In the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, an architect moves his girlfriend and young daughter into Blackwood Manor, a centuries-old mansion that he's trying to restore to its former glory. In the course of their stay, the trio is shocked to discover that this house is -- gasp -- haunted! That won't come as a shock to any of us in the audience; the minute we lay eyes on the manor's dimly lit rooms, Gothic decor and dark, dank basement, we know that there are some serious supernatural shenanigans going on in there. Chalk that up to years of observing other cinematic haunted houses and learning to recognize the tell-tale signs of ghosts, monsters and other creatures that go bump in the night. Now we're putting that knowledge to the test, imagining the way real estate agents might try to sell novice buyers on some famous poltergeist-ridden properties and the things we'd tell them to be wary of.
From: The Haunting (1963)
Realtor's Description: Lavish country estate with beautiful gardens, towering spires, and all the rooms you could ever want for a growing family. Gaze through the large bay windows at the lovingly manicured lawns and spend some time in the functioning greenhouse whenever you're in the mood to really get close to nature. Then, retire to the lovely dining room for a three-course meal fit for an earl.
Look Out For: Loud screams in the dead of night, dark mirrors, steep stairwells just perfect for tumbling down and self-described "scientists interested in the supernatural" that randomly roam the grounds hunting for ghosts.
From: House (Hausu) (1977)
Realtor's Description: Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo? Find the solace you seek in this lovely little rural cottage that comes with its very own well that doubles as cold storage for fruit and other perishables when the refrigerator is packed. While the perfect size for a single resident, the house is also a comfortable place to host houseguests, like, say, a group of high-school girls on their summer vacation. Stay for one night and you may find it literally impossible to leave.
Look Out For: Watermelons that turn into severed heads when stored in said well, mattresses that attack unwary sleepers and the grand piano that makes a meal out of players' fingers.
112 Ocean Ave., Long Island, NY
From: The Amityville Horror (1979)
Realtor's Description: Own the quintessential suburban family home! A three-story, six-bedroom Dutch Colonial abode topped by an eye-catching gambrel roof, this Ocean Avenue address that boasts a welcoming exterior and homey interior. Ask anyone in Amityville and they'll tell you this house is famous for a reason.
Look Out For: The swarms of flies that randomly gather in one of the rooms, basement steps in serious need of repair and a decidedly unwelcoming voice that bellows "Get out!"
The Curtis Manor
From: The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Realtor's Description: When you enter the grounds of this English countryside estate, you may find yourself transported back in time to a simpler age of lords and ladies. Located adjacent to a large, lovely forest with sky-scraping trees and picturesque ponds, the manor boasts ivy covered walls, full-length mirrors and its very own staff, who have kept it running for years and know everything there is to know about its long, strange history.
Look Out For: Blindfolded girls that appear in mirrors, windows cracking of their own accord and blue lights in the shining at odd times in the woods.
From: The Evil Dead (1981)
Realtor's Description: Rough it for real in this extremely rustic mountain retreat, located in the rolling Tennessee hills. A favorite destination spot for vacationing college kids, the cabin is a spartan, yet comfortable place to retire to after a full day of hiking and other outdoor activities. Nightly entertainment can include group readings of the many books left behind by previous visitors, including a rare ancient Sumerian book entitled, Morturom Demonto.
Look Out For: Trees that get a little too aggressive, a tape recorder that only plays demonic sayings and a bridge that's easily destroyed by incorporeal demons.
The Freeling House
From: Poltergeist (1982)
Realtor's Description: Join the other satisfied families that have come to call the safe, comfortable Cuesta Verde satellite community home. You'll love your four-bedroom, split-level abode, which offers a cozy kitchen, comfortable den and backyard pool.
Look Out For: The withered corpses of the Native Americans that previously inhabited this patch of land, the closets that double as passageways to another realm.
The Stewart Estate
From: The Others (2001)
Realtor's Description: Dine by gaslight in this World War II-era country retreat that eschews electricity and direct sunlight for a more memorably moody setting. A perfect vacation spot for the goth in your family, this estate has plenty of dark hallways, gloomy rooms and a perpetually misty courtyard. It's all the joys of the Pacific Northwest set against the stunning backdrop of Europe's Channel Islands.
Look Out For: Spooky children's drawings left behind by the previous residents, doors that open and close of their own accord and a piano tickling its own keys to play a mournful tune.
Tokunaga Sachie's House
From: Ju-On: The Grudge (2003)
Realtor's Description: Location, location, location! This modest, but memorable property is conveniently placed smack-dab in the heart of a bustling Tokyo neighborhood. Just steps away from shopping and schools, it often suburban comfort in a distinctly urban environment.
Look Out For: Creepy, deathly pale children hiding in the closets, a pair of dead bodies in the attic.
Katie and Micah's House
From: Paranormal Activity (2007)
Realtor's Description: Recently vacated, this tract house located just outside of San Diego, is a perfect starter home for young couples. A master bed and bath, guest room, well-appointed kitchen and backyard patio are among its many amenities.
Look Out For: Burn marks in the living room left behind by a flaming Ouija board, a downstairs chandelier that sometimes swings wildly back and forth by itself and used video equipment in the master bedroom.
Take a closer look at the monsters of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and other scary but small creatures from horror films.
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