The Haunting - 1963
The film begins with a voice-over by Dr. John Markway. Hill House was constructed by Hugh Crain as a home for his wife. She died in an accident as she approached the house for the first time. Crain remarried, but his second wife died after falling down the stairs. Crain's daughter, Abigail, lived in the house the rest of her life, never moving out of the nursery. She died calling for her nurse-companion. The companion inherited the house, but hung herself in the library.
Mrs. Sanderson inherited Hill House, but the mansion has stood empty for some time. Markway is investigating paranormal activity at the mansion. He gets permission from Mrs. Sanderson to occupy the house, on condition that he must take Luke Sanderson, her heir, with him. Markway chooses two individuals to accompany him, the psychic, Theodora, also known as "Theo", and the meek Eleanor "Nell" Lance. Eleanor spent her adult life caring for her invalid mother, and her recent death left Eleanor feeling severe guilt.
Markway, Luke, and Theo become frightened as Eleanor becomes separated from the group and Grace cannot be found. When they locate Eleanor, Markway insists that she leaves Hill House at once. He asks Luke to drive her away but before Luke can get in the car Eleanor drives off without him. As she speeds down the road to the front gates, something takes control of the steering wheel and the car starts driving erratically. Eleanor pleads with the supernatural entity to stop.
Suddenly, Grace steps out and appears in front of Eleanor's car. Eleanor swerves to avoid her, crashes into a tree, and dies. When Markway, Luke, and Theo arrive, Markway asserts that something was in the car with Eleanor. He notes that the tree that claimed Eleanor's life was the same one that killed the first Mrs. Crain, leaving up to the viewer to decide whether Eleanor lost control of the car due to supernatural forces, swerved to avoid hitting Grace, or deliberately committed suicide.
The Legend of Hell House - 1973
Physicist Lionel Barrett is enlisted by an eccentric millionaire, Mr. Deutsch, to make an investigation into "survival after death" in "the one place where it has yet to be refuted." This is the Belasco House, the "Mount Everest of haunted houses," originally owned by the notorious "Roaring Giant" Emeric Belasco, a six-foot-five perverted millionaire and supposed murderer, who disappeared soon after a massacre at his home. The house is believed to be haunted by numerous spirits, the victims of Belasco's twisted and sadistic desires.
Accompanying Barrett are his wife, Ann, as well as two mediums: a mental medium and Spiritualist minister, Florence Tanner, and a physical medium, Ben Fischer, who is also the only one of an earlier investigation to escape undamaged in mind or body. The rationalist Barrett is rudely sceptical of Tanner's belief in "surviving personalities," spirits which haunt the physical world, and he asserts that there is nothing but unfocused electromagnetic energy in the house.
Barrett brings a machine he has developed, which he believes will rid the house of any paranormal presence or force. Though not a physical medium, Tanner begins to manifest physical phenomena inside the house. When, after a quarrel with Tanner, Barrett is attacked by invisible forces, he suspects that Tanner may be using the house's energy against him. Meanwhile Fischer remains aloof, with his mind closed to the house's influence, and is only there to collect the generous pay offered him to return.
In the chapel, a confrontation ensues: thanks to clues from the manner in which Tanner, Barrett and the previous investigators had died, Fischer deduces that Belasco is the sole entity haunting the house, masquerading as many. He taunts Belasco, declaring him a "son of a whore", and that he was no "roaring giant", but likely a "funny little dried-up bastard" who fooled everyone about his alleged height.
Even as objects begin to hurl themselves at Fischer, he continues to defy the entity, until all becomes still, and a portion of the chapel wall shatters, revealing a hidden door. Going inside, Fischer and Ann discover a lead-lined room, containing Belasco's preserved body seated in a chair. Pulling out a pocketknife, Fischer rips open Belasco's trouser leg, discovering his final secret: a pair of prosthetic legs.
Fischer and Edith realise Belasco had had his own stunted legs amputated, and used the prosthetics in a grotesque attempt to appear imposing. Belasco had the lead lined room specially built, in the event of his death, to preserve his spirit, afraid of what may happen otherwise. With the room now open, Fischer activates Barrett's machine a second time, and he and Ann leave the house, expressing hopes that Barrett and Tanner will guide Belasco to the afterlife without fear.
Burnt Offerings - 1976
Ben and Marian Rolf rent a grand old country mansion as a summer getaway for themselves, their twelve year old son Davey, and Ben's Aunt Elizabeth. They feel they can't turn down the rent deal offered to them by the house's owners, siblings Roz and Arnold Allardyce, despite some reservations. First amongst those reservations, they are to take care of the house on their own, which Ben feels is too big a job, especially for Marian and the interior housekeeping.
In Marian's words, the large size of the house is a "waste". And second and perhaps more important amongst those reservations, the Allardyces' aged mother will be staying in her room at the house, the Rolfs who are to provide a tray of food left outside her room three times a day, which Marian vows to take care of on her own, with no other members of the family to go into that isolated wing of the house so as not to disturb Mrs. Allardyce's peace.
Upon their arrival at the house for the first day of their stay, they find a note from Roz and Arnold stating that they had to leave on an emergency, only with the necessary keys enclosed with no address or telephone number where they can be reached. As the summer progresses, the family members individually begin to exhibit unusual and unexplainable behavior, and unusual and unexplainable things start happening around the house.
