As you would guess, there are a lot of horror movie fans at The Horror Dome. Though the battle rages as to what is the scariest film ever, there’s one flick that consistently ranks near the top; William Friedkin’s 1973 classic, The Exorcist. These days, Friedkin is re-examining the subject of demonic possession with a documentary, The Devil And Father Amorth. In this film, Friedkin witnesses an exorcism performed by the late Rev. Gabriele Amorth. Once the chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, Amorth claimed to have performed tens of thousands of exorcisms. Though skeptics claim demonic possession is nothing but folklore, there are many tales of real-life exorcisms. Here are a few of the best:
Growing up devoutly Catholic in Bavaria, Anneliese Michel was a normal kid, until at the age of 16, she started blacking out and walking around in a trance-like state. Despite treatment for temporal lobe epilepsy, her symptoms worsened and she began hearing the voices of demons. Local priests performed over 67 exorcisms on Anneliese, and discovered she was possessed by the spirits of Lucifer, Cain, Judas Iscariot, Adolf Hitler, and Nero. Despite the priests’ best efforts, Anneliese slowly stopped eating, and eventually died from malnutrition.
Elisabeth de Ranfaing
A widow, unsuccessfully courted by a physician later convicted of practicing magic (it was the 17th century, after all), Elisabeth de Ranfaing began exhibiting the symptoms of demonic possession and underwent multiple exorcisms in 1619. During these sessions she spoke fluently in languages she did not know (French, Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Italian), and seemed privy to secrets kept by those around her. When a priest made a mistake in his recital of an exorcism rite in Latin, she is said to have corrected him, and then mercilessly mocked him.
When Robbie’s aunt, and only real friend, suddenly passed away in 1949, he began using a Ouija board as an attempt to contact her in the afterlife. Though he never contacted his aunt, he apparently stoked the curiosity of numerous demons, who subsequently possessed the lonely young boy. From speaking in tongues, to becoming agitated and uneasy around religious symbols, and exhibiting superhuman strength, Robbie Mannheim showed all the classic signs of possession. At one point during an especially violent session, he yanked a metal spring out of his hospital bed and slashed the arm of his exorcist. After forced conversion to Catholicism, Robbe is said to have recovered, and went on to live a normal life.
In 1974, after a possible affair with the leader of his church group, Michael Taylor began acting erratically and felt a deep evil within him. It was decided he needed an exorcism. During an all-night ceremony conducted by an Anglican priest and a Methodist clergyman, it was determined that 40 demons (including those of incest, bestiality, blasphemy, and lewdness) had been cast out, yet 3 demons (insanity, murder, and violence) still remained. Michael returned home and murdered his wife with his bare hands. It’s a gruesome tale that goes to show the value of finishing what you started.
While no one wants to actually be possessed by a supernatural force, it can be fun to pretend, especially on Halloween. Browse a shockingly realistic selection of demonic masks from The Horror Dome, and find the perfect look to terrorize your neighborhood. These designs are so lifelike, you may find yourself tied down to a bed and being sprinkled with holy water.
Additional resources on demonic possession:
- NPR, 'Exorcist' Director Makes A New Movie About Exorcism (It's A Documentary),
- All That’s Interesting, Anneliese Michel And The Shocking Images From The Exorcism Of The Real Emily Rose
- CASE OF ANNELIESE MICHEL
- Wikipedia, Traité sur les apparitions des esprits et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie, &c.
- Mysterious Universe, The Mysterious Exorcism of Robbe Mannheim
- Ghost Diaries, The Real Life Story Behind The Exorcist Is More Horrifying Than Movie
- Mysterious Universe, Demons and Death: The Strange Case of Michael Taylor
Why do we love evil children in movies? Is it the innocence turned on its head? Is it our deep-seated fears surrounding Nature vs. Nurture?
When it comes to Halloween costumes, perhaps one of the creepiest looks is that of the killer kid. See the movie selections below for some inspiration for your next “bad seed” costume. Whether it’s a cracked porcelain doll, a scary clown, a deranged Easter bunny, or a parasitic twin you’re looking for, we’ve got professional-caliber Halloween masks and costumes that will linger in onlookers’ memories for years to come.
