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Best Haunted Houses in Horror Movies, Ranked

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Monster House

Haunted houses reach far beyond the floorboards, and the spiderwebs that inhabit these spaces. They are captivating on their own, and films about them, when done right, seep into our psyche, making us fear the very place in which we are otherwise naturally supposed to feel safe. Many writers and directors have taken the trope of “the haunted house” and flipped it to make it their own — and changed the script in doing so. James Wan’s film Insidious, for example, challenges the simplistic thought that the family should just leave the house in order to find peace. However, the family in Insidious learns that it wasn’t the house that was haunted, but instead their son. This challenges the belief that there is an escape from the demons that haunt these homes, making it an interesting component in modern horror.

Architectural Digest comments that the first haunted house can be traced back to a silent film called The Cat and the Canary. This staple horror trope continues to succeed in the genre because of the growing number of directors like James Wan, who are constantly changing the way these houses are viewed. Director Mike Flannigan creates his own ghosts in his two hit Netflix series’ The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Both series focus on sadness, family complications, and the true ghosts that you cannot escape. The haunted house trope will simply never cease to exist. Here are the best haunted houses in horror, ranked.

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2006’s animated film Monster House is undoubtedly a perfect introduction to horror for young kids. Featuring three mostly likable young teens, Monster House embodies the simplistic tropes of classic horror films while also serving up a few laughs. DJ, Chowder, and Jenny suspect that their mean old neighbor and his house are plotting to consume trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. The three embark on a mission to destroy the house before the house destroys them and everyone the love. As it turns out, the house is the embodiment of their elderly neighbor’s wife who died, and her wrath is hard to ignore. Monster House’s shinning accomplishment is the development of the house itself. When the house comes alive, the carpet turns into its tongue and the porch’s wood becomes the teeth. The bright windows transform into menacing eyes, and at the very center is the house’s heart. Animation is key in transforming a classically designed haunted house into the personality of the film.

Related: Explained: Why We Love Stories Set in Haunted Houses

Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice is a staple on any October watchlist. The film focuses on two stories that inevitably intertwine, one for the living and one for the dead. When Lydia Deetz, played by Winona Ryder, moves into a new home with her parents, she learns that they aren’t the only residents in the house. She meets the Maitlands, played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, who are the home’s previous owners that perished in a car accident. The Maitlands are the very least of the Deetz’s worries in terms of haunting spirits go. Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton, taunts both families in an attempt to gain his demonic freedom. The house in Beetlejuice makes the list because it not only features some of the most quirky, Burton-inspired architecture in all of horror, but showcases some of the greatest clay animation monsters of its time.

Over 30 years ago, the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise changed horror forever, birthing one of the most iconic villains of all time. Freddy Krueger, portrayed by Robert Englund, terrorized the children of Elm Street in their dreams as retribution for what their parents had done to him. The first three films of the franchise focuses heavily on the importance of the Thompsons’ house. In the first film, Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, is haunted in her dreams and eventually pulls Freddy out of the dream world and into her home. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge centers on Jesse Walsh, played by Mark Patton; Jesse and his family move into the Thompson house and experience strange occurrences before Jesse starts to see Freddy, who is eagerly wishing to possess Jesse’s body. The third installment, A Nightmare on Elm St 3: Dream Warriors moves the terror to a mental hospital and sees the return of Nancy. However, Nancy isn’t the only piece of the original film to return. Kristen, played by Patricia Arquette, has been making a paper maché replica of Nancy’s house as well as visiting it in her dreams. The fact that the first three films focus heavily on the Thompson house and Freddy’s hold on it easily earns it a spot on the best haunted houses list.

For years, The Amityville Horror was deemed to be based on a true story. Although there has been a lot of debate regarding the Lutz family and the truth behind the claims that allegedly occurred within their family home, The Amityville Horror is a well known name in the realm of horror. After being denied permission to film at the real Amityville house, per GQ, production set their sights on a small shore town in New Jersey, where all the exterior shots and on-location scenes were filmed. The horrors that ensued in the 1979 film were classic haunted house tropes. Doors would close for no reason, and stranger noises, and even voices, all occurred. Even the possession of George Lutz, played by James Brolin, makes itself prevalent as the film nears a close.

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