Striking Decor in Haunting Films

Striking Decor in Haunting Films

Most of us love to relax with a good movie with our friends, partners, dates and families. While it can be for escapism, excitement or information, different people find different aspects of films to be the most interesting.

One of the more understated qualities of a film can be the style of the rooms we see in the scenes. For some stories, these backgrounds are just that: backgrounds. But what about those tales where the house, castle or rooms take on a life of their own?

In the spirit of the Halloween season, let’s take a look at some spooky films with haunted places. Making a list of some films with arresting design and decorations could set you up for some fun October evenings.

The Shining

This is most likely the scariest movie on the list, but also the one with the most captivating decor. The film, shot in 1980, was based on a Stephen King book and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The story unfolds in the Overlook Hotel, a fictional place inspired by the novel. The hotel itself is a character in the story, and actually the primary villain.

The long hallways, jarring colors and huge, grandiose, but completely deserted, art deco ballroom and bar slowly prey on the viewers and the characters as the film gets increasingly frightening.

Apparently Kubrick toured hundreds of hotels to create his perfect set. In fact, the red bathroom, included in a pivotal scene, was inspired by a design by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Biltmore Hotel.

The Haunting

This is the name of a 1963 film, adapted from a Shirley Jackson novel, and a remake from 1999. The story follows three very different personalities who are all sharing a haunted house for an experiment in psychic phenomenon.

In both films, the “personality” of the house is reflected in similar ways, all informed beautifully by the poignant terror of the movie. There is a lot of gothic carving, enormous solid wood doors and rich jewel-tone velvet upholstery and hangings. In fact, in the newer version, the style is a decadent mixture of opposing styles and cultures, including Moroccan, Indian, Gothic, Neoclassical, Romanesque, and Baroque elements; which adds to the confusion and vastness of the house.

It’s fun to compare some of the story’s central places in the two films, such as the first and second iterations of the winding staircase or the greenhouse.

The Haunted Mansion

This 2003 flick is the most kid friendly on the list. It stars Eddie Murphy and is inspired by a Disney amusement ride of the same name. Taking the haunted house trope to humorous heights, this movie plays with the Gothic and Neoclassical decor and design. We see long hallways, grand split staircases and heavy rugs and curtains all over. But we also see paintings, crystal balls and sets of armor coming to life to amusing effect.

Interestingly enough, the Disney haunted Mansion attractions differ from park to park. For the movie, however, they chose a Renaissance-influenced style with a mix of antebellum architecture and colonial-revival style.

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