We all live in a material world consumed with personal belongings and new technologies. It goes without saying that we’d prefer our possessions demon-free and with no strings attached. It's really not all that much to ask for, but in the world of horror movies, nothing's ever simple.
After some serious binge-watching and some even more serious night terrors, we chose the best, most powerful cursed objects from every horror movie available. We ranked them based on three criteria: power to kill, potential for widespread influence, and general creep factor. We picked out only the most homicidal objects and excluded anything that appeared even slightly animate (sorry Chucky). We understand that every cursed object can’t be a winner, but each one has its own merits and none of them should be taken lightly. Trust us when we say you don’t want to come across any of these items in the real world.
From classic horror to the cheesiest, most insane B-movie items imaginable, here's Screen Rant's take on the 13 Most Powerful Cursed Objects in Horror Movies.
13 Everything in the Basement (The Cabin in the Woods)
Yeah, we know this is cheating, but for the sake of argument, let’s pretend the items in the basement aren’t just spoofs of the rest of the things you’ll see on this list. There’s a whole room full of monster items, all with their own monster waiting to be summoned just to kill you. Among the objects of note, there's a music box that summons the Sugarplum Fairy and a fortune teller machine that calls upon a bunch of killer clowns. But chief among all the monsters is the Merman, whose cursed conch brings him from the deepest depths of the ocean to mutilate every sexually active teen in sight.
While each item can be ranked individually for its respective powers, we need only look at the mass slaughter in the movie’s final act to see their true brutality. Apart from general power, none of the items are what we would call ‘scary’ by the standard horror definition. We certainly don’t see anyone losing sleep over the appearance of the Merman’s conch shell. And as far as widespread influence is concerned, each victim is hand-chosen by the government’s privately funded organization to be mass slaughtered for the Ancient Ones, so we’re not worried about the slight chance that we’ll even have to encounter one of these items. In effect, the basement makes for a fun entry, but unless these objects make their way into the real world, they’ll stay firmly put at the beginning of our list.
Power: 10 Widespread Influence: 2 Creepiness: 2 Total: 14
12 The Laundry Press (The Mangler)
Throw this one in the mix for worst horror movie ideas. Conceptually, The Mangler belongs among the direct-to-video gore fests many horror fanatics should be familiar with. Given the antagonist is an industrial laundry press, there isn’t much of a threat when it comes to mass murder. As a matter of fact, if accidents keep occurring near the machine, the logical step would be to cordon off the area and leave it alone. But that wouldn’t be any fun, and the demonic machine would have to go without its sacrifices.
After a botched exorcism and a dimwitted plot point involving antacids, the Mangler manages to become even more powerful, becoming mobile and thinking for itself. With the ability to now give chase to its victims, the machine may become more daunting, but its bulky exterior and plodding movement still leave it feeling like nothing more than a half-baked means to mutilate bodies.
As far as horror movie hackathons go, The Mangler fits nicely among the upper echelon of movies that have no business existing -- but we’re oddly happy they do. Based on a short story from Stephen King, the first of his entries on this list, a cult-worshipped laundry press still manages to be terrifying enough to be featured as an object you don't want to go near. Still, we can’t help wondering why someone would continue dry cleaning their laundry after so much death.
Power: 7 Widespread Influence: 3 Creepiness: 5 Total: 15
11 1958 Plymouth Fury (Christine)
Do you remember your first car? The chances are slim it was as special as Stephen King’s Christine. All those dings, dents and blemishes you couldn’t wipe away would’ve been worth it if your new vehicle could chauffeur you around town with nothing more than a spoken destination. Of course, nothing is ever that simple with King, and things were no different with this two-door hardtop.
Unless you’re biking it to work, we’re guessing that, like most non-city-based people, you drive a car. Sure, it doesn’t have to be a fancy 1958 Plymouth Fury, but you’ll take what you can get. For teens looking to show off their new driver’s license, they’re even more susceptible to driving whatever they can afford. Either way, if you see a car for sale at the unbeatable price of $250, you jump at the opportunity, right? Given Christine is a special kind of vehicle with a custom red paint job not common on 1958 models, such a good deal would be hard to pass up.
