11 Scariest Basement Scenes in Horror
It’s not hard to understand why we don’t like going down into basement. They are dark, dank and usually filled with spiderwebs and other creepy crawlies you don’t want in your hair. Being one of the rooms we least occupy whilst living in a house, they are spooky rooms where no body goes unless a fuse blows or a water pipe bursts. With that in mind, here are 11 horror moments that turned a trip into the basement in a terrible nightmare. 11 Scariest Basement Scenes in Horror.
Brain Dead / Dead Alive (1992)
Lets get this party started with a BANG! The first ghoulish delight on our list is none other than Peter Jackson’s disturbed little child, Brain Dead, whose very own party goes a little wrong. Poor Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) just can’t get a break. Not only are his family and friends dropping like flies, they just wont stay dead. So Lionel buries them in his basement in the hope that they will rest in peace. Just as a wicked party starts to kick off upstairs, the creepy cellar erupts in a flurry of dirt and decay, as the dead explode back into the world of the living. Just don’t ask where Lionel’s mother is… because he has not seen her yet!
Brain Dead is an hilarious, creative and gory horror that will satisfy even the most hard core horror fan. Filled with more guts and severed limbs than any other film, you may just want to join this dark little party.
The House by the Cemetery (1981)
A list about scary basements just wouldn’t be complete without a film by Lucio Fulci on it. The Italian director certainly knows his way around a dark, dank, cellar and with films such as The Beyond featuring memorable moments that happen in the murky depths under the house. But one of his most terrifying basement can be found in The House by the Cemetery. The final entry in the “Gates of Hell” trilogy is centered around a residence in New England, which has a few problems downstairs. Apart from terrible plumbing and rotting timber, there appears to be a psychotic 150 year old man named Dr. Freudstein living down there. This ghoulish creature lives by using his victims’ parts to regenerate blood cells and he’s got his rotten sights on the houses new owners.
The House by the Cemetery is a shocking, violent and somewhat unsettling experience that will have you saying same mantra throughout it’s run-time… Don’t go in the BASEMENT!
A Quite Place (2018)
A Quiet Place was a surprise hit when it exploded onto cinemas back in 2018. The underhyped movie introduced us to a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by sightless extra-terrestrial creatures with hypersensitive hearing and indestructible, armoured skin. One of the film’s most intense moments happens when survivor Evelyn (Emily Blunt), along with her just born child, heads down into an improvised soundproofed basement, only for one of the creatures to follow her down. One moment in-particular that had audiences cringing into their popcorn, saw Evelyn step onto a protruding nail in bare feet. The new mother has to stifle her scream into her hand.
The entire basement sequence is a terrifying experience that hits every nerve and will push your anxiety levels through the roof.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven turned the horror up to 11 when he introduced us to Freddy Kruger and 1428 Elm St, in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Whilst the Dream Demon haunts the Elm Street children’s dreams, his ties to his former home keep him coming back to manifest many nightmares within the basement of the property. Whilst the boiler room, from the power plant that Freddy Krueger worked at, is an important part of the Elm Street franchise, the Springwood basement is just as terrifying throughout the franchise.
In the film sequels, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) is haunted by nightmares, on several occasions, that drive him down into the burning hot basement. But it’s the very first film that really pushes the envelope of fear, as Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) discovers some pretty hard to swallow truths about the man in a tatty sweater and hat.
Nancy’s mother Marge brings her daughter down to the basement to tell her the story of the child murderer who was released on a technicality. The parents tracked down Kruger and took the law into their own hands, burning him alive in the Power Plants boiler room. Here in the basement, Marge reveals Kruger’s infamous glove, tucked away in the basement boiler. The same place Jesse finds it five years later.
Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic horror Psycho is Infamous for its shower scene, but endures thanks to its impact on the genre. Whilst not the most shocking moment in the film, the most terrifying defiantly comes at the climax of the film. Hiding from Norman (Anthony Perkins) who has grown suspicious of the woman’s questions, Lila Crane( Vera Miles) enters the cellar where she find’s Mrs Bates, sitting in a chair and refusing to answer questions. Spoiler alert, she’s dead, mummified in her chair. Lila screams as Norman runs into the cellar, holding a chef’s knife and wearing his mother’s clothes and a wig. It’s one of cinemas greatest twist reveals and a basement scene that stuck in peoples minds, hearts and souls.
The Evil (1978)
As haunted house movies go, The Evil is surely one that stands out as being extremely diverse with it’s scares. The film throws everything but the kitchen sink at the audience. Invisible force, burning ropes, electrical bursts, devil dogs and even quicksand lawns, being just a handful of the apparitions conjured up by the possessed house. But the films climax gives us a classic horror basement scene, that delves into the very heart of good vs evil.
The film follows a psychologist and his Doctor wife who have purchase a dilapidated mansion, in the hope of turning it into drug rehab clinic, but are unaware of the darkness lurking within. The couple recruits a group of volunteers to help clean up and renovate the large house. No sooner have they entered the property, that a nightmarish force emerges from a trap door in the basement and starts to torment the souls now trapped in the house.
