarre ghost-detecting machines, all sorts of paranormal activity kicks off.

The twist ending here seems daft, but if you think about it long enough, it becomes disturbing instead. And the set-up is a classic, although it’s not as well-handled here as it is in another, similar film (more on that later!).

The Changeling (1980)

Bit of a slow-burner, this one, but it’s seriously creepy if it catches you in the right mood. George C. Scott stars as John Russell, a solitude-seeking composer who rents the wrong house while grieving his dead wife and daughter. The eerie old mansion is home to the ghost of a murdered child, and when it’s not pushing its wheelchair around the place, it’s pushing John to uncover its story and wreak its revenge. Murdered kids are the worst for that kind of ghostly pestering, but then maybe they’re entitled to a bit of post-death whining. You’d do the same, right?

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Hausu (1977)

If you’re bored of the standard haunted house repertoire (creaky doors, smashed religious icons, bleeding walls, etc., etc.), you could do worse than check out Hausu . A psychedelic Japanese horror starring mostly unknown (and inexperienced) actors, it sees a group of schoolgirls head out to visit an estranged aunt in the countryside, only to find that the aunt isn’t as kindly as you’d hope, and her house is full of horrors. We’re talking flying lamps, evil fridges, and pianos that bite. You’ve never seen anything like this before.

Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

Speaking of Japanese horror, I couldn’t leave out Tokyo’s most haunted. Director Takashi Shimizu has returned to the story of the murderous Saeki ghosts over and over again, making, to date, six films about them and their scary house, but this is probably the best of them all. Eschewing the traditional haunted house structure where things start off creepy and escalate to terrifying (if you’re lucky), it’s a non-stop ghost train with the creaky-voiced Kayako (Takako Fuji) and her wide-eyed meowing son Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) popping up every couple of minutes. Brrrrrrrr.

Sinister (2012)

Strictly speaking, the entity haunting the Oswalt family isn’t a ghost, it’s a kind of demon, but he comes with an entourage of ghostly kids, and they’re just as scary as he is, so I’m gonna’ say this counts. Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a crime writer who drags his family into danger by moving into a house where a horrifying crime was committed, hoping it’ll inspire his next book. But, well, things never quite turn out like that, do they?

The scariest parts of Sinister are probably the old Super 8 movies Ellison finds in the attic, showing what happened to previous families who messed around with this particular demon – they’re violent in disturbingly creative ways.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Actually a bit scarier than you think it is, Beetlejuice features Tim Burton’s idea of a haunted house – all weird architecture and manic ghosts. They’re sad ghosts too, as the Maitlands return to their home after a car accident only to find that their house isn’t theirs anymore, and the new inhabitants can’t see them. If they want to have their house to themselves again, they’ll need to scare off the obnoxious new family.

It’s a smart inversion of the usual haunted house story where the living are trying to kick out the dead, and Michael Keaton’s “bio-exorcist” Betelgeuse, while not your usual chain-rattler, is a creation of nightmarish energy.

The Skeleton Key (2005)

Something spooky’s going on in a crumbling mansion deep in the Louisiana bayou. When Caroline (Kate Hudson) takes a job as caregiver to an elderly man, she thinks she’s prepared for the isolation and weirdnesses of the household, but after running afoul of the lady of the house, Violet (Gena Rowlands), she begins to suspect her patient suffered more than just a stroke…

Creepy from the outset, what’s great about The Skeleton Key is the way its heroine is slowly seduced into believing in the supernatural. The ghosts here are particularly nasty ones (though in fairness, they were given good cause, initially), and it’s got one hell of a sting at the end.

Darkness (2002)

Darkness was directed by Jaume Balagueró of REC and Sleep Tight fame, which should be a pretty good indication that it’s not the slick early-2000s Hollywood nonsense the box art makes it look like. Nope, this is a nasty little film with a creepy atmosphere and a killer twist – though there seem to be two different cuts of it around, and the one that takes out all the swearing and violence is a bit rubbish. The harsher one, though, will make you consider investing in a nightlight. Just in case.

The Others (2001)

This is one of those films you ideally want to know nothing about before it starts. It’s got an incredibly creepy set up: Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a frazzled mother, waiting for news about her soldier husband while trying to take care of her two kids. What makes that especially difficult is that the kids have a rare disease that makes them incredibly sensitive to light, so Grace moves them all into a remote country mansion where the servants are instructed to always keep the curtains closed…

Even if you think you know what happens, The Others is worth watching, because it’s a beautifully made, clever, and insanely creepy ghost story.

The Innocents (1961)

Speaking of kids with very particular needs, the children in The Innocents are a pair you definitely wouldn’t fancy babysitting. Based on Henry James’  The Turn Of The Screw , the film sees a new governess move into a fancy country pile to look after a couple of orphans. Their last governess died a year ago in mysterious circumstances, though, and the kids have a nasty habit of talking to people who aren’t there…

Every appearance of the ghosts in this movie is chilling, but probably the scariest thing about it is Martin Stephens, the child actor who plays Miles. He also played the leader of the creepy kids in Village Of The Damned , and there’s something really eerie about him.

House On Haunted Hill (1959)

Another William Castle film, the gimmick for House On Haunted Hill saw a plastic skeleton flown over the heads of cinema audiences. Sadly, you probably can’t recapture that particular thrill at home, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth watching. Vincent Price is on fine form as the dastardly Frederick Loren, a millionaire who invites a group of strangers to spend the night in his haunted house – with a $10,000 prize for anyone who makes it till morning. Ghosts should be the least of anyone’s worries, considering the elaborate games the party’s hosts are playing with one another, but that ending will give anyone goosebumps.

The Woman In Black (1989)

A made-for-TV adaptation of Susan Hill’s novella, The Woman In Black sees a young solicitor head out to a remote house to deal with the affairs of a recently deceased recluse. The fact that the only way to get to the house is to cross a narrow causeway that’s only accessible at certain times of the day and pretty much permanently shrouded in mist should’ve tipped him off that this was a terrible plan, but it’s only when he starts going through the paperwork that he realizes something spooky is going on.

This version is a bit slower than the Daniel Radcliffe remake, but it’s got one big scare that more than makes up for it – and the ending is better in this one too.

Ghostwatch (1992)

Another TV production, what makes Ghostwatch so scary is how utterly believable it seems. Originally broadcast “as live” on Oct. 31, 1992, it starred real TV presenters both inside a BBC studio and out on location, investigating a family’s claims that their home was haunted by a poltergeist known as “Pipes.” The ghost makes several appearances throughout, initially so subtle you might miss them, then increasingly obvious, and by the end, even the TV studio isn’t safe.

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Watching it now, with years of distance and knowing it’s not real, you’d think it’d lose some of its power, but nope. It’s still really, properly scary.

The Conjuring (2013)

James Wan’s ode to ’70s horror sees a pair of paranormal investigators coming to the aid of an unfortunate family who’ve moved into one of the most terrifyingly haunted houses ever. There are jump scares galore, as Wan lets his characters wander into darkened basements and play with antique children’s toys in excruciating sequences you just know are going to end with a ghost leaping out at you. 

In between the scares, if you can look out from between your fingers long enough to notice, this is a smart film with a strong emotional core. It’s got some brilliant set design, some great performances, and some of the most gleefully swoopy camerawork in any film made since 1980.

The Uninvited (1944)

A sort of cuddlier take on Rebecca – with actual ghosts! – The Uninvited sees a brother and sister moving from London to Cornwall to take advantage of a gorgeous abandoned house they’ve found on the clifftops. Considering how long it’s been empty, the house is immaculate… except for one upstairs room, which is always cold, and somehow ugly, and, well, yeah, obviously it’s haunted. The dialogue is snappy, the characters well-realized, and the story engrossing. The Mrs. Danvers analogue is properly sinister too.

The Haunting (1963)

Based on Shirley Jackson’s properly creepy novel, The Haunting Of Hill House , there are a lot of similarities between this and The Legend Of Hell House . But this came first, and though its scares are more subtle, for my money they’re also far more effective. The group of paranormal investigators here don’t have any fancy electromagnetic machinery to measure the effects of the supernatural; instead, they’ve got only their own senses. And Hill House is happy to provide all kinds of phenomena for them to puzzle over, from mysterious chills to banging on the walls to unseen, cold hands in the night…

This story gets inside your head and never quite goes away. So little about it is ever explained, and it ends so horrifically that there’s no closure, only a creeping sensation that maybe, just maybe, some houses are actually evil.

best haunted houses movies

The Haunting Of Hill House (2018)

Shirley Jackson’s novel was adapted again in 1999 as a lame  Scooby-Doo  rip-off starring Lian Neeson and Owen Wilson, but it got a Netflix reboot this year courtesy of Mike Flanagan ( Oculus , Before I Wake , Gerald’s Game ). Proving that the haunted house premise can work over 10 hours instead of just two, Flanagan’s smart, stylish, downright frightening take on the genre feels like a bit of a milestone. With enough space and time to burrow into Jackson’s classic novel (and for it to burrow into us), the series is a triumph of style and substance – atmosphere over cheap thrills.

A character based horror that doesn’t skimp on the details, Flanagan’s show is a wonderful celebration of the original novel – repairing the damage done by the ’99 version. What’s more, it’s got one hell of beautiful, terrifying, haunted house in it that actually feels like it’s worth staying in for an all-night binge-watch.  

Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak seems poised to take its place in the official canon of brilliant haunted house movies. The titular Crimson Peak, known officially as Allerdale Hall, is the most elaborately designed haunted house you’ve ever seen, with its gaping roof, weeping walls, and sinking foundations; it’s a maze of tiny, darkened rooms, each one promising new horrors.

The ghosts themselves are similarly well-designed; they appear as skeletal forms, the injuries that killed them still clearly visible, their ectoplasm stained with the blood-red clay they’re buried in. Director Guillermo del Toro hired two of the best monster performers in the business, Doug Jones and Javier Botet, to play the ghosts, and used practical rather than digital effects wherever possible – an extra bit of effort that pays off massively, because these are some of the most physically present ghosts you’ll ever see.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

The Amityville Horror , based on the book of the same title by Jay Anson, claims to be based on a true story. And while that seems like it probably isn’t actually true, at all, it’s still a brilliant haunted house film – it’s an obvious choice, but there’s a reason for that. It’s just great.

For starters, it gets right what so many haunted house movies get wrong: the Lutzes know they’re buying a house with a history from the off, but the house itself is so big and so grand (and so affordable!) that they’re tempted into it anyway. George (James Brolin) and Kathy (Margot Kidder) are believable, likeable characters from the beginning, and you can really feel their excitement and hope when they first move into the house. A few flies and a broken window aren’t going to put them off… but then the scares amp up (and, spoiler: when it gets properly scary, they do what any sensible person would do and move out!). The build-up of tension is effective, and it all just works.

The same can’t be said for most of the sequels, but the 2005 remake isn’t terrible – it’s just not as good as the original.

Sarah Dobbs

Sarah Dobbs | @SarahDobbs

Sarah is a freelance writer and editor. She loves horror movies, unusual storytelling techniques, and smoking jackets. Ask her about the Saw movies. Go on, ask.

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20 Of The Most Entertaining Haunted House Movies Ever Made

Christopher Myers

Good haunted house movies manage to show the audience something new using a classic story structure. While many people think that all haunted house movies are horror films, they actually aren't. Just like how the best horror films ever made don't necessarily need a haunted house, movies about paranormal activities in a home don't need to be horror. That said, terror goes a long way in providing a thrilling sensation in a movie, which is why horror and haunted houses often go hand-in-hand. 

The best haunted house films are about the past and its effect on the present. As is the case with stories of  real haunted houses , the movie characters must come to terms with a truth that they have been running from. After all, a haunted house is the physical manifestation of the dark corners of the mind, hiding ghosts behind doors people are too scared to open. This list represents the best haunted house movies ever made (remakes not included). Vote up the most spine-tingling movies about paranormal homes that not only capitalize on terror, but also use quality cinematography. 



Steven Spielberg creates a different kind of horror film with Poltergeist . The 1982 film follows a family as they move into a newly constructed suburban home. Strange things begin to happen and the family discovers they're being haunted not by a ghost, but by a poltergeist. Chairs are moving, cabinets are flying, and there's full-scale psychokinetic disturbances.

The creepy clown doll and the mirror scene are as scary as hell, but still the film feels more like a blockbuster than a traditional horror. In fact, it's got Spielberg written all over it. The special effects are excellent, even by today's standards, and the acting is fantastic. The story follows the traditional haunting rules and yet remains unique. This film is a classic. 