The origin of Christine is never acknowledged in King’s novel or its film adaptation. Coming off the production line, the car seems inherently evil. She grows attached to her owners, killing those who taunt them or put them in harm’s way. It’s kind of nice knowing there’s at least one cursed object out there that has your back, but try to stop her in any way and you may find yourself on the losing side of the war between man and machine.
Power: 5 Widespread Influence: 6 Creepiness: 5 Total: 16
10 The Video Game (Brainscan)
With all the horror video games that have grown in popularity over the years, you’d think an ultra-realistic game that kills everyone around you would be a staple in movies by now. Instead, we’re actually reluctant to place Brainscan on our list. The antagonist is little more than a failed attempt to create another horror movie villain in the vein of Freddy or Jason, and the movie has a cop out ending. So while we’ll continue to endorse video games as a cool method for harnessing evil, we’re still waiting on a better execution.
The game, which shares the name of the movie, follows the familiar structure of Freddy Krueger’s dream world. A lonely teen with an obsession for horror movies hears word about the titular game from a friend. Not long after receiving the first disc, he meets the Trickster, the game’s host, who takes over his life and forces him to play. He kills his first victim and the next morning discovers that the deaths in-game are being carried out in the real world.
The reach of a game is enough to take down millions of users. So we’re hesitant to simply write off Brainscan as just another poorly constructed horror movie plot, even if the movie isn’t anywhere near the level of frightening it set out to be. But as an upside, at least we can say the movie isn’t the worst big screen outing about a cursed game. We’re looking at you, Stay Alive.
Power: 5 Widespread Influence: 7 Creepiness: 5 Total: 17
9 The Pazuzu Amulet (The Exorcist)
In Assyrian mythology, the demigod Pazuzu signifies the beginning of famine during the dry seasons, bringing about the pestilential southwest wind. Amulets of his semblance are believed to possess the power to ward off these winds. He is never referred to as a demon nor does he possess the body of innocents.
Though never explicitly stated, Pazuzu is believed to be the one who possesses 12 year old Regan MacNeil before being exorcised by Father Merrin and Father Karras. The Pazuzu amulet is first seen during the film’s prologue as a bad omen of things to come, when Father Merrin discovers the amulet during an archaeological dig in northern Iraq. Later, many statues of Pazuzu can be seen throughout as an indication of his awakening and possession of Regan. The amulet and other idols continue to surface as objects which summon Pazuzu to the human world.
As far as looks go, the Pazuzu amulet is about as attractive as you’d imagine a part man, part beast demigod artifact to be. Though Pazuzu was never intended to be a caricature of evil, fans of the novel and movie have largely interpreted him as the antagonist, giving him a whole new evil background. As an item of protection, we can view the amulet as relatively harmless, but for the sake of arguing, we’re going to stay away.
Power: 7 Widespread Influence: 6 Creepiness: 5 Total: 18
8 The Television (Poltergeist)
If Poltergeist taught us anything, it’s to always do research into a home before you buy it. Sure, the yards are nice, the neighbors are friendly, and your kids happen to live in the best school zone in all of Orange County, but the real estate business is cutthroat. Anything goes, and that includes building your new community on top of a burial ground.
Poltergeists are unruly. Reasoning isn’t really their strong suit. So it’s understandable that they jump around from object to object. Apart from possessing a clown doll for no other purpose than to give children nightmares, the spiteful spirits use a television as a conduit from which to speak to the family's young daughter Carol Anne. Tuned to an empty channel, the vengeful apparitions can talk through the electrical static, filtering their voice from the spirit world through the electromagnetic signal.
While we’ll admit it’s a real bummer to have apparitions take over your television, it doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with your favorite shows. Just do what any normal individual living in a haunted house would do. Remove your television completely, cancel your cable subscription and go to Starbucks to watch Netflix on your phone. That way, you're more likely to be lured into the spirit realm when you're trying to watch Game of Thrones.
