Used in: Burnt Offerings (1976), The Haunting (1999), The House On Haunted Hill (1999), The Others (2001), 1408 (2007), Return To The House On Haunted Hill (2007), Grave Encounters (2011)

Viewers who can’t fuck with haunted house movies share common questions: Why doesn’t the family just leave? Move away? Shack up in a motel that’s run by anyone other than Norman Bates? Any sane individual would haul ass to the nearest Best Western at the first sight of a door slowly creaking open on its own, let alone hang around for ghastly phantoms to show up for and initiate deadly meet-and-greet sessions.

The most routine technique for addressing that logical inquiry is to restrict the characters from stepping foot off of the property, making the desired retreat impossible to execute. In the case of Burnt Offerings, trees suddenly crash to the ground as the family’s car speeds towards the exit; in the more recent found-footage pic Grave Encounters, the building’s interior design constantly reconfigures itself.

No matter how cleverly handled the no-escape angle may be, it unavoidably gives a movie’s screenwriter an all-too-convenient pass to keep the plot moving. And you know what means? That’s right: more opportunities for the scribe to abuse any of this list’s aforementioned clichés.