Five of the Best Horror Movies About Evil Children & Why We Love Them
The Bad Seed (1956)
The first of its ilk, The Bad Seed gives us Rhoda, a blond-braided, blue-eyed, pressed-dress portrait of Aryan perfection. Behind the sweetest smile, there is a dark evil driving her to beat and drown a classmate who beats her at penmanship. The film follows the mother Christine’s sickening realization that her girl is tied to the family dog’s “accidental fall” from the apartment window, the elderly neighbor’s fatal tumble down the stairs, and the maintenance man’s fiery death.
The allure of this film is the idea that some people are simply born rotten. While investigating true crime stories, Christine unearths the fact that she was, in fact, adopted and finds that her own mother was a notorious serial killer who died in the electric chair. She is racked with guilt believing she passed on “the bad seed” gene to her child. The father’s lengthy absence plays into 1950s fears of disturbing the ideal family life.
The Omen (1976)
The Omen goes one step further than The Bad Seed by not only suggesting that a child can be born with murderous intent, but that the child is actually the Hellspawn of Satan. Arriving into the Thorn family under dubious circumstances, baby Damien despises church, frightens zoo animals, and has a “666” birthmark. After their nanny publicly hangs herself at Damien’s fifth birthday party, a Catholic priest tries to warn the family about Damien’s mysterious origins before a lightning rod strikes him dead during a storm. The film ends in a dark place with the pregnant mother thrown from a window and the father shot by police before he can dispatch with the evil child.
We love The Omen because it preys on the human fear of the world’s end. Damien’s destiny unfolds in a way that scatters all the powerless pawns in his life with ease to allow his ascension. It’s no surprise he was placed into the family of a soon-to-be-promoted diplomat who took audience with the president.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
In Rosemary’s Baby, a woman gets mixed up with the wrong crowd of friendly neighborhood Satanists. Unbeknownst to her, they drug her drink, get her knocked up by a demonic presence, and feed her “pregnancy health drinks” that makes her gaunt and crave raw meat. She suspects her neighbors, doctor, and husband are in on a cult that wants to take her baby away from her for ritual sacrifice – but comes to learn her child is the son of the Devil.
Rosemary’s Baby preys upon our conspiracy fears that no one can be trusted. These days, pregnant women are bombarded with mixed messages about vaccines, reports of “toxic” baby products, and so many news stories fueling stranger danger that it’s no wonder the film still resonates with us. More importantly, it explores the question: What choice does a mother have upon learning her child is pure evil? Can she really kill her own child? Can she give up her rights as a parent to allow the child to be raised by a cult of Satanists? Rosemary’s decision is a hard one that mirrors Dr. Frankenstein’s dilemma. In the end, she chooses to love her child and care for him, despite what he is. In the future, if genetic testing allows us to know for certain whether a child will grow up to be a monster, would any of us make the same call?
The Exorcist (1973)
Twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil wasn’t born evil, but rather, became possessed by evil spirits after a run-in with the Ouija Board. Her parents begin noticing a slew of strange behaviors – an imaginary friend, stealing, using obscene language, displaying abnormal strength, and urinating on the floor. She undergoes a barrage of diagnostic tests, but everything comes back normal. The full nature of her possession is revealed during an exorcism, culminating with a chilling backwards crab walk, unholy acts with a crucifix, and split pea soup vomiting that will continue to haunt audiences for the rest of their lives.
At the time the movie came out, Pope John Paul VI expressed fears that “Evil is not merely a lack of something, but an effective agent, a living spiritual being, perverted and perverting.” The movie was written by a devout Catholic who ran with a real-life documented story of alleged demon possession. You can also view The Exorcist as a film about the corruptibility of teenagers going through puberty. Parents can’t help but feel their innocent child has been hijacked by a malevolent spirit as their spawn begin to hang out with troublemakers, behave more secretively, and start to experiment with vulgarity and sex for the first time. These particular parents assume some liability for what happens to their daughter, as they fail to keep a close eye on her activities and dabbling in the occult.
