Silent House: The scariest houses in horror history
Feature by Jack Foley
WITH the release of chilling new horror film Silent House (a remake of Uruguayan horror La Casa Muda out in cinemas on May 4, 2012, we got thinking about some of the scariest houses in horror history.
Whether it’s the memorable hotel in The Shining or more recent chillers such as Paranormal Activity Hollywood has the habit of bringing horror into the home.
Below is our selection of the most horrific homes to grace (curse?) the big screen.
The House on Haunted Hill (1959)
William Castle’s 1959 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s famed haunted house novel sends a chill through even the most resilient bones. Starring Vincent Price as an eccentric millionaire conducting an experiment in a house known for its grisly history and haunted walls, the film gives the house a life of its own.
Chandeliers fall from the ceiling, ghosts terrorise the living and decapitated heads turn up left, right and centre as the house conspires to rid itself of its new-found inhabitants. Bumps in the night are a real concern in this house, and Loren’s (Price) offer of $10,000 to each guest that can make it through one night there seems mighty cheap to us!
112 Ocean Avenue – The Amityville Horror
The inspiration behind a series of 10 films, 112 Ocean Avenue is the main feature of The Amityville Horror films and is one seriously scary house – not least because the tales of trauma held within are based on real life events! It all started when Ronald DeFeo. Jr shot and killed 6 members of his family within the house’s walls. When the new residents moved in thirteen months later, a series of paranormal events began to occur that started a real run down to terror. Blood seeps from walls, a demon-pig stalks the grounds and some seriously funky substance leaks out from the bathroom. Not what you what in a new residence.
Overlook Hotel – The Shining
Though this isn’t technically a house, this nightmarish residence simply cannot be missed off our list. A stunning hotel nestled in the opulence of the Colorado mountains, The Overlook Hotel was home to Jack Torrance (portrayed through an unforgettable performance by Jack Nicholson), a man tasked with minding the hotel during the winter months while closed for business. The magnitude of the hotel’s architecture, the severe isolation of its location and the strange psychic abilities of Jack’s young son combine to send the Jack on the path to madness, eventually seeing him chase after his wife with an axe and the hotel as one of the scariest locations in movie history.
The Freeling Family Home – Poltergeist
Not many people would like to be a ghost magnet, but in 1982’s Poltergeist, young Carol Anne Freeling is exactly that. Shortly after moving into their new home, the Freeling family is terrorised by a series of poltergeists that are attracted to the youngest member of the family. They abduct Carol Anne, taking her away into their world, causing the rest of the family to recruit various parapsychologists and spiritualists in an effort to bring her back. After finally retrieving her and fleeing the hideous house, the building collapses on itself and is sucked into a paranormal world. The lesson? Not a great idea to build a house over an old cemetery.
One of the most famous genre films in recent years, Paranormal Activity relates the story of young couple Katie and Micah after they move into a new suburban house only to find their sleep disturbed nightly by strange phenomena. Noises, apparitions and destroyed objects haunt their stay, with the paranormal harassment finally culminating in Micah’s death and Katie’s escape. The scary success of this film led to two prequels that explain how the strange happenings in the house came to be.
The Woman in Black
It may have been about the eponymous ghost but the house she inhabited in James Watkins’ chilling adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black was very, very creepy. The outstanding sequence in which Daniel Radcliffe’s Arthur Kipps decides to spend the night in the house on his own is a masterful slice of suspense that incorporates things that go bump in the night and glimpses of apparitions in the corner of your eye, culminating in some jump out of your seat chills.
This year’s scariest cinematic release, Silent House, has its very own tale to tell about one of the scariest houses to date. Silent House tells the story of teenager Sarah as she helps her father and uncle prepare their old family home for sale. But broken windows and cracks in the plaster are the least of their problems when they discover they are not alone and there’s more than just mould concealed behind the walls. The family’s past returns to taunt then terrorize them, exposing a hidden and distorted history that makes this home the most horrific of the bunch!
Silent House is released in cinemas on May 4. View photos