Weekend Roundtable: Worst Haunting / Possession Movies

A couple years ago, we ran a Roundtable here about Favorite Ghost Story Movies. This week’s theatrical release of the haunted mirror flick ‘Oculus’ brings the subject up again, so let’s turn it around and take a look at some of the worst allegedly-scary movies about hauntings or supernatural possession.

M. Enois Duarte

At the moment, I can’t think of a dumber supernatural-based movie than ‘A Haunted House‘, another hair-brained spoof from the Wayans brothers. They had great success with ‘Scary Movie’, but whatever talent they displayed at picking apart the conventions and clichés of the genre are completely lost in this horribly weak effort. Aside from a couple of unexpected chuckles, the movie is an absolute mess of idiocy and a total waste of a moviegoer’s time.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

If you’ve ever spoken to me or read just about anything I’ve ever written, the following nine words may rattle you to the core: I’ve never seen ‘Death Bed: The Bed That Eats‘. From what little I know about this 1977 schlockfest, the premise is pretty much right there in the title. Anyone unfortunate enough to lie in this demon-possessed antique bed gets gobbled up. The mattress splits somewhere down the middle, foamy yellow saliva spews out, and its victims’ flesh is digested until there’s nothing left but hair and bone.

I first heard about ‘Death Bed’ on an EP that comedian Patton Oswalt put out in 2006, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading the movie’s English-as-a-second-language Wikipedia entry until just now. Here’s one of the highlights: “An artist who was trapped behind a painting and made immortal by the bed instead of being eaten by it and who the bed gives gifts to that it obtains from all the people it kills, mocks the bed for its stupidity. Enraged, the bed telekinetically destroys most of the house except for the room it is in.” Oh, ‘Death Bed’! Onto my Amazon wish list you go.

Shannon Nutt

Did you ever sit down to watch a movie in the theater, figure out the twist ending about ten minutes in, and then have to sit through another 90 minutes for the movie to catch up with what you’ve already figured out? That was my experience with 2001’s ‘The Others‘, a Nicole Kidman vehicle about a spooky old house and the family that lives in it. Following in the footsteps of ‘The Sixth Sense’, the film wants to provide viewers with a twist ending. However, anyone with a functioning brain (a rarity in many moviegoers, I’ll admit) will see the all-too-obvious clues being provided from the get-go. Even more insulting is the fact that the majority of national critics actually gave this movie a recommendation.

Junie Ray

Full disclosure: I have not actually seen this movie (or the sequels), but it’s just got to be the one of the dumbest possessed object premises you could get: ‘Evil Bong‘. And when I say “dumbest,” I mean that in the best possible sense. A bong possessed by an evil spirit that cause people who take a hit to have some really strange trips? That is first class stoner movie stuff. And it features Tommy Chong. Dude.

Luke Hickman

I’ve stricken the majority of it from my memory, but I can’t forget how bad ‘Godsend‘ was. The potential for a good story is there: Mourning parents decide to have their deceased son cloned, but something isn’t quite right with the replacement child. Once the clone passes the age at which their original kid died, he goes nuts. Looking back now, you can tell how bad ‘Godsend’ must be solely because it was made in co-star Robert De Niro’s very bad period. Not a single memorable or original thing happens in the movie. You’ve seen it all before in ‘The Omen’ and other creepy kid horror thrillers.

Josh Zyber

Considering what a tired cliché the scary ghost girl with long black hair has become in Asian horror cinema (see ‘Ringu’, ‘Dark Water’, ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’, etc.), I suppose it was inevitable that someone would make a movie in which the hair itself was evil. That finally came in a 2005 Korean film called ‘The Wig‘ (a.k.a. ‘Scary Hair’). Yes, you’ve got it – it’s a movie about a possessed wig.

You can pretty much put the pieces of this together from the title(s) alone. After a sickly cancer patient is left hairless from her chemotherapy treatments, the girl’s well-meaning sister buys her a wig of beautiful long hair, which promptly returns her to robust health and also makes her kind of slutty and eventually murderously psychotic. Well, it turns out that the wig was made from the hair of someone who didn’t exactly want to give it up while she was still alive, and now the hair wants revenge.

The inherent silliness of a haunted wig killing people (sometimes even by flying around on its own) is played for utmost seriousness in this very ridiculous horror thriller that goes through the motions of the evil ghost girl formula in the most by-the-numbers manner possible. I watched this on DVD as part of an Asian horror kick I was on several years back, and it was the lamest entry in a genre with more than a few weak efforts.

What are some of the dumbest haunting and possession-themed movies you’ve seen? Tell us about them in the Comments.

13 comments

  1. Chris B

    I remember havin to sit through “Deathbed” at somebody’s house on Halloween a few years ago. It’s not very scary…but it is one of the creepiest, most bizarrely unsettling movies I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing. I honestly couldn’t wait till it was over and kept checking my watch throughout. I can’t really recommend it per se, but if you have the urge to watch a movie for the sheer “WTF?!” factor, Deathbed is definitely it.

  2. Bill

    Not sure that it really qualifies but The Car (1977) would be my choice for worst movie of that genre I’ve ever seen.

    • Paul A

      I actually love The Car. I remember it fondly from my youth watching it on late night TV. Picked up the DVD last year and gave it another viewing after not seeing it for over 20 years. Still enjoyed it. It has it’s flaws for sure, but still worked for me. Love the use of the 5th movement of Berlioz’ ‘Symphonie Fantastique’. Kubrick used it to chilling effect during the opening credits to The Shining a couple years later.

  3. Matt G.

    I love “The Others.” I was 16 when it came out and I didn’t see the twist coming(and yes, I have a functioning brain; that’s insulting to assume otherwise Mr. Nutt). It’s a fun movie, and I still watch it on Blu-ray from time to time even now knowing the outcome. I always thought it was clever.

    The worst one I’ve ever seen was feardotcom. It was just incredibly stupid.

    • Well, I did say ‘many’ not all, and – of course- it was a joke.

      I still think the film is incredibly simplistic and stupid, though – although I realize I’m holding a minority opinion.

  4. shawn

    The Devil Inside is definitely the worst possession movie. A boring mess of a movie that hopped on the found footage craze. I’m glad I was at least smart enough to not see it in theaters.

  5. “The Shaft” (also known as “Down”). Poor Naomi Watts stars in a remake of a…I want to say Dutch? thriller about a possessed elevator. The film was remade by the original Dutch director…because with a premise like that, English-speaking audiences simply can’t be deprived of it, obviously.

  6. Blasonj

    Killdozer, about – guess what – a haunted bulldozer. It’s a tv-movie from 1974 and by that predates The Car and Christine.

  7. Timcharger

    I have the Worst-Possession-of-All-Time Movie. This is the hands down winner!

    Drumroll…

    …it’s…

    …it’s…

    …Ghost.

    I know, I know, everyone sees that scene at a beautiful, romantic scene.

    I just can’t help it. I can’t stop saying it in my head:
    Demi Moore is making out with Whoopi Goldberg.
    Demi Moore is making out with Whoopi Goldberg.
    Demi Moore is making out with Whoopi Goldberg.
    She’s not kissing Patrick Swayze. She’s kissing Whoopi.

    I love ruining that scene to whoever is watching it.
    🙂

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