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It’s a dark and stormy night. Your petrol light is blinking and you’ve been driving around in circles for hours. As you’re mentally deciding who to eat first, you see a house on a hill up ahead. You approach, hoping for a working telephone. Suddenly lightening splits the sky, illuminating the residence that is crouched there, waiting. Thunder cracks overhead like a warning. Should you ring the doorbell or turn back and take your chances?
The Bates Mansion
If you are a young attractive blonde, you’ll be in trouble if you stumble across the Bates’ motel in Psycho. Although, if you have repressed mother issues you may fit in nicely and find yourself extending your stay! On first appearance the motel seems a nice enough place, but the house behind is a domineering presence, watchful and disapproving. It stands hunched on the hill, covered in shadows; the high-pitched cackle of criticism echoeing through its halls. It is the twisted menacing presence of an Oedipus complex that draws you in with a beckoning hooked finger.
Keep driving. There will always be another hotel.
The Bramford Apartments
If you are considering a move in the new future, you might want to check up on your neighbours. Although, when Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband move in Rosemary’s Baby, the old couple next door seem harmless. However, before she knows what’s happening, a demonic beast is taking advantage of her. Pregnant, she becomes trapped in the seemingly innocuous building as something terrible begins to grow inside. Her life had held such promise, young and in love, but it’s left shattered after she gives birth to the spawn of Satan. Heed this as a warning the next time you need to borrow some sugar.
112 Ocean Drive
Even if the address sounds normal enough, don’t be fooled into an impulsive purchase when thick clouds of flies are buzzing around in the depths of winter. The Lutz family in The Amityville Horror weren’t put off that the house had a bloody past. Certain a light blessing should keep them safe, they were unprepared for what their new home had in store for them. Plagued by vivid nightmares that soon became their reality; cloven hoof prints, levitation, black bubbling ooze and vomiting nuns, the Lutz family ran screaming after 28 days.
‘Isolated’ might sound perfect for a romantic getaway, but in The Shining the word takes on a whole new meaning. Emptied of staff and guests, the cavernous rooms and long corridors make it feel like something threatening is always just around the corner. Never have twin girls been so frightening. The overbearing presence of the hotel begins to affect Jack Torrance’s mind, the seclusion bearing down on him. It’s high time for a family counselling session when Jack starts stalking the hotel with a knife.
Be cautious of any luxury accommodation that comes with its own maze, only terror can lurk down that path.
The Klumps’ Residence
Before you accept that dinner invitation, there is one last caution that must be delivered. A word of warning that should be passed down to every generation, through every family.
If you knock on the door, bottle of wine in hand, and it is answered by a woman who bears a strange resemblance to Eddie Murphy, beware. Make your excuses and turn back now.
I once had a nightmare that I was stuck in a house filled with strange people, all of whom looked strangely like Eddie Murphy. When I caught a glimpse of The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps I screamed until it was removed from my house. That’s just not funny.
Sometimes an evil house is easy to spot, but others look perfectly harmless. Look behind you before booking that hotel room, check the history of houses advertised with an online letting agent, hesitate when your neighbours show you undue concern and be sure you’re clear whose invitation you’re accepting. You have been warned.
Have any cinematic houses made you bite your nails in terror? Let us know which abodes make your skin crawl.
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During a career path that resembles the wild twists and turns of a badly-written mystery novel, Christie’s adoration of books, films and theatre has never waned. Having spent her childhood with her nose in a book she has vocal opinions on the art of story-telling in all its forms. Here she writes for Emoov.