Mike Flanagan wowed audiences with his feature directorial debut, Absentia, a few years back. Now he returns with an even creepier tale of supernatural terrors in Oculus (review). To celebrate the release of Oculus, we bring you a look at the Top Seven Supernatural Films that Haunt Us.
The funny thing about a really powerful supernatural movie, at least those that get wide theatrical releases, is they usually transcend the theater and become the talk of the nation for a while. And many of them even hang around our psyches for years and years to come.
We’ll begin, as always, with our honorable mentions, and you’ll see that many of them also took the country by storm. Low budget, found footage movies like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project were absolutely larger than life during their theatrical releases.
However, bigger films can also reach out and grab you. Poltergeist and The Conjuring certainly come to mind. Some other haunting projects that are worth an honorable mention are Stephen King’s 1408, a tiny indie called I Am a Ghost which had an incredibly freaky finale, cult favorite Session 9 that did for asbestos removal what Psycho did for taxidermy, and the ultra-creepy, ambiance-laden The Orphanage.
As you’ll see, this list contains some legendary horror heavyweights because once you really scare us, we don’t soon forget. Here are the Top Seven Supernatural Films that Haunt Us.
The Amityville Horror kicks off this list not because it was so frightening or because of the slew of sequels and remakes it inspired, but the fact that this is a truly horrific mystery. For those who need a quick refresher, The Amityville Horror is based on a book written by Jay Anson which claims to be the true-life experiences of George and Kathy Lutz and their family after moving into the home at 112 Ocean Avenue. Just 13 months before, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., had shot and killed six members of his family. Anson’s book and the original film are a representation of what happened to the Lutz family during their 28-day stay in the home… or is it? There has always been tons of speculation as to just what is real and what is fraud in the Lutzes’ story, making The Amityville Horror a supernatural mystery of the highest degree.
The Shining (1980)
As tales of hauntings go, perhaps no one spins a better yarn than the great Stephen King. It’s no secret that King has no love for Stanley Kubrick’s vision of his classic novel, but somewhere between King’s conjuring of the tale and Kubrick’s mad scientist filmmaking techniques (not to mention a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Jack Nicholson), a masterful cinematic haunting was born. It’s been nearly 35 years since The Shining was released, and even longer since the novel hit the stands, and still today it still stands as one of the most unsettling films of all time. This is another example of a truly excellent haunting being embraced by our culture. Sure, on the surface, The Shining looks like a slasher film to the uninformed eye. But a look deeper within the walls of The Overlook Hotel shows a much more haunted and supernatural environment. Great party, isn’t it?