The House Gets Top Billing

by fourcallmemom2010 | created - 24 Jul 2014 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

Gothic movies in which the setting (usually a house or mansion) functions as a character.

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1. The Others (2001)

PG-13 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

74 Metascore

A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan, Alakina Mann

Votes: 313,767 | Gross: $96.52M

This is the only movie I "solved" faster than my husband--who is a bit of a whiz at ruining movie endings! I'll never forget that obsessive door-shutting, which was what gave it away for me.

2. House of Good and Evil (2013)

Not Rated | 108 min | Horror, Thriller

After a family tragedy in the chaotic city, Chris and Maggie Conley, in a last-ditch effort to save their dying marriage, purchase an isolated home in the deepest woods, to which they quickly discover evil has a key.

Director: David Mun | Stars: Rae Olivier, Christian Oliver, Marietta Marich, Jordan Rhodes

Votes: 7,934 | Gross: $0.56M

I love the psychological element in this movie's resolution. Also, the gothic movies in which the heroine is renovating or repairing the house, rather than just inhabiting it, fascinate me. The house problem at the movies beginning is that the young couple wish to restore the large country home as a single family residence, but there are still tenants on the other side of the duplex. In the meantime, they must make do. There's crone imagery employed in the elderly neighbor, and the threatening male force that encloses the heroine in the house appears to be her aging yet abusive husband. The tale employs powerful water imagery in a nearby stream where the heroine goes to swim in a clear use of baptism imagery.

3. An American Haunting (2005)

PG-13 | 83 min | Drama, History, Horror

38 Metascore

Based on the true events of the only case in US History where a spirit caused the death of a man.

Director: Courtney Solomon | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood, James D'Arcy

Votes: 23,781 | Gross: $16.30M

4. The Other (1972)

PG | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Down in the farm country of the US twins are born. One of them turns out to be good, while the other becomes rather evil.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky

Votes: 5,135

5. Forbidden Secrets (2005 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 88 min | Thriller, Drama, Mystery

While going through a difficult divorce from her domineering, businessman husband, Alexandra moves back into her old childhood home, where she's forced to re-examine the circumstances ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Roy | Stars: Kristy Swanson, David Keeley, Christopher Bondy, Charles Edwin Powell

Votes: 348

The myth of the murdering mother drives the plot of this tale in which a young woman who thinks she is psychologically troubled finds the answers to her past's mysteries while renovating her family home. Another gothic tale employing the theme of renovation, which I love. I also loved the jewelry as a symbol of family trouble/truth, passed down through generations. The water imagery is powerful in this one as the girl's attempted murder took place in the pool. And the cleric in this movie might be seen as the psychiatrist. There's also a lost object: the hidden room concealing the object of the heroine's quest.

6. The Conjuring (2013)

R | 112 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

68 Metascore

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor

Votes: 397,703 | Gross: $137.40M

I prefer gothic tales that end with self-discovery rather than the defeat of a monster, but I do appreciate that these two plot points can be used interchangeably (save discovery can require the defeat of an inner monster, etc). When reading a movie's symbols, then, I don't mind gothic house tales in which the house has a monster or is one. This is one of those. The central problem involves the murdering mother, and the cleric role is played, in a way, by the ghost hunters who save the day. This house, too, is located near water. The basement and close crawl spaces are important in this plot, too.

7. The Presence (2010)

PG-13 | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A woman travels to an isolated cabin she begins to think she is losing her mind when her boyfriend comes to stay.

Director: Tom Provost | Stars: Mira Sorvino, Shane West, Justin Kirk, Tony Curran

Votes: 2,951

Water imagery introduces this story which takes place in a remote cabin on an island. A young woman must forgive her father before she will be able to embrace love and a new family of her own. There's powerful guardian angel/devil imagery here, and there is also a gothic hero (the young man she's trying to love). Jewelry imagery gets employed here as the lost object: the engagement ring that seems to tumble over a cliff. The house imagery is particularly powerful when it involves crawl spaces under the house or the remote outdoor plumbing.

8. A Haunting at Silver Falls (2013)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Thriller

A small town is haunted by the twin daughters of a wrongfully convicted man. Young Jordan is sent down the path to who the real killer is, only to find the killer is very close to her.

