On February 17, SP Releasing will unleash the Ghost of New Orleans, a horror film which stars Josh Lucas as a disgraced detective who has a supernatural encounter which leads him to the ghost of a cellist, played by Lake Bell, who needs him to unlock the mystery behind her death.
In honor of this upcoming release, World Film Geek takes a look at other haunted houses that gained fame in horror films, including a recently released thriller that was covered here.
We start with the classic House on Haunted Hill, the 1959 film that starred the legendary Vincent Price as Frederick Loren, a millionaire who invited five people to a spooky house for only one night for ten thousand dollars. We all know what’s in store for these unlucky folks. The film would be remade in 1999 with Geoffrey Rush in the role based on Price and a sequel to said remake, Return to House on Haunted Hill was released in 2007.
In 1963, West Side Story helmer Robert Wise directed an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel “The Haunting of Hill House”, shortening the title to The Haunting. In the film, a scientist invites two omen to join him in a haunted mansion where one of them slowly begins to lose her mind. Julie Harris and Claire Bloom played the women with Richard Johnson as the scientist. A loose remake was released in 1999 with Liam Neeson playing a sleep specialist who invites a group of his patients to do a study inside of a haunted mansion. The film co-starred the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor.
Next, we take a look at The Amityville Horror, the 1977 classic that was apparently based on a true story. In the film, the Lutz family moves into a home in Amityville, New York. Believing the house may be haunted, they send in a priest to perform an exorcism, but the priest is rendered blind by the evil spirit and soon things are about to get worse for this family. The film would go on to spawn a whopping eight sequels from 1982 to 2011 and have not one, but two remakes, a 2005 remake that was criticized for its miscasting of Ryan Reynolds in the Brolin role and the upcoming Amityville: The Awakening.
One will also never forget the 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, which will forever be known for Jack Nicholson’s menacing performance of Jack Torrance, a writer who takes his family to a hotel he has agreed to take care of during the winter. However, the hotel is known for being a house of horrors and Jack solely transitions into a violent man who goes to great lengths to cause chaos with his psychic son Danny, being the one who can warn everyone about the madness that ensues. An official sequel to the original novel, Doctor Sleep, was published in 2013. The film itself was re-made as a made-for-television miniseries in 1997 with Steven Weber in the Torrance role.
While most of these brand of films are set in the likes of mansions or older houses, Tobe Hooper’s 1982 film Poltergeist did something that would be considered influential and took a more suburban setting in terms of ghosts invading the home of a typical American suburban family. The most famous line of the film comes from the late Heather O’Rourke: “They’re here”. The film would go to spawn two sequels and a 2015 remake starring Sam Rockwell.
In 1986, there was a film simply titled House, which starred William Katt as writer Roger Cobb, who inherits a house from his aunt. When he moves in the house, he learns that his new house is haunted. It also turns out that Roger has a past with the house when his son mysterious disappeared in the house years ago and his frantic search resulted in his losing both his family and writing career. However, Cobb must face his fears and gather the strength to put an end to the terror. The film would spawn three sequels from 1987 to 1992 (note: The Horror Show is the official third entry of the series).
Of course, when it comes to the new millennium, the movie everyone can be said to be the “haunted house movie” of this generation can be summed up in two words: Paranormal Activity. Written and directed by Oren Peli, the film wisely uses found footage to tell the story of a couple who move into a new home only to be slowly disturbed by a demonic presence. Known for its shocking twist of an ending, the film went from the unknown to one of the most well-known horror films of this generation. Peli, who got the idea from an apparent experience, shot the film in his own home with the use of a digital movie camera. The film was so successful that it would spawn four official sequels, two spin-offs, and was even spoofed by none other than Marlon Wayans who starred in the film simply called A Haunted House and its sequel.
Most recently, we were introduced to the Abattoir, a haunted house like no other. In this film, the house was one being constructed by a maniacal preacher with a catch. The house consisted of rooms taken from houses where murders took place. When an investigative reporter and her detective boyfriend go to this small town, all hell truly breaks loose.
Which brings us to the upcoming film Ghost of New Orleans, set for release on February 17. The film stars Stealth’s Josh Lucas as a disgraced detective who seeks redemption when he encounters an experience with the ghost of a cellist, played by Lake Bell, who asks the detective to solve her murder. The film may just be latest in these haunted house films that will stand the test of time in terms of scaring the bejesus not just out of the house’s occupants but the viewer as well.
So here’s a little tip for moving into a new house. Make sure you don’t hear any strange voices or noises because if you do, that’s the first sign to do what the Amityville Horror warns you: Get Out!