Fright-bonanaza The Haunting In Connecticut is released on the veedee and blu-ray this week, so to celebrate we've made a list of all the ingredients you will need in order to make your very own haunted house movie.
Follow our simple guide, and you'll have the most terrifying house on the block in no time...
Who's At The Window?
The Cliché: Glance out of any window in a Haunted House, and a face is sure to appear briefly on the outside.
Appears In:Evil Dead, A Nightmare In Elm Street, The Strangers, Halloween H2O
How To Make it Real: Sheep’s eyes. Available from your local butcher, these will turn any rubber mask into an awesomely real looking face, when coupled with a mannequin's head and shoulders.
Just mount the face on the ledge outside window, perhaps a small torch under its chin to make it extra spook-a-licious, and wait for someone to draw the curtain.
If you want to get really fancy, you could rig some type of mechanism that makes the fake head pop up when the curtains are drawn.
Use springs in the eye sockets, which will shoot the eyes out of the head, for maximum scare factor.
Either that or you could just wait by the window with a torch under your chin.
Next: Deadly Doors[page-break]
The Cliché: Whether you opened them or not, door will spontaneously slam shut, sometimes opening and closing repeatedly, sometimes never to be opened again. The same applies to window shutters.
Appears In: Halloween, House On Haunted Hill, The Haunting
How To Make It Real: Rig up some string that runs from the doors, through the walls, to various parts of the room/house. That way, wherever you are you can slam to your heart’s content.
To mix it up a little, you may which to attach magnetic locks to some of your doors, so that once they close, the can't be opened again.
To add to the panic, perhaps install a metal screen, which will close Indiana Jones style once people enter the room, maybe even removing some limbs as it clamps shut.
Also, you must include several doors that open to reveal a brick wall behind. These should be strategically placed at exit points for maximum effect.
Perhaps paint words like "There is NO ESCAPE", or "You'll NEVER leave" on the brickwork in blood.
Animal blood will do, but if you've got human sauce handy, use that.
Next: Creepy Kids[page-break]
The Cliché: Kids are extra sensitive to the paranormal, and in Haunted House situations, become absolutely terrifying.
Appears In: The Orphanage, The Grudge, Poltergeist
How To Make It Real: Midgets are probably your best bet, what with child labour laws and all. Hire a few, give them bleach-blonde hair cuts and glowing contact lenses until they look like extras from Village of the Damned.
Instruct these little fearmongers to scurry around, perhaps through the crawlspace under the floor, or through the ducting, should you live in an office building.
Ask them to start off small, entering rooms in a stealthy manner, moving things around while people sleep, then they can slowly graduate to mutilation and murder.
If they are seen it isn't an issue, they need only stand still and stare eerily.
The guests will be so terrified by the sight of the children from the Villiage of the Damned they'll probably go catatonic - making their inevitable demise all the easier for your agents of mayhem.
Next: Stranger Danger[page-break]
The Cliché: Just when you think you’re all alone in that nice big house... you aren’t.
Appears In:The Strangers, When A Stranger Calls, Scream
How To Make it Real: Register your home as a halfway house for paroled offenders, give keys to the parole board, and ask them not to notify you when you’re getting a new visitor.
Leave temptations such as mind-altering drugs, hard alcohol, pornography and a selection of blunt and sharp instruments strewn around the place, which should create the kind of environment that will turn an ex-offender into a re-offender, and your guests into little more than blood spatter.
Perhaps leave notes around, indicating a large sum of money for whoever can kill the most people.
Of course there is no money, but you won't have to deal with that situation until everybody is dead, at which point you may need to panic.
Next: Fright Lights[page-break]
The Cliché: Power failure, flickering lights, that sort of thing.
Appears In:Poltergeist, The Entity, The Haunting, House On Haunted Hill
How To Make it Real: Short of building an elaborate remote control system, just wire all the light switches in the house to correspond to lights in other rooms, that way, people will be turning on and off lights all over the house unwittingly.
Place strategic items around the house that will make partiularly ghoulish shadows, convincing your unwitting guests that they saw someone in the room.
You should also provide torches with exactly two minutes battery life, and an abundance of spare batteries, none of which work, just to be as sadistic as possible.
As an added measure, you could add a timed kill-switch to the circuit, so that at a predetermined hour, say midnight, none of the lights continue to work at all, leaving your guests to rely on candles alone.
Which brings us to our next ingredient...
Next: Storm Warning[page-break]
The Cliché: Haunted Houses don’t seem so spooky on a sunny day, so you can guarantee that a severe storm will hit, bringing thunder, lightning, driving rain and gale force wind that always blows out bloody candles.
Appears In:House On Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts, The Haunting. Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror
How To Make it Real: Remember the film The Avengers? No? If you’ve had it surgically removed from your memory, then well done. Allow us to fill you in.
In that film Sean Connery’s character had a machine that could control the weather. So basically, just borrow that. Give it back in like a year or so, along with that lawnmower, those garden shears and the air mattress you punctured.
Begin on a low setting. Perhaps a light breeze, some grey clouds moving in. At opportune moments, use thunder and lightning to really scare the tits off everybody.
Slowly build into a full on hurricane-level thunder storm, which will blow out candles, windows and any last drop of hope.
Next: Homicidal Appliances[page-break]
The Cliché: Possessed household electric goods turn themselves on and off, cause mayhem.
Appears In:Poltergeist, The Entity
How To Make it Real: Add the spontaneity factor by getting a sparky drunk and setting him loose on your wiring. Your house should be a short circuit death trap in minutes.
Try to fill the rooms with as many faulty appliances as possible, everyhting from blenders, toasters and microwaves to vacuum cleaners, power tools, televisions and hi-fi equipment - and break all the switches so that once they're turned on, they can't be turned off.
You could even go as far as buying an old TV set, taking out the insides, replacing the glass with a transparent gel screen, and have one of your midgets climb out of it when it's turned on.
That really would be a nefarious plan! (LOUD CACKLING)
Next: Scary Cellars[page-break]
The Cliché: If you think the rest of the house is bad, wait til you see whats in the basement… hint: it usually involves corpses, sometimes entire graveyards.
Appears In:The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, House On Haunted Hill
How To Make it Real: Offer your cellar up to the local council, who have exhausted all their allocated burial space and have bodies piling high.
In no time you’ll have a house built on a graveyard, and a guest membership to the Fred West Fan Club. For added effect, leave bones or even entire skeletons hanging from the ceiling and the walls.
Another trip to the butchers will provide you with enough animal parts to make convincing removed organs, which should be displayed on shelves in pickle jars.
Use some kind of wire to trip folk as they make their way down the stairs. Hopefully, they'll lose consciousness and awake in your dungeon of terror...
The Cliché: For those who are confused, Animism is the name given to inanimate objects which have a soul. In this case, houses which have a soul... a soul that happens to be evil.
Appears In:The Haunting, House, The House On Haunted Hill, Monster House
How To Make it Real: Blood sacrifice is probably your best bet. Just go around killing people willy nilly, the more the merrier.
Do it on or near pentagrams if possible. Perhaps throw the odd demonic chant into the mix.
Once your house is alive, convince it to be evil by being really mean, with constant remarks about its weight or appearance.
Punch holes in walls with sledgehammers, and negect to clean.
Carry this on for several years, and you'll have one very angry house, thirsting for blood in vengeance for the mistreatment it has suffered.
Worked for us, though now we have nowhere to live. Nowhere that doesn't want to kill us, that is.
Any haunted house clichés/ingredients you can add to the list? You know where to comment.
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