35 Best Haunted House Movies

Haunted house movies make up over half of all horror films, probably, so we decided to rank the 35 best. Here they are!
Best Haunted House Movies

30. 13 Ghosts (1960)

As with all William Castle movies, the home viewing experience cannot possibly compare with the theatrical one. Originally, audience members were given special “Illusion-O” glasses, which featured a red filter above a blue filter. If the audience member didn’t want to see one of the thirteen ghosts, they could look through the blue frame, which blocked the ghosts from appearing. If they were craving a fright, they looked through the red filter, which “intensified” the ghost’s appearance on screen. Having never seen the movie on the big screen using the Illusion-O technique, I feel profoundly deprived. Thankfully, the film is weird enough to sustain itself. A ghost lion in the basement! A murderous ghost cook in the kitchen! A pervert ghost in the bedroom demanding bodies to possess! With 13 Ghosts, Castle was determined to provide every kind of spook his sicko brain could conjure. (Brad Gullickson)

29. Stir of Echoes (1999)

If you were that horror fan in 1999, you may have found yourself saying, “The Sixth Sense is fine and all, but cool kids think Stir of Echoes is waaaay better.” And without disparaging M. Night Shyamalan’s film, it almost is. Based on a Richard Matheson short story, Stir of Echoes follows family man Tom (Kevin Bacon) who, after being hypnotized at a party, begins to have ghostly visions of a missing teenage girl. But these aren’t just apparitions, Tom can physically feel the girl’s misery, which causes his own mental health to rapidly decline as he attempts to figure out how to stop his life from being haunted. While this is a wildly different tale than The Sixth Sense, the similarities are evident in Tom’s son, Jake. He may never say “I see dead people,” but the film isn’t fooling anyone: Jake is one of the many Haley Joel Osment clones we’d see time and again in the wake of Shyamalan’s Oscar nominated classic. The story in Stir of Echoes may feel familiar, but David Koepp creates an engaging haunted mystery that keeps your curiosity sated until the final climactic moments. (Jacob Trussell)

28. Demon Wind (1990)

There are far more popular and widely seen films below (and above for that matter), but Demon Wind blows as memorably and as hard as any of them. Does that make sense? No, but neither does Demon Wind, and that is only part of its deliriously wild appeal. A group of “young” people head to an remote homestead so Cory can answer questions about his grandparents, but the answers he finds involve a nightmare of demonic hauntings, devilish possessions, and unexpected martial arts. The film’s horrors probably lean a little more Evil Dead than ghostly shenanigans, but it’s unclear enough in the film’s plotting that I called an audible to allow its inclusion. The home of a loving couple has become a house of horrors with supernatural threats, and that’s good enough for me! Anyway, the film delivers mightily with bizarre antics (seriously, the martial arts magician is the greatest character to ever grace the screen), fantastically fun practical effects, and more. Pair it with 1986’s Spookies for a wild three-hour ride. (Rob Hunter)

27. We Are Still Here (2015)

The creepy creaks of an old, haunted house are magnified to chilly effect in Ted Geoghan‘s fantastic We Are Still Here. A grieving couple moves to an old house, and while Anne (Barbara Crampton) wants to believe the magic in the air is her dead son the truth is far worse. The house is haunted, the townspeople have their own dirty laundry, and before the end credits roll the walls will run red with blood. Geoghan’s nod to Lucio Fulci’s The House By the Cemetery is more cogent than its inspiration but every bit as horrifying. The house’s ghosts appear as human shadows with burning eyes — a still brilliant visual effect that, for my money, is the best onscreen ghosts have ever looked — and the tonal shift from creepy slow burn to gory finale keeps a grip through both scares and grim laughs. Plus a supporting turn by the great Larry Fessenden! (Rob Hunter)

26. Crimson Peak (2015)

There are a lot of rich details to love in Guillermo Del Toro’s gothic romance, but the one that always stays with me is the mansion itself, particularly its hollowed-out center. The patchy roof allows all manner of snow and debris to make its way inside, and sure, it’s a touch on the nose, but it’s a great visual for something rotting from the inside out. In this magnificent but neglected manor, ghosts lurk everywhere and they all seem to have a warning for Mia Wasikowska’s Edith. But surely the warning doesn’t apply to the new husband who swept her off her feet? Sometimes, though, the writing is on the walls. Or in this case, the ground, where clay in the earth seeps through and makes it appear as though the house is bleeding. Somehow that’s still not the most ominous image in the movie. (Anna Swanson)

25. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

What a strange year 2009 was for horror movies. We were just coming out of the glut of post-9/11 torture porn films (The Collector, Saw VI) and we had some franchise remakes left to get through (Friday the 13th). The year also saw the release of new cult classics (Jennifer’s Body), films that pushed the genre in daring new directions (Antichrist) and ones that simply refreshed familiar tropes (The House of the Devil). Hell, this was also the year that trash-terpieces like Birdemic: Shock and Terror and Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus escaped the internet meme machine to become pop culture touchstones.In the midst of the genre pulling itself in a variety of disparate directions, The Haunting in Connecticut was released. It wasn’t an audacious approach to the haunted house story, nor did it outwardly remix a tired trope to new terrifying new heights. Instead, the film reinforces how engaging haunted house ghost stories can be when things are kept simple. All you need is a foreboding location, a solid cast of effective actors, and carefully crafted scare setpieces and you have the makings of a potent horror experience. The Haunting in Connecticut shows that, no matter how dry the well can seem, when done with care and simplicity, haunted house stories will always be able to leverage the creeps in entertaining ways. (Jacob Trussell)

24. Monster House (2006)

Twelve-year-old D.J. (Mitchell Musso) spends much of his free time spying on his elderly neighbor and his creepy old house. The neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi), is a cranky old man who constantly chases kids off his front lawn. If your frisbee, ball, kite, or anything else rolls into his yard, it’s gone forever. The house is a dark, rundown old thing that sticks out like a sore thumb in suburban America. It’s also a living creature that eats people. Monster House plays like an animated version of Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs starring pre-teens. It’s dark and spooky with an injection of fun charm that one would expect from an Amblin production. With references galore, it’s gateway horror that also appeals to long-time fans of the genre. (Chris Coffel)

23. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

Takashi Shimizu’s Ju-on: The Grudge sometimes feels like the underdog of mainstream J-horror. It came a few years after major genre-defining films like Hideo Nakata’s Ringu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse, and it actually debuted the same week that Gore Verbinski’s The Ring brought the dripping ghost lady to the Western world in a big way. But Ju-on: The Grudge is more than just a latter entry into a freakishly strong few years’ worth of Japanese horror movies: it’s also a great haunted house flick that’s full of unexpected scares. The non-linear format allows the story of the home’s bloody past unravel slowly, but in the meantime, we’re left with some truly shiver-inducing stuff, including the frightful sight of a bloodied woman crawling across the ground, and a little boy who meows instead of screaming. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

22. Burnt Offerings (1976)

Burnt Offerings is often accused of being a pale iteration of other, “better” haunted house films. And indeed we’ve seen this story many times before: a young family moves into a new home only to fall under the influence of a house with a mind of its own. But the secret spice in Burnt Offerings’ sauce is its cast, which was specifically designed to appeal to freaks: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and Burgess Meredith? It must be my birthday. Another feather in Burnt Offerings’ cap is its aggressive ambiguity about what, exactly, is behind the supernatural shenanigans. While other haunted house films neatly build towards the reveal of some past tragedy, or a specific restless spirit with unfinished business, Burnt Offerings is much more miasmatic and reticent to give up its secrets… and all the eerier for it. (Meg Shields)

21. Hereditary (2018)


Let’s stop you right there. Yes, ghosts aren’t the main course Ari Aster serves up in Hereditary, a devilish mish-mash of genre tropes that has become a beloved modern horror classic. The subgenre it more directly engages with is folk horror, but even if cults and curses are at the forefront of the story, the film’s spookiest beats come when Aster plays with the classic tenets of haunted house movies. He places barely perceptible figures in shadowy corners, forcing the audience to do double takes from scene-to-scene, curious if that silhouette was just a trick of the eye, or a dead matriarch coming home to roost. Hereditary may not be a haunted house film with two capital H’s, but it still co-opts tactics the subgenre have used to scare audiences silly for centuries. (Jacob Trussell)

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Rob Hunter: Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.