Moviegeek5: Demonic Horror
The demonic is a popular theme in horror films, be it cursed objects, demonic entities, or the Devil himself and his followers. The subgenre has split into multible different strands but has its origins in the Satanic scare of the 1960s and 1970s and today haunted house movies are more likely to involve demons that actual proper ghosts. There is just something more terrifying about an evil force with no empathy than a ghost that was human once and perhaps even a victim. It is a broad subject, but we have put together a small potpourri that shows of some of the versatility of the subgenre; everything from curses, to actual demons, to demonic hauntings. We have chosen not to include any possession films as that is practically a subgenre on its own.
Check out the list below and let us know in the comments below what you think.
Which demonic themed horror movies do you like?
The Omen (1976)
The top-demon is of course Satan himself and the birth of his son, the Antichrist, is the topic of this high quality 1976 horror film. The 1970’s were ripe with the demonic theme, a reflection of a general fear in the public of satanic cults that were reportedly behind a number of crimes. The trend goes back to Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) which also revolves around the birth of the Antichrist and the most succesful example is naturally the possession film The Exorcist (1973). However, we feel The Omen is not given as much attention as it rightly deserves. The fim marked director Richard Donner’s return to feature films and stars Gregory Peck as a high ranking diplomat who accidentally takes home the son of the devil instead of his own son. With an iconic score, a great plot and cast, and the chilling idea that the Antichrist will emerge from powerful circles, The Omen is a chilling view. Besides, that Damien really is creepy.
The Evil Dead (1981)
The movie that made a name out of its star Bruce Campbell and sky-rocketed the career of director Sam Raimi, is not just THE Cult horror movie, it is also a movie very much about demonic horror. Anyone who has seen this inventive low-budget movie will nod in recognition when someone mentions the Book of Dead, a book that, if you are stupid enough to read aloud from an evil looking book with something that looks like skin covering it, will unleash a demonic force ready to posses you and your friends. Not the entertainment you were dreaming of, when you went camping in the woods. The movie is a prime example of how bright ideas and a good fantasy can make up from a lack of money and despite being dead cheap, The Evil Dead is still loved by many, many fans.
When Clive Barker’s novella “Hellbound Heart” was to be adapted for the screen, the author placed himself in charge of both script and direction and the result is a very good horror film. Story is partly a twisted love story but revolves mostly around a cursed object. A mystery box that unlocks a door to another dimension inhabit by demonic entities lead by the menacing “Priest” (popularly known as “pin-head”) whose sole purpose is to inflict pain and suffering on the unfortunate soul who opens the door. One such unfortunate soul (although he went looking for pain on his own accord) is Frank who manages to escape them and is brought back to life through human sacrifice. Hellraiser deserves plenty of credit for having an original plot and for making the sort of premise rarely seen outside of horror fiction work so well on screen.
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
After years working on the Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi returned to the horror genre that had dominated his early career, like The Evil Dead (1981) mentioned above. Drag Me to Hell is fast-paced and fun without going all the way into comedy, recognising that a good scare works best when mingled with chuckles. The story revolves around Christine, a young woman working at a bank who refuses a loan to an old gypsy woman to better her career opportunities and finds herself stuck with a terrible curse. The now little seen Alison Lohman is great and only gets better as a more and more desperate (and pissed of) Christine tries to rid herself of the curse, while her clueless and disbelieving boyfriend (Justin Long) tries to be supportive of his increasingly off quilter girlfriend. Good scares, great visuals, and a great plot makes this a film that ought to become a modern classic.
The Conjuring (2013)
James Wan is something of the Horror movie king, with several popular movies in the genre under his belt. With this, a more sophisticated kind of horror (compared to say, his Saw-franchise), introduced to world to the Warrens, the world’s most prominent paranormal investigators. A lot of fans of the genre hav seen either the 1979 or the 2005 movie The Amityville Horror, a case investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, but in The Conjuring, Wan deals with a lesser known but not less horrifying case. With an incredibly strong cast and plenty of focus on story instead of just chasing the next scare, The Conjuring is not just a good horror movie, it is a really good movie. That doesn’t mean there isn’t enough to scare you, as the Warrens try to save a family from an evil force threatening their lives after they move into a new home. The ‘based on real events’ adds chills to an already chilling tale and this is a must for fans of the genre.