Puzzle Box Horror’s Top Haunted House Films and TV Shows

Scary Movies and Series

There’s nothing more frightening than an intruder in your home – especially when the unwanted visitors aren’t even human. It’s an unsettling invasion of privacy in the place where you’re supposed to feel the safest, and oftentimes you’ll come to realize that your house has a much more disturbing history than you ever could have imagined. It’s these feelings of fear, discomfort, and dread that make the haunted house tale one of the most beloved in the history of horror.

Admit it, you’ve watched a haunted house flick at home and slept with the lights on for a few days afterward, or seen ghostly apparitions that don’t exist. The best horror films get a rise out of you that you never even knew you needed… because life’s no fun without a good scare, right? Below are 8 of what we think are the best haunted house horror movies and TV shows that will make you question every door creak or light flickering for years to come.

American Horror Story: Murder House (2011)

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

The season that started it all… and arguably the best one since Ryan Murphy went crazy with nuns, nazis, and circus freaks. The Harmons just wanted a fresh start, and thought they would find it in their gorgeous new Los Angeles mansion, until they discovered that the place was a murder hotspot (hence the title) and crawling with malicious spirits. In the nearly 10 years since American Horror Story has been airing, they still haven’t pulled off a better plot twist than Violet being unknowingly dead for half the season. In our opinion, this is the best haunted house tv series ever made. A bold statement, but it’s that good.

Paranormal Activity (2009)

Paranormal Activity Movie Poster

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Technically, it’s the female protagonist Katie Featherston that’s being followed around by a ghost, not the house, but this film is still lots of spooky fun. Any horror enthusiast will remember all the hype around Paranormal Activity, with people jumping out of their seats in the trailer and critics hailing it as the scariest movie of the decade. We wouldn’t go that far, but it’s definitely one of the best haunted house flicks in recent years. It’s been over a decade, and that ending still sticks in people’s minds…

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense Movie Poster

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Creepy kid? Check. Jump scares? Check. Twist ending that you definitely didn’t see coming? Check. Everything about this horror classic is iconic – from the famous horror quote, “I see dead people” line to the surprise ending that made M. Night Shyamalan a (haunted) household name. Like any good paranormal movie, the human characters are very human, providing emotional arcs that keep you invested and remind you that plenty of monsters are very much alive. 

Rose Red (2002) 

Rose Red Mini Series poster

Unlike IT, this TV miniseries from Stephen King didn’t go on to become a hit film franchise (yet,) but it’s still an underrated haunted house story. It takes place not in Maine, but Seattle… in a mansion with a deadly history and an uncanny ability to change shape and size every time you step through the door. As you watch the secrets of the mansion come to life, you’ll be reminded by Stephen King is forever the godfather of the horror genre.

The Haunting (1999)

The Haunting Movie Poster

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%

Based on Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House (not to be confused with the series, we’ll get to that later,) this film challenges the age-old question surrounding paranormal encounters. Is some crazy sh** happening, or am I just losing my mind? Researchers study a group of siblings as they’re locked inside an old-timey mansion, and as you can imagine… it’s not pretty. There’s a lot of horror cliches and overdone CGI, but it’s a good pick for a scary movie night at home.

The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring Movie Poster

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

Sometimes the paranormal entities in a home are harmless and just want to play. Other times they’re the ghost of an accused witch and baby killer who sets out to murder anybody who moves into her old house. Not cool. Bathsheba in The Conjuring is one terrifying spirit, and while multiple sequels have been released since this scary flick hit theaters in 2013… Annabelle the doll and the Nun have nothing on her. 

The Changeling (1980)

The Changeling Movie Poster

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

An oldie but a goodie… this film follows a New York City composer as he moves into an old Victorian mansion after the devastating loss of his wife and child. Most people probably wouldn’t move into such a large and creepy house alone, but you do you. As you can imagine, a number of paranormal encounters begin to occur – from ghostly apparitions to loud banging. The story is a little slow to unravel, but you slowly learn that the mansion has a haunting history that’s probably worse than you imagined. The changeling is often referred to as one of the best haunted house movies.

