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The Top 10 Most Brutal Curses In Film History

Updated November 6, 2017 49.1k views10 items

Curses! Great movies about magic feature them, and wow, how it must suck to be the victim of a curse. Here are 10 terrible curses that happen in movies that are very, very bad for the people involved. 

There are some basic ground rules for what appears on this list of worst curses in film. First, to be considered a CURSE, it has to be based on magic. Second, the actual curse has to happen in a movie scene (we're not talking about entire supernatural movies like the Omen or Rosemary's Baby or Poltergeist, because that's a totally different topic.) The curse has to be directly placed on either a person or an object, so you won't see any random hauntings on this list that can be explained by basically saying, "Well, you walk into a ghost house, you get ghosts . . . duh!" This list does not include prophecies or other circumstances some people might consider cool but is kind of a burden for the person who has to deal with it (like say, being the Hulk - that's not what we're talking about right now). It has to be an ACTIVE curse.

What are the worst types of curses? Is it a gypsy curse or a witch curse? A famous gypsy curse causing weight gain, maybe? You tell us. Vote on this list of 10 curses to determine the worst curse in all of movie history.
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    OK, I don't exactly get the whole Asian take on the curse.

    At least with most western curses, there's usually some sort of a point.

    You piss off some magical person (almost always an old lady of vaguely eastern European decent), and you get a fitting punishment.

    But with a lot of the "J-Horror" films that became popular over the last decade (and further back into history and myth if you actually, you know, live over there) it always seems like the curses are arbitrarily evil.

    I'll use The Ring as the uber-example, since pretty much everyone's familiar with it over here, but the same concept holds true in The Grudge, or . . .The Curse of course.

    So here we have a nasty little psychic girl. In life she seemed to be a little bundle of negative reinforcement and insanity to everyone around her.

    So naturally the folks who took guardianship of her say, "Oh what the hell. If we ice the damn bitch maybe we can get on with our lives and be done with it."

    But no, her malevolent ghost then causes her "mom" to commit suicide and drive pretty much everyone else to the bonkers bin to torment themselves the rest of their natural lives.

    Revenge gained, problem averted right?

    Also, not a curse. A nasty horrible haunting to be sure, but not a curse.

    Kids don't really seem to have a very good sense of empathy. This apparently goes doubly so for dead psychic girls who don't like being tossed down wells.

    So Samara/Sadako somehow (because I don't know if it's ever explained exactly how, but we're dealing with a magic ghost gal at this point, so let's not question it too much) smuggles out a videotape to the rest of the world. Watch the tape, and at first you think the "curse" is that you simply had to watch some pretentious asshole's bad student film. Not so bad reall-

    Hold on, that's the phone.


    OK so you also apparently die in a week.

    That's not so bad really. How do you die though?

    You get your face turned inside out by the ghost girl after she comes screaming out of a TV!? And before that you're driven insane with nightmarish imagery in your every waking hour, AND when you sleep!?

    Well is there any way to lift it?


    So you found the body and gave her a proper burial and laid her soul to rest and she's STILL going to kill me, I mean you!?

    Oh wait, so there is a way to avoid it. Pass it on to someone else. That's just peachy. We just get out of yet another format war and now I've got to somehow convince someone to watch a VHS again? How the hell is that going to happen?

    You know what, F**k you Samara/Sadako, whoever. You're just being arbitrarily evil at this point.

    Well at least the number of people it spreads to will likely be rather low, as the only people who die have to be a fairly limited number of folks, what with the death of the VCR and all.

    I mean, it's not like Japanese ghosts can target larger groups of people, like say a town . . .
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    Awesome. Apparently Pan-Asian Apparitions can just lay curses on entire towns now. Or even basic geometric and visual concepts.

    So yeah, what I said about Samara/Sadoko's purely arbitrary evil, it holds true here as well.

    In Uzumaki, or Spiral, what we have is the mountain hamlet of Kurouzu winning another lottery of supernatural doom.

    For apparently NO REASON (or at least no tangible one), the villagers start getting strangely drawn to things that have spiral shapes. At first, it manifests primarily with one man (lead character Kirie's boyfriend's dad) wasting his days recording random stuff he sees on the street. It's as if he's in a contest with American Beauty's Wes Bentley for "World's Most Boring Home Videos" or something.

    But as his obsession grows, it starts consuming the lives of those around him. He figures out a way to kill himself in a spiral related washing machine mishap, and for a second it seems like the problem will go away once the lead nutball isn't around to make friends and influence others to death.

    But no, his ashes, or maybe it's his ghost, or maybe it's his memory, or hell, it's all really confusing as to what exactly starts happening, but the dude get's mixed in with the town's water supply. Reality starts to lose it's s**t and tears off at the hinges after that. People turn to snails, hair starts strangling folks, spines twist and shout, and anyone you might have liked is pretty much guaranteed to die!

    It's kind of like that speech the Ghostbusters give to the mayor in Ghostbusters the First. You know, the one about Armageddon hitting New York? Dogs and cats living together - MASS HYSTERIA!