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
The story starts out with teenage Kevin jailed after committing mass murder at his high school. His mother, Eva, goes back through her memories of him growing up while trying to cope with judgment from the neighbors. From the start, Eva had trouble bonding with her incessantly crying newborn. Early on, he was a demanding toddler who resisted toilet training and showed no affection or interest in anything. Later, he grows to become a blackmailing pre-teen who plays his parents off one another. She buries her suspicions even after he begins to exhibit sadistic tendencies in a freak incident involving the family pet guinea pig and his younger sister.
Actress Tilda Swinton, who played Eva, summarized our fascination with the film best: “It’s everybody’s nightmare that, when they’re pregnant, they’re going to give birth to the devil. That when they bring up children, especially a boy, they’re going to give birth to this violence.” The child, in a way, becomes the personification of the mother’s own misanthropy. We Need To Talk About Kevin centers on the very real fears that parents have: What if our child doesn’t turn out as planned? Mothers, in particular, suffer guilt when they yearn for alone time or when they angrily snap at their kids. They may harbor internal doubts or even regrets, especially if their experience doesn’t jive with the picture-perfect family portraits posted on Facebook.
In the end, bad seed films give us the same type of catharsis that horrific news stories provide: “I’m glad it didn’t happen to me.”
Are You A Bad Seed?
If you’d like to dress up as an evil child for Halloween, there’s no better place to start than at the Horror Dome’s extensive collection of costume ideas. We can make your nightmares come true!
Read more about demonic kids in the movies!
- Uproxx – Evil Kids in Movies
- AZ Central – Horror Movies with Evil Children
- Thought Co – Best Killer Kid Movies
- The Line Up – 11 Evil Children Movies
- Slate – Bad Seeds Films: History of the Genre
Ahh, summer camp. There’s no better way to make kids appreciate the creature comforts of home than by forcing them to spend a few weeks living in the wilderness. Summer camp has been a tradition for some families for decades, and over the years, little has changed. You can still count on numerous bug bites and unexplained rashes, frigid lake water, pointless arts and crafts time, a cruel social pecking order, and terrifying tales being told around a smoldering campfire.
But it’s not all bad, right? Some of it makes you a stronger person. In fact, many in the haunt industry can trace their love of horror back to the scary stories they heard around the campfire. Here are few classics:
The Bleeding Tree
Hundreds of years ago in these very woods, a young settler met a native girl and instantly fell in love. Knowing that their interracial romance was forbidden, they kept their love a secret. One day, a nosey neighbor followed the young lad into the woods, and observed the couple embracing. Their secret out, they were soon captured by the authorities.
As punishment, they were tied to this mighty oak that sits by our campsite, brutally stabbed, and left for dead. Days later, when relatives came to retrieve their bodies, there was nothing to be found. No one knows what happened to their remains, but they say on some nights, the lovers’ tree still bleeds and howls in agony.
A couple driving home late at night spots a hitchhiker on the side of the road. As they approach they see it is a young girl, and pull over to help. She calmly tells them where she’s headed and they offer her a ride. She sits in the backseat, staring straight ahead, completely motionless. The couple attempts to engage her in conversation, but she remains speechless. Soon, they pull up to a house at the address she had given them. They turn to look in the back seat, and she has completely vanished.
Startled they approach the home and knock on the door. They are greeted by a sorrowful looking old woman. They ask if she’s seen the little girl. She replies, “No, but my daughter was killed in a car accident on this road, 30 years ago to this day.”
Two young lovers, Nate and Karen, are getting hot and heavy up at makeout point, when an urgent newsflash comes over the radio. A psycho killer has escaped from a nearby asylum. With a hook for a hand, and standing over six and a half feet tall, this murderer is a force to be reckoned with. Nate assures Karen that it’s nothing to worry about, locks the doors, and tries to pick up with they left off.
Karen isn’t having any of it, though. She gives him a firm “no,” and tells him to take her home right now. Nate is pissed, but complies with her demands. He quickly turns the key, slams on the gas, and peels out of the parking lot. Soon, they arrive at Karen’s house. As she opens her door, she notices an object hanging off the door handle; a metal hook, covered in blood.
Spread Terror to a New Generation
Are you a camp counselor, scout leader, or chaperon on a camping trip? Passing these bone-chilling tales to a younger generation is your duty as an adult. Team up with an accomplice wearing a shockingly-realistic Halloween mask from The Horror Dome, and have them jump out from the woods right as your ghastly tale comes to a climax. It will be a major fright your campers will never forget!
Last year, Raw, Get Out, and Split surprised horror film buffs with ingenuity and expert execution that dazzled and terrified. Yet, 2018 proves there are many more ways to scare up an audience and crawl into our minds to make a lasting impact. Here at The Horror Dome, we’re in the business of scare. It’s our job to keep up with the latest chilling creatures, recognizable Halloween costumes, and mind-bending horrors.
Here are five of the finest scary movies of 2018 that are well worth your time.
Hereditary is the blockbuster at the Box Office, reeling in $59.7 million since its $13.5 million June 8 opening weekend. Much of its success comes from word-of-mouth enthusiasm, as director Ari Aster was previously unknown to the world prior to the thick buzz surrounding this year’s Sundance and SXSW Film Fests. Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine) delivers a flawless, Oscar-worthy performance as a gallery artist who makes miniature rooms, coming to grips with the death of the estranged matriarch. The supporting cast – played by Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, and Milly Shapiro – are equally compelling in this haunting exhumation of family secrets. Devoid of the typical “jump” scares you’d expect from the genre, Heredity simmers slowly, building to an enormous impending sense of dread that stays with you. Tremendous technical filmmaking and artistic direction engage the mind throughout, while the group’s supernatural inheritance disturbs long after the 127-minute experience is over. Joe Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal calls Hereditary a “haunted-houses movie for the ages.”
A Quiet Place
This $329.9 million-grossing SXSW horror-bomb dropped in April, featuring Jon Krasinski alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt as a couple trying to keep their children safe in a post-apocalyptic dystopia run by super-evolved extra-terrestrials who hunt based on sound. Krasinski also directed the film, and admitted that “there were scenes so intense the entire crew had a nervous breakdown.” The suspense is much like the raptors-in-the-kitchen terror of Jurassic Park, with a tension that doesn’t abate. Bryan Woods and Scott Beck’s script follows the Alfred Hitchcock ethos: “When you have an audience screaming their head off, grab them by the neck and don't let go.” Best of all, A Quiet Place goes beyond cheap scare tactics and provides us with a meaty core of parental paranoia and believable squabbles. Peter Rainer of the Christian Science Monitor called it “one of the most inventive and beautifully crafted and acted horror movies” he’s seen in a long time, with the family crisis at its core the main reason for the allure. Josephine Livingstone from The New Republic concurs, stating that it’s “a movie about the sound of fear” that “gives us a great deal more to listen to.”
If you’re new to the chilling, suspenseful weirdness of Directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, watch Resolution and Spring before delving into this next-level mindbender. Moorhead and Benson also star in the film as brothers who are lured back to a dusty desert death cult they escaped ten years prior. The execution falls somewhere amid David Lynch, Stuart Gordon, and Don Coscarelli. Though it was made on a shoestring budget, the otherworldly mystery “is a pungent one,” writes Chris Vogner for Dallas Morning News, “and the images and ideas stay with you after the lights go up.” More cerebral than bloodbath, The Endless is “a story about what it means to be comforted, and ultimately confined by, the routines that make up your life,” explains Polygon film critic Ben Kuchera.
The Ritual stands out not only for the way it digs deep into emotions of shame and regret, or for its amazingly scary monstrous stalker, but in the fact that its debut was not at the box office, but as a Netflix Original. While there’s nothing new here in terms of what spooks you, the combination of writing, acting, and cinematography blend together in just the right fashion to make an indelible mark on your psyche. David Bruckner’s first feature film follows four friends traveling into foreboding Scandinavian woods to mourn the death of a friend. The premise is simple, but The Ritual excels in its breathless pace, well-designed “Beast,” and insightful resolution. By the end, you’ll be wondering whether it’s the monsters or our own choices we should fear.
You could argue Annihilation is more sci-fi than horror, but if you’ve seen Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, it’s easy to see the crossover between genres. Based on the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, this ambitious home-run begins with a group of scientists (played by a largely female, all-star cast Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac) sent to explore a shimmering electromagnetic field where government scientists have disappeared. It’s an artful slow-burn that explores self-annihilation through grief, fear of the unknown, depression, perversions, and the darkest corners of human nature. Visceral and emotionally haunting, Annihilation is in a class of its own for the quiet moments of exploration that go beyond the astounding visuals – which it also delivers by the barrel!
