Basements are a straight shot to a creepy scene. Most basements are damp, dark, and rarely-trafficked, making them the perfect option for anything from a quick scare to a drawn-out scene. Take a look at some of the scariest basements in movie and TV, ranked by their IMDB average.
7.5 – A Nightmare On Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street did something surprisingly bold and new with the horror format. It posits its villain, Freddy, as a killer who can only hurt people in the world of dreams. Its basement evil score of 6.0 showcases the evils trapped inside the nightmarish dream world; Freddy’s boiler room is called the “Nightmare Factory” because of its use for torture and murder.
7.7 – Get Out
Though it might not have the highest IMDB score of these movies, it brings the heat when it comes to basement evil, clocking it at a whopping 9.6. The classic design of the colonial house belies the horrors hiding deep in the basement. The main character, Chris, gets trapped in a laboratory for transporting consciousnesses, where he’s hypnotized and goes to the Sunken Place.
7.8 – Misery
Misery was a novelty for horror; it’s a psychological thriller instead of a slasher, which was the type of horror that had dominated the box office previously. The movie performed well, and it’s a genuinely dread-inducing flick. Its basement evil score of 1.0, however, is because the basement doesn’t factor heavily into the creepiness.
8.0 – The Exorcist
There are many copycats of The Exorcist, but nothing has been able to recreate the societal and filmmaking change the movie was able to encourage. This movie has a basement evil score of only 0.4 because the basement factors in only tangentially; the 12-year-old main character finds a Ouija board in the basement that kicks things off.
8.6 – Parasite
Parasite holds the lofty achievement of being the first-ever foreign language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Its biting social commentary is a thread behind the horrors of the film. One of the more subtle ways in which Parasite evokes its social commentary is through the banjiha, or fallout bunker basement apartment, in which the Kim family lives. The fact that it’s a horrifying backdrop is why this movie gets a 2.2 basement evil score.
8.6 – The Silence of the Lambs
Though it might not quite be the highest-rated piece of media on this list, The Silence of the Lambs is definitely the one with the most terrifying basement. Buffalo Bill, one of the movie’s serial killers, uses a dry well in his basement as a place to keep women while he starves them so it’s easier to skin them. That terrifying concept is what gets the movie a 10.0 basement evil score.
8.8 – Stranger Things
There are many pieces to the puzzle of Stranger Things; at the end of the day, it’s a sci-fi drama horror, and it plays all those parts well. That’s why it has such a high rating on IMDB. Its basement horror isn’t quite as high-ranking, however; because the Wheeler basement tends to be a backdrop for creepy conversations rather than the source of those creepy things, it receives a 5.0 basement evil score.
Spooky basements are a seemingly integral part of horror, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon. Whether it’s because of a paranormal threat, a serial killer, or just a poorly-constructed basement dwelling, a basement makes for the perfect backdrop of fear. From this list of highly-rated movies and TV shows that utilize the spooky basement trope, it’s clear that you can craft a quality story with any tropes at your disposal.
Take a look at this infographic below: