“Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 26: 1-17 sets a lot of standards for parishioners when it comes to worshiping any sacred image other than that of the Christian God. While it may be a little taboo, I’m sure we can all agree that there are some objects and images of this earth we choose to praise out of the sanctity of love and entertainment. The false idols that we bow before and display proudly simply serve as representations of our interests, adoration, and objective personal claims, especially when it comes to the film industry. Visual and physically tangible objects are what create the iconic aura of most films.
The following list of 10 Horror Objects We Covet have stood out from the world of film and have brought, sometimes literally, people to their knees. They are the recognizable icons of the films that shape the genre, whether we deem them as classic tales or modern stories. They may not be gods to us, or they may if you’re into that sort of thing, but these artifacts are the very pieces that build our frightening, bloody, macabre religion. These objects that we, as fans, worship are a means to imagery and meaning, some for violence and some for heroism. All are pretty graven images, though…
10. Ghostface’s Costume in the Scream Franchise
Crafting a monster is hard business. Creating a timeless monster for a human to where is another complex attempt all on its own. A simple face mask, two colors, black and white, and a generic shroud are what the teenagers of Wes Craven’s classic meta-slasher flick, Scream, fear the most. Ghostface’s costume may look like it was purchased off of a dime-store rack, but the second that the nameless killer puts on the outfit and brandishes a knife in hand the film’s villain, or villains, immediately become a nightmare in reality. Putting a typically masculine figure in a black polyblend dress and hood is a risky move, even for the 90’s, but it does work and most importantly, it drives home Scream’s major horror movie thesis: The villain can be anyone.
9. The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in The Evil Dead Universe
Many organized religions follow a sacred written word. Horror fans have the Necronomicon. Sam Raimi’s (Army of Darkness) cult classic, The Evil Dead, expands on the evil Sumerian Book of the Dead by placing it within the isolated cabin visited by a curious group of friends at the start of the 80’s. Also referred to as “Naturom Demonto”, the book bound in human flesh contains incantations, prophecies, spells, demonic summons, and other works of undead sorcery. While the genre’s unofficial bible is extremely troublesome when it comes to wreaking havoc on multiple dimensions, the Necronomicon is an acclaimed text worthy of any reader’s choice award. A bit of sacrificial blood will get you access to the unabridged version.
8. The Twana of The Blair Witch Project Franchise
Also know as “stick charms”, these ritualistic, black magic dolls are prominent symbols of the evil witch’s presence in Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s (Blair Witch) realistic found footage horror, The Blair Witch Project. With earthy twigs that embody the nature of the woods and the primal form of a faceless entity, the ‘twanas’ litter Maryland’s Black Hills woods. Each is a lovingly handcrafted, distorted version of the human body as portrayed in da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man complete with five major axis points. Are they gifts from The Blair Witch? Are they warnings? Marks of death? Our money is always on marks of death and that makes the little obscure bundles that much more creepy.
7. The Red Balloon in IT (1990 and 2017)
There’s no need to pit Tommy Lee Wallace’s made-for-tv movie against Andy Muschietti’s recent smash hit when it comes to adapting Stephen King’s terrifying coming-of-age novel, IT, as the monstrous clown’s eerie lure remains the same. There’s no telling how many children were eaten by Pennywise, Derry’s star traction, but we do know a single shiny red balloon is one of his favorite tricks to pull out when making children disappear. It takes a master to elicit pure fear from inflated rubber, but the allure of childhood innocence and blood-red evil rises to King’s primal, established standards of horror. If the red balloon appeals to you, then you’re bound to float too.
6. Leatherface’s Chainsaw in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Franchise
One blade is scary. A few blades are menacing. Twenty-four inches of gas-fueled revolving blades is a massacre. Tobe Hooper’s indie grime horror The Texas Chainsaw Massacre sets the standard for realistic terror and is defined by the cannibalistic, second skin-wearing villain’s prolific Poulan 306a. Leatherface, a name he wears well, proves that bigger is better and deadlier. His carnage capacity engine can stop any horror fan dead in their tracks whether they spot the metal monster in a hardware store or hear the crank of a chainsaw on a nearby worksite. This relic immediately ignites fear and makes for one hell of a dance partner.
