8 Things You’ll Find In Every Horror Film House

updated Oct 24, 2019
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Credit: Laura Hoerner

While many famous horror movie homes tick the boxes of a standard American dream home (read: spacious, full of historic character, and surrounded by nature), they all contain one thing most of us don’t want in a home: HORROR. In honor of Halloween, we’ve dissected the classics to reveal eight common horror movie home tropes to make you start sleeping with the night light on.

1. The Long Hallway

Just one more reason to jump on the open-concept craze.

While several of the most shining examples of horror hallways are found in Kubrick’s most famous thriller, nearly every nail-biting slasher involves a hallway chase scene. He may be slow, but he’s somehow prepped the space by locking every single door, so you’re even.

2. The Staircase

Why is she going up there??

Yet another obstacle to keep these people from escaping a heavy-footed madman—once ascended, the horror movie staircase serves as a sign of impending doom, bittersweet in its design, often leading directly to a front door of with the threshold will never be crossed.  (“Amityville,” “Scream,” “Halloween”…okay, there are way too many to name).

3. Floral Wallpaper

Another reason to buy removable.

The horror movie wallpaper trope isn’t reserved for dated designs like the pale yellow bedroom of Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby.” From Netflix’s “Haunting of Hill House” and “Stranger Things” to USA’s surprisingly disturbing drama “The Sinner,” wallpaper is just getting started in its career of creepiness.

4. Attic/Basement

In terms of creepiness, the two are interchangeable.

Typically used for storage, these rooms don’t get a lot of day-to-day action in most homes, making them the perfect hiding place for sinister secrets. If we started naming all of the horror movies with haunted attics and basements, we’d never stop.

5. Secret Room

No, not the room where you hide all of your s*** when guests come over.

While everyone loves a good wardrobe-to-Narnia situation, most of the time in film, secret rooms don’t signify magical lions and snow-capped pine trees. According to many a horror film, if there is a secret room in your house it probably 1. Is filled with demonic ritual paraphernalia, 2. Exists to feed on your soul, 3. Contains a human-skin wearing man, and/or 4. Is painted red (the only option that could actually be a bonus if you’re into bold hues).

6. Complete Isolation

Making us rethink all of the remote treehouses we’ve bookmarked on Airbnb.

If you’ve ever spent the night alone in the woods where the nearest house is more than a scream’s distance away, you know why this is a horror movie trope. According to classics like “The Strangers” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the 2018 Academy Award-winning “Get Out,” an isolated house in the middle of nowhere is the best place to go if you want to really destroy your chances of escaping possible intruders.

7. Every-Suburb

The home you wish you grew up in.

These homes are charming and tucked nicely into cookie cutter, tree-lined neighborhoods. Often found in 80s-era classics, this trope subtly instilled us all with a lifelong fear that we should always be scared, even when we’re supposed to feel our safest (see: “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” “Poltergeist,” “It Follows”).

8. Every-Suburb 2.0

The home you really wish you grew up in.

If there’s a babysitter involved, this horror film likely takes place in a really nice house in the really nice suburbs. It’s either Nancy Meyers-nice with a big sweeping kitchens and leather-bound encyclopedias (a la “Scream”), or eccentric-nice with lots of windows and unusual murderer-concealing architectural details (i.e. “When a Stranger Calls,” 2006).

Conclusion: minus the horror, horror film houses aren’t so bad!