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The Top 10 Creepiest Places in the Movies

by G_Shakespeare   October 18, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 2,877

A lot goes into making a great horror movie. First, you have to get a monster or threat. Then you need a group of people who can be eaten, murdered, and/or tortured by said threat. Throw in some shocking music, and you're ready to go, right? Not so fast. Great horror movies pay just as much attention to where the horrible things happen as to what those horrible things are.

Source: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

By Geoff Shakespeare


10. The Skull House - The Amityville Horror

Some places are evil because of what happens in them. Kill a few coeds at even the most charming little B&B, and it'll become evil. Some are evil because of where they are. The most common example of this are those places built on top of ancient burial grounds. But a very few sinister places are simply evil because they look evil.

Take the infamous Skull House from The Amityville Horror films. You couldn't have built a better place to house unspeakable terrors and unhappy ghosts. In fact, you have to wonder what the architect of this place thought was going to happen in a house that looks like a malevolent skull. And what about the people who bought it? Regardless of how cheap it was or how good the local schools were, they had to know they were courting disaster moving into a place that scary looking. But what did they know. They bought the house even after they found out that an entire family had been brutally murdered there.


9. The Cube Prison - Cube

Source: Cineplex-Odeon Films

Imagine you wake up in a perfectly square room. On each wall, the ceiling, and floor are six doors. You look through each door and find six more rooms that are identical to the first one except in color. You can go into any room you like, but they are all exactly the same. Well, except that some if them contain savage death traps involving spinning blades and sprays of acid. There is a way out, but to add one final insult, the only way to find it involves the most horrific thing of all. Math. Welcome to the Cube. First appearing in the 1997 cult classic Cube, the Cube is a great example of how a very clever filmmaker can use a low budget to his advantage. Director Vincenzo Natali creates an instant horror classic with basically one set and a really cool idea. Never before or since has simple geometry been so frightening.


8. The Shopping Mall - Dawn of the Dead

Source: United Film Distribution Company

In George Romero's second film in his legendary Dead series, our four heroes steal a helicopter to flee the growing menace of living dead that is threatening to consume the entire country. After realizing that fuel is going to be hard to come by, they stumble upon a shopping mall. At first, the Mall seems like a perfect place to ride out the flesh-eating ghoul storm in luxury and comfort. Things go well for awhile as they indulge their consumer fantasies in the best Seventies style, but it isn't long before the mall's garish colours and decorations become just as frightening and ugly as the skin rotting off the zombies outside. Only an expert filmmaker like George Romero could make a mall full of free consumer goods seem less attractive than a world overrun by rotten, hungry corpses.


7. A Totally Normal Suburban House - Poltergeist

Source: Peter Dennen/Aurora/Getty Images

In Steven Spielberg's E.T., the California suburbs are presented as a magical place where children are free to explore, play, and spend hour after hour with small, wrinkly creatures from beyond the stars. Even the single mom with three kids has a huge house full of toys and luxury. In Poltergeist however, Spielberg, along with director Tobe Hooper, explored the darker side of those sunny neighborhoods.

The Poltergeist house is just as well appointed and cozy as the one in E.T., but this time, the otherworldly visitors aren't of the friendly variety. They turn the house against its occupants. The chairs form weird patterns spontaneously, the TV talks in a voice only the girl can hear, and even the toys try to kill them. Once the upstairs closet turns into a portal to the Other Side, things go from bad to worse. All in a tastefully appointed, roomy, perfect suburban house.


6. An Empty Japanese House - The Grudge

Source: Columbia Pictures

The average Japanese house is already pretty creepy. Purposely draughty to combat the country's humidity, full of low ceilinged, narrow hallways and crawlspaces, and using mostly wood flooring, they are creaky and claustrophobic places. Perfect for sounds that could be the wind, or could be the bone-chilling wail of a vengeful spirit. In The Grudge (American remake and Japanese original) the filmmakers use the noises and maze like passages of a vacant Japanese house to horrifying effect. As a variety of poor suckers brave the house, sinister things occur almost immediately. With nothing more than a few odd sounds and a visual flash or two, the audience knows this empty house is full of evil. A cat cries but can't be found, a silent boy appears and disappears, and a dark cloud of palpable dread and fear emanate from the tiny attic. And that staircase. Dear God, that staircase.



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