7 of the Scariest Cursed Objects in Horror

Even though they often result in death, cursed objects are always fun to see being played with on screen. Watching a character unwittingly unleash Hell and do battle with a seemingly all-powerful darkness is something that audiences never get tired with. Over the years there has been a fantastic range of cursed objects, from the iconic monkey paw to modern technology. Whereas slasher films and haunted house movies struggle to inject new ideas into their narratives, the cursed object gives filmmakers more opportunities for invention. With everything and anything capable of becoming cursed, here is a list of items to give a wide berth should you stumble across them at a local yard sale.

Ringu’s Videotape

Of all the cursed objects in horror, the videotape in the Ringu series is one of the most popular. Whilst America tries hard, it is Japan that has the best handle on stories revolving around curses. The curse in Ringu was so terrifying that it crossed oceans and helped launch Japanese horror in the Western hemisphere.

Directed by Hideo Nakata, Ringu’s plot joins reporter Reiko Asakawa as she investigates a story of a cursed videotape that kills the viewer seven days after watching it. Super effective and exceptionally scary, upon release Ringu had audiences so terrified of the humble VHS tape that it may have inadvertently had a hand in killing the format.

Annabelle Doll from The Conjuring and the Annabelle Series 

Despite being a children’s toy, dolls have a long history of tormenting people in horror films. Whether it is possessed Good Guy doll, Chucky, trying to steal children’s bodies, or the spooky crew of toys from Brian Yuzna’s Dolls punishing the populace, horror audiences know that dolls have a proclivity for evil. Armed with this information, viewers were immediately wary when they saw Annabelle appear in James Wan’s The Conjuring. 

Although only briefly featured, Annabelle captured the audience’s attention and it was through her that the Conjuring universe was spawned. To date there have been three standalone Annabelle films, and each of them follows the cursed fate of Annabelle’s latest caretaker. This cursed object has an extra potency as, like the Warrens themselves, the Annabelle doll is real, and is equally cursed.

The Embalmed Medium Hand from Talk to Me

Twin filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou announced a bold newcomer to the compendium of cursed objects with their fantastic feature debut, Talk to Me. The object in question is the embalmed hand of a medium, and when the right words are spoken, it transforms the hand holder into a vessel for the deceased. The hand comes with a specific set of rules and time limits, and Talk to Me chronicles what happens when Sophie Wilde’s Mia forgoes them.

Talk to Me wowed audiences upon release with its wicked exploration of grief and addiction. Most importantly, the hand itself was chilling and far more sinister than any monkey paw. With the hand seen circulating through a new group of revellers during Talk to Me’s conclusion, who knows where it will pop up next.

Evil Dead’s Necronomicon Ex-Mortis

Deciding against reading from a random book that you find, filled with gruesome imagery in an ancient language, seems like common sense. And yet, the Evil Dead series is built upon exactly this premise. In film after film, people happen across the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis book, rouse the deadites, and generally have an awful time.

The powers of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis are legendary. Its inability to be destroyed makes it a particularly nasty vessel of doom. Thanks to the success of Evil Dead Rise, it is likely to claim more hapless souls in the near future.

The House in Ju-On 

A house might not be the easiest of items to transport, but according to the dictionary it is classed as an object, so it would be remiss of us to not highlight the cursed properties of the house in Ju-On. Throughout the franchise almost everyone who enters the building dies horribly.

Even if the visit is brief, the death curse intrinsic to the house latches onto the visitor and torments them to death. Ju-On is further proof that Japan is the master of a creepy curse story with this film, like Ringu, traumatising a generation.

Wish Upon’s Wish Box 

The perils of wishing are made abundantly clear in John R. Leonetti’s Wish Upon. Leonetti is no stranger to directing a film with a cursed object, with him also being the director behind Annabelle.

Wish Upon stars Joey King as Clare, a teenage girl who is gifted a curious box. As strange events begin to occur, Clare realises that the box has the ability to grant wishes. However, this being a cursed object, it is not that straight forward. For every wish that Clare makes, someone close to her is killed. Wish Upon was not well received by critics, but it is a wonderfully kitsch throwback to the curse films of old, and features some of the most elaborate and exaggerated death sequences since the Final Destination movies.

Hellraiser’s Lament Configuration Puzzle Box

Cursed for some, pleasure for others, the Lament Configuration puzzle box has been tormenting users for centuries. Those brave (and stupid) enough to figure out the configuration are ‘rewarded’ with an eternity of ‘pleasurable’ pain and anguish at the hands of the Cenobites.

The Hellraiser box might just be the wickedest of all the cursed items. Like the other objects listed, the box has no bias with who it catches, but what makes it so fascinating is that some people actively seek out the box, desperate to see the sights it has to show. Hellraiser opens with Frank, one such pleasure seeker. However, after realising the reality of a life in Hell, Frank regrets his decision and manages to escape. His niece Kirsty then finds and opens the box, but manages to evade its curse by offering to help the Cenobites track down her fugitive uncle.


Kat Hughes

Kat Hughes

Writer and expert

Kat Hughes is a UK-based freelance film journalist and podcaster who specializes in horror and cult movies. Her writing can be found at a variety of outlets including THN, Ghouls Magazine, and Film Stories.