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Ultimate Haunted House Movie List

An aggregate, unranked list of the best Haunted House movies. Ever. Period.

  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • Release Year

1. 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: 1,088,459 | Gross: $44.02M

2. 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: 43,835 | Gross: $86.43M

3. 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: 177,392 | Gross: $76.61M

4. 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: 388,173 | Gross: $96.52M

5. 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: 290,336 | Gross: $71.99M

6. 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: 253,466 | Gross: $107.92M

7. The Grudge (2004)

PG-13 | 91 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.

Director: Takashi Shimizu | Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar , Jason Behr , Clea DuVall , William Mapother

Votes: 149,860 | Gross: $110.36M

8. 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: 112,853 | Gross: $30.69M

9. 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: 64,679 | Gross: $55.39M

10. The Uninvited (2009)

PG-13 | 87 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Anna returns home after a stint in a mental hospital, but her recovery is jeopardized by her father's new girlfriend and ghastly visions of her dead mother.

Directors: Charles Guard , Thomas Guard | Stars: Emily Browning , Arielle Kebbel , Elizabeth Banks , David Strathairn

Votes: 84,341 | Gross: $28.57M

11. The Skeleton Key (2005)

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

A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.

Director: Iain Softley | Stars: Kate Hudson , Peter Sarsgaard , Joy Bryant , Gena Rowlands

Votes: 121,620 | Gross: $47.81M

12. Gothika (2003)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A depressed psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the asylum where she worked, with no memory of why she is there or what she has done.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz | Stars: Halle Berry , Penélope Cruz , Robert Downey Jr. , Charles S. Dutton

Votes: 117,996 | Gross: $59.69M

13. 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: 92,728 | Gross: $41.87M

14. 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: 59,664 | Gross: $40.85M

15. The Haunting (1999)

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

A study in fear escalates into a heart-stopping nightmare for a professor and three subjects trapped in a mysterious mansion.

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

Votes: 79,908 | Gross: $91.41M

16. Haunt (2013)

R | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Romance

An introvert teen befriends his new neighbor, and together the couple begin to explore the haunted house that his family has just purchased.

Director: Mac Carter | Stars: Jacki Weaver , Liana Liberato , Harrison Gilbertson , Ione Skye

Votes: 8,637

17. The Pact (II) (2012)

R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother's death and the disappearance of her sister, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home.

Director: Nicholas McCarthy | Stars: Caity Lotz , Casper Van Dien , Mark Steger , Agnes Bruckner

Votes: 25,176

18. 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: 36,958 | Gross: $0.08M

19. The House of the Devil (2009)

R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery

In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

Director: Ti West | Stars: Jocelin Donahue , Tom Noonan , Mary Woronov , Greta Gerwig

Votes: 50,599 | Gross: $0.10M

20. 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: 39,227

21. 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: 42,019 | Gross: $2.62M

22. 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: 30,390

23. House of Usher (1960)

Approved | 79 min | Drama, Horror

Upon entering his fiancée's family mansion, a man discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Vincent Price , Mark Damon , Myrna Fahey , Harry Ellerbe

Votes: 15,191 | Gross: $3.16M

24. The Haunted Palace (1963)

Not Rated | 87 min | Horror

Charles Dexter Ward arrives at a small village to visit the house he inherited from his ancestor who died there 100 years ago.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Vincent Price , Debra Paget , Lon Chaney Jr. , Frank Maxwell

Votes: 8,315 | Gross: $2.62M

25. House of the Long Shadows (1983)

PG | 100 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

An American author finds a dilapidated Welsh manor perfect for writing until the residents host a bizarre family reunion.

Director: Pete Walker | Stars: Vincent Price , Christopher Lee , Peter Cushing , Desi Arnaz Jr.

Votes: 4,481

26. The Haunted Mansion (2003)

PG | 88 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A realtor and his wife and children are summoned to a mansion, which they soon discover is haunted, and while they attempt to escape, he learns an important lesson about the family he has neglected.

Director: Rob Minkoff | Stars: Eddie Murphy , Marsha Thomason , Jennifer Tilly , Terence Stamp

Votes: 56,233 | Gross: $75.85M

27. Scooby-Doo (2002)

PG | 86 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.

