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Haunted Houses – fictional

Cover of "The Haunting of Hill House (Pen...

Cover via Amazon

As a follow up to my haunted house attraction post, here is a list of haunted house books and movies.  I was surprised that it was difficult to find a list of haunted house books to jog my memory.  My final list is short which makes me want to read a bunch more.  There is a nice list on Wikipedia for haunted house movies.

Haunted House books & short stories

  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)
  • The Open Window by Saki (1911)
  • Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)
  • Hell House by Richard Matheson (1971)
  • The Shining by Stephen King (1977)
  • The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons (1978)
  • Homebody by Orson Scott Card (1998)

Of these, Haunting of Hill House and Hell House were the most satisfying to me.  I think they both owe quite a bit to James’ governess.  Both feature psychic investigators who visit an allegedly haunted house and confront their own psyches as much as any supernatural force in the house.  Matheson’s book removes any doubt as to the supernatural events but manages to be just as disturbing I think.

A minor story concerning The Shining. Many years ago I moved into an isolated old farmhouse.  Not long after, I was on the second floor, sitting up with a sick child.  It was a dark and stormy night.  Or, at least it was raining hard and the house was creaking in the wind.  Once the child had fallen to sleep, I decided to read to keep myself alert and naturally I chose The Shining.  It didn’t make me sleepy.  By the time I reached the bit about the bathtub, I had to put it down and find something else.  Very quickly. I had to finish the book in the daylight hours.

Haunted House movies

  • House at Haunted Hill (1958)
  • The Haunting (1963)
  • Kwaidan (1965)
  • Legend of Hell House (1973)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • The Shining (1997 miniseries)
  • Whispering Corridors (1998)
  • Stir of Echoes (1999)
  • Session 9 (2001)
  • The Others (2001)
  • 13 Ghosts (2001)
  • The Grudge (2004)
  • The Orphanage (2007)

Most of these are pretty boring but I remember Vincent Price being fun in the House at Haunted Hill. Of this lot The Orphanage is by far the best.  They are remaking it in English and I hope the actress they’ve chose is as good as Belen Rueda.  Session 9 is another one that appeals to my taste for haunted houses.   Whispering Corridors, Stir of Echoes and Poltergeist are not particularly deep but I enjoyed them.

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