Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
With The Pope’s Exorcist and Evil Dead Rise both hitting the big screen recently, it seems like a good a time as any to take a look at what’s considered by many to be the scariest of subgenres in horror, supernatural horror (not to be confused with paranormal horror), specifically the demonic uglies from down below that possess some poor unsuspecting victim and in the process leaves them with a clean-up job afterwards that even the loyal staff of Downton Abbey would probably say nay to dealing with.
Even the staunchest of horror fans sometimes avoid watching these and it’s understandable as unlike vampires, werewolves, or some crazy guy with a butcher knife and fetish for babysitters, demons are the one kind of entity that seem unstoppable, and the idea of a loved one or even oneself being taken over can leave one feeling helpless. The Exorcist is considered by many to be the best supernatural/demonic movie ever made but personally I never found Pazuzu frightening. I mean, the dude is called Pazuzu which sounds like the sound you make when you sneeze while drinking a soda!
Still, the world of horror has given fans legion (pun intended) of hell spawn that left us afraid to go to bed without saying a prayer first. So, with a big old SPOILER ALERT, an old priest and a young priest, let’s take a look at the Top 5 Scariest Demons in Horror Movies:
#5 Valak – The Conjuring 2 and The Nun
First appearing to scare the bejesus out of viewers in The Conjuring Pt. 2, Valak left such a huge impression on audiences that this demon that likes to take the appearance of a nun got a spin-off of its very own titled, well, The Nun!
Putting aside the quality of that movie for a minute, it’s the first appearance and this demon’s ability to control poor spirits, forcing them to do his bidding while trying to kill off the only reason people keep coming back to this franchise (that would be to see The Warrens played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in action), Valak racked up quite the body count, including innocent nuns and poor Frenchie before getting banished back to hell by Lorraine Warren.
It’s a shame they screwed up with The Nun as this was one evil entity that fans probably would’ve enjoyed seeing again, instead of boring old Annabelle, a doll that, unlike Chucky, doesn’t even do us the courtesy of cracking an evil grin now and again.
#4 Azazel – Fallen
I don’t know how many people have actually seen this film, let alone realise that A-list actor Denzel Washington starred in a demonic horror movie.
Personally, I think Fallen is an underrated gem in the genre, especially when you consider how chilling the ending is/was. I won’t spoil anything for those who are lucky enough to see this for the first time but considering this list, you’ll probably figure out some things for yourself. What I will say is, unlike most of the hellish contenders here, Azazel is never actually seen, which makes his ability to possess anyone at any time truly frightening, leaving you to wonder if the people who you pass on the street every day are who they appear to be. Chills I tell you, chills!
#3 The Monstrosity/The Smile Demon – Smile
Did you know in Russia it’s considered deceptive to smile for no reason? Let’s just say The Smile Demon AKA The Monstrosity in last year’s breakout hit horror, Smile, would’ve had a hard time if it popped up on that side of the world.
A smile can be as creepy as all hell, and this movie’s demon does just that to its victims while driving them to suicide no less. If you’re unlucky enough to witness said death like this movie’s protagonist was, then the “curse” passes to you and round and round it goes. It may not be the most effective way of taking out victims, but it most definitely leaves an impact on viewing audiences, especially weirdos like myself who couldn’t help wondering, what would happen if The Smile Demon went up against The Joker? C’mon, tell me that’s not a movie you would pay to see!
#2 King Paimon – Hereditary
There are demons that possess others and there are those that get others to do their dirty work for them. King Paimon is the latter, and while we never see what he looks like outside of a drawing here and an effigy there, this demon actually outranks all the others on this list as he is also considered to be one of the kings of the underworld.
With his goal of inhabiting a male body so he can rule on earth (or something like that) Paimon promises wealth and power to his followers while psychologically, spiritually, and eventually physically destroying an entire family to get what he wants. There’s nothing scarier than a horror movie that ends on a hopeless note and that’s exactly what happens when Paimon gets what he wants, leaving viewers with the knowledge that the true horror has only just begun.
Honourable Mention: The Man With Fire in His Face – Insidious
Once you’ve seen Insidious more than once this guy loses his scare factor, which is why The Man with Fire in his Face only makes an honourable mention. But I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t end up in my throat the first time this red-faced bastard popped up on screen in one of the best jump scares the genre has ever given us.
#1 The Marauder – Evil Dead Rise
I don’t remember any of the Deadites having names in the previous Evil Dead films (I had to look it up, and it turns out 2013’s Evil Dead’s antagonist was called Taker of Souls) but director Lee Cronin of this year’s Evil Dead Rise christened his movie’s nightmare The Marauder. And with an appearance that took me all the way back to John Carpenter’s The Thing, this demon might just be the most memorable one onscreen to date.
Considering how fresh out the proverbial oven Evil Dead Rise is, I won’t spoil it for you, other than to say The Marauder is unlike anything this franchise has given us before. And seeing it come to grotesque life definitely checked all my horror boxes. A demon like no other, this one takes the words “family unit” to a whole other level and will leave even hardcore fans wondering what if anything could possibly top that!
So, that’s my list. Any terrifying horror movie demons you would add to the list? And you can check out more supernatural horror content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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