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The Conjuring

The Conjuring

Loosely based on one of the investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren, this 2013 film takes place in Rhode Island at an old farmhouse in 1971. The family living there starts getting haunted by some kind of evil entity. They summon the Warrens, who must save the family from their horrific ordeal.

Like most haunting films, this starts out slow and escalates. There are plenty of scares sprinkled throughout that are coupled with frightening imagery and an eerie atmosphere. While this film does not reinvent the wheel, the high production value, the true story aspect, and the competent execution make it well worth the watch.

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The Shining

The Shining

The Shining is one of the most frightening movies ever made. Stanley Kubrick takes a Steven King novel and makes it completely his own in a film of pure genius. Kubrick actually was actively terrorizing actress Shelley Duvall in between shots so that she would appear more unhinged and afraid. Jack Nicholson gives perhaps the best performance of his career.

The story follows writer Jack Torrence as he takes a job as the caretaker for a hotel, along with his wife and son. The three are alone in the eerie hotel for the duration of a harsh winter. Choosing subtlety and atmosphere over gore, The Shining remains a masterpiece of horror. 

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The Others

Creepy and atmospheric, The Others relies on mood to instill fear in the audience. This haunted house film is about a mother and her two photosensitive children near the end of World War II. After new caretakers show up out of the blue, the children start reporting strange "other" people living in the house.

While it starts out with the standard haunted house tropes, skepticism followed by terror, this film offers a plot twist that's far from what's expected. The washed out and foggy setting provides the perfect backdrop for this film. 

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The Haunting

The Haunting

In the 1963 film, The Haunting , a paranormal investigator invites two psychic women and a skeptical man to help him with his research in a haunted mansion. Hill House has a history of violence, as so often is the case with haunted places. Things begin to escalate as soon as the foursome enters the spooky old mansion.

The atmospheric film relies on cinematography instead of gore to produce its scares. The house itself is the main character in this horror classic, and it plays the part well.

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Tim Burton's gothic comedy,  Beetlejuice , is an influential and timeless classic. The all-star cast includes Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, and a young Winona Ryder who all deliver spectacular performances in this great film. The unique visual style could have only come from Burton's mind, and the story balances the light and dark aspects as perfectly as the cinematography.

The film follows a married couple from their untimely death to their first experiences in the afterlife. When a new family moves into the house they are haunting, they resort to all sorts of measures to scare them away, including the decision to enlist the help of the "bio-exorcist," Beetlejuice. Along the way, they befriend gothic teen Lydida Deets, who attempts to help them. Really, you just need to watch this film.

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House On Haunted Hill

House On Haunted Hill

Vincent Price delivers a masterful performance as an eccentric millionaire in this 1959 horror classic. Along with his fourth wife Annabelle, Price decides to hold a party in a haunted house where seven people have already met their demise. The guests are five strangers who will receive ten thousand dollars if they survive the entire night. As the doors lock at midnight, the campy horror is in full swing.

Riddled with black humor, this film leaves the audience satisfied.


Less-than-loveable true crime author Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) decides to move his family into a house where an entire family was murdered as he writes a novel on said murder. In the attic, he finds a box of old home movies with some seriously disturbing images in them. During his investigation, he discovers a series of murders that are somehow linked to the ancient Pagan deity, Bagul.

This movie is scary. It isn't just the jump scares or the frightening visage of Bagul. Everything, from the soundtrack to the cinematography to the script, works together to instill a deep sense of dread. The plot is relatively unpredictable and the film is refreshingly innovative compared to its contemporaries (which are mostly remakes anyway). Any flaws in the film are forgivable because of references to Truman Capote that any literary fan will surely enjoy. 

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The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

This 1979 film is a classic "based on a true story" haunting. It expertly juxtaposes an idyllic suburban setting with unadulterated evil. The film follows a family that got a great bargain on a house, mostly because the previous resident murdered his entire family in their sleep. As it turns out, those are not the only skeletons lurking in the closet.

This psychological thriller relies on ever-increasing tension to create an atmosphere ripe with fear and anxiety. The cinematography so excellent that many subsequent films owe much to the techniques used in The Amityville Horror . Though the film has flaws, it remains a classic. 

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In Insidious , technically, the child is haunted and not the house .  The film follows many of the haunted house tropes while reinventing others. The film begins when Dalton, the child, has an incident in the attic and falls into a coma. When medical science fails, the family calls in the paranormal investigators.

The strength of the film is that it takes the existence of the supernatural for granted. It doesn't waste much time on the stubborn empiricist trope and dives right into the meat of the story. As such, the film will appeal to those who appreciate the archetypes and metaphors of the haunted house story. The cinematography, special effects, and overall imagery are frightening, even to the desensitized modern audience, and the plot offers a fresh take on a classic haunting tale. 

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This 2007 Steven King adaptation starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson is a unique take on the haunted house theme. There is no ghost terrorizing people - rather, it's the haunted hotel room itself. Cusack plays a writer who lost his daughter and now writes a book about the "Top 10 Haunted Locations." As part of his research for his book, he winds up discovering room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel in New York City. 

This film is brilliantly written. Both the plot and screenplay are very tight, with literary references, symbolism, and a winding storyline that's well constructed. The room itself is wonderfully built, with Cusack actually describing the fear invoked by the hotel room outloud in one meta-level scene. The film touches on the theme of subjective perceptions of reality, which underlines the psychological tension created by the imagery and events. 

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The Woman In Black

The Woman In Black

Daniel Radcliff stars in this haunting film set in turn-of-the-century England. As a lawyer grieving the death of his wife during childbirth, Radcliff is sent on a "last chance" assignment into the remote country. His job is to prepare the effects of the recently deceased Mrs. Drablow at the Eel Marsh House, which turns out to be haunted. Radcliff must uncover the mystery behind The Woman in Black if he wants to survive.

The film is a classic haunted mansion tale which is well executed, if not innovative. The acting, cinematography, and overall production value make this film a notable entry in the genre. While the story follows the traditional haunted house plot, the details themselves are not too predictable. The setting's time period also adds a layer of creepiness which helps drive this atmospheric film. 

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Ju-On: The Grudge

Ju-On: The Grudge

This terrifying 2002 Japanese horror movie by Takashi Shimizu is the third installment of the Ju-on series and by far the most successful. It was remade in America in 2004, becoming one of the most successful Asian horror remakes . It also spawned several sequels, including the recent Sadako vs. Kayako .

The film is about a ghost named Kayako, who basically kills anyone she comes into contact with, and a woman named Rika Nishina, who is trying to uncover the origin of the curse. The imagery is terrifying, bolstered by the fantastic cinematography and an unnerving atmosphere. This film is particularly frightening to Western audiences, who are used to ghosts following a certain set of rules. Kayako does not follow these rules. Oh, no, she does not. 

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The Orphanage

The Orphanage

In this film, former orphan Laura returns to the orphanage where she was raised, intending to reopen it as a home for children with disabilities. She brings her husband and child with her, only to have her son speak of invisible friends. Laura discovers that the ghosts that haunt this house might be a little more literal than she initially imagined.

This is a character-driven film that engages the audience, making the scares effective. Belén Rueda propels the film forward in her wonderful portrayal of Laura and the amazing cinematography creates an eerie atmosphere. This film tells an emotional story, proving once again that there is more to a quality horror film than simply instilling fear in an audience. 

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The Haunting In Connecticut

The Haunting In Connecticut

This "based on a true story" film is reminiscent of The Amityville Horror in many ways, but unique in others. A family moves into a house and when one of them starts to live in the basement, creepy stuff starts to happen. In The Haunting in Connecticut , the house in question used to be a funeral parlor. The proprietor's son was a clairvoyant who performed seances in the house. 

This film is very character driven. The struggles of a mother and father whose son is fighting cancer are conveyed expertly through the haunting device. These characters are much more complex than your typical Hollywood gore fest and that is the strength of the film. The atmosphere is eerie and ephemeral, as the story follows a person oscillating between life and death. 

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The Innocents

The Innocents

In this 1961 film set in Victorian England, a young governess named Miss Giddens becomes convinced that the estate where she works is haunted. She is tasked with taking care of two children, who she believes are being possessed by the spirits of the former governess and valet. Miss Giddens loves the children and the audience is drawn into her character as she does everything she can to save them.

The film, which inspired many elements of The Others , relies on a gothic atmosphere and deep character development to create suspense and tension throughout. The children are sweet, but at the same time carry the vague air of menace. The audience is left guessing whether the haunting is real or imagined. Expertly used subtlety and the eerie setting make this frightening film a masterpiece. 

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The Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Backbone is set during the end of the Spanish civil war. This film by Guillermo del Toro follows an orphan, Carlos, whose father was killed in the war. Carlos is dropped off at an ominous orphanage where a mystery surrounds a particular storage room. The ghost of a boy named Santi haunts the orphanage, who incessantly warns Carlos that "many of you will die."

The movie   begins by drawing the audience into the characters and allowing a connection to develop with them. Stylistically, the film is a drama as much as it is a horror. The cinematography is stunning, especially the shots with the ghost. The imagery of the unexploded bomb in the center of the courtyard provides a focal point and a strong, visual metaphor for the events that unfold in the film.

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Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity

A couple moves into a starter house and soon discovers that they may not be alone. This found footage film is creepy and well-constructed, but suffers from one fatal flaw. The main characters are just not likeable. Actually, the boyfriend is so abrasive that by the time things get serious, you're rooting for the ghost.

The film still manages some great, creepy cinematography and jump scares, but ultimately fails to live up to its potential. 

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This over-the-top 1977 Japanese horror-comedy is very unique. The story follows the spoiled, only child of a rich widower. As her father decides to begin dating again, the bitter daughter travels with her friends to her aunt's isolated house in the country. The house turns out to be more than what they bargained for, as the girls start disappearing one by one.

This surrealist film works to convey the perceptions of its characters, rather than the literal reality of the situation. Because of this, many of the scenes border on absurdity, which adds to the effect of the film. What this film excels at is giving the viewer a horror experience unlike anything else. In many ways, it feels like a horror story told by a child, with all the fantasy and wonder that comes with it. 

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This 1968 Japanese horror involves a ghost who rips out the throats of samurai in medieval Japan. A samurai is dispatched to stop the spirit, but he must face his own past to do so. This Criterion Collection film is very sexual and surprisingly feminist for its time. 

Kuroneko  combines a complex plot with eerie cinematography and themes of tragedy, regret, and revenge. 

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Lists for fans addicted to horror films (and shows) and all the jump-scarin', blood-splatterin', "b*tch, get out the house!" adrenaline that goes with them.

Horror That Is Oh-So-Clever

The 10 Best Haunted House Movies

Sometimes it's safer to stay outdoors., the best horror tv shows of the last 10 years.

From saucy vampire-on-werewolf action to delectable cannibal romance through the return of the Deadites and anime chillers, we've got something for everyone in our radical round-up of the best horror TV shows that have aired over the last 10 years. Read on for the full list…

The Haunting (1963)

best haunted houses movies

The Others (2001)

best haunted houses movies

Paranormal Activity (2009)

best haunted houses movies

The Changeling (1980)

best haunted houses movies

The Legend of Hell House (1973)

best haunted houses movies

Poltergeist (1982)

best haunted houses movies

The Innocents (1961)

best haunted houses movies

Beetlejuice (1988)

best haunted houses movies

The Shining (1980)

best haunted houses movies

Evil Dead II (1987)

best haunted houses movies

Honorable Mention: Ghostwatch (1992)

best haunted houses movies

In This Article

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Screen Rant

15 best haunted house horror movies.

From crumbling Gothic manors to bland suburban homes, here is a list of best haunted house horror movies ever made.

Buying a new house presents the future home owners with many potential pitfalls: from leaky faucets to vermin infestations. But what if the house comes equipped with its very own ghost? As reality shows like Ghost Hunters proved, haunted houses are no laughing matter - at least if you're stuck in one and can't call the Ghostbusters to help you.

Over the decades, horror movies explored all kinds of haunted houses - from crumbling Gothic manors to bland suburban homes. With the release of James Wan's Conjuring 2 - a horror following the paranormal adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), it's just the right time for Screen Rant's list of 15 Best Haunted House Horrors .

15. The Amityville Horror (1979)

James Brolin and Margot Kidder in The Amityville Horror hugging outside the house

George and Kathy Lutz (James Brolin and Margot Kidder) bought their dream house in upstate New York only to find themselves beset by strange phenomena. Misfortune seems to plague the family as well as the Catholic priest (played by Rod Steiger) who tries and fails to bless their home. As strange substances ooze from the walls of this seemingly normal house, George begins to grow sullen and develops a meaningful relationship with his axe.