Power: 6 Widespread Influence: 6 Creepiness: 7 Total: 19
7 The Button (Drag Me to Hell)
As far as objects go, there's nothing less frightening than a button. It's standard practice among horror movies to take a personal item from the intended victim in order to work some gypsy voodoo magic. But look a bit closer and the innocuous can become your worst nightmare.
The thing about buttons is they get lost all the time. If you’re not paying attention, you’ll find yourself looking down at your new wool coat that you got for a steal and realizing the top button popped off without warning. So it goes without saying that you never tick off an elderly gypsy woman for your own self interest. Even the smallest of things can be used as a weapon against you in such a case.
There is a stipulation which will grant you salvation if you find your button in the hands of an evil gypsy. Simply pass on the button to someone else and gift them with the honor of being dragged to hell. Of course, you have to live with that heavy conscience, so make sure to do it to somebody who really has it coming. It could be hard convincing them to take the button all by itself, so sew it onto a new pair of slacks and present it to them as an early birthday blessing. It pays to be deceiving when you’re being threatened with eternal damnation.
Power: 7 Widespread Influence: 9 Creepiness: 4 Total: 20
6 The Mirror (Oculus)
Apart from the vanity or insecurity a mirror can give its user, horror movie lore suggests that they often serve as a conduit between the spiritual realm and the human world. The spirit of the dead rises out of the body of the deceased and is trapped in the mirror after death, which it then uses to return upon request or summoning.
As far as influence, this mirror has some seriously bad juju for whoever comes across it. It beckons to its owners by using false, hallucinatory images implanted psychologically into their brains. Taking memories from your childhood, it can in effect cause you to believe your dead loved ones are reaching out to you from beyond the grave. It’s a story of mind games, and only the strongest can survive.
Looks can be deceiving. As a society, we’re riddled with things like SnapChat filters to skew our appearances, but our self-consciousness will always call for us to check our appearances. So it’s not entirely out of the realm of reason that we may come across a seemingly harmless mirror that turns out to be cursed. As a general rule of thumb, don’t purchase it if it looks like it just came out of an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. You just may find yourself fighting off the ghosts of your past.
Power: 8 Widespread Influence: 7 Creepiness: 5 Total: 20
5 Annabelle (The Conjuring)
Of all the cursed objects on this list, none are more befitting than the demonic doll. The first signs of the ceremonial doll can be traced to the Twentieth Dynasty of ancient Egypt. Under the reign of Ramesses III, a decline in political and economic power gave rise to many enemies who conspired to curse the pharaoh. These attempts included wax figures and written magic used to enchant the person whom the spells were directed against.
The theatrical version of Annabelle differs from the real version Ed and Lorraine Warren have housed in their occult museum in Monroe, CT. The original Raggedy Ann doll was given to a daughter by her mother in 1970. The 28 year old nursing student later reached out to the Warrens after the doll proved to be possessed by the spirit of Annabelle Higgins, a seven year old girl who died in a field near the woman's home.
The Conjuring revamps the Raggedy Ann look of the original, turning Annabelle into a porcelain nightmare with blonde hair and an evil grin. The doll had enough appeal to get a spinoff, which introduced a new fictional origin story. While Annabelle represents only the latest in a long history of demonically possessed dolls, she's proven to be the most memorable of recent years, landing her firmly in our top five. Fingers crossed we've seen the last of her.
Power: 7 Widespread Influence: 6 Creepiness: 8 Total: 21
4 The Videotape (The Ring)
Admittedly, this object is a little outdated. If we’re talking a widespread epidemic, an evil video cassette isn't going to get any undead soul very far. Technically speaking, it would be better for the creator to curse, say, a Blu-Ray or maybe even upload an unmarked file into the Apple store. It’s going to be hard to convince anyone to watch the grainy quality of a VHS over the more modern, high-definition alternatives available in today’s market. Setting aside its antiquated delivery system -- which we have to imagine will be updated for the next film -- the actual contents of the video are generally creepy, and escaping the curse isn’t exactly an easy feat.
