Due to the success of Paranormal Activity in 2009, we've seen a huge surge in the popularity of hauntings, from numerous films to reality television shows featuring people with cameras being locked in creepy locations, waiting to document any sign of potential other-worldliness. Hauntings are bringing in the dough big time, which basically guarantees we'll be seeing more films and shows focused on them for the foreseeable future. In 2014, we have two Paranormal Activity films set to be released and we currently have a sequel and a number of spin-offs to this year's mega horror hit The Conjuring in development. Hauntings are here to stay. That's why I wanted to make this list of some of my favorite haunting movies. Not all of these are horror films, but they involve spirits, good and bad, interacting with the living in negative and positive ways, so they make the cut. Please remember that these are personal picks of mine and they may not be your favorites. I'd be happy to hear what your favorite haunting movies are, so feel free to list them in the comments.
1. Dead Silence
This film is underrated, in my opinion. James Wan's sophomore effort is a creepy, old fashioned ghost story with a modern twist. It tells the story of Mary Shaw, a murdered ventriloquist who returns from the grave to punish the descendants of those responsible for her death. Silence is the only way to survive. If you scream, she rips out your tongue. This movie gets a lot of hate, but as usual, many of its on-line detractors never say what it is about the film that they think is bad. If I dislike a film, I try to explain why, rather than just say it sucks without offering my reasons for thinking so.
Yes, this movie is on the list. How can anyone not at least like this movie? It has so many elements. It's funny, it's heartwarming, it's thrilling and even scary at times (those shadow demons still give me the creeps). The late Patrick Swayze plays a murdered man who enlists the help of a medium (by haunting her for a brief period) in order to find out why he was killed and to save the love of his life from potential danger. I don't know what else to say about this one, other than it's a great movie that never fails to move me when I watch it.
One of my favorite Tim Burton movies, this one is about a recently deceased couple who attempt to scare off the new occupants of their home with the help of a "bio-exorcist" named Betelgeuse, played wonderfully by Michael Keaton. This is a unique and funny movie about life after death and to me, reflects a time when Burton was making truly interesting films. Nothing against his more recent work, but it's been awhile since I really loved one of his movies. Please, no one take offense. A sequel is in development and while I'm worried about how it will turn out, at the very least Keaton is dead set on returning to play the titular character and that's enough to make me buy a ticket.
What a divisive film this is. James Wan makes the list again with his 2011 chiller about a family who moves from their home after several terrifying incidents, only to discover it wasn't the house that was haunted... it was their son. Audience members fell into 3 groups for this movie: the ones who loved it (including me), the ones who hated it, and the ones who enjoyed half of the movie and hated the rest, citing the film's tonal shift and bizarre third act elements. But I loved it as a whole. It started as a traditional but scary haunted house film but then suddenly turned into something else entirely and that makes the film more unique and memorable to me. Poltergeist was obviously an influence, but in my opinion, Insidious becomes its own thing before the credits roll. I love it all... even Darth Maul's demon twin brother who shows up halfway through.
5. The Others
Even knowing the twist, this movie never fails to give me the creeps. Nicole Kidman stars as a woman living with her two children and a few servants in a big, creepy mansion who slowly comes to realize the house is haunted. But things are not what they appear to be. By now, most people have seen this film and know the twist, but on the chance that someone out there hasn't, I won't spoil it. I'll just say this movie is beautifully shot, wonderfully acted and very suspenseful.
So there you have it: 5 haunting movies that I love. As always, I want to hear from you guys. What haunting/ghost films do you love? Do you want more of these films or are you sick to death of all the ghosts and haunted houses? Let me know and thank you so much to anyone who takes the time to read this. I truly appreciate it.