Sitting down with your family to play a board game isn’t something you would typically associate with the word ‘horror’. We all know that a game of Monopoly can turn the dynamic sour – especially if a loved ones hotel gets demolished – but board games rarely instill fear.
Did you know that Ouija boards are trademarked by Hasbro? It’s true. Intended as a parlour game, these boards were merely the 18th century’s equivalent to Mouse Trap. However, if someone were to challenge you to a game in this day and age, there are few people who would want to play.
The Exorcist did for Ouija what Jaws did for the seaside. We know the disastrous consequences of sweet, innocent Regan’s play time with Captain Howdy. Who knew that a game could go so awry?
The trope of Ouija in horror soon died out and audiences have put it back in the attic, but a creepy haunted ornament from a car boot is still a potent premise. The notion that an unsuspecting item in your house could cause you harm is terrifying – and getting help for it is nearly impossible.
People around the globe will actively avoid sinister-looking dolls, or refuse to read text from an ominous book aloud (especially if it’s in Latin, you can forget that). There is no denying that the scare factor of a haunted artefact is high on the list. Nobody wants to be possessed by their possessions.
So what are some of the scariest and most iconic cursed objects in horror history?
1. Annabelle – The Conjuring
You would have to be a simpleton to think this doll has your best intentions at heart. With one glassy, demonic eye looking at you and the other cracked pupil looking for you it’s hard to fathom why two nurses allowed Annabelle into their home.
This doll has been the stuff of nightmares since she opened James Wan’s scare fest The Conjuring. Starting as it meant to go on, it terrified audiences with the story of two student nurses who almost fell victim to Annabelle’s desire to possess a human.
As if her horrific aesthetic wasn’t deterrent enough, she soon became a formidable force, with the help of a red crayon. In the film, she torments the women to breaking point, simply by sitting motionless. Her black eyes, however, are ever watchful.
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2. Samara’s VHS – The Ring
Admittedly, Samara’s obsolete VHS wouldn’t get her very far these days but that doesn’t make an unmarked tape any less frightening. Embedded with a curse that will kill the viewer after seven days, the American remake The Ring terrified audiences around the globe. It’s Japanese predecessor Ringu sparked a Japanese horror boom and quickly undercut the then emerging found footage horror when it was remade for western audiences.
The terror of a cursed tape that kills any unwitting watchers has remained intact. Despite its format falling victim to the tragedy of time, its content is still one of the most disturbing sequences in horror history.
Disjointed, jarring and gruesome; Samara’s tape is one cursed object you wouldn’t want hanging about the house.
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