Haunted Real Estate and Furniture in Fiction
I've read of a recurring dream in which New Yorkers open a previously unseen door to find additional square footage in their apartments. In these dreams, this is decidedly a good thing. I've never had this dream, but it made me think about how place or setting is often treated like another character in novels and how real estate often plays into horror novels and movies. This often occurs with ghost stories because the ghost in the story needs someplace to haunt, but real estate can come into play in the horror genre in other interesting ways as well.
Amity by Micol Ostow
Clearly inspired by the Amityville Horror and by Stephen King, Ostow infuses the narration of this spooky tale with nuances of psychological terror, rather than outright gore, and the house is a character too. As the author's website says, "Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again." It's surprising to think that this is the same YA author who brought us the S.A.S.S.: Student Across the Seven Seas series.
Help for the Haunted by John Searles
In this novel, Sylvie and Rose Mason are the daughters of paranormal investigators. "Help for the Haunted" is part coming of age story, part contemporary gothic, and the writing style really pulls the reader along. There's a possessed doll that may be based on Annabelle, a doll owned by Lorraine Warren. Lorraine Warren is an exorcist who was the inspiration for the Amityville Horror and The Conjuring (and has a cameo in the film).
Horrorstör: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books does it again with a tale of the supernatural that's not quite like anything we've seen before. Orsk is an IKEA knock-off store, and when strange goings-on start happening, the general manager enlists the help of Amy, a generally competent person who's grown disenchanted with retail, and a cadre of her fellow employees to help investigate after store hours. When the display cabinets that are hinged to the wall open to reveal previously unknown square footage, it is decidedly a bad thing. It turns out that this Orsk location, like the house in Steven Spielberg's Poltergeist is built on land with a checkered history.
In the first season of American Horror Story, the house is definitely "the star of the show" as Dylan McDermott, who plays Ben Harmon, said in an interview. This fan's website explores the listing for the real house where the show was filmed, side-by-side with screenshots from the show.
The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture and The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture by Bernice M. Murphy, who also wrote It Came From the1950s! Popular Culture, Popular Anxieties, just go to show that there's no where one can live that isn't able to elicit some sort of domestic anxiety.