Director: Raja Gosnell | Stars: Matthew Lillard , Freddie Prinze Jr. , Sarah Michelle Gellar , Linda Cardellini

Votes: 123,565 | Gross: $153.29M

28. 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: 29,528 | Gross: $19.44M

29. The Gate (1987)

PG-13 | 85 min | Fantasy, Horror

Kids left home alone accidentally unleash a horde of malevolent demons from a mysterious hole in their suburban backyard.

Director: Tibor Takács | Stars: Stephen Dorff , Christa Denton , Louis Tripp , Kelly Rowan

Votes: 19,209 | Gross: $13.54M

30. Monster House (2006)

PG | 91 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Three teens discover that their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

Director: Gil Kenan | Stars: Mitchel Musso , Sam Lerner , Spencer Locke , Ryan Whitney

Votes: 135,593 | Gross: $73.66M

31. 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: 134,185 | Gross: $155.46M

32. 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: 162,102 | Gross: $7.16M

33. 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: 546,213 | Gross: $137.40M

34. I Remember You (2017)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A story about a young man and two women who move into a small abandoned town in Iceland to renovate an old house. Little do they know the town has a dark history.

Director: Óskar Thór Axelsson | Stars: Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson , Thorvaldur Kristjansson , Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir , Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir

Votes: 5,256

35. Dead Shack (2017)

R | 85 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

While staying at a cabin in the woods for a weekend, three teenagers discover that their neighbor is 'feeding' guests to her zombie family. In short order, the battle is on as the kids fight to save themselves and their family.

Director: Peter Ricq | Stars: Matthew Nelson-Mahood , Lizzie Boys , Gabriel LaBelle , Lauren Holly

Votes: 2,829

36. 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: 229,479 | Gross: $2.40M

37. Housebound (2014)

Not Rated | 107 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

A young woman is forced to return to her childhood home after being placed under house arrest, where she suspects that something evil may be lurking.

Director: Gerard Johnstone | Stars: Morgana O'Reilly , Rima Te Wiata , Glen-Paul Waru , Ross Harper

Votes: 37,217

38. Last Shift (I) (2014)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery

A rookie cop is tasked with taking the last shift at a police station before it is permanently closed, but it turns into a living nightmare.

Director: Anthony DiBlasi | Stars: Juliana Harkavy , Joshua Mikel , Hank Stone , J. LaRose

Votes: 23,041

39. 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: 62,970

40. The Ward (2010)

An institutionalized young woman becomes terrorized by a ghost.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Amber Heard , Mamie Gummer , Danielle Panabaker , Laura-Leigh

Votes: 44,418

41. Ghost Ship (2002)

R | 91 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A salvage crew discovers a long-lost 1962 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea, and soon notices that its long-dead inhabitants may still be on board.

Director: Steve Beck | Stars: Julianna Margulies , Gabriel Byrne , Ron Eldard , Desmond Harrington

Votes: 107,967 | Gross: $30.11M

42. Haunted (III) (2017)

R | 86 min | Horror, Thriller

An aspiring writer pays a visit to his sister to look after her house while she is out of town, but what he finds there is more terrifying than any of the stories he writes.

Director: Eros D'Antona | Stars: Roberto D'Antona , Michael Segál , David White , Annamaria Lorusso

43. Haunted (1995)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror

A skeptical professor visits a remote British estate to debunk allegations of psychic phenomena, but soon finds himself haunted by a ghost from his own past.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Aidan Quinn , Kate Beckinsale , Anthony Andrews , John Gielgud

Votes: 7,241

44. Crimson Peak (2015)

R | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Mia Wasikowska , Jessica Chastain , Tom Hiddleston , Charlie Hunnam

Votes: 156,628 | Gross: $31.09M

45. 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: 13,882

46. Burnt Offerings (1976)

PG | 116 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A family moves into a large old mansion in the countryside which seems to have a mysterious and sinister power over its new residents.

Director: Dan Curtis | Stars: Karen Black , Oliver Reed , Burgess Meredith , Eileen Heckart

Votes: 13,366

47. 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: 9,207

48. 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: 11,750

49. 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: 32,671 | Gross: $2.62M

50. 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: 12,298

51. The Unspoken (2015)

Unrated | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

In 1997 the Anderson family vanished from their home without a trace. No bodies were ever found. For 17 years the house has remained undisturbed... until now.

