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4. The house burns down during the climax.

Used in: Amityville 3-D (1983), The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)

Villains rarely ever “die” at the ends of horror movies; typically, they’re dismembered or shot to hell, yet they almost always find a way to come back for unnecessary jump scares and inferior sequels. It’s not like there’s anything the protagonists can do about that; when challenged by flesh-and-blood serial killers or costumed slashers, a movie’s heroes and heroines have the option of causing bodily harm to the baddies—the rest depends on how badly the studio executives need a perfunctory yet profit-guaranteeing follow-up.

Fighting a house, though? You can’t exactly punch a home’s lights out, or drive a stake through the building’s heart, because, well, buildings don’t have hearts, dummy. But they do have flammable walls and ready-to-ignite electrical sockets. Thus, the simplest way to end a haunted house’s reign of terror is to set the pad ablaze, but that’s just it: It’s the “simplest” method possible. And it’s been done before. As ardent movie lovers, we demand more creativity from the industry’s paid screenwriters.

Unimaginative film producers are already infuriating—we don’t need a haunted house movie sequel hinged upon an inexplicably reassembled house to further piss us off.

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