Seven days. That’s the average lifespan of the person who watches the video. The tape’s images are a form of psychic photography projected onto the object by its creator Samara Morgan, a young girl with supernatural cognitive abilities who was murdered by her adoptive mother and tossed into a well. Each image on the tape is an exaggerated memory of Samara’s murder and the events which preceded it. Anyone who chooses to watch the tape must copy it within the seven day time frame and show it to another willing participant to effectively pass along the curse. Given that the alternative is seeing a moldy skin girl crawl out of a television and scare you to death, handing the curse to another doesn't sound so bad.
Power: 8 Widespread Influence: 5 Creepiness: 9 Total: 22
3 The Lament Configuration (Hellraiser)
A puzzle box that opens the gateway to a hellish realm of torturous Cenobites that rip the flesh off your bones may not sound like the kind of Rubik’s Cube you want to solve, but for Pinhead and company, it's a nightmare come true. The Lament Configuration isn’t the only puzzle box to feature in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise, but it's the only one to make a prominent appearance, making it a significant cursed object in horror movie history.
The design of the Lament Configuration is relatively simplistic. Crafted by Phillip Lemarchand, a maker of mechanical singing birds, the box was originally constructed for a wealthy aristocrat named Duc de L'Isle who practiced dark magic. The box twists into new alignments until all the pieces have slid into place, opening the door to the dimension of pain and suffering inhabited by the Cenobites.
It goes without saying that there’s no real practical use for the box rather than calling upon a bunch of monsters to rip you apart. Avoiding torture altogether isn’t impossible -- unless you have a serious addiction to puzzle-solving -- but as far as pure power goes, it doesn’t get much greater than opening doors to another plane of existence. Just keep this one out of the reach of kids. You don’t want anyone mistaking it for a toy.
Power: 10 Widespread Influence: 6 Creepiness: 8 Total: 24
2 The Internet (Unfriended)
Alright, so the Internet doesn’t technically count as an object, but it’s certainly an effective delivery system for uncontrollable sources of evil. There are no shortage of horror movies we could’ve pulled from as an example of an online curse. In the end, Unfriended seemed like the most logical choice, given its moral message involving cyberbullying and its use of social networking sites like Skype, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Statistics vary, but most would agree that we spend way too much time online. Recent studies indicate that the latest generation spends 9 hours a day consuming media. Add to that the intuitive natures of online users to investigate every single dark corner of the web, and we’re talking about an entire generation of tech-users just waiting to be killed by angry spirits.
The Internet can be a scary place. From videos you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy to the criminally insane disguised as innocuous singles looking for a relationship, every part of the web has to be approached with the utmost caution. We urge you to take all this and more into consideration when you receive a random request inside a chat room. It could just be a person on the other end -- or it could be just be a spirit seeking revenge.
Power: 8 Widespread Influence: 10 Creepiness: 9 Total: 27
1 The Necronomicon (The Evil Dead)
When we think about cursed horror movie objects, we couldn’t imagine a better candidate than a book that summons deadites to your doorstep. By all accounts, an ancient evil force that knocks down trees, possesses your girlfriend, and opens wormholes to the medieval age doesn’t sound like a groovy time, but when you’re armed with a chainsaw hand and a boomstick, we figure that’s enough for you to handle your own.
The Necronomicon was first mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft’s 1924 short story “The Hound,” though the book and its author Abdul Alhazred are mentioned in some of his other works. In the Evil Dead franchise, the book is bound in human flesh and inked in blood. The contents contain information regarding the deadites, referred to as the Old Ones. The dead can be both summoned and sent back through proper knowledge and understanding of the words written inside.
Harnessing the powers of the dead has never turned out well for any horror movie character. Nevertheless, the Necronomicon finds itself at the top of our list because books never go out of style. Placed on the wrong bookshelf in a public library, we could be looking at utter chaos. We may not fully understand the extent of the Necronomicon’s power, but the fact that we still kind of want to see a copy is enough to keep us worrying about what could happen if we ever comes across it.
Power: 10 Widespread Influence: 10 Creepiness: 10 Total: 30
Did we leave off any of your favorite cursed objects from the horror realm? Let us know in the comments.