Horrible Houses


“WE ARE IN A TERRIBLE MOVIE NOOOOOOO!”

“A Haunted House,” the latest parody in the vein of “Scary Movie,” opens Friday. We haven’t seen it (it opened cold), but we suspect it’s about a haunted house — the latest in a long line of terrifying cinematic real estate.

“The Amityville Horror”
The 1979 original is a reminder to always ask your real-estate agent, “Hey, were any horrifying murders committed in this house?” If you don’t ask, then you won’t know, and your house will try to kill you in a variety of ways, most memorably by garbage disposal.

“The Shining”
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film poses the question: Is the Overlook Hotel haunted, or is it just a bad idea to commit yourself to living for months in isolation with your alcoholic, writer’s-blocked husband?

“The Others”
This moody 2001 film combines an old house, kids who are allergic to sunlight, and a heavy dose of guilt-ridden Catholicism. It’s proof that a film with no gore can be a nail-biter.

“Beetlejuice”
The rare haunted-house film told from the point of view of the haunters, this 1988 comedy is light on the horror — unless you count the idea that being dead is essentially an eternal bureaucracy.

“Poltergeist”
This 1982 classic is a reminder to always ask your real-estate agent, “Hey, was this house built on an ancient Indian burial ground?” If you don’t ask, then you won’t know, and your house will try to kill you in a variety of ways, most memorably by television.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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