5 scariest inanimate movie objects
Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Norman Bates and countless other bogeymen have been terrorizing movie audiences for decades.
As various sequels, prequels and remakes featuring their characters continue to hit the big screen, it appears they will continue scaring audiences for years to come, proving that there is perhaps nothing scarier that a psychopath hiding in a dark closet with a knife.
But as these cinematic icons continue to etch out their place in Hollywood history as the scariest human killers of all time, there is another brand of killer that has proved it can be just as scary — the inanimate object.
Norman Bates made us afraid to take a shower, Freddy Krueger made us afraid to go to sleep, and Jason Voorhees made us afraid to go into the woods. The five inanimate objects we’re highlighting here made us afraid of, well, just about any everyday item you could find in your house …
No. 5: The Television from “Poltergeist”
In the classic 1982 thriller “Poltergeist,” an American middle-class suburban family is terrorized in their home by a slew of ghosts.
The family is unable to flee the house of horrors because their young daughter, Carol, is abducted by the ghosts through the television and they have to find a way to get her back.
“Poltergeist” features dozens of objects coming to life and moving spontaneously, but it was the dead channel on the television buzzing with white noise that sent the biggest chills down audiences’ spines.
Before she disappeared, Carol was found by her family sitting right in front of the TV in a trance and staring into it before saying two of the scariest words in film history: “They’re here.”
But at least the TV didn’t move, unlike our next scary inanimate object …
No. 4: The 1958 Plymouth Fury from “Christine”
The 1983 horror movie “Christine” is adapted from a novel by Stephen King, who is not only a master of horror, but also a master of the everyday object coming to terrifying life.
In his review of “Christine,” Roger Ebert made fun of King’s method of horror, writing, “Earlier this year we got his ‘Cujo,’ about a rabid St. Bernard, and any day now I expect him to announce ‘Amityville IV: The Garage-Door-Opener.'”
Jokes aside, the Plymouth in “Christine” is just plain evil. It’s so evil it kills an assembly worker as it is being put together in the auto plant. Twenty years later, the car goes on a killing spree, driving itself around and taking out high school kids left and right.
The film has a silly premise, but in the hands of director John Carpenter, who also directed the horror classic “Halloween,” it is able to transcend the premise and deliver quite a few scares and thrills. Ebert also wrote, “This is the kind of movie where you walk out with a silly grin, get in your car, and lay rubber halfway down the (highway).”
A lot of people don’t like talking on the phone, but this next inanimate object takes that fear to a new level …
No. 3: The Telephone from “Fatal Attraction”
Not all terrifying inanimate objects have to come to life or have some supernatural force behind it to be terrifying.
In “Fatal Attraction,” a ringing phone spells doom for Michael Douglas’ character. It isn’t a ghost or ghoul on the other end of the line, but Glenn Close, with whom he had an extramarital affair.
As it turned out, Close was an insane psychopath who began stalking Douglas and calling his house nonstop. Douglas was desperate to keep the secret from his wife, and every time he got comfortable and began to enjoy his perfect home life, the phone would ring — and he always knew who it was that was calling and hanging up.
“Fatal Attraction” scared audiences for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest was the reminder that any misdeed you commit in your life is just a phone call away from ruining your life.
For our next scary object, let’s go to the tape …
No. 2: The Videotape from “The Ring”
“The Ring” is a creepy, bone-chilling film with a very odd premise that is difficult to explain or understand. It’s one of those films that can’t be accurately described because the only way to get it is to see it.
The film is about a cursed videotape that causes anyone who views it to die in seven days. What makes “The Ring” transcend its goofy and unbelievable premise is director Gore Verbinski, who proves that he can suck terror and suspense out of any scene or situation.
The images that appear on the videotape are very disturbing and are “like someone’s nightmare,” the kind of thing that stays with you late at night after you have come home from the theater and are trying to fall asleep.
Why not pop an old videotape into the VCR to help lull you to sleep?
Then again, you could just raid the fridge for a late-night snack instead …
No. 1: The Refrigerator from “Ghostbusters”
The 1984 blockbuster “Ghostbusters” perfected the art of mixing comedy with horror and also made us wonder a lot more about our refrigerators besides if the light actually turned off when you shut the door.
In one of the film’s most famous scenes, eggs that start cooking themselves on the counter startle Sigourney Weaver’s character. After she hears growling from the refrigerator she opens it to find a door to another dimension with ghastly creatures growling and snarling at her.
“Generally you don’t see that type of behavior in a major appliance,” Bill Murray said to Weaver after she called up the Ghostbusters to investigate.
When Murray finally reached the famous fridge, he slowly opened the door, expecting to find terror beyond his wildest imagination.
“Oh my god!” Murray called out as Weaver waited in anticipation. “Look at all the junk food! Do you actually eat all this stuff?”
Expired cottage cheese? Now that’s truly frightening.
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