10. The Innocents (1961)
9. Insidious (2011)
A couple is tormented by ghosts that seem to be targeting their comatose son in this relentless throwback scarefest.
This iconic haunted house flick was savaged by critics, but despite some over-the-top acting, it stands up well to contemporary supernatural fare like The Omen and The Shining, aided by its eerie "moaning children's chorus" score and classic bits like "invisible friends" talking to kids, bleeding walls and disembodied voices yelling "Get out!" You wouldn't have to tell me twice...
5. Lake Mungo (2010)
It's debatable what exactly the "presence" is in this movie -- ghost, demonic force, swamp gas -- but whatever it is, its impact is creepy with a capital CREEP. In the film, a group of hazmat workers cleaning up asbestos in an abandoned mental hospital encounter a malevolent force. One of the workers begins listening to audio tapes of psychiatric "sessions" with a former patient, and by the time he gets to session 9, every hair on your body will be standing on end.
Cheap and simple yet ingeniously executed (and marketed), The Blair Witch Project is a documentary-styled first-person account of the search for the legendary spirit of a witch rumored to haunt a forest in rural Maryland. The mind-numbing scares lie in the realism of the film, which features mostly improvised dialogue, natural lighting, shaky camerawork and spooky ambient noise that truly epitomizes the phrase "things that go bump in the night."
Almost every haunted house movie seems to have a scene in which the evilness of the building is touted in dramatic tones, but rarely do the manifestations of the evil live up to the legend. The Shining has no such letdown. Its iconic imagery, courtesy of legendary director Stanley Kubrick, is nightmare-inducing even if you haven't seen the film for years. Amazingly, it even rivals the Stephen King novel upon which it was based in terms of pure terror. Redrum!