The Woman in Black (2012)

The woman in Black film poster

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%

Sure, you may have wanted to shout “your wand, Harry!” a few times throughout the film… but Daniel Radcliffe gave a killer performance in one of his first roles after Harry Potter. He plays a widower who tries to uncover the secrets of a vengeful spirit who is terrorizing the townspeople. While it’s a pretty typical ghost story, and doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table when it comes to horror… the cinematography is gorgeous and the ending will have you on the edge of your seat. 

The Haunting of Hill House

Haunting of Hill House poster

This is a relative newcomer but it is a really great haunted house series coming from Netflix. In this haunted tale, a family is coming to terms with a tragic past that all started when they moved into Hill House to renovate it. The series jumps back and forth between the past tragedies and the future where the family is unraveling as they try and figure out exactly what happened at Hill House. It’s a must-see for any haunted house horror fans.

Honorable Mentions

1408 (2007)

John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson put on a PHENOMENAL PERFORMANCE in 1408, also ranking a 10 out of 10 bones (admittedly a tip of the hat to the writers Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, and of course Stephen King!). John Cusack plays a haunted house journalist, traveling to a hotel Samuel Jackson manages called the Dolphin Hotel.  Unlike all of his previous excursions, this hotel (particularly room 1408) is actually haunted. 1408 is an ‘edge of your seat’ horror story that does not have a single dull moment. Horror Enthusiast places 1408 in the second scariest haunted house horror movie of all time!

Session 9 (2001)

Session 9 is a truly scary movie. This horror film takes a few keynotes from House on Haunted Hill and sets the stage in an abandoned insane asylum with a bad rap in its past. Ultimately, a group of workers for a contractor are tasked with renovating the asylum and forced to work among the ghosts and hauntings within.  There are a few intricate story lines which develop nicely throughout the movie, maintaining a thick, interesting plot that paves the way for plenty of suspense and scares. The creativity that has been injected throughout Session 9 separates it so much from other horror movies about insane asylums and haunted houses, that it has earned Horror Enthusiast ‘Best Haunted House Movies Ever’ spot #4!

Poltergeist (1982)

poltergeist drawing of girl in front of a haunted television

The cinematic abilities of 1982 are definitely no match for the visual and graphical capabilities of today’s technology…however, Poltergeist still exploits many deep fears and immerses the audience into a terror-filled story that they will never forget. People often underestimate the power of a good psychological scare.

The Skeleton Key (2005)

Kate Hudson puts on a stupendous performance playing Caroline Ellis in Skeleton Key. Everyone is scared of the unknown, and there is a natural fear associated with working a new job. Skeleton Key features a hospice nurse who has to work in a creepy plantation house, filled with a dark and disturbing hoodoo history and haunts alike! This haunted house movie has scored so well for its truly immersive (and believable) acting, sincerely terrifying effects and fear-inspiring story line.

The Shining (1980)

Like Poltergeist, the Shining is an underdog competing against the incredible capability of today’s technology for shooting horror movies. Somehow, the Shining still pulls out a champion in beating so many of the horror films that have come after it simply because the fear is real!  Horror does not require any vivid details…in fact, some of the scariest horror come from scenes with the blandest of special effects (or scenes with no special effects at all). The Shining is a psychological terror that stays with people for life and changed the horror movie genre forever.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

amityville scary movie

Amityville Horror is about the demonic possession of a man (Ryan Reynolds) after the newlywed family moves into the eerie house.  The character transformation from loveable family man to insane killer is gradual and well-developed.  Reynolds plays an outstanding killer, keeping the Amityville Horror remake rather high on the list of Best Haunted House Movies Of All Time.

Ghostwatch (1992)

Ghostwatch, like Rose Red, was actually created for TV. However, it has become a horror movie fan cult favorite and is very frequently listed in a number of “favorite horror movies” lists. Being a British film, it took a little longer to pick up traction in the United States, and in fact still remains a little unknown.  Still, this movie is absolutely thrilling and will keep the audience interested from start to finish.

Sinister (2012)

A true crime journalist investigating a murder makes a ghastly discovery in realizing the murderer may be a serial killer responsible for murders dating all the way back to the 1960s.  Only this serial killer and this house inflict a supernatural fear that leaves the audience shivering in terror.

Crimson Peak (2015)

is crimson peak scary

Crimson Peak is one of the newer horror films that benefits from new-age CGI and effects. The story is not without great fantasy and plot twists that keep an audience enthralled! This haunted house thriller is set in the Victorian Era and is a suspenseful film to say the least.

House (1985)

House is about a horror novelist and Vietnam war vet on a mission to find his missing son.  His son disappeared in his aunts house years ago, of which he has now inherited and moved into.  Only he soon discovers the house is not the only thing he has inherited, but also the ghouls and zombies inside. For its time and low budget, this movie was an impressive psychological thriller!

The Others (2001)

the others scary movie

The movie is set in the end days of World War II and Nicole Kidman plays a mother of two photosensitive children who realizes her family’s mansion is haunted.  Haunting ghosts of the dead, a rich plot and suspenseful mystery…what more could a horror fan ask for?

The Changeling (1980)

A secluded historical mansion is always a good setting for a horror movie, especially about a haunting. The Changeling is about a man (played by George C. Scott), who is staying at said mansion who becomes terrorized by the spirit of a murdered child.  This horror movie is more than suspenseful, but also offers an excellent mystery plot, securing the final rank of 15 on our list of the Best Horror Movies About Haunted Houses!

Still Want More? – Check these haunted house horror movies

Other horror movies that feature haunted houses or locations and receive honorable mentions include: The Orphanage (2007), the original Amityville Horror (1979), Stephen King’s IT (2017 remake), the Haunting (1999), and the original House on Haunted Hill (1959). There are many other horror movies out there, especially older-generation flicks, which are primarily about haunted houses or the ghosts that inhabit them…however, there has to be a cut off bar somewhere! 

Puzzle Box Winter Horror Guide

Best Horror Books Best Of Best of Movies Featured Horror Books Scary Movies and Series

Winter is a wonderful time with falling snow, crackling fireplaces, and precious family moments. However, like all beautiful things, this season also has a dark side – and Puzzle Box Horror is bringing you the ultimate guide to winter horror seasonal scares. From real-world terrors like almost dying from frostbite to holiday folklore creatures that pull you into the depths of Hell, here are the top winter horror stories you need this season.


30 Days of Night 

Released: 2007

30 days of night winter horror movie poster

Before there was Twilight, there was 30 Days of Night… a truly brilliant horror film that tells the story of bloodsuckers, captivity, and bone-chilling terror in Alaska. The town of Barrow is preparing for the annual “30 Days of Night,” a period during the winter when there is a polar night for an entire month. Or in simpler terms, 24-hour a day darkness. As the community is snowed in and confined to their homes, a band of bloodthirsty vampires arrives and begins to pick off the townspeople one-by-one. With monstrous killers on the loose, and no communication to the outside world, the main characters must find a way to stay alive and overcome the darkness. Both literally and figuratively. If you’re a real vampire enthusiast with a side of winter horror obsession, this is the perfect film for you! Stream on Amazon here.


Released: 2015


Who doesn’t love a good holiday horror movie? Especially when it’s about a demonic creature from European folklore that guarantees you’ll sleep with one eye open on Christmas Eve. Krampus has everything you could typically expect from a Christmas film – a dysfunctional family, a blizzard snowing people in, a child doubting his holiday spirit – but instead of Santa, you have Krampus. This horned, demonic creature originates from German folklore, and descends each winter to punish those who have lost their Christmas spirit and drag them straight to Hell. Which seems a little harsh, if you ask us… but you’ll get a kick out of this winter comedy horror film that’s scarily good. Stream on Amazon here.


Released: 2010


Sometimes your winter vacation can turn into a nightmare, and it definitely did for the three college students in Frozen. It’s a simple premise, but truly terrifying. One second, you’re in a chairlift getting ready to ski and snowboard at a high-end resort – and the next, you’re trapped in freezing cold temperatures 100 feet above the ground. When the three friends get stranded in the chairlift with no help in sight, they go to extreme measures to stay alive and avoid freezing to death. There’s no ghosts or demons, just three people fighting against nature to protect themselves from the woes of winter… and it’s incredibly frightening. Stream on Amazon here.