In 1975, the Lutz family allegedly experienced a series of increasingly alarming supernatural phenomena in their newly bought New England house where, years ago, a mass murder took place. In 1977, author Jay Anson wrote down their supposedly true story that became a bestseller and a basis for the 1979 horror movie The Amityville Horror . True or not, the Lutz family story has since then gained a ghastly unlife of its own, resulting in a dozen sequels over the last four decades.

14. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Vincent Price in House on Haunted Hill.

Eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) cordially invites you to spend a night in his ghost-haunted mansion. During your stay, you'll receive a .45 automatic for your personal protection. If you manage to survive the night unharmed in this accursed house, you'll be richly awarded. However, ghosts may prove to be the least of your troubles during your stay in the House on Haunted Hill .

American film maker William Castle became known for the gimmicks he used to promote his movies. In 1958, Castle promoted his thriller Macabre by offering his customers a free certificate for a $1000 life insurance policy in the case they die of fright while watching his movie. For his 1959 horror flick House on Haunted Hill , Castle developed a gimmick called "Emergo." In certain movie theaters, he installed an elaborate pulley system that would allow a plastic skeleton to fly right over the movie's audience during the crucial scenes in the movie.

13. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott in The Changeling.

Academy Award-winning actor George C. Scott stars in this Canadian horror film as John Russell, a composer who moves to Seattle after his wife and daughter die in a tragic car accident. He rents a large Victorian manor only to learn that it is possessed by a ghost of a boy murdered here decades ago. As Russell begins to unveil the mystery behind the boy's murder, he learns about its connection to the career of a powerful US Senator Joseph Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas).

Inspired by the supposedly real experiences of the film's screenwriter Russell Hunter, The Changeling is a stylish, albeit dull horror movie about a protagonist confronting his personal tragedy while investigating a supernatural mystery connected to a political scandal. The Changeling is widely considered to be one of the inspirations behind the 1998 Japanese horror movie Ringu that similarly uses the idea of a child's body hidden in an old well.

12. Crimson Peak (2015)

Mia Wasikowska holding a candle in Crimson Peak.

Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a daughter of a rich businessman Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver). She falls in love with Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), an English nobleman who travelled to the United States with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) in search of investors for his family's red clay mine. Edith eventually marries Sir Thomas and moves to Britain. However, a sinister agenda is afoot and Edith is aware of it only because of her ability to see ghosts.

Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror movie Crimson Peak may not be the most original movie out there, but it sure looks amazing. Heavily indebted to lavish Hammer horror movie productions from the 1960s, Crimson Peak mostly takes place in a crumbling, yet opulent gothic manor. With its echoing hallways and crumbling walls oozing blood-red clay, Allerdale Hall is the true star of this film.

11. The Conjuring (2013)

Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring.

The Conjuring is loosely inspired on the real-life paranormal investigations conducted by Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), whose reports inspired the book (and later the movie) The Amityville Horror . In The Conjuring,  they help Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who moved in an old Rhode Island farm house with their daughters only to find themselves endangered by a spirit of a long-dead witch.

For 14 years, producer Tony DeRosa-Grund tried to film a movie inspired by the original taped interview between Lorraine Warren and Carolyn Perrin. Writers Chad and Carey Hayes developed the original script around 2008. The Conjuring was directed by the Malaysian-born Australian film maker James Wan, who already proved himself in the genre by creating the Saw franchise with Leigh Whannell. The Conjuring became a huge box office success, leading to a sequel, The Conjuring 2 , released in June of 2016.

10. House (1977)

Eriko Tanaka in House.

Japanese horror movie House may not be the scariest one on this list, but it is by far the craziest. It follows a group of Japanese school girls led by Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) as they visit her Auntie (Yōko Minamida). After Auntie disappears inside of a refrigerator and a flying head attacks one of the school girls, the house itself starts to devour the school girls one by one using items like pianos and grandfather clocks.

House lies somewhere between a straightforward horror film and a psychedelic Looney Tunes cartoon. Japanese film maker Nobuhiko Obayashi was inspired by the fears of his pre-teen daughter Chigumi, which were developed into a screenplay by Chiho Katsura. More of a surreal experience than a horror movie, House was quite popular with the audience at the time of its release but received mixed reviews from the critics.

9. Poltergeist (1982)

JoBeth Williams in Poltergeist.

Steven and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams) live a quiet domestic life in Californian suburb. That life falls apart when their daughter Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) begins to communicate with entities hiding inside the TV static. As the Freeling household gets increasingly endangered by the supernatural, Steven desperately contacts a group of parapsychologists who begin the investigate the phenomenon led by the medium Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein).

Poltergeist was ostensibly directed by the Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hopper. However, it was Stephen Spielberg who wrote, produced and directed most of the movie. Hopper was hired because Spielberg was contractually prohibited to direct any other films while working on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial . Not especially scary even by the 1980s standards, Poltergeist nevertheless quickly became one of the highest-grossing movies of 1982, leading to two sequels and a 2015 remake.

8. The Legend Of Hell House (1973)

Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicutt and Roddy McDowall in The Legend of Hell House.

Physicist Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill) is hired to investigate the Belasco House, the "Mount Everest of haunted houses" whose first owner, perverted millionaire Emeric Belasco, disappeared without a trace. Barrett is joined by his wife Anne (Gayle Hunnicutt), a mental medium Florence (Pamela Franklin) and a physical medium Ben Fischer (Roddy McDowall), the lone survivor of the previous investigation. As this team of paranormal researchers explores the Belasco House, it seems as if the building itself is trying to kill them.

British horror film The Legend Of Hell House was based on a bestselling horror novel Hell House by the American sci-fi and horror writer Richard Matheson, most well-known for his 1954 sci-fi horror novel I Am Legend . Matheson previously wrote screenplays for Rod Serling's original version of The Twilight Zone and adapted his own novel into a tense and taut horror thriller that's still being widely imitated.

7. Insidious (2011)

Rose Byrne in Insidious.

Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) have recently moved into a new house. However, their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a coma after witnessing a mysterious figure in their attic. Soon, supernatural events begin to plague the Lambert household. It is only after they contact a team of paranormal investigators led by Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye) that the Lamberts learn that their son has been hijacked by the evil ghosts from the astral dimension looking for a way to return back to life.

Director, writer and producer James Wan first made a name for himself by directing Saw in 2004. Although Saw quickly became a lucrative franchise, Wan wasn't satisfied by directing violent and gore-filled movies and moved on to more subtle horror movies dealing with supernatural possession. Insidious came out in 2011. Filmed for mere $1.5 million, it earned almost a $100 million at the box office. Since then, there have been two other movies in the series: Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015).

6. Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

Misa Uehara in Ju-on: The Grudge.

The only thing worse than a haunted house is a house whose haunting is contagious . In Ju-On: The Grudge , we are presented with a family home in Nerima, Tokyo where decades ago a monstrous crime took place. In a fit of jealousy, Takeo (Takashi Matsuyama) murdered his wife (Takako Fuji) and their son (Yuya Ozeki), turning them all into vengeful spirits. Ever since then, they unrelentingly haunt and murder anyone who enters their home, even if they leave it right away.

The best thing about a brief trend of Hollywood remaking J-horrors was that it introduced the wider audience to the disturbing world of Japanese horror movies. The  Ju-On franchise originated in the late 1990s with two straight-to-video movies written and directed by the Japanese film maker Takashi Shimizu. After their success, Shimizu went on to direct a big-screen adaptation Ju-On: The Grudge in 2002 and the American remake in 2004. So far, Ju-On franchise includes 11 movies, a series of novels and comic books as well as a computer game.

5. The Orphanage (2007)

Óscar Casas standing still in an empty room in The Orphanage.

Laura (Belén Rueda) grew up an orphan. As an adult, she returns to her old orphanage with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and their adopted son Simón (Roger Príncep) with plans to start a home for disabled children. As Laura finds herself dealing with the unpleasant social worker Benigna (Montserrat Carulla) as well as the ghostly apparition of a long-dead boy named Tomas (Óscar Casas), tragedy begins to unfold.

Sergio G. Sánchez wrote his screenplay for The Orphanage way back in 1996. It took him almost a decade to find a director willing to film it - Juan Antonio Bayona. Bayona then convinced Mexican film maker Guillermo del Toro to help them produce the movie. When it finally premiered at Cannes Film Festival, The Orphanage was widely praised by the critics. The movie became an international hit, earning almost $80 million on its $4 million budget.

4. The Others (2001)

Alakina Mann and Nicole Kidman in The Others.

Sometime after the end of the World War II, Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) lives in an old, derelict manor with her children Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley) who suffer from a rare disease that makes them highly sensitive to sunlight. As Grace waits for her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) to return from the war, she's instead visited by the elderly servants Bertha (Fionnula Flanagan), Edmund (Eric Sykes) and Lydia (Elaine Cassidy). Strange events begin to happen and their explanation is even stranger than the usual haunted house curses.

Spanish director and producer Alejandro Amenábar made a name for himself abroad with his 1997 movie Open Your Eyes , remade by Cameron Crowe as Vanilla Sk y in 2001. Similar to that movie, The Others goes beyond the mere surface of its story and explores a hidden reality underneath. Wonderfully creepy in tone, Amenábar's movie offers one of the better - and more emotionally satisfying - twist endings in recent memory.

3. The Innocents (1961)

Deborah Kerr in The Innocents

Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) is a young governess hired by the rich bachelor (Michael Redgrave) to take care of his nephew Miles (Martin Stephens) and niece Flora (Pamela Franklin) at his country manor while he's away on a trip. The children are seemingly polite but their behavior soon takes a turn towards sinister. Are their pranks and manipulations merely a figment of Miss Giddens' paranoid imagination or are the children possessed by supernatural evil?

Novella The Turn of the Screw was a sole venture into horror by the classic 19th century American writer Henry James. Novella was adapted for the stage by William Archibald under the title The Innocents . A play was then used by the British director Jack Clayton as a basis for this psychological thriller/supernatural horror. Ignored by the audience at the time of its release, over the years The Innocents  has become a classic. Director Martin Scorsese considers this movie to be one of the best horror films ever made.

2. The Haunting (1963)

Claire Bloom and Julie Harris in The Haunting.

The Haunting is a chilling, claustrophobic adaptation of the classic 1959 horror novel The Haunting of Hill House by the American writer Shirley Jackson. The story follows Eleanor (Julie Harris), a long-suffering woman who was a victim of a poltergeist activity in her childhood. She joins level-headed Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) and the medium Theo (Claire Bloom) in the paranormal investigation of the supposedly cursed Hill House. During their night in the otherwise deserted manor, Eleanor begins to suffer from what might be attacks by the supernatural entities or - equally distressing for her - a severe mental breakdown.

Widely considered to be one of the best horror movies ever made, The Haunting was directed by Robert Wise. His career boasts many titles now widely considered to be classics of their respective genres: sci-fi movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951),  The Andromeda Strain (1971), and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); horror movie The Body Snatcher (1945); and the classic musical The Sound of Music (1965).

1. The Shining (1980)

Lisa and Louise Burns in The Shining.

Jack Torrance (memorably performed by Jack Nicholson) is a recovering alcoholic novelist who accepts a job as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. His son Danny (Danny Lloyd) can sense a supernatural evil lurking inside the hotel but most of the adults pay him no heed. As the bitter Colorado winter sets in, the Torrance family is isolated from the world. Possibly due to the influence of the hotel, Jack becomes more and more unhinged, and Danny and Jack's wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) begin to fear for their lives.

What is there left to write about The Shining that hasn't already been said over the last four decades? Written, directed and produced by the great Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is an adaptation of a best-selling horror novel by Stephen King (who, famously, was unsatisfied by this adaptation). The movie received mixed reviews at the time of its opening, but was fairly well-received by the audience. As with many other Kubrick's films, The Shining was re-evaluated years after its release and is widely considered today to be one of the best haunted house horror films ever made.

What are your favorite haunted house horrors? Share them with the others in the comments below!

The 10 best haunted house movies that will spook you this Halloween

It’s time to celebrate the ghosts with the most with the best haunted house movies to watch right now

The best haunted house movies

Is there anything scarier than a haunted house? The idea of your supposed safe haven turning against you is certainly nightmare fodder so it makes sense that the trope has been a mainstay of horror movies for decades. Some of the best films of the genre utilize it too, meaning there's no shortage of the best haunted house movies to get stuck into this spooky season.

