Ahlephia’s Top 13 Must See Paranormal Horror Movies

The time has come for me to dust off the paranormal vault and unleash something deadly and ghostly upon the readers of Truly Disturbing.  Rhiannon Irons, a.k.a Ahlephia, here with what I hope will cause some debate among you ghouls.  Go on, have a read….if you dare….

In horror today there’s no escaping the paranormal. Although, what constitutes paranormal to some, might not mean paranormal to others. So, for the purpose of this countdown, I’m looking a ghost tales, demonic presence and movies that just scream supernatural. And here’s hoping that I don’t piss of the spirit world along the way.

So prepare yourselves for a ride as the number 13 train pulls in…..do you dare ride it to Paranormal Town?

13: Paranormal Activity (2007)

OK, from past posts it’s obvious that I don’t actually like this film. In fact, I found it down right boring to the point that sorting my sock drawer was more entertaining. However, it’s a good starting block to kick start this article. After all, where I failed to find it interesting, millions of people disagree.

Paranormal Activity in a nutshell is, after moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence. Suspense was high, adding to the tension that at any moment something was going to happen, the eerie feeling could not be escaped for both the characters on screen as well as the audience watching and there was something generally creepy about the fact that things do go bump in the night. Paranormal Activity isn’t a must watch, but if you’re looking for some chills and thrills then check it out.


12: The Haunting (1963)

Forget Catherine Zeta-Jones and Liam Neeson. I’m talking about the original film that still manages to send a shiver or two down my spine.

Located in a remote part of New England and isolated from any nearby community, Hill House is a 90-year-old, 19th century mansion with a long history of death and murder. When Dr. John Markway gets a chance to stay there for a few weeks, he sees an opportunity to study what is reportedly a genuine haunted house. With several other including Luke Sanderson, Eleanor ‘Nell’ Lance and a one-named woman named Theodora, they prepare to launch their experiments. Theo is there because of her ESP skills while Nell had a previous experience with a poltergeist and Luke represents the family that still owns Hill House. Soon after their arrival, the temporary occupants begin to face terrifying ordeals. Nell, who has lived a sheltered and repressed life life having spent all of her time caring for her recently deceased mother, is the clearly focus of the emanations and the haunting. She is both terrified and comforted in Hill House and part of her wants to stay. The spirits seem to want to keep her as well. A must see film.

11: The Sixth Sense (1999)

An odd choice perhaps, but it was either this or The Others with Nicole Kidman. And let’s face it, seeing ・dead people・ is pretty paranormal to me.

Nine-year-old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) always seems disturbed, frightened… and his mother cannot figure out why. He finally confesses to psychiatrist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) that it’s because he sees dead people – everywhere… and they’re not always pleasant to look at. Director M. Night Shyamalan is leading the way in bringing back good old-fashioned scary movies in the “Twilight Zone” tradition, without an over-reliance on special effects. The film is cleverly constructed and provides a truly surprising twist at the end. If you haven’t seen it, crawl out from under that rock you’re hiding under and go find a copy. The Sixth Sense will have you seeing dead people every where you turn….

10: The Innocents (1961)

There’s something that’s mighty creepy about this film to the point that my girlfriends must watch this during the day to avoid nightmares. Deborah Kerr is electrifying as Miss Giddens. Her performance alone sold this film as being believable.

Based on Henry James novel, The Turn of the Screw, this 1961 film is a subtle, thriller/ghost story that slowly draws you into its creepy world in Victorian England. Deborah Kerr stars as a governess who is hired to care for an orphaned boy and girl, and soon enough the happy household becomes the setting for strange goings-on. The governess begins to see things – ghosts? – and then learns of the horrible secret past of the house and how it might be affecting – even possessing – the children. A must watch!

9: Candyman (1992)

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How does this rank on a paranormal list? Let me explain. A ghost story boarding on a slasher, Candyman brilliantly mines the fear inherent in urban legends and camp fire tales in this story of a Bloody Mary-ish ghost who appears if you say his name into a mirror five times. Unlike Bloody Mary, though, he has a hook for a hand.

Candyman, despite its slasher appeal, certainly grants the paranormal aspect as well, providing a new look at an old tale that everyone knows. So I ask, do you dare call his name five times? Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman….

8: Lake Mungo (2008)

Is there really any surprise that an Australian film would make this list? This is one of the most spectacular films I’ve seen in years and I can’t rave about it enough. Lake Mungo is a film about grief and revelation and succeeds not only as a portrait of a family in mourning but also as a chilling ghost story.