The films climax takes place down in the basement, where a literal pit to hell has opened up and the couple come face to face with The Devil himself. Even if Lucifer turns out to be a man in white suite, sitting on a white throne in an ethereal void of white (budgets man…budgets), the entire sequence is dramatic, intense and crowning ending to awesome haunted house flick.
The Conjuring (2013)
James Wan knows a thing or too about haunted houses, and his 2013 epic The Conjuring, is one that launched an entire franchise. There are , to date, seven films in the series, with one more on it’s way and at least two more planned. And the film that started it all just so happens to have one of the most intense basements scenes ever placed on film.
The true life story the Perron family and their experiences with supernatural forces, are probably more chilling than the film adaption. But whether the events really happened or not, there is no doubt in that something terrifying happened in a little farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island.
The film sees the Perron family contacting paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who decide that the house needs an exorcism. Whilst investigating the strange happenings, Lorraine enters a passage and falls through the floorboards to the cellar. Stuck in the dark, with a little torch, she’s attacked by a spirit of a floating woman. Like any Wan directed scene, it’s dark, suspenseful and will have you hiding behind a cushion.
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
The Return of the Living Dead offers an alternate continuity to the original Night of the Living dead films, where the results of the zombie outbreak are quite different from George A. Romero’s franchise. In The Return, the zombies were collect up and dumped inside barrels, where the events were turned into a movie as cover up. One of these barrels ended up in the basement of Uneeda Medical Supply warehouse in Louisville.
Warehouse foreman Frank Johnson (James Karen) is showing new hire Freddy Hanscom (Thom Mathews) when he accidentally ruptures the chemical drum which contains one of the original zombies. A gas, called Trioxin 2-4-5, leaks out of the canister and is spread across the town thanks to a sudden rainstorm. When it rains down on a nearby cemetery, the dead start to rise from their graves.
One of the films seminal moments, and one very much celebrated by the fans of the series, sees Freddy’s punk rock friends discover the barrel zombie in the basement. Dubbed “Tarman“, due to being drenched in a tarry substance, the creature attacks the punks, killing one of them with a swift bite to the brain. Tar man went on to be the very first zombie to appear in the sequel, Return of the Living Dead II. Such is his legacy, from his brief but disturbing turn in the basement of the Uneeda Medical Supply warehouse.
Silence of The Lambs (1991)
Silence of The Lambs is regularly cited by critics, film directors and audiences alike as one of the greatest and most influential films of all time. The film is filled with gruesome moments, quotable dialogue and more tension than you can shake a nightstick at. One of these moments takes place with the bowels of a creepy murder house, for a chilling third act that will leave you breathless.
FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is hot on the heels of serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). Investigating a house of a suspect, she finds someone else living their instead. Spotting a deaths head moth, she realises that the man is Bill. She pursues him into his multi-room basement, where she discovers a rotting corpse in a bathtub, and victim still alive in a dry well. But that rascally Bill gets the upper hand when he turns off basement lights and stalks Starling in the dark with night-vision goggles. The entire sequence is hair-raisingly intense, and will have you screaming into your popcorn.
The People Under the Stairs (1991)
Wes Craven strikes again with another chilling tale about urban horror called The People Under the Stairs. The film has widely been cited by critics as one that plays with satirical depiction of gentrification, class warfare and capitalism. But on it’s very base level, it’s a dark and twisted vision about madness and murder, which sees a young boy discovering something terrifying in the basement of his landlords house.
The family of Poindexter “Fool” Williams (Brandon Adams), a resident of a Los Angeles ghetto, are being evicted by their landlords. As revenge, he breaks into their house with the plan of stealing lots of money. But the young boy gets more than he bargains with when he discovers that the basement is a booby-trapped nightmare, and home to a dungeon filled with strange, pale children who have turned to cannibalism to survive. It’s perverted, weird and gruesome.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Sam Raimi’s classic horror debut, The Evil Dead, was shot on 16mm in the woods of Tennesse for around $350,000. But despite it’s very humble origins, it turned out be one of the biggest cult classic of all time. The film features Bruce Campbell as one of five vacationing college kids, who shack up for the weekend in an old cabin in the woods. The group discover an old book in the basement which accidentally releases a demonic force in the woods. Trapped in the cabin, with their numbers dwindling, the friends have to fight for their lives, and very own souls, to survive the night.
One of the films reoccurring imagery is that of the basement, which plays into many of the films most scariest scenes. The discovery of the book is one scene that really plays on the audiences suspense, whilst the later journey into the dark cellar, is an onslaught on the audience’s senses, as sight and sound is used to terrify. The film is relentlessly dark and tense, with blood literally running down the screen, but it’s the hideous imagery of poor Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), twisted by the dark forces and stuck down in the basement, that will haunt you for years to come.
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“Hello Horror Fans – There is something pretty nasty living downstairs in our basement. But we generally don’t go down there and mostly feed it through the basement window. Anyhow, what do you think of our list? Sound off in the comments below. Until next time.