We've narrowed down a list of 10 of our favorites that will have you hiding behind the sofa this Halloween. There should be something for everyone in our wide-ranging list too, from 1960s classics like The Innocents to more recent movies like Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring . Don't worry – we don't skip some of the biggest names either, with entries on The Shining and Poltergeist . Read on to find out our top picks of the best haunted house movies out there (and one haunted hotel movie, too, for good measure).

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10. The Innocents (1961)

Just mention the words haunted house movies and The Innocents silently makes its ominous presence known. It’s the oldest on this list, but don’t let that put you off this classic British horror. Deborah Kerr takes on a governess role to two mysterious children in a looming gothic mansion. Creepy kids in horror aren’t a modern invention and there’s a fascinating, if disturbing, case of possession at work in the Innocents. 

Loosely based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (also the basis for The Haunting of Bly Manor ) and with a script from none other than Truman Capote, this ghostly tale is packed with atmosphere you could cut with a knife. But this movies doesn’t need one of those to scare you. A disturbing soundtrack and claustrophobic camera mean we always feel as trapped within these walls as the children. The Innocents is vital haunted horror homework and a perfect introduction to a genre that really doesn’t want you to get a good night’s sleep.  

9. Lake Mungo (2008)

The first (and not the last) documentary-style haunting on this list is a slow burner of a ghost yarn that will sneak under your skin when you really don’t expect it. Lake Mungo is the story of a family who have tragically lost their teenage daughter in an accident. As you may expect considering you're reading this list of best haunted house movies, she may or may not have gone particularly far. 

Lake Mungo hits so hard just because it feels so convincing. Every interview with the family feels painfully real and, even as the story takes some unexpected twists, the movie constantly feels unsettlingly convincing. Few scary movies exist in a vacuum and, where plenty of films are happy to hit you with demonic forces who would villainously monologue, this one is almost too human in its delivery. If ghosts and spirits were real, would they be emptying the cupboards and stacking the plates dramatically on the table? Or would they just try to get home?  

8. The Orphanage (2007)

If the best horror directors understand anything, it’s that there are few things scarier than masks and children. Add a sack mask to a creepy child at the end of a hall and it seems like director J.A Bayona hit the blood-curdling jackpot. Thankfully though, where other horrors would dine out on this alone, The Orphanage is the complete opposite of a cynical scare factory. 

Laura, her husband, and son Simon move to the old orphanage where she grew up to re-open the facility as a home for children. She becomes worried when Simon starts talking about his new "friend" Tomas, but when he disappears entirely, things, quite understandably, take a turn for the worst. El Orfanato, to give it its Spanish name, isn’t afraid to scare you but there’s genuine anguish here too. Be suspicious of anyone with dry eyes at the end of this psychological nightmare. 

7. The Changeling (1980)

Marketed in 1980 as an "experience beyond total fear," The Changeling plays a little differently in 2019. Yet, while we’ve all heard plenty of bumps in the night since, this is still a truly atmospheric ghost story as a grieving composer moves to an isolated mansion to get away from the memories of his wife and daughter. The best horror is about the human condition and The Changeling is as much an exercise in grief as an unnerving supernatural drama. 

Yes, the movie features tropes that are the now ghost story staples, such as abandoned wheelchairs, locked doors, and echoing thuds through empty halls, but they don’t feel tired here. Instead, an atmospheric silence lurks around them that easily sends a chill down your spine. If you’re looking for a Sunday evening horror by the fire, The Changeling is perfect company. Just don’t be surprised when it follows you to bed.

6. Hell House LLC (2015)

Whether the idea of wilfully going into a dark house and paying people to scare you senseless is your idea of a Halloween treat or a nightmare, Hell House LLC is one of the most relatable hauntings on this list. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel safe in a theme park environment, so the idea of that going wrong makes for intriguingly horrific shenanigans. 

The majority of the action is from the perspective of a motley crew of professional scarers constructing their first "haunt" in an old hotel. Unfortunately, the only reason we’re seeing them is as part of a documentary covering a tragedy that occurred on the attraction’s opening night. Constantly genuinely unnerving and inventive, not to mention definitely not for those with a fear of clowns, Hell House LLC is a brilliant found-footage surprise. You just might think twice before heading out for Halloween.

5. Ju-On: The Grudge

A horror so good that its own director and creator made it twice, Ju-on: The Grudge is the scream of the crop when it comes to making a house a home you’d never want to live in. Despite being seen as the original, this is actually a sequel to two direct to video productions. Ju-On, though, does a perfect job of introducing us to the concept of the Grudge. This is the idea that when someone dies amidst a fit of rage, a curse is born that will, by and large, eat everyone who encounters it for breakfast. 

An unassuming Japanese home suddenly becomes the epicentre for this haunting misery as people disappear inside, only to be set upon by those who have already fallen to the curse. The idea is scary enough, but it’s the relentless execution, so to speak, that will get you. Maybe you always thought that inward yawning noise was silly when you heard people talking about how terrified they were? You’ll learn. 

4. The Conjuring (2013)

While firmly on the fun ghost train end of the spooky spectrum with its perfectly timed jump scares, James Wan’s The Conjuring is an almost perfect haunted house movie. Sure, it might have spawned a whole MCU-style horror-verse, but don’t let that distract from the fact that the first film is a self-contained creepy journey into family hell. 

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga bring just the right tone to their performances as parapsychologists Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate the strange goings-on in the Perron household. And you’ll never be bored. In true Wan style, the haunting of the family is relentless. Beds are no longer a safe haven, the darkness behind doors becomes a terrifying void where evil lurks, and one particular scare goes down in the horror history books as, hands down , one of the creepiest of all time. Whether you believe the "based on real events" intro or not, The Conjuring is scare-tacular modern haunted house royalty. 

3. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Technically, Paranormal Activity’s Katie Featherston is the haunted one here, not the house, but to leave Oran Peli’s found-footage phenomenon out of the ghostly fun would be criminal. The original and best – although PA3 has some good scares – Paranormal Activity runs on a beautifully simple premise. In an attempt to find a source for the strange activities in their home, Micah Sloat sets up a camera at the end of his and Katie's bed. By day, the pair go about their day to day lives, but by night, we’re treated to a dimly-lit static shot that just happens to be a masterclass in horror tension building. 

As an audience, we obsess over the positioning of every door, the angle of every sheet. The complete lack of action is so riveting that when something does happen, it’s truly spine-chilling. What’s even more terrifying is that just switching on the light really doesn’t help... 

2. Poltergeist (1982)

Sometimes it just seems unfair on other horror directors that Tobe Hooper not only created one of the most visceral slasher movies of all time (in the jagged shape of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but also one of the best haunted house movies to boot. Here we are though, and if you’ve somehow managed to miss the creeptacular delights of Poltergeist, it’s time to grab a blanket, head to your streaming service of choice, and make sure you don’t end watching the remake by accident. 

Plotwise, it’s a traditional set up: a young family is suddenly beset by strange goings on in their meant-to-be-safe home and invite scientific investigators in to take a look. As you would expect, they don't help the situation as much as you would like them to... Poltergeist is essential watching for horror enthusiasts as the movie influenced modern haunted horror such as James Wan’s Insidious. Again though, mind the clowns. They’re heeeere…

1. The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s frightmare tops this list of the best haunted house movies. Yes, the OVerlook is technically a hotel, but what is a hotel, if not the combination of dozens of miniature houses all stacked up on one other? Plus, it acts as a home for Jack Torrance's family – and some other bad spirited abodes. The Stephen King-created hotel houses disturbing twins, rotting women, and a dutiful bartender...

While the spirits form the otherworldly horrors, it’s the human element of the story that makes this ghost house so terrifying. Sure, some blood spilling from an elevator is unnerving, but it’s nothing compared to Jack Torrance’s gradual descent into madness as he turns on his wife and child. Artful atmospheric camera work and creepy residents are icing on an ominously chilling cake.  

Need more Halloween recommendations? Then be sure to check out our pieces on the  best horror remakes ,  best horror sequels , best witch movies , and  best vampire movies .

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Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode. 

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Best Haunted House Horror Movies

Horror loves a haunted house, and these movies show why.

As long as horror movies continue to exist, there will be haunted houses . The basic premise is just too enticing to resist: confine a group of people in a rickety old building, move some furniture, and let the supernatural terror run amok. Typically removed from reality, haunted houses give filmmakers the freedom to go wild as any logical consistency is largely dependent on the creators. There is no limit.

Since the days of 1925's The Monster and 1927's The Cat and the Canary , people have been stepping into spooky buildings and scaring millions of viewers in the process. These films are often exciting, terrifying, and creative, and here are the most entertaining or scariest haunted house movies ever.

Updated October 14, 2022 by Mark Sammut: As Halloween is right around the corner, this is the ideal time to visit some haunted houses. Luckily, the movie industry loves a good old Gothic mansion, and quite a few of these flicks are readily available on streaming platforms. In celebration of the spooky season, this article has been expanded to include a few more of the best haunted house movies .

17 House On Haunted Hill (1959)

house on haunted hill 1959 Skeleton

William Castle's House on Haunted Hill is a quintessential B-movie . The film takes audiences on a rollercoaster ride of thrills, misdirection, and cheesy but charming special effects.

RELATED: The Best Horror Movies On Amazon Prime Video

The story finds five people summoned to a house by its quirky owner who challenges them to spend the night. Unsurprisingly, the host has more planned than just a social experiment with a price. House on Haunted Hill is not particularly scary, but it is a lot of fun and quite rewatchable.

16 Monster House (2006)


Animated horror movies are in short supply, but the 2000s did produce a few standout releases. Monster House delivers exactly what its title advertises, and it is far better than some people might assume. It is not only that the visuals are fittingly creepy, but Monster House also doesn't fall flat in the character department.

Witty, endearing, and constantly entertaining, Monster House is a great movie for the entire family and a rare example of a haunted house film that children can also enjoy .

15 The Uninvited (1944)

The Uninvited (1944)

One of Hollywood's earliest haunted house movies, The Uninvited holds up surprisingly well considering its age. The film follows two siblings who purchase a house and come to realize that maybe they have an unwanted guest. Nowadays, this story could not be any more basic, but The Uninvited stands out as its focus is primarily on the mystery driving the supernatural element rather than the scares.

That's not to say the film is completely lacking in creepy moments, but they are subtle rather than overt. The best haunted house films emphasize the unknown, and The Uninvited excels in this department.

14 Insidious (2010)


Slightly overshadowed by The Conjuring movies, Insidious is arguably the most terrifying series created by James Wan, with the first two entries being especially strong. The 2010 release's story will sound familiar to any horror fan, as a family moves to a new house where they begin to experience strange events that predominantly center around their son.

RELATED: Best Horror Movies On Tubi

Insidious is intense and unpredictable, and the movie features chilling designs for its villains. For those seeking a modern haunted house movie that is genuinely scary rather than just fun, Insidious is a fantastic pick.

13 The Amityville Horror (1979)

The Amityville Horror 1979 movie house

Somehow, the phenomenon surrounding the Amityville house has spawned a ridiculous number of horror movies. Most of these films are not worth seeking out, but 1979’s The Amityville Horror has the distinction of being the first to tackle the Lutz family’s reported haunting.

Although quite dated by today’s standards and inconsistently acted even for its time, The Amityville Horror gets by on mystique, cheap thrills, and a few flashes of horror brilliance. Removed from its real-life inspiration , The Amityville Horror is an enjoyable, stereotypical haunted house movie.

12 The Orphanage (2007)

The Orphanage (2007)

A Spanish production that is likely to conjure images of 2001's The Others , The Orphanage is an expertly-paced thriller that appreciates the power of letting suspense simmer. Rather than rely on frequent bursts of terror, the story lets the tension build as viewers wait for the other foot to drop.

With her husband and son, Laura returns to the orphanage she grew up in so that she can open it to a new generation. Initially, Laura has a fond recollection of her time in the household, but ugly flashes of fragmented memories begin to challenge this perspective. When her son starts to talk with an imaginary friend who feels oddly familiar to Laura, things take a turn for the horrifying.

11 The Conjuring (2013)

the conjuring 1 movie scared mother, child

The first in a largely consistent series , James Wan’s The Conjuring takes influence from Ed and Lorraine Warren’s paranormal investigations, which includes the Amityville Horror. 2013’s movie focuses on the Perron family’s experiences at a Rhode Island farmhouse, and The Conjuring ’s power rests on its adherence to classic horror tropes. This is a film that could have realistically been produced at any time over the last 40 years.

A master of horror, Wan takes his time in setting up The Conjuring ’s characters and story, sprinkling in nuggets of frights en route to an exhilarating and nightmare-inducing final act.

10 The Others (2001)

The Others movie 2001

Featuring a strong performance by Nicole Kidman, The Others leaves behind special effects in favor of atmosphere, mystery, and suspense. Grace and her two children live in a country house along with a few attendees, each of who begins to witness strange incidents that indicate another family is haunting the residence.

RELATED: The Best Horror Movies On Hulu

The Others moves at quite a meticulous pace and rejects conventional narrative tools such as jump scares, opting to allow the characters to carry the narrative. It works.

9 Ghostwatch (1992)

ghostwatch movie bbc

Showmanship is essential when it comes to horror films, or really any genre. BBC’s Ghostwatch might be the greatest example of a project’s presentation heightening its impact. Shot like a documentary and broadcast on Halloween as a live screening, Ghostwatch follows three BBC reporters as they look into a supposedly haunted house.

Initially, the reporters believe this case is a hoax, an assumption that weakens as the broadcast continues. Realistically shot, inventive, and terrifying when the horror really gets going, Ghostwatch is a work of art.

8 The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting 1963 movie

Not to be confused with the inferior 1999 remake, The Haunting is a classic psychological horror movie set in a contender for the genre’s greatest haunted house. Hugh Crain’s Hill House is a Gothic masterpiece ; a sprawling mansion defined by off-kilter furniture and unnatural architecture. Every room of this building has a tragic story to tell, and the film does an admirable job of making Hill House feel like a living entity.

Thematically, The Haunting tackles depression, guilt, and latent sexuality, all risky topics considering when the film came out.

7 House (1986)

house 1986 monster

Not to be confused with the 1977 Japanese film with the same name, which is also brilliant, 1986’s House is a lighthearted roller-coaster ride that is more preoccupied with entertaining rather than terrifying audiences. An author moves into his deceased aunt’s estate to write a book and perhaps exorcise an inner demon or two; unfortunately for Roger, this therapeutic event proves to be literal rather than metaphorical.

RELATED: The Best Horror Movies On HBO Max

Delightfully campy, House and its immediate sequel are fun for the whole family, something not many horror movies can claim.

6 The Legend Of Hell House (1973)

the legend of hell house movie

A physicist, his wife, and two mediums head to the Belasco House in search of spirits and a paycheck. After everything is said and done, they won’t all be walking out. The Legend of Hell House is a quintessential haunted house flick, albeit one that complements its spooky poltergeist-esque scares with a serviceable mystery and a great deal of tension between its human characters.

A crowd pleaser, The Legend of Hell House is a safe pick for any Halloween watch party, especially for those who have yet to experience the Belasco House’s terror.

5 The Innocents (1961)

the innocents 1961 movie

An adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw , The Innocents is a meticulously paced horror film about a governess, Miss Giddens, who begins to suspect that she might be in a haunted estate. She also believes her charges, two children, are the targets of the ghosts.

The Innocents comes laced with subtext revolving around repression and isolation, so there is a lot more going on here than just creepy children and an atmospheric set. Even if that element is ignored, a stellar haunted house movie still remains.

4 House (1977)

house 1977 movie haunted house

1977's House throws caution to the wind as it puts aside anything resembling reason in favor of pure creative madness. Schoolgirls head to a country home to spend the summer with one of the student's aunts. It proves to be a not-so-relaxing trip.

RELATED: Japanese Horror Games To Play If You Love Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water

House is bizarre in the most entertaining way. Blending comedy with effective horror, this Japanese film captures the feeling of living in a fever dream that happens to have a craving for death.

3 Poltergeist (1982)

poltergeist 1982 girl touching tv

Bringing together the talents of Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg , Poltergeist ’s genre-defining special effects set it apart from its contemporaries at the time of its release. While the visuals hold up well, the story is where the film’s strengths truly lie. Too many horror movies fail to match their supernatural threats with human characters who audiences genuinely wish to see survive; thankfully, Poltergeist does not have this issue.

The Freelings are put through hell as their home explodes with poltergeist activity, culminating in an iconic final sequence.

2 The Shining (1980)

The Shining overlook hotel bike

Stanley Kubrick ’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining follows Jack Torrance and his family as they move into the empty Overlook Hotel for the winter. The isolation begins to get to Jack, causing the father to grow progressively more unhinged and violent. Also, the hotel appears to be haunted, which does little to aid Jack’s state of mind.

Rivers of blood, ghostly bartenders, and iconic twins aside, The Shining keeps its supernatural events sporadic, leaving it up to the audience to decide whether Jack is hallucinating some of the hotel’s strangeness.

1 The Changeling (1980)

the changeling 1980 movie

George C. Scott, a wheelchair, and a gripping murder mystery, The Changeling is the definitive haunted house movie . The idea is simple: a composer moves into a mansion, weird things start to happen, and a disgruntled spirit must be avenged. The plot might not hold all that much in the way of surprises, but The Changeling stands out for one specific thing: its protagonist, John Russell, brings level-headed maturity to the story that grounds the supernatural incidents peppered throughout the film.

The Changeling ’s Victorian house is effective and creepy, a pitch-perfect pick for a haunted house setting.

MORE: The Best Horror Movies Of The 2010s (According To IMDB)


15 Best Paranormal Movies That Will Haunt You in Your Sleep

H orror stands as one of cinema's oldest and most ambitious genres, and it has cultivated a passionate fan following off the back of its ability to leave viewers a terrified, trembling mess. One of its most viscerally horrifying subgenres comes in the form of paranormal movies, with films focusing on unnatural beings like ghosts, spirits, and demons which invade our nightmares and pique our superstitions and fears.

With impeccable special effects, agonizingly suspenseful storytelling, and an ingrained sense of terror that forces us to keep watching no matter how much we want to look away, great paranormal horror films have served as one of the genre's defining pillars for decades . From timeless classics from over 50 years ago to modern masterworks that reinvent the terror for new generations, it was much more than mere jump scares that made these films the iconic hits that they are today.

'The Others' (2001)

Directed by alejandro amenábar.

A twisty, winding psychological horror, The Others excelled as a subversive haunted house horror movie that coasted on Nicole Kidman ’s compelling central performance. Taking place in 1945, it follows a devoted Catholic who moves to the English coast with her two young children who suffer from a rare photosensitivity disease while waiting for word on her husband in the war. As odd occurrences start to transpire around the house, Grace (Kidman) starts to believe something paranormal could be at work.

With an elegance that isn’t necessarily characteristic of horror, not to mention an intelligent and engrossing screenplay to boot, The Others excelled with its narrative nous alone. However, with The Others also boasting a magnetic, atmospheric chill that can have an immersive effect , it is shocking as it is tight and tidy to be an impressive and underrated horror flick.

Rent on Amazon Prime

'Suspiria' (1977)

Directed by dario argento.

One of the greatest horror movies of the 1970s which distinguished itself with a rich sense of style, Suspiria has become a true classic of the genre. It follows Suzy Bannion ( Jessica Harper ), an aspiring ballerina from America who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious dance academy, where her stay becomes plagued as a mysterious and malevolent entity haunts the establishment, sparking an idea that a supernatural conspiracy could be at play.

While the film has some genuinely unnerving scenes, what truly made it stick in the viewers’ minds was its breathtaking visual display, with Dario Argento using color to striking effect , creating a surreal atmosphere of gripping intensity. The end result is a strangely beautiful horror film that excels as an aesthetically entrancing masterpiece with a solid horror story to boot.

Release Date 1977-02-01

Director Dario Argento

Cast Susanna Javicoli, Barbara Magnolfi, Miguel Bos, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Jessica Harper

Watch on Tubi

'Poltergeist' (1982)

Directed by tobe hooper.

Poltergeist made television a thing to be feared. When the youngest of the Freeling family, Carol Anne ( Heather O'Rourke ) begins chatting with the static on the TV, there is something wrong. Eventually, the rest of the house becomes a horror show as well and it is overrun by malevolent ghosts who want to abduct Carol Anne.

Released in 1982, Poltergeist has become a timeless horror classic with its consistently terrifying tone which remains just as scary today as it was the day it was released. In addition to being a terrific paranormal horror film, Poltergeist is also one of the all-time great haunted house movies , one that not only gave viewers nightmares, but left them in a cold sweat when their television sets went to static as well.


Release Date 1982-06-04

Director Tobe Hooper

Cast Heather O'Rourke, Oliver Robins, Dominique Dunne, Beatrice Straight, JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson

Runtime 114

Rent on Apple TV

'Smile' (2022)

Directed by parker finn.

The directorial debut of Parker Finn , adapting his 2020 short film Laura Hasn't Slept into a feature-length horror hit, Smile proved to be incredibly effective as an unnerving, creepy demon possession flick. It follows Rose ( Sosie Bacon ), a psychiatrist who believes she is being haunted by a supernatural threat after she witnesses the bizarre and harrowing suicide of one of her patients.

Smile 's use of jump scares, mounting suspense, and eerily off-putting performances offered more than enough horror to keep audiences awake at night for fear of what they would see in their dreams. As a fresh entry into the world of horror cinema, Smile was a landmark box office success, making well over $200 million worldwide, and has a sequel scheduled to be released in October .

Watch on Amazon Prime

'Last Night in Soho' (2021)

Directed by edgar wright.

While it isn't classified as a horror film, Edgar Wright 's ghost story draws clear inspiration from the genre while creeping under audiences' skin with much more than just evil spirits. Last Night in Soho follows Eloise ( Thomasin McKenzie ) a clairvoyant girl who moves to London to attend a fashion course at an illustrious arts school where her connection to the area's ugly past threatens to drive her mad as she begins experiencing the life of an aspiring singer who had her room in the 1960s.

While the film's ghoulish, faceless ghosts can certainly garner a fright, it's Last Night in Soho 's thematic focus on misogyny and abuse that made it particularly striking . It also didn't hurt that the film had a spectacular soundtrack of '60s hits , flaunted Wright's trademark dedication to style, and served as a wonderful testament to classic horror which fans could both adore and fear.

Last Night in Soho

Release Date 2021-10-21

Director Edgar Wright

Cast Jessie Mei Li, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Thomasin McKenzie, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg

Runtime 118

'Talk to Me' (2023)

Directed by danny and michael phillipou.

The modern age of horror cinema has seen a number of stunning instant classics arise, but few have had such immediate success as Talk to Me . Following a group of friends as they conjure spirits with an embalmed hand for thrills, its sudden shift to paranormal terror has entrenched it among the best and most popular horror movies to be made in recent years.

The debut film of Michael and Danny Philippou , it hearkens back to classic horror movies from decades past while being imbued with some new ideas that make it completely of its time. Further enhanced by its aspirational dramatic heft, Talk to Me is a deeply unsettling film capable of rattling even the most hardened horror fans and is destined to become one of the best paranormal horror movies, if not of all time, then of its era at the very least.

Release Date 2023-07-28

Director Michael Philippou, Danny Philippou

Cast Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Sophie Wilde, Otis Dhanji

Runtime 94 minutes

Rent on Amazon

'Paranormal Activity' (2007)

Directed by oren peli.

An ingenious mix of simple yet suspenseful narrative, low-budget innovation, and the haunting, invasive feeling exuded from its home-camera gimmick, Paranormal Activity is a true masterpiece of found footage horror . As one of the 21st century's earlier horror hits, it focuses on a young couple who move into a new house where a series of strange happenings inspire Micah ( Micah Sloat ) to set up cameras to document what is occurring.

Steadily building the tension as the weird events that occur become increasingly hostile, much of the film's agonizing torment actually stemmed from the lingering moments where nothing was happening. A stressful, heart-stopping horror film, Paranormal Activity remains an acclaimed hit of the genre and one of the most intense and terrifying paranormal horror films of all time.

Paranormal Activity

Release Date 2009-10-16

Director Oren Peli

Cast Amber Armstrong, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Katie Featherston

Runtime 86 minutes

Watch on Max

'The Ring' (2002)

Directed by gore verbinski.

An American adaptation of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu , The Ring fast became a horror hit in the early 2000s. It follows Rachel ( Naomi Watts ), a journalist covering the death of four teenage girls who investigates a cursed videotape that kills people seven days after they watch it, and must find answers to save herself after she views it out of curiosity.

Fascinatingly, the film went into production without a finished script, but it found momentum in Gore Verbinski's arresting atmospheric suspense and Watts' outstanding central performance . The Ring tapped into the internet phenomenon of chain mail horror years before it bled into the mainstream consciousness, becoming a superstitious, paranormal hit of urban legend terror and nightmarish visual terror.

Release Date 2002-10-18

Director Gore Verbinski

Cast Lindsay Frost, David Dorfman, Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Jane Alexander, Brian Cox

Rating PG-13

Runtime 115 minutes

'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)

Directed by roman polanski.

