It's easy to make a monster, an alien, or some other grotesque creature of the night scary. Just give 'em fangs, claws, the legs of a spider, a really long tongue, or bat wings, then call it a day. But what's really tricky is imbuing a book, a doll, a spaceship, or a car with the ability to chill you to your core. They don't move (or at least they shouldn't by all the natural laws of physics), but they can scare the heck out of us anyway.
Horror filmmakers have been answering this challenge for years, with varying levels of success. For every Chucky or Annabelle, there's the bed that eats people. That's why we've ranked the greatest inanimate horror villains of all time by how deeply they terrify us.
The Lament Configuration
Featured In: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Hellraiser: Inferno (2000), Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002), Hellraiser: Deader (2005), Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Hellraiser: Revelations (2011), Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)
Classification: Demonic Puzzle Box
Why Does It Come To Life?: The Lament Configuration, or otherwise known as Lemarchand's Box, is a gateway to the underworld in the Hellraiser film series. Those curious enough to try to solve the puzzle of the box are "gifted" passage into a grim dimension filled with demons and various other malevolent creatures. One might call the Configuration a mere tool for the Cenobites, led by Pinhead, to lure unwitting souls into eternal pain and suffering, but the box has something of a life of its own.
Why Is It Scary?: It looks innocuous, like a mere toy. But it's a gateway to pure evil.11441Are you spooked?
Featured In: The Conjuring (2013), Annabelle (2014), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Annabelle: Creation (2017), Aquaman (2018), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Shazam! (2019), The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2020)
Classification: Haunted Doll
Why Does It Come To Life?: Hoo boy, where to begin? Annabelle is the breakout star of the Conjuring franchise, but far from its main character. So, details on Annabelle's origins were scarce until the release of 2017's prequel film, Annabelle: Creation. The story goes that a dollmaker's 7-year-old daughter, Annabelle, perishes unexpectedly. He and his wife pray for the return of their daughter, by any means necessary. That summons a demon eager for a host. It takes the form of the daughter, then plants itself inside a doll. But what it really wants is a real human host.
Why Is It Scary?: Dolls are supposed to be cute toys for little boys and girls. Perverting that into an entity capable of evil is shocking.12862Are you spooked?
- Photo: Evil Dead/New Line Cinema
Featured In: Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead 2 (1987), Army of Darkness (1992), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Cabin in the Woods (2012), Evil Dead (2013), Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (2016), Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom (2017), Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness (2018)
Classification: Haunted Book
Why Does It Come To Life?: It's a long story. The idea of the Necronomicon was created by legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and adopted by various horror creators as Lovecraft's work drifted into the public domain. In the fictional history of the book, Lovecraft writes that the initial text was written in Arabic by a worshipper of the monsters Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu. The book contains spells, incantations, a history of the Old Ones, and a means to summon them. You can see why in Lovecraft's fictional history, the book was banned.
In the Evil Dead films, the book is so cursed with dark energy that it routinely comes to life, even developing eyes and a mouth full of fangs. Yes, there's a Kindle version.
Why Is It Scary?: The book has the power to summon mythical creatures with unimaginable power, determined to wipe out the world.9540Are you spooked?
The Video TapePhoto: The Ring/DreamWorks Pictures
Featured In: Ring (1998), Spiral (1998), Ring 2 (1999), Ring 0 (2000), The Ring (2002), The Ring 2 (2005), Rings (2017)
Classification: Cursed Videotape
Why Does It Come To Life?: A psychic girl named Samara (Sadako in the original Japanese version) uses her powers to create a cursed videotape that will slay anyone who watches it in seven days. The tape is not technically alive, but it is imbued with the aforementioned psychic powers.
Why Is It Scary?: What's more terrifying than the idea that any random VHS tape you watch could end your life?11560Are you spooked?