The haunted house subgenre has been a horror mainstay for years, and it's alive and well to this day. The Conjuring cleaned up at the box office, proving that audiences are still just as interested in disturbing domiciles as ever. In haunted house films, the location is just as important, if not more so, than the human inhabitants, and as a general rule, the less inviting the house appears on screen, the greater the potential for malady... although as you'll see, that's not always the case.
While we wholeheartedly enjoy a good horror film, we would be more than a little reluctant to settle down (or even spend one night) in any of the homes featured in our favorite haunted house flicks. Below, behold eight houses we would most certainly not want to live in...
The Freeling's House in Poltergeist
As a general rule, building a home atop an occupied cemetery isn’t a good idea… unless of course you want to invite every kind of hell to break loose, and we have no desire to risk being pulled into the spirit world or manhandled by a clown doll. Poltergeist is the quintessential example of modern haunted house cinema; there wouldn’t be a Paranormal Activity franchise or the Insidious series if it weren’t for this film laying the groundwork. Though it's often impersonated, few films have come close to being as effective at terrifying audiences.
Aunt Elizabeth's House in House
The title abode in Steve Miner's 1986 film is a conduit for all sorts of malevolent goings-on. The film's protagonist, Roger Cobb (William Katt), inherited the place from his aunt Elizabeth (after she hanged herself in it), then has the extreme displeasure of reliving his worst Vietnam memories all over again. He also encountered some incredibly bizarre monsters and other forms of torment at the behest of his newly-acquired residence.
The House on Haunted Hill
Whether it's the 1959 Wililam Castle original or William Malone's 1999 remake, we have no desire to spend any measure of time in any incarnation of The House on Haunted Hill. The allure of easy money is a good way to make people throw common sense to the wind, and that is precisely what goes on in both versions: a group of characters agree to be locked in a notoriously spooky dwelling for an appealing sum of money ($10,000 in the original and $1,000,000 in the reboot), presuming they survive one night. We like our chances of survival much better without letting a crazy person lock us in a house brimming with supernatural activity.
The Amityville Horror House
The thing that makes the Amityville Horror house so terrifying is that some of the events that transpired in it are reportedly true. Depending on whom you speak to, those events may or may not have been greatly exaggerated (or made up altogether), but we aren’t taking any chances. True or not, the story behind the house is incredibly terrifying, and devilish sprits running amok is not something we'd care to experience. The Amityville house has become a tourist attraction, as the exterior represents one of the few cinematic domiciles that exists in real life... though it's been heavily refitted over the years (the iconic "eye" windows are now gone, as you can see above).
The Perron House in The Conjuring
The site of one of the most terrifying horror films of recent years, we would be hard pressed to set foot inside the haunted house from The Conjuring. There are some bad vibes going on up in that place. Like The Amityville Horror, the events on which The Conjuring are based are said to be true, and the film’s basis in reality adds an extra layer of terror to James Wan’s already creepy tale. Worse than living in any house on this list, though, would be living in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s room of reclaimed evil objects.
The Allardyce House in Burnt Offerings
The premise behind Burnt Offerings is a very creative one: giving the house a personality of sorts, and positioning it as a villain that is seeking blood so that it might regenerate itself, is unspeakably spooky. Not only that, the owners (Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart) are a pair of super-creeps themselves. (The same location, the historic Dunsmuir estate in Oakland, CA, would later serve as the exterior of the Morningside funeral home in Phantasm.) Burnt Offerings also features a jarring performance from the lovely Karen Black, who sadly passed away recently. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.
The Haunting in Connecticut House
Just as one should not move into a homes located over an occupied cemetery or Native American burial ground, one should also not move into a house that was once a funeral parlor. Dead bodies stored in the walls definitely detract from property value, as well as our interest in setting foot inside the place. Since A Haunting in Connecticut is also allegedly based on actual events, there is an extra sense of eeriness when watching the film.
The House of 13 Ghosts
William Castle's 1960 original and the 2001 remake have very little in common other than the basic premise of the title specters trapped within the house's walls and rooms. The remake was certainly more gruesome, and adjusted for the expectations of modern audiences, but both films are scary in their own right. Castle knew exactly how to spook his audience, and the remake took his example and expanded upon it. We would sooner sleep on the street than spend a single night in the house featured in either version.
Which horror film houses would you refuse to set foot in? Let us know in the comments below.