The horror stories that are hot property
Paranormal Activity 4 is the latest in a long line of haunted house tales to hit the big screen. Daniel Bettridge takes a tour of the classics
Saturday 06 October 2012
From the spectre of spiralling property prices to the shady figures of estate agents that haunt Britain's high streets, homeowners are all too ready to regale us with their horror stories of late. But their troubles are nothing compared to their silver screen counterparts whose home history is truly something to be scared about.
Paranormal Activity 4, which arrives in cinemas on Wednesday 17 October, is the latest release to prove that audiences' love affair with haunted houses is a property bubble that shows no sign of bursting.
Hollywood, of course, has a long history of spooky homes. And the fourth instalment in the now well-worn franchise is just one example of a boom in paranormal properties that has hit the big screen over the past 12 months. Others include The Innkeepers, Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, the psychological thriller Dream House, Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe, and Chris Kentis's Silent House.
The Others 2001
Majestically creepy take on the remote country house trope in which Nicole Kidman stalks shadows with a shotgun.
Steven Spielberg brings his own brand of movie magic to the haunted house genre, casting a shadow on the modern suburban home and, along the way, ensures that we'll never look at toy clowns the same way again.
The Shining 1980
In Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, The Overlook Hotel is the backdrop for one man's descent into psychosis. Stephen King based his horror on The Stanley Hotel in Colorado which to this day shows the uncut film on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on the televisions in its rooms.
The Haunting 1963
A terrifying film about a team of supernatural investigators who move into a creepy mansion. Playing on the power of suggestion rather than shock tactics, director Robert Wise used infra-red for exterior shots of the "monster house".
The Amityville Horror 1979
Based on the alleged real-life ordeal of the Lutz family, who were terrorised by paranormal phenomena after moving into a murderer's house.
It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom as Tim Burton's comedy about a gang of infernal, ineffectual house-haunters proved.
The Grudge 2004
With bodies in the attic and ghosts all over, this is a haunted house film par excellence. Takashi Shimizu's original Japanese series loses none of its impact in the American remake.
The Innocents 1961
Based on Henry James's 'The Turn of the Screw', this scare story is still terrorising audiences more than 60 years after it first arrived in cinemas.
The Evil Dead 1981
Sam Raimi's low-budget, controversial cabin horror has spawned a hundred college-vacation-gone-horribly-wrong imitations.
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