The Movie Waffler 7 Classic Movies With Horrifying Basements | The Movie Waffler

7 Classic Movies With Horrifying Basements

psycho vera miles
Don't go in the basement!

Basements are seemingly universally terrifying places in homes. Because you’re unlikely to visit your basement very often, and basements typically don’t have the best lighting systems, they tend to lend a scene an air of fear just by their very nature. Classic movies often do this to varying degrees of success. Here are some of the most classic movies with truly terrifying basements.

1. The Exorcist

The Exorcist is beloved for its intriguing take on the supernatural in horror. In fact, it spawned a variety of tropes that are well-used in horror even today. The filming itself seemed plagued with horror, costing more than twice its initial budget and taking twice as long to shoot as initially intended. However, at the end of it all, The Exorcist came out with a movie that’s maintained its classic status for years, and its spooky scenes all start with a Ouija board in a basement.

misery kathy bates

2. Misery

The defining point of Misery is that it’s not really a horror movie; it’s a psychological thriller movie, and most of the movie revolves around only two people. It offered a brand new way to look at horror movies; even people who didn’t really like the slasher ideal of horror movies could often appreciate the creeping dread that characterised Misery. This movie also includes a terrifying basement the main character uses to prevent the protagonist from signaling for help.

3. The Grudge

One interesting thing to note is that The Grudge didn’t get great critical reviews; its IMDB score hovers around only a 4.1. However, it made back its initial $10 million budget by over 18 times at the box office, and it spawned a number of horror tropes that are still regularly utilised in mainstream horror. Despite the fact that many critics didn’t enjoy The Grudge, audiences clearly did. A terrifying scene involving a basement lit only with a flashlight makes it even scarier.

the Rocky Horror Picture Show

4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

At the end of the day, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is less horror and more camp. The tongue-in-cheek, B-movie style of the horror keeps you from taking it all too seriously, and despite initial poor critical reception, the movie continues to excite hordes of enthusiastic fans. Antagonist Dr. Frank-n-Furter has a laboratory in the basement of a British castle, where he keeps his Medusa Transducer, a device that can turn people to stone.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street

By drawing viewers into the differences between the dream world and the real world, A Nightmare on Elm Street did something that sparked interest in horror fans of all ages. This trick has been repeated in many horror films, TV shows, and books over the years. Freddy’s boiler room in the dream world is called "The Nightmare Factory" because of its use in murder and torture.


6. Psycho

Even if you’ve never seen Psycho, you’ve probably seen another piece of media riff on something Psycho did. Whether it’s the iconic squeal of the violins, the shower stabbing scene, or even pieces of the plot, Psycho did things that many people had never even considered before. In one especially terrifying scene, a character goes into an underground fruit cellar and discovers the antagonist Norman Bates’ mother as a mummified corpse.

7. The Silence of the Lambs

There are many tropes The Silence of the Lambs not only created, but also popularised. The character of Hannibal Lecter is one that draws from real-world inspiration while also lending its likeness to many other terrifying horror villains. Buffalo Bill is another terrifying character that’s regularly referenced in horror; he keeps women in a dry well in his basement, then starves them so he can more easily skin them after they die.


These creepy basements are only scratching the surface of creepy basements in film. However, they’re all indicative of amazing ways that filmmakers can uncover something that terrifies people to their bones. Next time you’re interested in discovering something new, consider picking up one of these movies and watching for a scare.