One of the favorite forms of the horror film from the 1940s through the 1960s. The haunted house plot usually revolves around a group of intrepid newcomers -- whether there on purpose to observe the ghosts The Haunting, or as accidental guests Old Dark House -- who enter into a house plagued with poltergeists and strange magic. The house itself frequently appears to be alive. Most are based on old ghost stories, and all are redolent of the Gothic stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Cobwebs, creepy butlers, and disbelieving cynics who get convinced otherwise are all draped around these creaking old mansions. Rarely does anyone come to real harm, despite the effective layering of potential menace. With the slasher films of the '70s and '80s, as well as the grotesquerie of alternative horror cinema, the relative delicacy of the haunted house film was forgotten, with several notable exceptions -- The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, and The Shining. Adding a more contemporary gruesomeness to the proceedings, these newer films nevertheless reflect the unwavering hold that ghosts and old houses have on our psyches. Some films, like Beetlejuice, have even used these conventions as a source of amusement, even while relying on them for scares and atmospherics.