"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." -- Robert FrostAll well and good, but what if you share your home with ghosts? And the hand unlatching the door to let you in isn't a hand at all, but the skeletal fingers of a malevolent specter long dead?
As the days get shorter, the evenings get cooler, the house starts shifting ever so slightly, and the October night winds set the curtains fluttering, I've been thinking about this place called home. We go to great lengths to secure the best abode we can afford, signing away a good portion of our paychecks to rent or mortgages, then going out and spending even more on furnishings, appliances, decorations -- anything to make it distinctly ours.
You can call the exterminator or set traps yourself, but you know it's always going to be a rear-guard action. Common household pests are bad enough, but what if you’re one of the unlucky few who have to put up with ghosts along with all the other household annoyances? Exorcists are few and far between, and how do you go about booking one? Plus, there's always the possibility that the ghost considers you to be the annoying intruder, and bringing in a ghost buster might just escalate things instead of solving them.
It seems like ghost busters and whisperers have been in high demand on movies screens lately. The popularity of The Blair Witch Project (1999) unleashed a Pandora’s box office of malevolent spirits and entities in such films as The Others (2001), Paranormal Activity (2007) and its sequels/prequels, The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), The Conjuring (2013), etc., etc. Better still, most of these films at least attempt to generate some real suspense, vs. simply shocking audiences with gross-out gore.
But since this blog is dedicated to oldies, I’ve searched the most remote, shadowy corners of the internet to come up with a poster tour of classic haunted house films -- 13 of 'em -- for your enjoyment and edification this Halloween season. Most are readily available on DVD and/or for streaming.
|Aka My World Dies Screaming, 1958. |
"And then through the branches of the old trees I see the house again. It sits there waiting for me. Silent, malignant. A place of unspeakable horror." -- Sheila Wayne (Cathy O'Donnell)
"It was only the wind, my dear." Miles (Martin Stephens)
"Oh a bed, that's just what I need, a nice big bed to hide under." Ferdie (Lou Costello)
Tagline: A warlock's home is his castle...Forever!
Tagline: First Film With the Amazing New Wonder EMERGO:
The Thrills Fly Right Into The Audience!
Tagline: Love and Hate Under One Roof!
Tagline: 13 Times the Thrills! 13 Times the Chills! 13 Times the Fun!
"This house... It knows we're here." Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin)
"Listen, you stay there, and if a couple a fellas come runnin' down the stairs
in a few minutes, let the first one go. That'll be me." Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope)
"If the house dies, I shall die with it." Bristol (Harry Elerbe)
"They call them the haunted shores, these stretches of Devonshire and Cornwall and Ireland which rear up against the westward ocean. Mists gather here... and sea fog... and eerie stories..." Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland)
Tagline: They love only for blood!
"It was an evil house from the beginning - a house that was born bad."
Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson)