We can all imagine the fear that comes along with being chased by a werewolf. Or waking up to find Dracula staring down at you. They are living, breathing (or in Drac’s case, dead and not so breathing, but you get the idea) embodiments of evil. But how about inanimate objects? Have you ever been terrified of a lamp? Or creeped out by a tire?
In this weekend’s The Possession, a Dybbuk Box purchased at a yard sale brings misfortune to everyone who comes in contact with it.
It’s not the first time that the movies have imbued an inert object with evil powers.
There have been loads of haunted houses in the movies. In most of them, however, the house is merely a vessel for a spirit or some unseen entity that makes its presence know by making the walls bleed or randomly slamming doors. Rarer is the house that is actually evil.
Stephen King wrote about a house that eats people in the third installment of his Dark Tower series. On screen Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg visualized the idea in the appropriately titled Monster House.
In this animated movie three teens figure out the house across the street is a man-eating monster.
By the time they got around to the fourth installment of the most famous haunted house series, the Amityville Horror, filmmakers had to figure out a new plotline apart from the tired “new owners move in to the house, get freaked out leave,” storyline. In The Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes, a cursed lamp causes all sorts of trouble when it is shipped from the evil Long Island house to a Californian mansion.
Much weirder is Rubber, the story of a killer tire — yes, you read that right — with psychokinetic powers — think Carrie with treads — who terrorizes the American southwest. It’s an absurdist tract on how and why we watch movies, what entertainment is and the movie business, among other things. But frankly, mostly it’s about a tire rolling around the desert and while there is something kind of hypnotic about watching the tire on its murderous journey — think Natural Born Killers but round and rubbery — that doesn’t mean Rubber is a good movie.
Finally, think bed bugs are bad? How about a hungry bed? The title of this one sums it up: Death Bed: The Bed that Eats.
If self-described “demonologists, ghost hunters and kooks” Ed and Lorraine Warren didn’t really exist, Hollywood would have invented them.
In addition to investigating 10,000 cases of paranormal activity — including exorcising a “werewolf demon” — they founded the New England Society for Psychic Research, authored three books about their ghostly exploits and were the proprietors of Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Conn.
They are colourful eccentrics whose wild exploits are perfect big-screen fodder.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga played them in 2013’s The Conjuring. Based on a real-life haunted house in Rhode Island, it comes complete with slamming doors, someone or something goosing family members in their sleep and the smell of rotten meat.
Directed by Saw co-creator James Wan, it’s a mashup of The Exorcist and a particularly unnerving episode of Ghost Hunters and earned Farmiga a nomination for the MTV Movie Award for Best Scared-As-S—t Performance.
The demon-hunting duo are back in theatres in The Conjuring 2. This time they’re looking into the Enfield Poltergeist incident. Instead of a ghost in a house, malevolent spirits possess young children who speak in strange voices, levitate and do all manner of spooky things.
“I’ve known about them since I was pretty young, back in high school,” Wan says of the Warrens.
“I was fascinated by what they did and who they are. I’ve sort of kept them in my peripheral all these years, and I’ve always thought their life stories would make a very interesting movie.”
The Conjuring films are scary but they’re not the only supernatural cases the Warrens investigated that went on to get the big-screen treatment.
Annabelle, a 2014 prequel to The Conjuring, proves you can’t keep a good doll down. It tells the story of Annabelle, that movie’s creepy, possessed dolly before she was safely locked away in Warren’s Occult Museum. Echoes of Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion reverberate throughout the movie’s low-key weird atmosphere.
The Warrens’ much-documented Carmen Snedeker situation gave us The Haunting in Connecticut. In a disturbing flick that breathes the same air as any movie involving evil spirits, a haunted house, an old aboriginal cemetery or former insane asylum, evil forces torment the Snedekers after they move into a converted funeral home in Southington, Conn.
In the real-life 1986 event, the Warrens were called in and declared the Snedeker house to be crawling with demons, the result of former funeral home workers practising necrophilia.
How accurate was the movie?
“I was also told about scratching on the walls, blood and séances,” Lorraine told MyRecordJournal.com. “That isn’t the type of thing … occurring within the house at all. The movie is very, very loosely based on the actual investigation.”
The eerie couple’s most celebrated case happened at 112 Ocean Ave. in Amityville, Long Island. Known as The Amityville Horror, their look into the Lutz family’s outrageous claims of supernatural terror after moving into the large house where Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family, has been the subject of 10 movies and a number of books.
“The case itself has affected our personal lives more than any other case we’ve ever worked on in 54 years of research,” Lorraine said.