Director: Sheldon Wilson | Stars: Jodelle Ferland , Sunny Suljic , Pascale Hutton , Anthony Konechny

Votes: 2,275

52. The Frighteners (1996)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

After a tragic car accident that kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead, and he uses that gift to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Trini Alvarado , Peter Dobson , John Astin

Votes: 94,463 | Gross: $16.76M

53. 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: 86,327 | Gross: $21.13M

54. The Woman in Black (2012)

PG-13 | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers that the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Director: James Watkins | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Janet McTeer , Ciarán Hinds , Emma Shorey

Votes: 191,228 | Gross: $54.33M

55. 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: 6,974 | Gross: $3.27M

56. 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: 20,247 | Gross: $22.16M

57. The Abandoned (2006)

An adopted woman returns to her home country and the family home that she never knew and must face the mystery that lies there.

Director: Nacho Cerdá | Stars: Anastasia Hille , Karel Roden , Valentin Goshev , Valentin Ganev

Votes: 13,230 | Gross: $1.26M

58. Beetlejuice (1988)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Fantasy

The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Alec Baldwin , Geena Davis , Michael Keaton , Annie McEnroe

Votes: 332,197 | Gross: $73.71M

59. Candyman (1992)

R | 99 min | Horror, Thriller

The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth.

Director: Bernard Rose | Stars: Virginia Madsen , Xander Berkeley , Tony Todd , Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 98,989 | Gross: $25.79M

60. It (I) (2017)

R | 135 min | Horror

In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.

Director: Andy Muschietti | Stars: Bill Skarsgård , Jaeden Martell , Finn Wolfhard , Sophia Lillis

Votes: 594,470 | Gross: $327.48M

61. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

R | 99 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend believes that she has released creatures from a sealed ash pit in the basement of her new home.

Director: Troy Nixey | Stars: Katie Holmes , Guy Pearce , Bailee Madison , Bruce Gleeson

Votes: 50,367 | Gross: $24.04M

62. The House That Dripped Blood (1971)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

An anthology of four horror stories revolving around a mysterious rental house in the U.K.

Director: Peter Duffell | Stars: John Bryans , John Bennett , Denholm Elliott , Peter Cushing

Votes: 7,331

63. Below (2002)

R | 105 min | Action, Horror, Mystery

Strange happenings occur on a WW II submarine.

Director: David Twohy | Stars: Bruce Greenwood , David Crow , Matthew Davis , Holt McCallany

Votes: 23,884 | Gross: $0.61M

64. Deathwatch (2002)

R | 94 min | Drama, Horror, War

In the middle of World War I, nine British soldiers caught behind enemy lines seek refuge in a complex network of German trenches. What they soon discover is that they aren't alone - and it isn't a German soldier that's hunting them down.

Director: M.J. Bassett | Stars: Jamie Bell , Rúaidhrí Conroy , Mike Downey , Laurence Fox

Votes: 13,148

65. The Bunker (2001)

R | 88 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Germany, 1944. The forests of the Ardennes. A platoon of battle weary German soldiers, forced into confusion and retreat by advancing Allied forces, take refuge in an isolated Siegfried Line bunker.

Director: Rob Green | Stars: Jason Flemyng , Andrew Tiernan , Christopher Fairbank , Simon Kunz

Votes: 6,150

66. 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: 116,462 | Gross: $65.23M

67. Event Horizon (1997)

R | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A rescue crew is tasked with investigating the mysterious reappearance of a spaceship that had been lost for seven years.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Laurence Fishburne , Sam Neill , Kathleen Quinlan , Joely Richardson

Votes: 194,177 | Gross: $26.67M

68. Haunted Honeymoon (1986)

PG | 82 min | Comedy

Two radio voice actors are getting married. Larry has fits of fear. A shrink needs 36 hours to scare him to death and cure him - during a family reunion at a scary family castle.

Director: Gene Wilder | Stars: Gene Wilder , Gilda Radner , Dom DeLuise , Jonathan Pryce

Votes: 7,916 | Gross: $8.03M

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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 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.

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