Dark Corners of The Earth

My Most Haunted Places in Cinema
November 01, 2010
"And the thought recurs to me -- if such a monstrous entity as the Master of the Monolith somehow survived its own unspeakably distant epoch so
long -- what nameless shapes may even now lurk in the dark corners of the Earth?"

Robert. E. Howard -- "The Black Stone"

Hey Retrojunkies,it'ts Halloween week and that means scary subjects! Let's take a realtors tour of some of those particular places,those dark corners of the Earth,in cinema that thru the years have managed to scare the beejesus out of yours truly. So dim the lights,because here we go...

Hill House -- The Haunting (1963)

Located in the most remote region of Maine,Hill House is the Mount Everest of traditional gothic haunted houses. A place that seems to suck the life and sanity of those that stay there. Hellhouse or The House on Haunted Hill ain't got nothing on it. Whatever walks it's dark silent halls,walks alone...

The Overlook Hotel -- The Shining (1980)

One too many bad things have transpired in the old Overlook over the years. Now,like Hill House,its got a mind of its own. IT wants the party to go on endlessly. So come for the entertainment and stay for all eternity...

The Carmichael Mansion -- The Changeling (1980)

"That house is not fit to live in. No one's been able to live in it. It doesn't want people."

Yeah,that line pretty much sums it up. The thing about the Victorian era Carmichael Mansion is that it's spooky in a Scooby-Doo kinda way. Like Scooby Doo,you'll stumble upon its mysteries. But at at the end there is no guy in a rubber mask nor meddling kids. The horror is all too real.

It should be noted that the movie's story is based on a series of terrifying events which supposedly took place at a mansion in Denver,Colorado. The film's screenwriter was haunted for months by a poltergeist and he affirms that some of the scariest parts of the movie really did happened to him. Yikes...

The Allardyce House -- Burnt Offerings (1976)

Don't let the decrepit state of this ornate Victorian house -located somewhere in sunny Californy- fool you. The longer you stay,the better it'll look as it consumes the liforce of those around you. By the time your caretaker is dragging your dead carcass out of there,the house will look pristine,as the house's regeneration process is as old as the house itself and you were simply its latest victim...

112 Ocean Avenue -- The Amityville Horror (1979)

I gotta be honest,folks,I was never too scared of the whole Amityville hoopla simply because I just didn't bought the whole story,not even as a kid. But,DAMN.how could one not love the house itsel? With its gambrel roof and distinct windowpane "eyes" it's perhaps the second most recognized building in horror cinema (second to the Bates motel). It's the only place on the list I wouldn't mind spending the night in,ghosts or no ghosts.

Oak Mansion -- The House By The Cemetery (1981)

Couldn't make this list without mentioning Lucio Fulci's giallo classic. If you come into this house you won't have your sanity slowly eroded away or anythihg ethereal like that,nope. You're going to get f-up,plain and simple. Chopped off and having your bloody remains feed the unspeakable evil that dwells in its nether rooms.

Deadite Cabin -- The Evil Dead (1981)

While Evil Dead II may be the most popular in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series,it's the original ultragory (and controversial at the time) first Evil Dead that has stuck with me all these years. This movie made me afraid of the woods like Jaws made people afraid of the ocean. I still to this day have a subconcious fear of wood cabins,and don't ever ask me to open a trap door 'cause there just might be a deadite waiting to gnaw your bones...

Collinwood State -- Dark Shadows (1966–1971)

Ok,so far we've seen haunted residences each with a particular brand of resident evil. But here's one that juggles all of them at the same time. The Collins Family address has seen just about every imaginable kind of supernatural activity and it's safe to say that each of it's 40+ rooms of the main house are haunted in some degree. The ancient family annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and just about every deed of unspeakable violence and perversity.

But it wasn't after 200 years or so in its long haunted history when things got really interesting with the advent of witches,warlocks,werewolves and vampires. Hell,there are even rooms with warp zones in them that'll take you back in time. I can't to see the new Collinwood in Tim Burton's upcoming re-imagining of Dark Shadows

Castle Dracula -- Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979)

In fiction over the last century,there have been many,many,MANY visual interpretations of how ole Drac's Transylvanian crib looks like. Yet to me none have mesmerized me as much as the version that appears in Werner Herzog's remake of 1922's Nosferatu. Sitting atop the Carpathian Range,the castle would look just like a bunch of dusty ruins to the unaware traveller. To enter it you must step into the Spectral Realm,and once inside there is no telling if you'll ever get out of that phantom time-warped zone. You'll notice unnerving things like doors being opened and closed by unseen hands,hear ghostly whispers in empty corridors and occasionally spot the ghost of a gypsy boy playing the violin.

Oh,there's also this sweet-looking totentanz-themed wallclock that marks the coming of the Witching Hour...

The Spencer Mansion -- Resident Evil (1996)/REmake (2002)

It would be unfair to close this tour without a nudge to the videogame genre,which for over a decade now has proven to produce frights that rival those of cinema. The Spencer Mansion,with its deathtrap-ladden underground tunnels,mutant-infected passageways and the forebodding surrounding forest hasn't lost a gram of spookiness in all these years.

Well,or little tour is over. I hope you enjoyed my personal ode to cinematic haunted houses (and my first article in all my years here). Be sure to come back again, for there are still many dark corners of the Earth left to explore. And remember:

“...Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

Stephen King

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