Movie Feature

Scariest haunted house movies

By Cinema OnlineMovies - 24 April 2012 12:00 PM | Updated 2:45 PM

Scariest haunted house movies

Pick a cabin in the woods for a vacation and you’re definitely asking for it!

With the current release of ‘The Cabin In The Woods’, we can’t help but to be taken into an epilepsy worthy flashback where masked murderers and unknown horrors lurked in seemingly humble abodes.

As we brace our faint hearts with the lurking horrors of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s latest movie that follows a bunch of college students who pick a dodgy cabin in the woods (of all places) for a vacation. Here are some other creepy dwellings to fear.

An abandoned hotel: ‘The Shining’ (1980)

Having a hotel all to yourself would seem like a smashing ‘Project X’ scenario come true! But not for the Torrances -- Jack (Jack Nicholson), Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and their young son Danny (Danny Llyod), who play caretakers to an abandon hotel that gets completely snowed in during winter in this Stephen King story directed by Stanley Kubrick. While the hotel itself is built on an Indian burial ground, it doesn't take long for the family to experience some strange phenomenon in the isolated hotel. Especially Danny who is able to see the future and the horrifying series of events that is set to befall them. The iconic hotel has also been parodied a number of times in the ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Family Guy’, ‘Finding Nemo’ and most extensively in the 30 Seconds to Mars music video; ‘The Kill’.

Scream Factor: NNNNN

Also on inSing: The Decade’s 5 Scariest Hollywood Horrors

A house in the suburbs: ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2009)

Making full use of the 'found footage' genre which seems like a perfect coupling  with reality based horror is non-other than ‘Paranormal Activity’ which has spawned a few sequels and we're willing to bet there will be more. Katie and Micah are a fairly young couple who instead of fleeing their new home when they hear 'things' go bump in the night, decide to document themselves and the house. That is, until things gradually start getting louder and more scary. Thinking of moving to a new home? Well, think again.

Scream Factor: NNNN


A cabin in the woods: ‘The Evil Dead’ (1981)

Sure, Sam Raimi's classic style of horror comedy is not exactly what we had in mind when it comes to haunted houses, but it's all demons, satanic verses and gore in this cabin in the woods story that’s a satirical take on the usual slashing by numbers game. When five college students spend Spring Break in an isolated cabin, they unleash demons after finding a tape recorder that plays some satanic verses. As each of them gets possessed, they start to kill each other and Ash (Bruce Campbell) is the hero of the day when he tries to save them all. The spawning sequels see the return of Ash in ‘The Evil Dead II’ and ‘Army Of Darkness’.

Scream Factor: NNN


A mansion: ‘The Haunting’ (1999)

This remake of the 1963 movie of the same name, unleashes the heebie-jeebies when a bunch of people are invited to spend several nights in a huge mansion for an insomnia study, but little do they know it’s actually a psychological fear test that's unknowingly set in a haunted mansion. As the gates outside of the house are chained each night from letting anyone out, those in the house are subjected to various fearsome situations, and as with any horror movie, freak accidents start to occur. The movie wasn’t better than the original, but it did boast an interesting cast comprising of Owen Wilson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor and Liam Neeson. Remember, the older the house, the older the ‘occupants’.

Scream Factor: NNN


A house in Japan: ‘The Grudge’ (2004)

The dubious honour of being the mother of all haunted house movies should surely be given to ‘The Grudge’ or rather it's original Japanese movie ‘Ju-on: The Grudge’. When vengeful spirits of a murdered family remain to lurk in a house, soon its new occupants and even visitors of the house find themselves cursed and eventually face terrifying deaths. Enter, Sarah Michelle Gellar who plays the film's protagonist, Karen, an exchange student who for college credit becomes a caretaker of a senile woman in the cursed house. As she unravels the mystery of the house as well as the deaths, she witnesses the truly terrifying Japanese Onryo ghost that will leave viewers with sleepless nights as well as multiple checks under the bed and blanket for assurance.

Scream Factor: NNNN


A hotel room: ‘1408’ (2007)

Another one of Stephen King's short stories makes it to the big screen. John Cusack plays Mike, a writer investigating supernatural vacation places for his new book. When a tip leads him to a haunted hotel room in New York, he insists on spending a night there although the manager, played by Samuel L. Jackson, tries to convince him otherwise by saying that no one in room 1408 lasts more than hour. As expected, the room then comes to life, setting a countdown of one hour on the digital clock and creates many disturbances and torturous incidents on poor Mike. This movie proves that hotels as just as disturbing as houses.

Scream Factor: N

Another house in the suburbs: ‘Poltergeist’ (1982)

Another scenario of a family moving into a new home is observed through halfway covered palm shielded vision in this creepy tale of poltergeist infestation. What's scarier than moving objects, creepy trees, reanimated toys and the 'closet of hell', is young Carol Anne, a little blonde toddler who makes a friend out of the TV's static and talks to it in the dead of night. Say your prayers before watching, urban legend has it that the movie have cursed some of its cast to their early deaths, including young Carol Anne.

Scream Factor: NNNNN


A mansion:Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’ (1973)

Apparently no one got the memo that by inheriting an old mansion, one may also be subjected to inherit the paranormal entity that dwells within. When Sally and her husband Alex move into their new home, the night brings whispering voices to wake Sally when she stubbornly removes the bricks of a sealed fireplace in the basement despite being told not to. Soon goblin-like creatures start to make her life a living hell (as they literally try to drag her into it) while those around her think that she may have lost her marbles. There's also a fairly new remake that came out in 2011. However since that failed to deliver the chills, the original is highly recommended.

Scream Factor: NNN

Also check out the following articles in our scary movie series!


Top 10 “I See Dead People” Movies

The best (and creepiest) films that delve with talking to the dearly departed… and beyond.



5 Scariest Asian Horrors

We count down some of the finest in the macabre from Asia.