10.28.2015Architecture, For Fun

Architecture In Horror Movies - Haunted Houses

As you might recall SPARC posted a special Architecture in Horror Movies blog post in honor of Halloween last year. This year we thought we would continue with the theme of Haunted Houses. Below are a few films that effectively use residential architecture and suburbia to create tension.

It Follows

It Follows -Sparc Design - Haunted Houses

It Follows exploits mundane suburban architecture and some of Detroit’s abandoned neighborhoods to create a haunting, timeless environment. The anywhere, USA suburban settings contrast with the decaying, abandoned areas of Detroit as “it” relentlessly follows the teen protagonists from one side of the city to another. Many of the most memorable moments are composed of wide angle shots where the antagonist is carefully framed against the built environment.

Director – David Robert Mitchell
Image credit

The Babadook

The Babadook -Sparc Design - Haunted Houses

The Babadook uses residential architecture to create a sense of isolation for a mother and her son. Even though they live in a seemingly peaceful neighborhood, rarely do we get a glimpse of the the world outside of their home. The dark interiors serve to enhance the dread and visually portray the effects of insomnia experienced by the mother. Color, light and shadow play heavily in creating a forbidding atmosphere.

Director – Jennifer Kent
Image credit

We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here -Sparc Design - Haunted Houses

We Are Still Here uses isolation to create fear and tension. Soon after a couple moves in after the recent loss of their son strange things begin to happen. The simple lighting and natural setting of the house lend a familiar feeling to the viewer. The distance from their neighbors and the nearest town help instill a sense of helplessness as the house begins to turn on its inhabitants.

Director –  Ted Geoghegan
Image credit

The Legend Of Hell House

The Legend of Hell House -Sparc Design - Haunted Houses

The Legend of Hell House uses the historic setting of Wykehurst Place in West Sussex, England to create most of the scares. A group is sent to investigate the house and prove or disprove the existence of paranormal activity there. Disorienting interiors, unnerving camera angles and the use of light and shadow combine to set the mood for this film as the forces within the house slowly start to possess the investigators.

Director – John Hough
Image credit

The Innkeepers

The Innkeepers tells the story of two employees working in a empty hotel during the final weekend before it closes for good. In the tradition of The Shining, this film uses long cooridors and spacial repetition to create tension as the final two employees decide to spend their time investigating the many rumors they have heard about the history of the structure. The stagnant, quiet interiors help to instill a sense of fear as we follow the main characters.

Director – Ti West
Image credit

The Tenant

The Tenant -Sparc Design - Haunted Houses

The Tenant is the last film in Roman Polanskis self titled “Apartment Trilogy” following Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby. The main character (Roman Polanski himself) moves into the apartment of a woman who has recently attempted suicide by jumping out of the window. The claustrophobic apartment, deep shadows, and close proximity to the other tenants heighten the main characters paranoia. He soon begins to believe that the former tenant might still be there and that the other tenants are out to get him.

Director – Roman Polanski
Image credit

What are your favorite horror movies? Share yours on our Facebook page.

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