Used in: The Changeling (1980), Beetlejuice (1988), Poltergeist (1982), The Haunting In Connecticut (2009), Insidious (2011)

There always comes a point in haunted house movies where the central family can’t take it anymore; the ghosts won’t stop terrorizing the brood, and taping Ghost Hunters marathons isn’t give anyone useful tips on how to terminate the paranormal activity. So who are you going to call? Not the Ghostbusters, silly—Peter Venkman and his boys are too cool to fall into such clichéd terrain. No, haunted house movie character, you’re more apt to seek out the nearest medium or middle-aged psychic to eradicate the home of its evil spirits.

And that means it’s time for an old-fashioned séance, though the “hold hands and sit around a table” maneuver never actually works. Having been done to death over the years, spiritual communication scenes were a laughing matter until Insidious nicely subverted expectations by inserting a gas mask into the séance’s proceedings. Unless the filmmaker has an equally batshit idea, it’s best to find new ways to exorcise the demons. We’d suggest Ouija boards, but Paranormal Activity already nailed that.