Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Movie Picks: Haunted Buildings

Once again, I'm excited that we've reached Thursday. However, boys and girls, this is a bittersweet one for ol' Dell. This will be the last Halloween themed edition of Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. If you've been around, you know that I've gone full bore with the horror genre all month. Therefore, I'm a bit sad to see it coming to an end. Since we must move on to more regular movies in a few days, why not go out with the sub-genre that might produce the most actually scary movies of them all: haunted house flicks?

I've been into horror ever since I saw The Exorcist air on network television as a wee lad some thirty-five years ago. So yeah, I have socks older than most bloggers. With that much experience with the genre, it should come as no surprise that movies never scare me. A number of them have manage to disturb me, but none make me think something is really about to get me. However, I'd be lying if I said that after a particularly good haunted house flick in the discomfort of my own dark home, I didn't give an extra thought to the sounds one normally hears in the dead of night. With that said, I'm going to just jump right in to a trio of hidden gems that made me have to remind myself that the creaking I just heard was merely the house settling.

The Amityville Horror
I'm sure you'll notice that this is the remake and not the 1979 classic. Here's the deal: the original is arguably the most famous and revered haunted house flick of all time (possible exception to Poltergeist. The remake is most certainly not. In fact, it's fairly despised. I understand why. It takes the original story and stuffs it into thirty minutes less movie. However, it works for me. The original, while a better movie, has a tendency to drag. This one moves swiftly along and ups the visual ante by a wide margin. It's a quick, but fun ride that's not as bad as its reputation. It's also a chance to see Ryan Reynolds play something besides a smart-alec. (my full review)

The Orphanage
Here, we have a movie that flew under most people's radar, but is loved by most who happened to see it. The Orphanage is a wonderful tale about a family that has moved into a drafty old mansion that used to house an orphanage, of course. Shortly after they get there, their own son goes missing. Meanwhile, mom is hearing and seeing all sorts of strange things. I mean, just look at the creepy picture above. Of the three movies I'm recommending this week, this is the most sure-fire winner.

Silent House
Here's another movie that doesn't get the credit it deserves. Like the remake of The Amityville Horror, it's a quick shot of creepiness, clocking in at a mere 86 minutes. The selling points here are the wonderful performance by Elizabeth Olsen and the rather unsettling noise made by an old-school camera. Her character has returned to her family's old summer house with her dad and uncle. Before long, she's hearing and seeing things everywhere. It all leads up to one of the most delicious twists ever. (my full review)


  1. Great picks! I didn't do one of these this week, but if I did, Amityville Horror would definitely be there. I never got around to seeing The Silent House, even though I wanted to.

    1. Thanks! Glad to see someone else appreciate TAH remake.

  2. The Orphanage is such a great film! It's always the movie I use to convince myself that I like and want to watch thrillers, even though they terrify me.

    1. I love The Orphanage. Lol, that you have to convince yourself to watch these types of movies. Rest assured that I'm laughing with you, not at you. My wife is the same way and very rarely watches any horror with me.

  3. I really wanted to like The Orphanage for I knew Guillermo del Toro was the executive producer on this and I love his own ghost story the Devil's Backbone...if I remember correctly the Orphanage even kinda had a similar quote as the opening of TDB . Unfortunately while The Orphanage was good It didn't quite work for me.
    Oh I've seen Silent House. I think there had been bad reviews about it...but I found when the house started being scary it was really scary. Maybe it was the ending that most didn't like. Certainly took me by surprise and nice play on the title.

    1. Haven't seen The Devil's Backbone. I've heard good things about it, though. Yeah, Silent House was not especially well received. I think you're right that a lot of that was because of the ending. I loved it, but I understand that lots of people didn't.