A true timeless classic of horror cinema which was famous for its terrifying, psychological impact which saw it linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled, Rosemary's Baby mixes demonic horror with family drama to horrifying effect . It focuses on Rosemary Woodhouse ( Mia Farrow ), the wife of a stage actor who moves into an apartment building with her husband where strange occurrences plague her as she falls pregnant, leading her to grow suspicious of her neighbors.

With a violent and overbearing satanism an underlying threat throughout Rosemary's Baby , it gradually builds a sickening dread as the sinister plot of the complex’s tenants unfolds. Powered by Farrow’s phenomenal central performance, Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t just thrive as one of the scariest paranormal movies of all time, but as a great example of female-led cinema as well.

Rosemary's Baby

Release Date 1968-06-12

Director Roman Polanski

Cast Ralph Bellamy, Sidney Blackmer, John Cassavetes, Maurice Evans, Ruth Gordon, Mia Farrow

Runtime 137 minutes

Watch on Paramount+

'The Conjuring' (2013)

Directed by james wan.

Throughout the 2010s, the horror genre had a massive resurgence, with more genre films becoming mainstream hits the longer the decade went on. One of the great, early major success stories for 2010s horror was 2013's The Conjuring which follows a family who move into a haunted house and turn to demonologists Ed ( Patrick Wilson ) and Lorraine Warren ( Vera Farmiga ) to investigate the curse's origin.

A suitably terrifying picture, The Conjuring is a flawless example of haunted house horror and proved to be such a hit with fans that it spawned a successful extended franchise. Further adding to the nightmarish horror of the demonic evil and the visual frights, The Conjuring was reportedly based on true events that the real-life Warrens investigated in the 1970s.

The Conjuring

Release Date 2013-03-20

Director James Wan

Cast Hayley McFarland, Patrick Wilson, Shanley Caswell, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor

Runtime 112

'The Babadook' (2014)

Directed by jennifer kent.

A cult hit of an Australian horror movie that has gradually built up its audience as the years have gone on, The Babadook served as the directorial debut of Jennifer Kent . Following a widowed single mother as her son begins to act strange and speaks of a monster coming to get him, it focuses on an ominous picture book called "Mister Babadook" and the monstrous evil that comes to life from within it.

The film won international praise not only for its horror mastery, but also for its depiction of grief and loss which gave it a heart-wrenching story of family woe as its core. As for its terrifying magnificence though, Kent masterfully manufactured a truly shaking horror film without having to rely on jump scares or copious gore to leave audiences dreading the titular villain long after the movie had finished.

The Babadook

Release Date 2014-01-17

Director Jennifer Kent

Cast Barbara West, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall, Noah Wiseman, Essie Davis

Watch on Hulu

'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)

Directed by eduardo sánchez and daniel myrick.

Still standing as the magnum opus of the found-footage subgenre over two decades after its release, The Blair Witch Project remains one of the most viscerally terrifying movies ever made. It follows three film students who seek to make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch, and venture into the supposedly haunted woods to find out more about the myth only to find themselves lost and being stalked by a wicked and malevolent force.

The low-budget documentary approach gave The Blair Witch Project a jarring, grounded realism which elevated the horror by only giving audiences a very narrow viewpoint of what was unfolding. It allowed the imagination to run wild with all manner of dreadful thoughts, and also led to a very real sense of motion sickness which made many patrons in theaters physically ill .

The Blair Witch Project

Release Date 1999-07-30

Director Eduardo Snchez, Daniel Myrick

Cast Michael C. Williams, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard

Runtime 81 minutes

'Hereditary' (2018)

Directed by ari aster.

A groundbreaking debut from modern horror maestro Ari Aster , Hereditary became an instant classic with a startling reputation as being one of the greatest and scariest movies ever made . The famed horror flick follows a grieving family mourning the loss of an elderly relative who begins to fear they are being haunted by a demonic entity as they discover more of their disturbing ancestry amid a series of worrying occurrences.

The narrative takes some deeply disturbing turns to build an unbearable sense of dread which serves as an embodiment of nightmarish terror. Hereditary 's commentary on loss, guilt, and family is brilliant, not only in its depth but also in how it works into the horror , further enhancing it as the story unfolds right up until its scarring ending which has undoubtedly led to nightmares for millions of viewers around the world and marked Hereditary as one of the best supernatural horror movies ever made.

Release Date 2018-06-08

Director Ari Aster

Cast Zachary Arthur, Milly Shapiro, Alex Wolff, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd

Runtime 127 minutes

The Shining (1980)

Directed by stanley kubrick.

As one of the most renowned horror movies of all time, The Shining has endured for decades as a genre-defining masterpiece capable of generating an immense and weighted sense of dread that hangs heavy over the audience. From acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick , it follows a young family who relocates to the remote Overlook Hotel to serve as the resort’s winter caretakers where the patriarch begins to go mad as the hotel’s violent intent unravels.

With a runtime of 146 minutes, the film utilizes an agonizingly slow pace to draw out every ounce of dread and eerie suspense. It may not be the most immediately terrifying movie, but The Shining does prove to be an exhausting, lingering nightmare that can haunt viewers long after the credits roll .

The Shining

Release Date 1980-05-23

Director Stanley Kubrick

Cast Philip Stone, Barry Nelson, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd, Shelley Duvall, Jack Nicholson

Runtime 146

'The Exorcist' (1973)

Directed by william friedkin.

When young Regan ( Linda Blair ) becomes possessed by a demon, her family calls for an exorcism to vanquish the evil. As Regan's condition worsens, she wreaks havoc on her household as she battles the demon for power over her very being, all while two Catholic priests work tirelessly to exorcise the demon from her body.

The Exorcist broke barriers for the genre, becoming an instant and lasting phenomenon that incited widespread fanfare and spectacle while also inspiring derision and even legends of a cursed production. Despite all the hysteria surrounding the film though, the one thing about The Exorcist that has endured is its masterful execution of paranormal horror, something that has made the movie the scariest film of all time in the eyes of many who have seen it.

The Exorcist

Release Date 1973-12-26

Director William Friedkin

Cast Lee J. Cobb, Max Von Sydow, Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn

Runtime 122 minutes

NEXT: The Most Bizarre and Grotesque Body Horror Movies

15 Best Paranormal Movies That Will Haunt You in Your Sleep

The 10 Best Suburban Horror Movies, Ranked

“Death has come to your little town, Sheriff.”

Is there anything more horrifying than suburbia? While often presented as a calm, idyllic place where nothing bad ever happens, suburban horror takes the opposite approach, presenting it as anything but. Suburban horror shatters the illusion of the suburbs as a safe place, whether they're being infiltrated by serial killers and nightmarish monsters or are horrifying on their own merits. While particularly common in '80s horror films, the genre has roots going back even further, and it's still explored in horror films today.

Suburban horror shows that suburbia isn’t safe from horror, and even worse, sometimes the real horrors are suburbia itself. Whether ghosts, monsters or even our own neighbors, horror can be found lurking in our own backyards. Suburban horror often presents compelling stories, but at its best, it can be an unnerving reminder that things aren't always what they seem.

10 'The People Under the Stairs' (1991)

Directed by wes craven.

The Robeson family in bloody aprons in 'The People Under the Stairs.'

In the horror-comedy, The People Under the Stairs , with his family facing eviction and his mother suffering from cancer, a 13-year-old boy nicknamed Fool breaks into his landlord’s home to steal their prized coin collection but finds something much more disturbing instead. The house is occupied by two adult siblings, a brother and sister, who have mutilated young boys and imprisoned them under the stairs of their large home. The movie was written and directed by Wes Craven .

Unlike Craven’s other work, The People Under the Stairs had an element of black comedy to it, which isn’t to say the landlords aren’t suitably disturbing and creepy. Most importantly, though, the movie touches on the themes of poverty, class disparities and race , among others. Although not as successful as Craven’s other films, it’s become something of a cult classic, praised for commentary that was, in some ways, ahead of its time.

The People Under the Stairs

Rent on Prime

9 'The Purge' (2013)

Directed by james demonaco.

Two people wearing smiling purge masks, with one holding a large knife in The Purge

In The Purge , any and all crime is legal for a span of 12 hours, although with some limitations - certain weapons, such as explosives, are off-limits, and breaking the rules of the Purge is punishable by execution. But as a result of the practice, unemployment and overall crime rates are low, and the economy is doing well. The Purge has grown into a full franchise, with a total of five films and a sixth in the works , as well as a television show which lasted for two seasons.

The Purge presents a true nightmare scenario, where no one is safe no matter where they are and no one will come to help in the event of an attack , as all emergency services are unavailable. Although the exact scenario is unlikely, the horrors of T he Purge are very real, but there’s more to it than just violence; the film is also a commentary on class warfare, among other issues.

The Purge Film Poster

Watch on Prime

8 'Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)

Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) standing in a dark alley with his gloved knifed hand extended out in Nightmare on Elm Street

Another Wes Craven film, slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street tells the story of the killer Freddy Krueger ( Robert Englund ), who terrorizes teenagers in their dreams, leading to their deaths in real life - all to get revenge against their parents, who burned Krueger alive. As her friends were each brutally killed, teenager Nancy sought to find out the truth about who Krueger was and how to stop him. A Nightmare on Elm Street went on to spawn an entire franchise .

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror classic that manages to make nightmares even worse . It doesn’t get much worse than infiltrating a person’s dreams. Freddy Krueger is an iconic figure in the genre, and his razor glove is just as recognizable and famous. It’s no wonder he’s now a staple of Halloween costumes and decorations every year. The movie’s reputation is well-deserved, as not only does it present a scary story, but it’s hard to forget the teens’ violent, gruesome deaths.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Film Poster

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

7 'vivarium' (2019), directed by lorcan finnegan.

Jonathan Aris as Martin sitting at a desk in Vivarium

In Vivarium , young couple Tom ( Jesse Eisenberg ) and Gemma’s ( Imogen Poots ) search for the perfect home leads them to a suburban town with identical houses on identical streets, and their attempts to leave only keep leading them to the same home until their car finally runs out of gas. In frustration, Tom sets the house on fire, but it’s still there the next morning, completely unscathed. Along with the house is a box with a baby inside, as well as a note which reads, “Raise the child and be released.”

Vivarium is creepy from the start. The rows of identical cookie-cutter houses are inherently unsettling, and everything is too perfect-looking. It presents suburbia as not just a place devoid of personality and anything interesting or different, but an actual inescapable prison . And things keep getting worse, as Tom and Gemma are forced into a life they never chose. The film also has a sci-fi element to it, as the baby and its origins aren’t exactly human.

Vivarium Film Poster

Watch on Netflix

6 'Blue Velvet' (1986)

Directed by david lynch.

Laura Dern and Kyle MacLaughlin standing together in Blue Velvet

After his father has a stroke, college student Jeffrey ( Kyle MacLachlan ) returns home in Blue Velvet , and while he’s in the area, he discovers a severed human ear in a field. He enlists the help of a local detective’s daughter, and their investigation of it leads them to a lounge singer, who’s being tormented by a gangster and whose son has been kidnapped. The movie was written and directed by David Lynch .

The surreal, visually stunning Blue Velvet is now considered to be among Lynch’s best work, even though early reactions were much more mixed. It combines genres - it’s part noir, part psychological thriller and part coming-of-age - as Jeffrey stumbles from his normal, quiet small-town life into something darker and more sadistic. And it suggests that small-town America is full of secrets , with something sinister lying just barely beneath the surface.

Blue Velvet Film Poster

Blue Velvet

5 'poltergeist' (1982), directed by toby hooper.

Heather O'Rourke screaming in 'Poltergeist'

A family is tormented by a malevolent ghost in their home in Poltergeist . While the ghost seems to be merely playful at first, its behavior soon turns more violent and antagonistic. After the family’s young daughter goes missing - apparently abducted by the force in the home - they turn to paranormal investigators to get to the bottom of what’s happening in the house and find her. The film has had multiple sequels, as well as a reboot .

In Poltergeist , evil isn’t just lurking in the suburbs, it’s taken up residence in a family’s home. It’s one thing to be unsafe in a certain neighborhood, but it’s another to be unsafe in your own home , the one place that’s supposed to be a refuge. It’s a terrifying scenario, and the horrors the family deals with are relentless, as they escalate from furniture moving to actual violence against the family.

poltergeist poster


4 'ginger snaps' (2000), directed by john fawcett.

