When you buy crackers, you expect to get a bunch of grain smooshed together in some sort of geometric shape. It’s the flavors on top that make one cracker different from another, whether you slap a piece of your own cheese or opt for a pre-made “flavor” of mysterious origin — yes, “Chicken in a Biskit,” I’m looking at you.
I bring this up for two reasons: First, I could really use a snack. And second, haunted house movies are a lot like crackers — you know you’re going a house that’s haunted, but each has its own distinct flavor. So you’ll know what’s in store behind the doors, I’ve compiled a little guide to some of horror’s most famous scary domiciles.
The Belasco House, The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Reputation: “The Mount Everest of haunted houses.”
History: Millionaire wackadoo Emeric Belasco was a bad, bad man who enjoyed exploring the lurid side of humanity inside his sprawling house. He disappeared the night of a large massacre on the property, and the place has since been the site of all manner of paranormal phenomena.
What to expect: Flying furniture, bad kitties and sexy times. Belasco engaged in necrophilia, cannibalism, bestiality — you name the perversion, he indulged it. His spirit — as well as those of like-minded revelers — can put visitors in an erotic trance.
How to make it through the night: Bring along a fancy ghostbusting machine and look for walled-over rooms.
Hill House, The Haunting (1963)
Reputation: “The dead are not quiet in Hill House.”
History: Wealthy mean man Hugh Crain built the menacing Hill House as a home for his family. His wife died before ever getting to live there, while his daughter, Abigail, grew up and died within its walls. Abigail’s companion went on to commit suicide, and the halls have been “walked” by restless spirits for almost 90 years.
What to expect: Cold spots, phantom dogs, loud noises, scary voices and the presence of something evil. If you’re “lucky,” Hill House will write your name on its walls.
How to make it through the night: Try not to lose your mind and bring a map if you decide to walk around — it’s easy to get lost within Hill House’s walls.
Unnamed Brooklyn Brownstone, The Sentinel (1977)
Reputation: “The entrance to Hell.”
History: This brownstone contains an unknown mystery, but it’s cheap and conveniently located mere minutes from Manhattan… and from Hell!
What to expect: Visions from your troubled past, cats in party hats, a leotard-clad Beverly D’Angelo masturbating… All manner of freaky happenings take place in this apartment building.
How to make it through the night: If you move in, you won’t be moving out. You will, however, become the new guardian at the gates of Hell… and in this economy, it’s best not to turn down a job offer.
112 Ocean Avenue, The Amityville Horror (1979)
Reputation: “There’s nothing like it on the market.”
History: Ronald DeFeo murdered his entire family with a shotgun one fateful night. A year or so later, the Lutz family moves in and experiences all sorts of horrible phenomena courtesy of bad DeFeo juju and the pesky portal to Hell hidden in the basement.
What to expect: Giant purple pigs, fly infestation, bleeding walls, plumbing issues and puking nuns.
How to make it through the night: Simply take the house’s advice and Get Out!, the sooner the better. After all, 112 Ocean Avenue is a real money pit.
The Freeling House, Poltergeist (1982)
Reputation: “They’re heeeeeeeeee-re.”
History: This southern California tract house is part of a development built on the grounds of a relocated cemetery. Unfortunately, the miserly real estate developers “only moved the headstones.”
What to expect: Moving furniture, living trees, evil clown puppets and kidnapper spirits.
How to make it through the night: Hire mini-medium Tangina and friends to bust some ghosts, kill your television. Head for a hotel.
So, do you prefer a subtle haunting (noises, voices) or something a little more in-your-face (kinky leotard shenanigans)? Really, there’s something for everyone, from the Beetlejuice hous to the Overlook Hotel (The Shining) to the House on Hanted Hill. Me, I just like some sort of wheat with a slice of sharp cheddar… oh wait, that’s my cracker preference. Not that I don’t dig a cheesy haunted house flick as well.
When Stacie Ponder isn’t writing about horror movies here or at her own beloved blog Final Girl, she’s making them. Always, though, she leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.Read More