The strongest behavior ends up being Marian's total focus on renewing the house into what she says she wants it to be, or so she implies she is doing. These occurrences threaten both the loving family dynamic as well as the individual lives of the four. The answers to what is happening may be who or what lies behind the closed and often locked door of Mrs. Allardyce's bedroom.
The Amityville Horror - 1979
George and Kathy Lutz are a young married couple who have recently purchased a home and move into the property. George appears not to be strong of faith, but Kathy is at least a nominal Catholic. The couple turn to Father Delaney to bless the home, but Delaney encounters troubles in trying to bless the home, including a room full of flies, out of season; violent stomach sickness; and later, blisters on his palm when trying to make a phone call to Kathy at their home.
As he continues to help the Lutz Family, Delaney experiences more strange events (his car brakes and steering malfunction) and frustrations (lack of support by his superiors in the diocese). He ultimately appears to lose faith, becoming blind and having a breakdown. George begins to be more sullen and angry over perceived cold in the house, and obsesses with splitting logs and keeping the fireplace stoked.
The Lutz Family witness a black, bubbling substance coming up in the toilets; an "ooze" coming down from nail holes in the walls; a babysitter being trapped in a closet despite it not having a locking doorknob; the disappearance of $1,500 in cash; and Kathy's aunt, a nun, running from the house and vomiting. Throughout the strange incidents, Kathy observes George's persistent waking up at 3:15 am, feeling he must go check on the boathouse.
She also has nightmares in which she is given details about the killings of the home's prior family. Research at the library and county records office suggest that the house is built atop a tribal burial ground, and that a known devil worshiper named Ketcham had once lived on the land. Finally, the paranormal events come to a head one stormy night and drive the family to flee, abandoning their home and belongings. The final titles reads that, "Today the Lutzes live in another state."
The Changeling - 1980
John Russell (George C. Scott), a composer living in Syracuse, New York, moves cross-country to Washington state following the deaths of his wife and daughter in a traffic accident while on a winter vacation in upstate New York. In suburban Seattle, John rents a large, old and eerie Victorian-era mansion and begins piecing his life back together. However, John soon discovers that he has unexpected and unwelcome company in his new home: the unhappy ghost of a murdered young boy.
The ghost makes its presence felt by various phenomena such as shattering windows, abruptly opening and shutting doors, and manifesting itself dramatically during a seance. John investigates the identity of the dead child and finds that the mystery is linked to a powerful local family, the heir of which is a wealthy United States senator, Joseph Carmichael. John subsequently discovers that the real Joseph Carmichael was murdered by his father, Richard. Joseph was a crippled, sickly child, and in the event of his death, the family fortune would pass to charity.
Suddenly, the picture and the desk start shaking violently and an illusion of the Senator is transported to the house and begins to climb the stairs which then crumble. John sees the Senator's illusion walking up the main staircase, and narrowly escapes being crushed by a chandelier. Meanwhile the Senator's illusion then climbs the stairs to Joseph's attic room where he witnesses how his father murdered the real Joseph by drowning him.
Meanwhile, back at the mansion, the Senator himself suffers a heart attack and dies as Joseph's attic room explodes. John and Claire arrive and see the Senator's body being hoisted away. The ambulance then passes the Carmichael mansion which is now completely engulfed in flames. The next morning, at the ruins of the mansion, Joseph's burnt wheelchair is seen sitting upright and his music box then opens and begins playing a lullaby, possibly signifying that the justice he wanted has finally been served.
House - 1986
Roger Cobb (William Katt), an author of horror novels, is a troubled man. He has recently separated from his wife (Kay Lenz); their only son has disappeared without a trace; and his favorite aunt (Susan French), has just died, an apparent suicide by hanging. On top of everything else, it has been more than a year since the release of his latest book and he is being pressured by his publisher to write another.
To the chagrin of his fans and publisher, Cobb plans a novel based on his experiences in Vietnam instead of another horror story. It is not so much that he is interested in the subject, it is more a way of purging himself of the horrors he himself experienced while there. After his aunt's funeral, instead of selling her house, as recommended by the estate attorney, Cobb decides to live there for a while to try to write. Having spent a great deal of time in the house as a child, there are a lot of memories still there for him.
Eventually Cobb finds what appears to be an entry into a sinister otherworldï¿½through the bathroom medicine cabinet. Looking into the void, he is pulled into the darkness by an unseen creature. In the darkness however, he fortuitously locates his lost son, Jimmy. Cobb manages to escape with Jimmy but, as they are leaving the house, they are confronted by the "living," partially decomposed corpse of Big Ben.
Because Cobb had failed to kill him when he was seriously wounded in Vietnam, and had instead allowed him to be taken prisoner and tortured before dying, Ben reveals that he has been out to destroy Cobb. Cobb himself confronts Ben, aware that his anger over the kidnapping of his Son has overwhelmed his fears. Unable to instill fear in Cobb any longer, Ben is defeated. Cobb destroys him and escapes with his son. He glances back at the house, triumphantly; he has beaten it, and regained control of his life.