Daniel Craig stars as a family man with a nightmare mortgage in "Dream House" (Sept. 30), the latest incarnation of the haunted habitation genre.
It's more than likely that a few time-honored cliches of the idiom will be conjured up again to give us a fright. You'd think the characters in these films would know the symptoms by now. But for those who still have trouble reading the ghost signs, here are nine warnings that should tell you not to bother unpacking.
9. You Keep Hearing Children Laughing
What is it about the simple songs of our youth and joyful giggling of children that, with only a slight twist in context, become the creepiest, most demonic sounds in the universe? We may never know the answer. But one thing's for sure. If you're walking down a hallway and you hear "Ring Around the Rosie" being chanted by little voices behind a closed door, you are about to have a horrible, demon-filled night of terror and possible damnation.
8. Your Subdivision Is Built On Hallowed Ground
When will those unscrupulous developers learn? Stop building tract housing on Indian burial grounds, cursed lands or sites of witch burnings! Next thing you know, the TV's talking to your kids and dimensional vortexes leading to "the other side" are popping up in your closets.
7. The House's History Is Chronicled at the Local Library
There's comes a point in many haunting films where our hero has simply had enough. What's the meaning behind all this late night moaning and chain rattling? So he/she treks down to the dusty old library and, in a frantic montage sequence, flips through browning newspapers and crusty microfiche until he/she finds the grizzly answer to why the home's asking price was so low.
6. There's a Cellar
If your house has a cellar of any kind, run. Cellars are, objectively, pure evil and should be avoided at all costs.
5. It Came With Antique Baby Dolls
Yikes. As mentioned earlier, there's nothing more terrifying than everything associated with children. And when you see that a kid has one of those baby dolls sitting on the shelf -- the kind with the glass eyes and eyelids that actually blink -- forget about it. You just know those eyes are going to start following you.
Also Check Out: Watch 3 "Dream House" Clips
4. One Word: Mirrors
We all know the scene. A woman's in the bathroom. She opens the medicine cabinet mirror. When she closes it, there's now a dead person standing behind her. And, as we all know, anything scary is even scarier in a mirror. But why? Perhaps the fact that the ghost is real enough that it can be reflected has something to do with it? Maybe it's just that mirrors are a gateway to hell? Either way, we recommend just not having mirrors at all.
3. Your Child Has a New Imaginary Friend
After moving into your dream fixer-upper, you start hearing your child whispering when they're alone. You inquire about this behavior, and the child explains that they have an imaginary friend who has been encouraging them to stab Mommy and Daddy while they're sleeping. Don't take chances. You'll definitely want to ditch the house -- maybe the kid, too.
2.Your House Is Referred to as "The Ol' (Name of Previous Owner) Place"
This is a terrible sign. Leave now! If the elderly folks in your town refer to your house by its dead previous owner's name (as in: "So, you're living out at the ol' Johnson place, huh?") there's a very good chance Mr. Johnson a) is not happy you're crashing his old haunt, and b) will be dropping in on you shortly.
1. Inanimate Objects Are Bleeding
Whether it's an elevator, a faucet or a statue of the Virgin Mary, if something in your house is bleeding but lacks a circulatory system, you've got a leak that no plumber's going to be able to plug. Time to call a priest or, better yet, U-Haul.