A basement's been home to one of the greatest death scenes ever.
Evil Dead II (1987)
A basement is the home of Henrietta, the evil Deadite witch whose favourite hobby is cackling threats at Ash (Bruce Campbell).
"I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul!" She nags. "Swallow this," Ash replies, pointing a shotgun at her mush and pulling the trigger. One head explosion later, and the cabin maid adds 'skull flint spray' to her shopping list.
And one of the most satisfying death scenes ever.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
When the Coopers decide to haul up in a farmhouse basement to care for their terminally ill daughter Karen during a zombie apocalypse, an idiot could've told them it's a terrible idea.
Sadly, bad dad Harry Cooper doesn't suffer fools gladly, so he stubbornly engineers his own death at the cold dead hands of his daughter when she eventually pegs it. As he's been a bastard for the entirety of the movie, the audience cheers, loudly.
Lesson learnt: Basements are for junk, hospitals are for ill kids, and if someone you know is dying during a zombie plague, you leave them to get on with it.
You can use them to express the status of your lead, in song form.
The Wedding Singer (1998)
We know The Wedding Singer's Robbie Hart's a loser because he lives in his sister's basement. Which, whilst looking like quite a cool pad - it has a tumble dryer and everything - doesn't make him happy.
In fact, it makes him miserable. So miserable, in fact, that he changes the lyrics to Madonna's Holiday to express the depth of his pain.
Or to express the malaise of the modern male condition.
Fight Club (1999)
The basement of Lou's Cavern Club is home to many things. Beer barrels. Packets of peanuts. A gang of disenfranchised blokes punching the living crap out of each other.
Yes, Fight Club has most of the coolest ever basement scenes. Our favourite? The bit where Lou comes to kick out the fight clubbers out of his storage area, punches a giggling Tyler Durden repeatedly, and gets Durden-blood whipped in his face for his troubles.
"You don't know where I've been, Lou! You don't know where I've been!"
Sure enough, Lou acquiesces, and lets the gang use the space, free of charge. What a nice bloke.
They can scare the shit out of you.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
A camera belonging to our heroine Heather wobbles down some steps into a stone basement.
We pan past some dusty garbage cans, some abandoned planks of wood and, in the corner of the room, one of our heroes, facing the wall like a naughty child.
Heather screams, there's a struggle, and she drops the camera onto the floor. The image flickers and fades. Roll credits, and we curl into the foetal position.
Or they can make you laugh like an idiot.
It's the coolest moment in one of the greatest b-movies of the modern age and guess what? It's set in a basement.
Whilst most of the protagonists of Tremors decide that the best way to avoid a bunch of ground-burrowing mutant flesh-eaters is to hang out on the roof (makes sense), Burt and Heather Grummer decide to hold up in their basement. Why? Because that's where the guns are.