Director: Brett Donowho | Stars: Steve Bacic, Tara Westwood, Alix Elizabeth Gitter, James Cavlo

Votes: 2,552

9. Twixt (2011)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

40 Metascore

A writer with a declining career arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a... See full summary »

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Ben Chaplin

Votes: 9,781

10. Apartment 143 (2011)

R | 80 min | Horror, Thriller

A team of parapsychologists try to figure out a strange phenomenon occurring in an apartment building.

Director: Carles Torrens | Stars: Kai Lennox, Gia Mantegna, Michael O'Keefe, Fiona Glascott

Votes: 10,582 | Gross: $0.00M

11. What Lies Beneath (2000)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

51 Metascore

The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she is losing her mind.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto

Votes: 110,515 | Gross: $155.46M

12. Anna (VII) (2013)

R | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

42 Metascore

A man with the ability to enter people's memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

Director: Jorge Dorado | Stars: Mark Strong, Taissa Farmiga, Brian Cox, Saskia Reeves

Votes: 19,757 | Gross: $0.00M

13. Practical Magic (1998)

PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

46 Metascore

Two witch sisters, raised by their eccentric aunts in a small town, face closed-minded prejudice and a curse which threatens to prevent them ever finding lasting love.

Director: Griffin Dunne | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest

Votes: 66,220 | Gross: $46.68M

14. Winchester (2018)

PG-13 | 99 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy

28 Metascore

Ensconced in her sprawling California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.

Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig | Stars: Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Finn Scicluna-O'Prey, Jason Clarke

Votes: 24,410 | Gross: $25.09M

15. The Haunting of Hill House (2018– )

TV-MA | 50 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.

Stars: Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser

Votes: 116,535

16. The Little Stranger (2018)

R | 111 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

67 Metascore

After a doctor is called to visit a crumbling manor, strange things begin to occur.

Director: Lenny Abrahamson | Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Ruth Wilson, Liv Hill

Votes: 5,064 | Gross: $0.71M

17. Skyfall (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

81 Metascore

Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench

Votes: 592,514 | Gross: $304.36M

18. Delirium (I) (2018)

R | 96 min | Horror, Thriller

A man recently released from a mental institute inherits a mansion after his wealthy parents die. After a series of disturbing events, he comes to believe it is haunted.

Director: Dennis Iliadis | Stars: Topher Grace, Patricia Clarkson, Genesis Rodriguez, Callan Mulvey

Votes: 4,432

19. The Boy (2016)

PG-13 | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

42 Metascore

An American nanny is shocked that her new English family's boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.

Director: William Brent Bell | Stars: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell, Jim Norton

Votes: 69,036 | Gross: $35.79M

20. The Disappointments Room (2016)

R | 85 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

31 Metascore

A mother and her young son release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home.

Director: D.J. Caruso | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Mel Raido, Duncan Joiner, Lucas Till

Votes: 8,186 | Gross: $2.41M

21. Fragile (2005)

PG-13 | 101 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

At her new job in a rundown children's hospital, a nurse desperately tries to keep her patients safe from a plague of random, mysterious attacks.

Director: Jaume Balagueró | Stars: Calista Flockhart, Richard Roxburgh, Elena Anaya, Gemma Jones

Votes: 14,785

22. Visions (II) (2015)

R | 82 min | Horror, Mystery

After moving to a vineyard to start a new life with her husband, a pregnant woman begins to experience terrifying visions.

Director: Kevin Greutert | Stars: Isla Fisher, Anson Mount, Gillian Jacobs, Joanna Cassidy

Votes: 9,002

23. The Changeling (1980)

R | 107 min | Horror

70 Metascore

A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, Jean Marsh

Votes: 26,574

24. Oculus (I) (2013)

R | 104 min | Horror, Mystery

61 Metascore

A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.

Director: Mike Flanagan | Stars: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane

Votes: 107,015 | Gross: $27.70M

25. Don't Breathe (2016)

R | 88 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn't as helpless as he seems.

Director: Fede Alvarez | Stars: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto

Votes: 187,115 | Gross: $89.22M

26. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

PG-13 | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

52 Metascore

A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

Director: Leigh Whannell | Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell

Votes: 83,049 | Gross: $52.22M

27. We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

63 Metascore

Merricat, Constance and their Uncle Julian live in isolation after experiencing a family tragedy six years earlier. When cousin Charles arrives to steal the family fortune, he also threatens a dark secret they've been hiding.

Director: Stacie Passon | Stars: Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan

Votes: 1,246 | Gross: $4.11M



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