5. The Lament Configuration in the Hellraiser Franchise
In the horror genre, there are countless ways to open the gates of Hell. Clive Barker’s Hellraiser offers more sophisticated portal access with the mysterious gold and black lacquered puzzle box, The Lament Configuration. The cube itself is a tangible curiosity that invites exploration and intrigue at the touch, but its force serves the purposes of eternal damnation and torture, among other things. Its solar, floral, and geometric designs form when appropriate pressure is applied by the user’s hands, creating a gateway for figures of evil incarnate to enter our world and trap the souls of the living inside. Any Barker fan is well-versed in The Lament’s sequences and sinister consequences as it’s not to be confused with any old Rubix cube. The Box results in more than rows of bright colors, sending tinkerers hellbound without any redeemable reward. Cenobites are be included.
4. Michael Myers’ Butcher Knife in the Halloween Franchise
Michael Myers is the face for a lot of thematic elements in the horror genre. His whiteout William Shatner mask and gray worker coveralls hiding every bit of his identity in the most simplistic of character designs are unmatched. However, the most meaningful factor that gives Michael his very reason for being is the large metal butcher knife he uses to end his victims’ lives. When we see the disturbing, pointed slate at the end of a handle wound tightly in his strong hand the inevitable is good, old fashion murder. John Carpenter’s (The Thing) iconic masterpiece, Halloween, lends itself to a good bit of the horror genre’s production, but there is no object that gives us a greater representation of a true slasher.
3. Sam’s Lollipop in Trick r’ Treat (2007)
When the month of October rolls around and the Halloween season is upon us, two things always come to mind: pumpkins and candy. Michael Dougherty (Krampus) adds a modern spin to the ancient holiday of October 31st with his fun, dark anthology, Trick r’ Treat. All of the segments are connected by the impending terror and omniscient spirit of Sam. The little guy rounds out the series of stories, pumpkin lollipop in hand, and reinforces the appreciation for the one night of the year dedicated to evil tradition and celebration. Sam’s bitten lollipop incorporates both a signature jack o’ lantern face and the sugary sweetness of candy, but has a more sinister purpose. The lollipop doubles as a sharp weapon made for stabbing, being both a trick and a treat. How brilliant is that?
2. Freddy Krueger’s Glove in A Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise
Thanks to Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, when horror fans think of sleep, their mind immediately drifts to the image of a man in an old hat, a red and green striped sweater, burned flesh, and, most importantly, a leather work glove brandishing each of the four fingers with a sharp razor. Before the parents of Elm Street could take revenge on the town’s local child murderer, Fred Krueger created his terrifying, dangerous, pointed weapon that he would use to slice up their children in their dreams for eternity. The character of Krueger is extremely distinguishable, but no other villain in the genre has a more unique and praiseworthy accessory.
1. Jason Voorhees’ Hockey Mask in the Friday the 13th Franchise
Sean S. Cunningham (Deepstar Six) marks calendars with a special day of taboo celebration and an iconic piece of adornment to go along with it. His legendary camp film, Friday the 13th, began an era of extreme violence, sex, and gory practical effects, but is better known for its silent killer Jason Voorhees. He’s the larger than life goalie who is “pissed about something” as he stalks campers hiding his face behind his hockey mask. Though he’s never taken the ice (and the goalie gear was not his disguise of choice until Friday the 13th: Part III), Jason’s handiwork on and around the lake of his childhood campgrounds cement his mysterious mask choice as an ironically brilliant representation of summertime evil.
If you happen to be a member of any structured, organized faith, you may be forbidden to kneel before any being, god, object, or image that is alternative to your belief system. Like with most religious systems and celebrations, there is always a loophole. I think it’s safe to say we are able to worship the hallowed horror objects, characters, and creations of our choosing under the scope of a practicing film fan. Despite the commandments, rules, or standards set forth by reverent institutions, these iconic props, all terrifying genre artifacts, bring a lot more to the table than restricted idolatry and sinful devotion.
Some even open the gates directly to Hell for you.