Katharine Isabelle as Ginger a teenage girl werewolf in 'Ginger Snaps'

Ginger Snaps follows teenager Ginger ( Katharine Isabelle ) who, after getting her first period, is violently attacked by a werewolf in the woods - and turns into one herself on the following full moon. But Ginger has also changed in other ways, from her physical appearance to her personality, while her sister is determined to help her. The movie was followed up with two additional films, a sequel and a prequel.

Part horror and part satire, Ginger Snaps managed to put an interesting twist on familiar werewolf lore . The movie is an entertaining - and even hilarious - look not just at suburbia, but specifically, what it’s like for a teenage girl, with Ginger’s transformation into a werewolf also serving as a metaphor for puberty . The movie is also notable for its impressive werewolf effects, as well as the gore from the damage they inflict.

Ginger Snaps Poster

Ginger Snaps

3 'halloween' (1978), directed by john carpenter.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) sitting outside in 'Halloween'

John Carpenter’s slasher classic Halloween presented brutal killer Michael Myers. Fifteen years after being sent to an institution for killing his teenage sister when he was a child on Halloween night, Myers returned to his hometown, where he stalked and killed teenagers. Among them is babysitter Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis , who at first thought the masked figure stalking her was just a prank. Meanwhile, Myers’ doctor, Samuel Loomis ( Donald Pleasence), is determined to catch him.

Halloween is a classic for a number of reasons; it pioneered slasher movies, has an amazingly creepy theme, and made Curtis one of the most notable scream queens in horror . Myers’ mask is instantly recognizable, and the movie has spawned a massive blockbuster franchise, from numerous sequels to a series of reboots. And while it’s horrifying to watch a killer terrorize an entire town, it was just as satisfying to watch Laurie battle it out with him and take him down.

Halloween 1978 Film Poster

Halloween (1978)

Watch on AMC+

2 'The Stepford Wives' (1972)

Directed by bryan forbes.

A woman lies shattered on the floor.

In The Stepford Wives follows a young wife and mother, Joanna ( Katharine Ross ), who moves with her family to the idyllic town of Stepford. There, she begins to suspect that something isn’t quite right with her neighbors. Gradually, all the women in town begin to change, becoming a little too perfect, and Joanna soon discovers that their husbands have murdered them and replaced them with robots. The film was remade in 2004 and was based on the novel of the same name by Ira Levin .

The Stepford Wives is quintessential suburban horror. Not only does it comment on the perfectionism of suburbia, but more importantly, it addresses misogyny, as Stepford’s free-thinking women are stripped of their identities and individualism and turned into subservient robots who exist solely for the benefit of men. The movie has had an undeniable impact on pop culture, as “ Stepford” and “Stepford wife ” have come to be common ways to describe the cookie-cutter aspect of suburbia.

Watch on Tubi

1 'Get Out' (2017)

Directed by jordan peele.

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in Get Out

In Get Out , Rose ( Allison Williams ), a white woman, invites her boyfriend, Chris ( Daniel Kaluuya ), a Black man, to spend a weekend visiting her parents. While things seem fine at first and Rose’s parents are welcoming, Chris begins to notice strange things about the family and their household staff - all of whom are Black - and he grows increasingly uneasy. Chris ultimately discovers a shocking secret about the entire family; one that puts him in grave danger.

Some of the best horror movies examine social issues, and Get Out does this brilliantly. The film takes its cues from other classic suburban horrors , like The Stepford Wive s and The People Under the Stairs and, in fact, Peele is set to do a remake of the latter. It’s a brilliant commentary on racism with a shocking twist . The cast all deliver fantastic performances, but Williams stands out in particular for her chilling portrayal of Rose.


NEXT: 10 Best Suburban Horror Movies That Are Under 90 Minutes

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The Best Haunted House Movies

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1. The Cat and the Canary (1927)

Passed | 108 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.

Director: Paul Leni | Stars: Laura La Plante , Creighton Hale , Forrest Stanley , Tully Marshall

Votes: 3,285 | Gross: $0.33M

2. The Old Dark House (1932)

Passed | 72 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff , Melvyn Douglas , Charles Laughton , Gloria Stuart

Votes: 12,960 | Gross: $0.03M

3. The Uninvited (1944)

Passed | 99 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

A composer and his sister discover that the reason they are able to purchase a beautiful gothic seacoast mansion very cheaply is the house's unsavory past.

Director: Lewis Allen | Stars: Ray Milland , Ruth Hussey , Donald Crisp , Cornelia Otis Skinner

Votes: 12,362

4. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Approved | 75 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Vincent Price , Carol Ohmart , Richard Long , Alan Marshal

Votes: 30,595

5. 13 Ghosts (1960)

Not Rated | 85 min | Horror, Mystery

A family inherits what proves to be a haunted house, but a special pair of goggles allows them to see their ghostly tormentors.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Charles Herbert , Jo Morrow , Martin Milner , Rosemary DeCamp

Votes: 7,032 | Gross: $3.27M

6. The Innocents (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Horror

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton | Stars: Deborah Kerr , Peter Wyngarde , Megs Jenkins , Michael Redgrave

Votes: 32,838 | Gross: $2.62M

7. The Haunting (1963)

G | 112 min | Horror

Hill House has stood for about 90 years and appears haunted: its inhabitants have always met strange, tragic ends. Now Dr. John Markway has assembled a team of people who he thinks will prove whether or not the house is haunted.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Julie Harris , Claire Bloom , Richard Johnson , Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 42,205 | Gross: $2.62M

8. Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

GP | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A recently institutionalized woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse and fears she may be losing her sanity once again.

Director: John D. Hancock | Stars: Zohra Lampert , Barton Heyman , Kevin O'Connor , Gretchen Corbett

Votes: 9,251

9. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

When a young girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two Catholic priests to save her life.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn , Max von Sydow , Linda Blair , Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 450,989 | Gross: $232.91M

10. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

PG | 95 min | Horror

A physicist, his wife and two mediums are hired to investigate the Belasco House, where 27 guests had inexplicably died in 1927, along with most of a team of paranormal investigators that was sent in the early 1950s.

Director: John Hough | Stars: Roddy McDowall , Gayle Hunnicutt , Pamela Franklin , Clive Revill

Votes: 13,953

11. House (1977)

Not Rated | 88 min | Comedy, Horror

A schoolgirl and six of her classmates travel to her aunt's country home, which turns out to be haunted.

Director: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi | Stars: Kimiko Ikegami , Miki Jinbo , Kumiko Ôba , Ai Matsubara

Votes: 33,179

12. The Sentinel (1977)

R | 92 min | Horror

A young woman moves into an apartment in a building which houses a sinister evil.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Cristina Raines , Ava Gardner , Chris Sarandon , Martin Balsam

Votes: 11,818

13. The Amityville Horror (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror

Newlyweds and their three children move into a large house where a mass murder was committed. They start to experience strange, inexplicable manifestations which have strong effects on everyone living in or visiting the house.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: James Brolin , Margot Kidder , Rod Steiger , Don Stroud

Votes: 44,215 | Gross: $86.43M

14. The Changeling (1980)

R | 107 min | Horror, Mystery

After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying at a long-vacant Seattle mansion is dragged into a decades-old mystery by an inexplicable presence in the mansion's attic.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: George C. Scott , Trish Van Devere , Melvyn Douglas , Jean Marsh

Votes: 39,585

15. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson , Shelley Duvall , Danny Lloyd , Scatman Crothers

Votes: 1,096,118 | Gross: $44.02M

16. The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Not Rated | 86 min | Horror

A New England home is terrorized by a series of murders, unbeknownst to the guests that a gruesome secret is hiding in the basement.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl , Paolo Malco , Ania Pieroni , Giovanni Frezza

Votes: 16,095

17. The Black Cat (1981)

A professor with the psychic ability to communicate with the dead uses his powers on his pet cat in order to take vengeance upon his enemies.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Patrick Magee , Mimsy Farmer , David Warbeck , Al Cliver

Votes: 4,207

18. The Beyond (1981)

R | 87 min | Horror

A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where, following a series of supernatural "accidents", she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl , David Warbeck , Cinzia Monreale , Antoine Saint-John

Votes: 25,085 | Gross: $0.12M

19. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell , Ellen Sandweiss , Richard DeManincor , Betsy Baker

Votes: 230,818 | Gross: $2.40M

20. Poltergeist (1982)

PG | 114 min | Horror, Thriller

A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: JoBeth Williams , Heather O'Rourke , Craig T. Nelson , Beatrice Straight

Votes: 178,249 | Gross: $76.61M

21. Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

R | 104 min | Horror

A dysfunctional family moves into a new house, which proves to be satanic, resulting in the demonic possession of their teenage son.

Director: Damiano Damiani | Stars: James Olson , Burt Young , Rutanya Alda , Jack Magner

Votes: 12,733 | Gross: $12.53M

22. The Entity (1982)

R | 125 min | Drama, Horror

A woman is tormented and sexually molested by an invisible demon.

Director: Sidney J. Furie | Stars: Barbara Hershey , Ron Silver , David Labiosa , George Coe

Votes: 18,100 | Gross: $13.28M

23. Amityville 3-D (1983)

PG | 105 min | Horror

A reporter moves into the Amityville house in defiance of the supernatural events connected to it, and finds everyone around him besieged by the evil manifestations which are connected to a demonic presence in the basement.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Tony Roberts , Tess Harper , Robert Joy , Candy Clark

Votes: 7,427 | Gross: $6.33M

24. House (1985)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.

Director: Steve Miner | Stars: William Katt , Kay Lenz , George Wendt , Richard Moll

Votes: 29,717 | Gross: $19.44M

25. Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

PG-13 | 91 min | Horror

The Freeling family have a new house, but their troubles with supernatural forces don't seem to be over.

Director: Brian Gibson | Stars: JoBeth Williams , Craig T. Nelson , Heather O'Rourke , Oliver Robins

Votes: 29,647 | Gross: $41.00M

26. Night of the Demons (1988)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Ten teenagers party at an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween night. When an evil force awakens, demonic spirits keep them from leaving and turn their gathering into a living Hell.

Director: Kevin Tenney | Stars: Cathy Podewell , Alvin Alexis , Hal Havins , Allison Barron

Votes: 18,916 | Gross: $3.11M

27. Bad Moon (1996)

R | 80 min | Horror, Thriller

After being bitten by a werewolf in the jungle, Ted looks for a cure. His lawyer sister, with a son and dog, invites him to park his camper by her house in the woods and live out of her fridge.

Director: Eric Red | Stars: Mariel Hemingway , Michael Paré , Mason Gamble , Ken Pogue

Votes: 8,002 | Gross: $1.06M

28. House on Haunted Hill (1999)

R | 93 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An amusement park mogul offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.

Director: William Malone | Stars: Geoffrey Rush , Famke Janssen , Taye Diggs , Peter Gallagher

Votes: 59,850 | Gross: $40.85M

29. The Haunting (1999)

PG-13 | 113 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Dr Marrow enlists Theo, Luke and Nell for a study of sleep disorders at the Hill House. As soon as the terrifying truth about the mansion is revealed, everyone is found fighting for their lives.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Liam Neeson , Catherine Zeta-Jones , Owen Wilson , Lili Taylor

Votes: 80,148 | Gross: $91.41M

30. The Sixth Sense (1999)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist, starts treating a young boy, Cole, who encounters dead people and convinces him to help them. In turn, Cole helps Malcolm reconcile with his estranged wife.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis , Haley Joel Osment , Toni Collette , Olivia Williams

Votes: 1,043,231 | Gross: $293.51M

31. Stir of Echoes (1999)

R | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After being hypnotized by his sister-in-law, a man begins seeing haunting visions of a girl's ghost and a mystery begins to unfold around him.

Director: David Koepp | Stars: Kevin Bacon , Zachary David Cope , Kathryn Erbe , Illeana Douglas

Votes: 86,836 | Gross: $21.13M

32. What Lies Beneath (2000)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she is losing her mind.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Harrison Ford , Michelle Pfeiffer , Katharine Towne , Miranda Otto

Votes: 134,884 | Gross: $155.46M

33. The Others (2001)

PG-13 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

In 1945, immediately following the end of Second World War, a woman who lives with her two photosensitive children on her darkened old family estate in the Channel Islands becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Nicole Kidman , Christopher Eccleston , Fionnula Flanagan , Alakina Mann

Votes: 390,464 | Gross: $96.52M

34. Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

R | 91 min | Fantasy, Horror

When Cyrus Kriticos, a very rich collector of unique things, dies, he leaves his house, fortune, and his prized collection of ghosts.