Lake Mungo is about sixteen year old Alice Palmer and her family. Alice drowns while swimming in a local dam. When her body is recovered, the coroner passes the verdict of her death being of accidental drowning, and her family buries her. And that’s where the problems begin. The family begins to experience a series of strange and inexplicable events that seem to be centred around their home. Profoundly unsettled, the Palmers seek the help of psychic and parapsychologist, Ray Kemeny. Ray discovers that Alice led a secret, double life. A series of clues lead the family to Lake Mungo where Alice・s secret past emerges.

7: Insidious (2010)

What do you get when you combine Partick Wilson, Lin Shaye and Australia’s very own Rose Byrne and Leigh Whannell? One hell of a scary movie.

A gripping story of a family in search of help for their son, Dalton, who fell into a mysterious coma on one ordinary morning. Little do they know that there is much more to this endless sleep than meets the eye as they explore the paranormal, and rediscover the past; the key to getting their son back once and for all. Family to the rescue. Not for everyone, but still a film that you have to see to believe.

6: The Amityville Horror (1979)

Can’t have a paranormal countdown without this film making the list. Newlyweds move into a house where a murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. If you haven’t seen this (or if you’ve only seen the remake) I urge you to get a hold of this. Laughable in parts, but over all very chilling.

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 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: The Shining (1980)

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…

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!

4: The Ring (2002)

Perhaps the only Hollywood remake of an Asian horror movie so far to improve upon the original, The Ring haunted us with jaw-dropping visuals (no pun intended) and introduced America at large to the “yūrei” ghost figure that would be featured in dozens more Asian horror films.

Naomi Watts starred in the American version and played to her strengths as a protective mother and investigator, determined to get to the bottom of a curse that befalls anyone who watches a certain tape. For with just one viewing, your phone will ring and a chilling voice will say “Seven days.” If that’s not chilling enough, the consider the fact that over the course of those seven days, weird and unexplained things will happen that were all witnessed on that cursed video tape. And on the seventh day… you die. Hmmm… I wonder how this would look in 3D just as she’s climbing out of the TV…

3: Session 9 (2001)

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Now, I will admit that 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 hazard material 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. Starring Josh Lucas and CSI: Miami’s David Caruso, Session 9 will really do your head in.

2: Grave Encounters (2011)

Talk about unnerving. Grave Encounters certain gives us a reason to fear the unexplained. For their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might prove to be all too true.

Reminiscent of a cross between Session 9 and the Australian film, The Tunnel, Grave Encounters is a must see film for fans of paranormal, ghost-hunting styled shows. And I have to say, parts of this film made me feel like I was watching one of them. Creepy to the point that the trailer, that normally shows the best bits of the film, don’t do this justice. Once you’ve read this article, go and watch this film. Then check back with Truly Disturbing to find out more info on the sequel….

1: Poltergeist (1982)

Was there any doubt that this would be my number one? I mean, let’s face it, as far as paranormal horror movies go, this one springs to mind almost instantly. And with good reason. Poltergeist is one of those films that are memorable for both the film itself as well as the happenings on set.

It’s easy to forget how scary this PG-rated movie about a suburban family’s house haunting was in its day, but still Poltergeist has never strayed too far from the psyche of audiences. Let’s face it, we think of Poltergeist when a door slams shut. We think of Poltergeist whenever our TVs turn snowy. We think of Poltergeist when objects move with no other explanation. And whenever we hear the chilling words “They’re here”, that’s right, we think of Poltergeist.

Well, there you have it. My top 13 Must See Paranormal Horror Movies. I don’t expect everyone to agree with this list, but I hope it rages some debate. So, I ask, what’s your favourite scary movie?

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  4 comments for “Ahlephia’s Top 13 Must See Paranormal Horror Movies

  1. May 10, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    The list is great, love. I don’t think anyone will be in too much upset over it. You’ve seen to hit the basis of the paranormal films, from my view point at least. Our number ones are the same and I completely forgot about The Sixth Sense when we we’re talking about films earlier today. Haven’t seen Session 9 or Lake Mungo but they are my watch list as I’ve heard they are both great.

    • May 10, 2012 at 6:25 AM

      Lake Mungo is a must watch. And I’m not just saying that because I’m Australian. It really is a brilliant film. Very Blair Witch in parts, but fantastic none the less. Session 9 is an odd film, but still it cranks up the chills in parts. Made my girlfriends scream with terror hehehehe

  2. May 14, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    I absolutely LOVE Session 9. That’s a film that rarely gets any attention within horror circles.

    • May 14, 2012 at 5:59 AM

      I’m glad that someone else enjoyed Session 9. I agree that it lacks the attention that it deserves, so hopefully with this, I’ve made people think about it. 🙂

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