They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Well, sometimes that means waiting years and even generations before coming back to wreak some vengeance on the only family members left alive or specifically choosing to target future generations.
In horror movies, the sins of the father frequently come back to haunt their children or grandchildren years later when vengeful spirits make an appearance. Each spirit on this list has decided to punish future generations for their ancestors’ actions to ensure their revenge hurts all the more.
10. Buried Alive (2007)
Zane and his cousin Rene decide to have a weekend away at their family house in the desert for very different reasons. While Rene just wants to give her newest sorority pledges a challenging initiation, Zane is on the lookout for the family gold he’s heard so much about.
It turns out Zane’s great grandfather found the gold with the help of his first wife. When he could not kill her due to a Native American totem she wore, he buried her alive and remarried. The first wife’s spirit returned to kill Zane’s great grandfather and three of his children. However, Zane and Renee’s grandfather managed to escape. Now the last of the bloodline has returned to the family property, and the spirit takes her revenge by wiping them out.
9. Curse of Chucky (2013)
Chucky is not your typical vengeful spirit, as he managed to land himself a physical body in the form of a doll, but he’s dead and on the hunt for revenge none the less. Chucky manages to get himself shipped to the house of Nica and her mother, Sarah, who mysteriously dies soon after. The rest of the family then converge on the house to decide what to do with it now that Nica’s mother is dead.
However, it turns out Chucky’s arrival is not all that random, and he returned to get his revenge on Sarah and her family for the part she played in his death. Charles Lee Ray was a family friend, who then killed Sarah’s husband and kidnapped a pregnant Sarah after falling in love with her. Sarah then betrayed Charles to the police, which ultimately leads to the opening chase of Child’s Play (1988) and Charles’ death.
8. House on Haunted Hill (1999)
When the wealthy and eccentric theme park owner Steven Price’s wife demands that he throw her an over-the-top birthday party in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, Steven decides to mess with her and make up his own guest list. However, it seems like the ghosts who inhabit the hospital have a trick up their sleeve and further edit the guest list themselves.
While it looks like the party guests are a bunch of random people, it turns out they are all descendants of the only five hospital staff members who survived a fire years before. The hospital burned down when the patients staged an uprising against the sadistic staff who were performing terrible experiments, and so the spirits of the hotel found a way to bring the last surviving staff bloodlines back to kill them off for good.
7. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)
Horror movies prove time and time again that teenagers have terrible decision-making skills, and Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II shows why you should never trust a butt-hurt high schooler. When Mary Lou dumps her date, Billy, he decides to ruin her night and her entire prom by pranking her right as she’s crowned prom queen. Unfortunately, the stink bomb he tries to use on her ends up setting her dress on fire, killing her in front of everyone.
Thirty years later, Mary Lou’s spirit is released by Vicky, who just happens to be the girlfriend of Billy’s son, Craig. Not only does Craig have to deal with his girlfriend turning a tad murderous, but he also ends up almost being sucked into the Underworld as he fights to defeat Mary Lou.
6. Darkness Falls (2003)
Matilda Dixon is a local woman in the town of Darkness Falls, who all the children love as she plays the role of the town’s tooth fairy. When two local children go missing, the town wrongfully blames Matilda, exposing her heavily burned face to the light before they hang her.
Matilda places a curse on the town, saying she will visit every local child on the night they lose their last tooth. If anyone dares to look at Matilda’s ghost, she marks them for death, and they can only be saved by staying out of the dark.
Kyle makes the mistake of peeking at Matilda when she comes for his last tooth as a child, and 12 years later, he is still running from her. Matilda is unstoppable in her quest for vengeance against those who killed her and punishes the town for generations.
5. Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005)
In 1969, Mary was accidentally killed by her prom date when he and his fellow football players try to prank on Mary and her friends. Mary’s body is never discovered, and when the other two girls are found dumped and drugged in the woods, none of the attackers face prosecution.
35 years later, the current football team plays an almost identical prank on Sam and her friends. Sam accidentally releases Mary’s spirit during a game of Bloody Mary, and Mary takes the chance to get revenge on those who wrong both herself and Sam. It turns out the kids who pranked Sam are all related to the people who pranked Mary and her friends, and so Mary decides to target the younger generation for the ultimate revenge on those who were complicit in her death.
4. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
This entry on the list is a little more complicated because while there is a vengeful spirit involved, it’s being wielded by Lady Van Tassel to get revenge on those who wronged her as a child.
Lady Van Tassel came from a poor family, and they were thrown out of their house by their landlord, Van Garrett, in favor of Baltus and Katrina Van Tassel. As an adult, she marries Baltus and then uses the Headless Horseman’s spirit to murder all those trying to lay claim to the Van Garrett and Van Tassel fortunes, including any possible heirs to the fortune, to ensure she is the only person left to benefit from the wealth.
3. Dead Silence (2007)
Much like Darkness Falls, Mary Shaw was a local and well-liked ventriloquist who is blamed for the disappearance of a young boy and killed by his family in revenge. However, this time around, Mary did murder the young boy and turned him into a human doll, but that doesn’t stop her seeking vengeance on those who killed her.
In the present day, Jamie’s wife is murdered after a ventriloquist dummy is sent to their house. While investigating the murder, Jamie discovers it was his family who murdered Mary, and she is back to kill off everyone connected with his family to end the bloodline once and for all.
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddy Kruger is perhaps the ultimate example of undeservedly seeking revenge when really he deserved everything coming to him, and boy, does he go all out to get his vengeance. The parents of Springwood decide to take justice into their own hands when Freddy manages to dodge prosecution for killing some local children due to a technicality. As Freddy burns to death, he swears revenge on the parents and decides to go after the children of Springwood in their dreams, as it’s the one place their parents cannot protect them.
Freddy is one of the worst vengeful spirits out there, as not only does there seem to be no way to get rid of him, but he never runs out of teenagers to come back and murder, even if he does have to hang about in Hell for a few years at a time.
1. The Fog (1980)
The town of Antonio Bay is gearing up to celebrate its 100th birthday when a strange fog starts rolling into town, which is full of the ghosts of murderous lepers. It turns out the founders of the town murdered the lepers so they wouldn’t set up their colony nearby and then used the gold from the leper ship to help establish Antonio Bay.
Knowing the town is built on lies, the lepers return the claim six lives as replacements for the six town founders who hatched the murderous plan 100 years previously. Father Malone’s ancestor was one of the original town founders, and while it seems he has appeased the ghosts with a cross made of the stolen gold, they still return to take him as the sixth life and finish the curse for good.