5 Movie Families That Should Have Never Relocated
In real life, moving comes with plenty of headaches, but few of them are interesting enough to build a movie around. Your ten hour quest to get the cable turned on in your new place does not have all the makings of a Hollywood epic no matter how much it may feel like it does when you’re talking to your twelfth operator of the day. That is why movies about moving house have to be creative. It’s not enough to simply have the characters worry about whether or not they’ll get along with their new next door neighbors, those next door neighbors have to be Satanists (Rosemary’s Baby). And if there’s a clanking in your pipes? That’s not rust; that’s the spirit of the dead child residing in the building’s water tower (Dark Water).
If movie characters knew just how often moving to a new locale ends up being hazardous to their health, they would all stay put. Of course, where would the fun in that be?
The Torrance family surely thought they were getting a sweet deal when they signed up to be the winter caretakers of the secluded Overlook Hotel. Never mind the fact that the last family who signed up for the gig ended up murdered by their patriarch. What’s a spot of homicidal cabin fever in the face of such breathtaking scenery and impressive hedge maze work?
Not scaring easily, the Torrences chose the promise of solitude and cold hard cash over superstition and ended up haunted by an alarming amount of ghosts for their efforts. By the end of the movie, dad Jack (Jack Nicholson) ends up hunting down his family with ax in hand– a fate that could have been avoided if only the Torrences had been a little more wary of murder hotels, or, you know, paid attention to their son’s premonitions.
Would Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) have still ended up being forced to give birth to the antichrist if she had never moved into that lovely brownstone filled with Satanists? Maybe not, but given her husband’s willingness to offer her up to the Devil himself in exchange for a few plum acting gigs, poor Rosemary was probably screwed no matter where she lived.
In her case, she would have been better off keeping the rustic and charming apartment and offering up her terrible husband to the dark one in exchange for an upgrade on the view.
There are no ghosts, ax murderers or Satin worshipers in The Money Pit, but it’s still a contender for the scariest movie on this list because, slapstick aside, it’s so very plausible. While buying their first home, the Walter (Tom Hanks) and Anna (Shelley Long) fall victim to a deal that’s too good to be true when an overeager real estate agent finds them an expensive house on the cheap. Unfortunately, the reason the house appears so cost effective is because of its faulty foundation, backed up plumbing and a wiring job that’s just waiting to burn the whole place to the ground.
It doesn’t take long for Walter and Anna to end up financially bankrupt and on the brink of breaking up with a house that’s literally falling down around them. This is why you always demand a home inspection, kids– and make sure your real estate agent isn’t a con artist while you’re at it.
The Amityville Horror kicks off with the Lutz family deciding to move into a home where a grisly murder recently took place. Because nothing bad ever comes from that. The happy family quickly find themselves plagued by flies, windows that slam violently shut and black ooze. Instead of immediately fleeing the house, they stick it out long enough for the father (James Brolin) to begin to lose his mind and break out his ax (it’s not a bad house movie until someone breaks out an ax).
Happily, he doesn’t go completely over the edge, and the whole family escapes, including the dog, who was interestingly enough smarter than everyone else in the family. It took him roughly five minutes to realize there were evil spirits hanging out in the basement, while the humans just kept on ignoring the priests who couldn’t step foot into the place and their own wacky nightmares until it was almost too late.
Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) moves her daughter (Kristin Stewart) into a stunning brownstone apartment in New York City after she divorces the girl’s father, which seems like an excellent plan on the surface. Sadly, the previous owner was a recluse and a millionaire who hoarded money under the floorboards of his panic room in a move that guaranteed the next owners would find themselves fending off eager robbers for the rest of their stay. The Altmans don’t even make it through their first night before their new home is invaded, forcing them to spend a harrowing evening locked in the very room the burglars are eager to get into.
Those are a few of my favorite tales of movie families who would have been much happier if they had never decided to upgrade their digs, but I would love to hear yours. Share your picks in the comments!
Follow me on Twitter @sljbowman