Director: Steve Beck | Stars: Tony Shalhoub , Shannon Elizabeth , Embeth Davidtz , Matthew Lillard

Votes: 93,187 | Gross: $41.87M

35. Session 9 (2001)

R | 97 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Director: Brad Anderson | Stars: David Caruso , Stephen Gevedon , Paul Guilfoyle , Josh Lucas

Votes: 62,510 | Gross: $0.38M

36. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

A mysterious and vengeful spirit marks and pursues anybody who dares enter the house in which it resides.

Director: Takashi Shimizu | Stars: Megumi Okina , Misaki Itô , Misa Uehara , Yui Ichikawa

Votes: 47,748 | Gross: $0.33M

37. Dark Water (2002)

PG-13 | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A mother and her 6-year-old daughter move into a creepy apartment whose every surface is permeated by water.

Director: Hideo Nakata | Stars: Hitomi Kuroki , Rio Kanno , Mirei Oguchi , Asami Mizukawa

Votes: 34,684

38. Darkness (2002)

PG-13 | 88 min | Horror

A teenage girl moves into a remote country house with her family, only to discover that their gloomy new home has a horrifying past that threatens to destroy the family.

Director: Jaume Balagueró | Stars: Anna Paquin , Lena Olin , Iain Glen , Giancarlo Giannini

Votes: 20,286 | Gross: $22.16M

39. Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003)

R | 92 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

As their curse spreads on, the ghosts find their chance to live once again through the pregnancy of a cursed woman.

Director: Takashi Shimizu | Stars: Noriko Sakai , Chiharu Niiyama , Kei Horie , Yui Ichikawa

Votes: 10,778

41. The Death Curse (2003)

Not Rated | 86 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

Nancy, a near-despicable Hong Kong girl who's bitchy and petulant, and even grifts money from Keith, a pathetic guy who blatantly adores her. After discovering him reading her mail (a ... See full summary  »

Director: Soi Cheang | Stars: Charlene Choi , Gillian Chung , Alex Fong , Steven Cheung

42. Saint Ange (2004)

R | 98 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Anna is a servant who accepts a post at the St. Ange. She arrives to confront an unsettling lack of orphans, save for one. Then the bizarre sights and sounds begin, which seem to elude detection by the other servant or the gloomy director.

Director: Pascal Laugier | Stars: Virginie Ledoyen , Lou Doillon , Catriona MacColl , Dorina Lazar

Votes: 4,910

43. Fragile (2005)

PG-13 | 101 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

At her new job in a rundown children's hospital, a nurse desperately tries to keep her patients safe from a plague of random, mysterious attacks.

Director: Jaume Balagueró | Stars: Calista Flockhart , Richard Roxburgh , Elena Anaya , Gemma Jones

Votes: 17,435

44. The Amityville Horror (2005)

R | 90 min | Horror

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

Director: Andrew Douglas | Stars: Ryan Reynolds , Melissa George , Jimmy Bennett , Jesse James

Votes: 116,906 | Gross: $65.23M

45. Boogeyman (2005)

PG-13 | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A young man tries to deal with the childhood terror that has never stopped haunting him.

Director: Stephen Kay | Stars: Barry Watson , Emily Deschanel , Lucy Lawless , Skye McCole Bartusiak

Votes: 32,485 | Gross: $46.75M

46. Paranormal Activity (2007)

R | 86 min | Horror, Mystery

After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.

Director: Oren Peli | Stars: Katie Featherston , Micah Sloat , Mark Fredrichs , Amber Armstrong

Votes: 254,605 | Gross: $107.92M

47. 1408 (2007)

PG-13 | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

A man who specialises in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: John Cusack , Samuel L. Jackson , Mary McCormack , Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 292,110 | Gross: $71.99M

48. The Messengers (2007)

PG-13 | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

Directors: Danny Pang , Oxide Chun Pang | Stars: Dylan McDermott , Penelope Ann Miller , Kristen Stewart , John Corbett

Votes: 41,081 | Gross: $35.37M

49. Dead Silence (2007)

R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After his wife meets a grisly end, Jamie Ashen returns to his hometown of Ravens Fair to find answers. His investigation leads him to the ghost of a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw who seems to have ties to his entire family tree

Director: James Wan | Stars: Ryan Kwanten , Amber Valletta , Donnie Wahlberg , Michael Fairman

Votes: 101,196 | Gross: $16.81M

50. The Orphanage (2007)

R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Director: J.A. Bayona | Stars: Belén Rueda , Fernando Cayo , Roger Príncep , Mabel Rivera

Votes: 162,875 | Gross: $7.16M

51. Mirrors (I) (2008)

R | 110 min | Horror, Mystery

An ex-cop and his family are the target of an evil force that is using mirrors as a gateway into their home.

Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Kiefer Sutherland , Paula Patton , Amy Smart , Cameron Boyce

Votes: 113,222 | Gross: $30.69M

52. The Collector (I) (2009)

R | 90 min | Horror, Thriller

Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.

Director: Marcus Dunstan | Stars: Josh Stewart , Andrea Roth , Juan Fernández , William Prael

Votes: 71,561 | Gross: $7.71M

53. Book of Blood (2009)

R | 100 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A paranormal expert discovers a house that is at the intersection of so-called "highways" transporting souls in the afterlife.

Director: John Harrison | Stars: Jonas Armstrong , Sophie Ward , Clive Russell , Paul Blair

Votes: 8,254

54. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

PG-13 | 92 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

After a family is forced to relocate for their son's health, they begin experiencing supernatural behavior in their new home, and uncover a sinister history.

Director: Peter Cornwell | Stars: Virginia Madsen , Martin Donovan , Elias Koteas , Kyle Gallner

Votes: 64,892 | Gross: $55.39M

55. Insidious (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Rose Byrne , Ty Simpkins , Lin Shaye

Votes: 336,540 | Gross: $54.01M

56. Haunted Changi (2010)

79 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

In January of 2010, a group of local filmmakers began exploring the famously haunted Old Changi Hospital in Singapore with terrifying and tragic results. This movie pieces together the ... See full summary  »

Directors: Tony Kern , Andrew Lau | Stars: Faridino Assalam , Farid Azlam , Sheena Chan , Sheena Chung

57. The Innkeepers (2011)

R | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel's haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.

Director: Ti West | Stars: Sara Paxton , Pat Healy , Kelly McGillis , Alison Bartlett

Votes: 37,069 | Gross: $0.08M

58. Grave Encounters (2011)

Not Rated | 92 min | Horror, Mystery

For their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that's supposedly haunted - and it might prove to be all too true.

Directors: Colin Minihan , Stuart Ortiz , The Vicious Brothers | Stars: Benjamin Wilkinson , Sean Rogerson , Ashleigh Gryzko , Merwin Mondesir

Votes: 63,375

59. Intruders (I) (2011)

R | 100 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Two children living in different countries are visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo | Stars: Clive Owen , Carice van Houten , Izán Corchero , Ella Purnell

Votes: 21,209 | Gross: $0.07M

60. The Awakening (I) (2011)

R | 102 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.

Director: Nick Murphy | Stars: Rebecca Hall , Dominic West , Imelda Staunton , Lucy Cohu

Votes: 68,675

61. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

R | 83 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

In 1988, young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity called Toby, who resides in their home.

Directors: Henry Joost , Ariel Schulman | Stars: Chloe Csengery , Jessica Tyler Brown , Christopher Nicholas Smith , Lauren Bittner

Votes: 99,339 | Gross: $104.01M

62. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Five college friends head out to a remote cabin for a getaway, but things don't go as planned when they start getting killed. They soon discover that there is more to the cabin than it seems.

Director: Drew Goddard | Stars: Kristen Connolly , Chris Hemsworth , Anna Hutchison , Fran Kranz

Votes: 446,774 | Gross: $42.07M

63. The Conjuring (2013)

R | 112 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Vera Farmiga , Ron Livingston , Lili Taylor

Votes: 549,809 | Gross: $137.40M

64. The Complex (2013)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Nursing student Asuka (Atsuko Maeda) has just moved into an apartment complex with her parents and younger brother. On the first night in her new room, she is awoken by a strange scratching... See full summary  »

Director: Hideo Nakata | Stars: Atsuko Maeda , Hiroki Narimiya , Ryô Iwamatsu , Masanobu Katsumura

Votes: 1,273

65. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

PG-13 | 106 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The Lamberts believe that they have defeated the spirits that have haunted their family, but they soon discover that evil is not beaten so easily.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Rose Byrne , Barbara Hershey , Lin Shaye

Votes: 187,510 | Gross: $83.59M

66. The Visit (I) (2015)

PG-13 | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Olivia DeJonge , Ed Oxenbould , Deanna Dunagan , Peter McRobbie

Votes: 149,447 | Gross: $65.21M

67. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

PG-13 | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

Director: Leigh Whannell | Stars: Dermot Mulroney , Stefanie Scott , Angus Sampson , Leigh Whannell

Votes: 117,564 | Gross: $52.22M

68. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

R | 134 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Vera Farmiga , Patrick Wilson , Madison Wolfe , Frances O'Connor

Votes: 297,455 | Gross: $102.47M

69. Lights Out (II) (2016)

PG-13 | 81 min | Horror, Mystery

Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother's experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.

Director: David F. Sandberg | Stars: Teresa Palmer , Gabriel Bateman , Maria Bello , Billy Burke

Votes: 141,174 | Gross: $67.27M

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Best Horror Movies of 2024 Ranked – New Scary Movies to Watch

Welcome to the best horror movies of 2024, ranking every dark and dreary delight coming out this year by Tomatometer! We start the list with Certified Fresh films (these movies have maintained a high Tomatometer score after enough critics reviews), followed by the pulp-pounding Fresh movies (these are rated at least 60%), and then concluding with the morbidly Rotten.

In 2023 , horror kicked off in a big way with M3GAN. There wasn’t a breakout hit in early 2024, with the major genre releases being Out of Darkness, the COVID-shot Paleolithic thriller Out of Darkness , and the Diablo Cody-penned Lisa Frankenstein , set in the same world as her cult comedy Jennifer’s Body .

New horror movies for 2024 on the horizon include They Follow (sequel to It Follows , with Maika Monroe and writer/director David Robert Mitchell returning), MaXXXine (Ti West’s closing his trilogy after X and Pearl ), Terrifier 3 (Art the Clown expands his spree into Christmas ), Nosferatu (from director Robert Eggers), Alien: Romulus (due in August), A Quiet Place: Day One (June), Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (September), Return to Silent Hill (original director Christophe Gans returns as well), The Conjuring: Last Rites (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their Warren roles).

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Out of Darkness (2022) 84%

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Midnight Peepshow (2022) 100%

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Double Blind (2023) 100%

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Somewhere Quiet (2023) 91%

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Here for Blood (2022) 88%

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Departing Seniors (2023) 61%

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The Seeding (2023) 55%

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Lisa Frankenstein (2024) 52%

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Founders Day (2023) 47%

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Night Swim (2024) 22%

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History of Evil.

History of Evil review – spooky-house horror set in future-fascist America

When fugitives from a tyrannical future US take cover in a mysterious building, you might expect more thrills than are on offer here

B o Mirhosseni’s dystopian horror drama opens with a onscreen text explainer, detailing how in the year 2045 the US became the North American Federation, a fascist state patrolled by roving militia in the name of God and country. There must’ve been some debate among the film-makers over how far into the future the ominous date should be but the vision of the US presented in History of Evil doesn’t feel two decades away. In the film’s first scene, a child is transported in a van through a checkpoint with a tracking device on her ankle, which is inspected by armed men. It’s horrific of course, but the bar is different for dystopian fiction in 2024. The US, after all, was cramming migrant children into freezing, overcrowded cages to sleep on concrete floors five years ago.

The child in question is Daria (Murphee Bloom), daughter of Alegre (Jackie Cruz), a subversive author on the run with her husband Ron (Paul Wesley), who is able to pass as a God-fearing good ol’ boy. The family end up hiding out in a picturesque colonial-era house – white clapboard, raised porch, the whole bit – but the house turns out to have a dark past and is keen to get its claws into Ron. Perhaps the biggest danger to the family will come from within, after all.

The concept of blending Hunger Games-style world-building with a plot that wouldn’t be out of place in a Stephen King story is an intriguing one. As Ron enjoys fireside chats over a whiskey with a mysterious old guy who says “don’t let your wife make you less of a man; they’re good at doing that”, the ghosts of The Shining are summoned, and we start bracing for an exciting showdown. Unfortunately, the dystopian thriller and the haunted house horror elements never quite mesh; the film ambles where you want it to sprint, and can’t quite get its teeth all the way into either genre.

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