Whether you look to the latest horror movies to inspire your costumes, or just want something original and fresh that no one else will have, browse our Halloween costume collection to find the perfect selection.
- Collider – The Best Horror Movies of 2018 So Far,
- iTunes – Corpse Club Episode 54,
- Slash Film – 2018 Horror Movies So Far,
- Rotten Tomatoes – Best Horror Movies 2018,
- Thrillist – Best Horror Movies 2018,
- Film School Rejects – Best Horror Movies in the First Half of 2018,
- Vulture – The Best Horror Movies of 2018 So Far,
A Classic Story Lives On
As all movie fans know, Hollywood loves rebooting and retooling popular movie franchises. Remakes, sequels and prequels play to dedicated fans who are more than willing to fork over hard earned cash to see their favorite characters in action once again. A 1978 classic directed by the now legendary John Carpenter, Halloween, has seen seven sequels and two remakes over the years. The prototypical slasher flick, Halloween introduced moviegoers to Michael Myers, a heartless killer who embodies the very essence of evil. Though no new Halloween movies have come out since 2009, Mike has continued to be a popular costume choice for everyone from adult trick or treaters, to professional actors at commercial haunted houses.
40 Years Ago Today....
Directed by David Gordon Green, the upcoming 2018 sequel centers on the town of Haddonfield, Il, as they are about to celebrate Halloween, 40 years after Myers’ original rampage. True to the times (we can’t seem to get enough of Serial, or Making a Murderer), a British documentary crew has arrived to shoot a “true crime” style film on this legendary psycho killer. In the midst of it all, Michael Myers escapes captivity and slips into town, bent on murdering again. However, this time Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), is prepared to fight back.
Getting the Crew Back Together
Though many of the sequels and remakes to date have been highly entertaining (shout out to Rob Zombie), it wouldn’t really be Halloween if it didn’t include Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter. Carpenter lends his talents as a composer of starkly minimalist, haunting synth-driven soundscapes (and also gets an executive producer nod), while Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode. Original Michael Myers actor Nick Castle also returns, splitting time with stuntman James Jude Courtney.
Whereas in earlier Halloween movies, she was basically “running for her life,” 2018’s Laurie Strode is well prepared for Myers’ inevitably escape and return. Getting to play a proactive hero is part of what attracted Curtis to this role. Explaining her character, Curtis said, “In this case, she is well-matched, she is prepared, she is focused. She will be the one people are standing behind when that moment comes, because she’s the one ready.”
Curtis had reservations about revisiting the franchise, stating that 1998’s Halloween H20, “started out with best intentions, but it ended up being a money gig.” Curtis’ “unofficial godson” Jake Gyllenhaal (who had just worked Green on Stronger), convinced her to give Green a call, and the two immediately hit it off.
Planning Your Own Halloween
Arriving in theaters on October 31st, 2018, Halloween is sure to be popular with long time fans and a younger generation of thrill seekers. Whether you’re going on opening day, or spending the evening trick or treating, hosting friends, or partying at the club, you’ll need a freaky look that will strike fear into the heart of all those who cross your path. Check out a bone chilling selection of signature Halloween costumes from The Horror Dome, and start planning an unforgettable night with your friends and family. Of course, keep an eye peeled for that escaped murder.
- Wikipedia, Halloween (2018 film)
- USA Today, See first photos, trailer of Jamie Lee Curtis vs. Michael Myers in new 'Halloween'
- Cinema Blend, Jamie Lee Curtis Knows Halloween Will Always Be What She's Remembered For
- Indie Wire, ‘Halloween’: Jake Gyllenhaal Helped Convince Jamie Lee Curtis to Bring Laurie Strode Back
- Jamie Lee Curtis image:
Image By Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)],
via Wikipedia https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Lee_Curtis#/media/File:Jamie_Lee_Curtis_(29870346176).jpg
- Michael Myers image:
By Daniel [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/)],
via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ironhide/30412067210/in/photostream/