The cursed objects in horror movies
Writer: Casey Lee
You might want to avoid strange objects the next time you see them...
From the mirror to the laptop, we use all kinds of objects in our everyday lives and think little about how they affect us. But when we leave such objects in the hands of horror directors and writers, these daily objects can become the most menacing piece of equipment that could spell our doom.
Dolls (from "Annabelle")
Cursed objects in horror movies not only act as vessels for angry spirits, but they can also be used to invite the supernatural into our lives, or revealing a darker psyche within us that would be horrifying to watch.
While we are reminded to be careful for what we wish for with the musical wish box in "Wish Upon", we list out the objects that have been given a mean streak as the center in horror movies.
Inspired from the collection of the demonologists Warrens, dolls have been known to act as vessels for demonic spirits and can harm the family that possesses them. While scary dolls have become the central figure of nightmares like "Child's Play" (which is soon getting its own reboot), the recent "Annabelle" goes back to the dark original roots of scary dolls, and make us feel creeped out when we see an unwanted but beautifully dressed doll.
VHS Tapes (from "The Ring")
Back in the day before all media was turned into digital, VHS tapes was a prevalent piece of storage of media. While it was unimaginable for spirits to be stored on those magnetic tapes, the curse of the VHS tape from "The Ring", whereby anyone who watches its content is bound to die within 7 days, was a cruel punishment for the curious and the cynical, especially for the likes of its reporter protagonist. Often considered as an update of the Japanese ghost story in modern Japan, the premise of vengeful spirits being able to transfer and dwell within modern electronic items has become a frightful premise for horror movies even to this day, reminding us that we can never really escape from being haunted.
Cars (from "Christine")
We will always remember our first pair of wheels, even if they came from the second-hand dealer or if they came right out from the pages of a Stephen King novel. John Carpenter's adaptation of King's "Christine" novel shows us how scary it would be to own a haunted car, even if it was obsessively loyal enough to kill your bullies and you in the end. Since 1983, people who saw "Christine" have not been so sure if the self-driving "cars of tomorrow" is such a great idea, especially if they can still run you down while in flames.
Mirrors (from "Occulus")
We all know that horror movie trick involving mirrors. First they were behind, then they are not, then boo! But it's not very often when the reflection we see in the mirror is the one that has us entrapped by its spell. Thanks for the mirror in Michael Flanagan's "Occulus", we have started doubting if we can truly believe what we see as it is (especially apples), and it's probably always a bad idea to get an antique mirror for your place from now on.
Boardgames (from "Ouija")
Boardgames with friends can be fun, but play a different kind of boardgame and you might be inviting different kind of 'friends'. Some boardgames are less than a game and more of a tool to contact spirits, and if you aren't careful who you are speaking to, you might bring in the wrong kind of company for a game of death.
Video Games (from "Brainscan")
It's not all fun and games even in the virtual world, thanks to 1994's "Brainscan". Inside the CD-ROM (remember those?) of a hyper-realistic video game, an entity known as The Trickster resides and gives you a tutorial on how to commit murder except in reality. And you still wonder why parents and groups are worried that senseless violent video games are bad for children, and why the emergence of virtual reality can be the scariest thing to happen in video gaming.
The Internet ("Unfriended" and "Pulse")
While technically not a thing, but it is something we can't live without nowadays. The endless wide reaching network of the Internet should be a realm beyond the reach of the spiritual, but it might just be the very invention that lets ghosts go viral. Whether these ghosts are the unrest spirits seeking revenge through Skype or what started out as a meme ended up wiping out the population of Tokyo, it is terrifying indeed.
Cinema Online, 15 July 2017