The Thing

Released: 1982


When a group of researchers in Antarctica encounter “The Thing,” it’s not just the bitter cold that they need to protect themselves from. This alien orgasm is a parasite that can imitate people to perfection, giving them all paranoia that they can’t trust each other. And to be honest, they probably can’t. Like many winter horror films, this is a story of survival amongst both evil forces and the steep snow… and it’s simply chilling to watch. After you’ve finished watching the 1982 version of The Thing, you can also watch the 2011 remake that many horror fans believe is as brilliant as the original! Purchase the DVD here.

The Invisible Man

Released: 1933


If you’re in the mood for a black-and-white holiday movie that’s a bit less cheery than It’s A Wonderful Life, this eerie winter horror film will definitely do the trick. As the name suggests, it tells the story of a man who checks into a hotel on a snowy night with this face fully wrapped in bandages and topped off with goggles. After a series of events, it’s uncovered that this man has discovered the science of invisibility, and he’s even more dangerous than you think. An invisible man who can sneak up on his victims before their brutal murders, in the middle of the snowy winter? What could possibly go wrong? Stream on Amazon here.


The Shining

Author: Steven King

Published: 1977


The Shining isn’t just one of the best haunted books of all time, it’s also a winter horror masterpiece. While it’s the supernatural forces that cause Jack Torrance to lose himself and become a danger to himself and his family – it’s safe to say that any of us would go crazy after being trapped in a haunted hotel during a winter snowstorm. Jack begins working there as a caretaker as he recovers from alcoholism, and his inner demons combined with actual evil spirits begin to take over his body. As the snow falls around this Colorado hotel, he goes on a quest to kill his son Danny (who posseses psychic powers called “the shining”), wife Wendy, and anybody else who stands in his way. Even if you’ve seen the cult favorite 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson, this Steven King novel is a classic that you should definitely read from your creepy hotel room. Available on Amazon here.

The Winter People 

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Published: 2014


Living “off the grid” in a Vermont farmhouse to survive the winter cold may seem like a dream at first. Netflix, blankets, and hot cocoa… oh my! But things take a turn when 19-year-old Ruthie moves into the home with her mother and sister, only for her mother to mysteriously vanish one day. Trapped in the middle of nowhere with no answers, she uncovers an old diary that pulls her into a town mystery that may or may not decide her mother’s fate. Along with provide answers for the other townspeople who have disappeared throughout the decades. Available on Amazon here.

Ghost Story

Author: Peter Straub

Published: 1971


You know you’ve written a killer book when even Stephen King compliments it. The famed horror author has nothing but great things to say about Ghost Story, as does Puzzle Box Horror. It tells the tale of four old men who gather around one winter night to tell the many stories of their past. Some are simple, others are frightening, but there’s one that’s purely horrifying. A terrible mistake that shows that your past can always come back to haunt you, and no sin is truly forgiven. Available on Amazon here.


Author: Christopher Golden

Published: 2014


The snow is the true villain in this novel by Christopher Golden, as the town of Coventry still struggles to recover from a devastating blizzard that happened over a decade ago. And it wasn’t just your typical natural disaster. Many people died, others mysteriously vanished, and strange things began to happen as icy figures danced in the snow and gazed inside children’s windows. With another blizzard set to hit the town, the people of Coventry must put away their painful memories and prepare to save themselves from the supernatural forces of the snow. Available on Amazon here.


Author: Stephen King

Published: 1987


Snow and Stephan King novels are always a scarily good combination, and Misery is no exception. When acclaimed author Paul Sheldon gets caught in a snowstorm and crashes his car, he awakens to find that he has been captured by Annie Wilkes, a superfan of his work who will go to great lengths to get her definition of a happy ending. This includes holding him hostage, manipulating him by withholding food and painkillers, and even cutting off his foot. It becomes clear that Annie is unstable and Paul’s life is in danger, and he must escape her before his own life story comes to an end. This novel was also made into a highly successful movie starring James Caan and Kathy Bates! Available on Amazon here.