It's a sight both thrilling and familiar -- the winding staircase, especially when seen from directly above or below. Many directors and cinematographers use such shots for their guaranteed visual punch -- the landings create artificial frames, the spirals imbue the center of the screen with a sense of the infinite. Plus, the practical purpose of the stairway suggests a journey and not an easy one. Different films have used the winding staircase to evoke different things -- vertigo, insanity, a descent into hell, and even female genitalia. This Thanksgiving weekend, we give our gratitude to one of the great visual tropes in the horror-thriller by presenting six films with staircases we love.
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