5. The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror is one of the most well-known horror movie franchises and the first original film is still the absolute best. This 1979 film is about George (James Brolin) and Kathy Lutz (Margot Kidder) a married couple that move into the Amityville house. Unbeknownst to the couple, the house was the scene of a murder where a father killed his entire family a year ago.
The couple decide to bless the house and call upon Father Delaney to do so, but Delaney has a difficult time of blessing it. He sees various supernatural occurrences and experiences physical symptoms. Delaney eventually has a nervous breakdown and even becomes blind.
Unexplained events begin to happen to the entire family as Kathy’s kids are harmed by the supernatural presence in the house. George begins to slowly lose his mind as he obsesses over chopping wood for the fireplace to make the house warmer. Kathy also starts to have frightening nightmares about the previous owners. When the supernatural force amps up its reign of terror, the family flees from the house.
The Amityville Horror is still one of the best horror movies ever made and has influenced many films over the years who have tried to imitate it.
4. The Changeling (1980)
The Changeling stars George C. Scott as John Russell, a man who lost his wife and child in a terrible car accident in New York. John is grief stricken and decides to leave the city to start a new life. He moves to Seattle and rents a large house.
John soon discovers that he is not the only inhabitant of the house as the windows begin to shatter and doors randomly open on their own. John doesn’t know what to make of these events and decides to find out more about the house and the previous inhabitants. He learns that the house belonged to Richard Carmichael and that he drowned his crippled son in order to keep his inheritance. Carmichael does an elaborate plot of replacing his crippled son with a healthy baby and passing him on as Joseph Carmichael who is now a U.S. Senator.
John learns that the ghost in the house is the real Joseph Carmichael who is seeking justice for his murder. When John confronts the senator about this, the senator does not want to believe it and berates John. But, the ghost still wants to be heard and makes it presence known to the Senator.
The Changeling shows not only the horror of a ghost in your home but the senseless murder of a crippled child. Fortunately, the ghost gets his revenge in the end.
3. The Innocents (1961)
The Innocents is a gothic horror movie about ghosts possessing children. Deborah Kerr stars as Miss Giddens, an inexperienced governess who applies to care for the young niece and nephew of rich bachelor (Michael Redgrave). The bachelor does not want to be bothered by the children and prefers that the governess handles all of their matters on his country estate.
Miss Giddens gets the job and meets Flora, the niece, who is charming and sweet. Flora keeps talking about her brother Mike who she believes will be returning from boarding school. When Miss Giddens receives a letter telling her that Mike has been expelled from the school due to fighting with the other boys, she wants to meet this troublesome youth. However, Mike appears to be charming and even mature for his age.
Miss Giddens becomes quite fond of the children but discovers that the kids behave oddly at times. She is also disturbed by the voices of a man and woman that she can’t see. She soon learns that these voices belong to Miss Jessel, the previous governess, and Peter Quint, the valet. Mis Giddens begins to suspect that the children are possessed by these two people. Mike is flirtatious to her and even kisses her goodnight when she puts him to bed. Miss Giddens becomes determined to rid these spirits from these children no matter the cost. However, the spirits will not go so easy.
The Innocents is a creepy horror film that has remarkable performances from the young actors who do a great job of playing possessed children.
2. The Evil Dead (1981)
Sam Raimi’s 1981 film The Evil Dead turned the haunted house genre on its head with its hilarious and gory portrayal of evil spirits terrorizing a group of college students. The film follows Ash (Bruce Campbell) and four others as they set out to spend their spring break in a cabin in the woods. They soon encounter trouble when the bridge they are going across begins to collapse after they get through it.
They arrive at the cabin and start to experience weird events. Ash’s sister Cheryl draws a demonic figure after her hand becomes possessed. She is terrified but doesn’t tell the others. While the group is having dinner, the cellar door flings open and frightens everyone. Ash and Scotty enter the basement and find a tape recorder and book of the dead. They listen to the recording and when the voice says several incantations, an evil spirit is released.
Things go haywire as Cheryl is attacked by demonic trees and becomes possessed. She attacks a member of the group and soon enough other members of the group are becoming possessed. Ash fights against his friends in order to stay alive while the evil spirits try to kill him. Ash discovers that the only way to stop the madness is to dismember the host that the spirit has entered.
The Evil Dead is not for the faint of heart due to its gory and violent scenes. The violence is comedic at times but also quite graphic. Bruce Campbell’s performance is funny and memorable which has led to him being a cult icon.
1. The Shining (1980)
Stephen King’s The Shining was a bestseller when it came out in 1977 and proved to be an even greater success when Stanley Kubrick directed the film adaptation of it. The movie is about Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who takes a job at an isolated hotel as a winter caretaker and brings along his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny. Jack learns that the previous caretaker, Charles Grady, went crazy and killed his family.
Strange events begin to immediately happen to the family as Danny sees figures in the hallways and has frightening visions. Jack begins work on a novel but begins to act strangely and yells at his wife and son. Wendy is becoming disturbed by both Danny and Jack’s behaviors.
One night, Jack meets a ghost bartender and complains to him about his wife. Jack also meets Grady who tells him to kill his wife and child. Wendy discovers that Jack’s novel is nothing but a series of repeated words and tells him that they must leave the hotel but Jack refuses. He tries to attack Wendy who knocks him out with a baseball bat. When Jack awakens, he sets out to kill Shelly and Danny who are racing to stay alive.
The Shining is not only one of the best horror films ever made but also one of the best films ever made. The movie has several memorable scenes that are quite scary and disturbing. Jack Nicholson is at his absolute manic as the crazed Jack who has been led astray by evil spirits.
Author Bio: Zane Castillo is a writer who enjoys writing about movies. He is a film noir buff and sci-fi enthusiast.