Basements have the ability to be genuinely, truly terrifying. If you’re watching a horror movie, chances are pretty good that you’ll end up seeing a scary basement. Due to their less-trafficked nature and the fact that they typically end up being damp and dark, they’re the perfect place for a terrifying scene. Here are some of the most terrifying basements in movies.
The Amityville Horror – 5.8 Basement Evil Score
The Amityville Horror derives a significant amount of its horror from the fact that it’s purportedly based on a true story. Although there have been people over the years who have doubted this story’s truthfulness, seeing it from the perspective of a true story raises the stakes pretty dramatically. In the basement, there’s a terrifying room, measuring only four feet by five feet and painted red, that didn’t show up in the building plans.
A Nightmare On Elm Street – 6.0 Basement Evil Score
The dramatic switches between the dream world and the real world in A Nightmare on Elm Street are one of the things that makes the movie truly terrifying, even years later. The lingering question behind whether the characters ever escaped from Freddy is another question that seems difficult or even impossible to answer. The Nightmare Factory, Freddy’s boiler room, is where he commits many acts of torture and murder.
Psycho – 6.6 Basement Evil Score
This movie changed the landscape in terms of horror movies. Director Alfred Hitchcock made a number of incredibly visionary decisions with the movie, making it into a classic film that many people put on their list of “greatest movies of all time,” whether it’s exclusively a horror movie list or not. One of the most long-lasting shots is the moment where the main character goes into Norman Bates’ fruit cellar, where she discovers his mother’s mummified corpse.
The Evil – 9.0 Basement Evil Score
There’s not much that’s scarier than a basement that’s a literal portal to hell, and that’s exactly what The Evil offers. In this movie, a home is purported to rest on sulfur pits in New Mexico. However, when one character opens the trap door in the basement, they discover that the home’s actually built on a portal to hell. Then, they all have to deal with the gory and horrifying aftermath of opening that portal to the underworld.
Get Out – 9.6 Basement Evil Score
One of the reasons Get Out is so effective is because it takes horror movie tropes, then flips them upside down to terrify you with something you didn’t see coming. That’s definitely the case with this colonial aesthetic house, which is intended to be non-threatening, but is actually full of incredibly threatening and horrifying people. When the main character undergoes hypnosis in the basement, he goes to the terrifying Sunken Place.
The Silence of the Lambs – 10.0 Basement Evil Score
Of all the movies on this list, The Silence of the Lambs definitely wins in terms of basement terror. That’s because The Silence of the Lambs utilizes not just one, but two serial killers — one of whom utilizes a shaky truce with the protagonist to give out information on the other. Buffalo Bill, the second serial killer, has a dry well in his basement where he kidnaps women. Then, he starves them to death so he can skin them to create a dress made of human skin.
These are all pretty terrifying basements, though all for different reasons. Whether you prefer an ultra-scary thriller movie that requires you to consider psychological terror or a classic that holds up decades after its release, you can find a scary movie with an equally scary basement. Just give one of these movies a chance.