    Except a hell of a lot worse. Especially because again, it seems to strike for pretty much no reason at all. No one who deserves any mercy is spared and it just hits everyone and everything like a misfired black-hole bullet from Gene Starwind's Caster.

    And it's not alone. There are more of these "cursed town" movies out in Asia, where people get the short end of the magical stick at the drop of a hat. In some, there's usually at least a simple cause for the disturbance, but with Spiral it just feels like these folks are in the midst of an insanity bomb.
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    So yeah, everyone knows that the One Ring makes you invisible. A neat party trick and useful when a few trolls are trying to crush you into mead.

    Far worse though, is the fact that the damn thing corrupts absolutely. It corrupted Isuldur, from all accounts a noble leader until it was under his possession. Just the promise of it turns Saruman from probably decent wizardly-guy into a raving power-mad a*****e. It tempts a whole bunch of people who just come near it into betraying their friends and countrymen for it. This includes grand heroes like Boromir, who ends up getting arrowed for his troubles and Galadriel having a total freakout. Seems to draw monsters to whomever holds it to try and kill you; and look at what it did to Gollum: drove him into the depths of insanity and murder for HUNDREDS of years!

    By the end, it even claims the noble soul of Frodo.

    This is the whole point of the story really, the fact that the hero, despite struggling against every single adversity along the way, loses. He's only saved by another equally corrupted character. Meaning? What? That we should just let the equivalent of heroin-addicts follow us around on camping trips in the hope that when they finally try to mug us, it'll be during a moment of poetic justice?

    That's not very reliable!

    When I first read this and for those that watched it for the first time, it was easy to miss this in the tumult of the conclusion(s), that this is a story about the hero losing. Even when he wins. That's heavy s**t when you're a kid. True perhaps, but heavy.

    But the thing is, Sauron's favorite piece of bling went even further if you think about the Naz'ghul, who are his OWN MEN. They were just normal human nobles, but once under the sway of the damn thing, they were turned into walking wraiths who can do nothing but want the thing . . . forever. And be in ethereal limbo . . . forever. Which looks like it hurts . . . forever.

    That is one powerfully cursed metaphor man. And to use it on your help?

    Yeah, Sauron's a total dill-hole.
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    Another fine example of the classic "Gypsy Curse" movie. Played both straighter than Drag Me to hell, and yet is perverted even more since the main character is such a legitimate douche bag rather than the sort of minor jerk or even nice person a lot of those that get the evil eye are.

    So how does this one work?

    OK, so a morbidly obese lawyer named Billy Halleck, is driving home one night, and all is relatively normal. The man is living the American dream: he's fat, got a kid, a house, makes money off of a highly litigious society, and has a blond wife who likes to blow him while he drives his car around town.

    The problem with BJ's whilst driving is that almost invariably this will lead to you crashing your car (at least in a movie, I don't know what the stats on this are in real life or if any bold, yet perverted social researcher has ever compiled any). In Billy's case, he hits and kills, guess who?

    Survey says: "Old Gypsy-esque Woman!"

    But surprisingly enough she's not the one who lays the curse on Billy the bumbler, no, that ends up being the old woman's father, who is positively ancient. Even then, this old man, he only plays magical knick-knack on Billy's soul after the justice system proves to be corrupt - since Billy gets his friends, a judge and a cop, to vouch for him and eventually dismiss the case. He mutters the garbled word "Thinner" in Billy's general direction while ever-so-softly caressing his jovial cheeks.

    But wait, wasn't this guy like ludicrously fat? How is that bad?

    Well the weight loss never stops you see. The man just keeps losing more and more mass until starts to resemble Christian Bale in The Machinist . He even starts inhaling more and more food like he's the new star of the next Kirby game, but it's all to no avail. It becomes obvious that he's simply going to starve to death, and that this can only be due to magic (like they say in every ad for stomach staples, no diet is ever 100% effective).

    Starving to death uncontrollably? Yeah that's a nasty curse. Thankfully, the old man's penchant for using an ironic curse on the fat man does give Billy some time to deal with it.

    The buddies that helped him get out of jail for free both die to separate curses of their own (one growing scales, the other pimples and sores) and Billy pleads with the old man for his life. He attempts a few things, but ultimately, he knows he needs to convince the man to free him from his fate. But killing a man's child is kind of hard to forgive, so his methodology ends up being kind of unique. I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it . . .

    Ah screw it, this story's over a decade old!

    He get's a friggin' Mob boss friend of his to start picking off all of the other gypsies one at a time until the curse is lifted. Straight-up violence on innocent people. Proving that while it's not always the best way, being the biggest a*****e in the room can generate results! Also, that it is sometimes possible to fight magic with guns, which is good to know if you're ever playing a table-top RPG.

    Of course there's still a bit of poetic magical justice at the end, it is a "curse" movie after all, but damn, I'll be the first to say that one thing that didn't shrink during his crash diet (get it? cause he crashed into the old lady!) during this flick was Bill's sack.

    By which I mean his t*******s.
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