We know how much I love supernatural horror with witches, ghosts/hauntings, vampires but I haven’t talked about movies where demons are at the forefront. Comfort films maybe but I love seeing how different cultures and filmmakers go after a topic like ghosts or in this case, demons and what the beliefs are. A lot of these films are my favorites and go-tos, even the honorable mentions are well recommended from me. We have recent and older, the majority are from the 80s which makes sense. It’s the decade of over-saturation. Every type and topic of horror exists during this time and a lot of the bigger franchises start in the 80s.
If you like these “favorites”, I will love to do more in the future and I have to remember what topics I’ve done so I won’t repeat. I was shocked to see that I never did this, despite writing it down as an idea.
Now let’s talk about some of my favorite horror movies featuring demons.
10. Demons (1985) – This is possibly the second Italian horror film I had seen (first being Argento’s Suspiria) and wow, how different is this movie. Giallo (or Italian horror) is so different from anything I’ve seen, even to this day, and this film has left an impression on me. First, seeing Geretta Geretta was like “wow” because I hadn’t seen anyone of color/black in Italian horror to take note but I was so excited about that. Also, the plot is very cool, I love the execution of what happens, how fast things take a big turn and the special effects are awesome.
9. Drag Me to Hell (2009) – The first of two Sam Raimi directed films on this list, I saw this film randomly on tv I think many, many, many years ago and it was so wacky and then I saw who directed it and it made ALL the sense. I like this film, it’s fun, I like seeing our main character basically get everything thrown at her and to see her still go to hell is a joy in a way. It’s satisfying when the ending takes a certain turn and doesn’t play safe.
8. Jennifer’s Body (2009) – I wish I still owned this on dvd but this film, I remember the trailers and marketing for this. I’m glad to see this film getting the recognition it clearly deserves now and it’s fun. I love both Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, love their chemistry and the character Jennifer is iconic now. She is a face of horror, especially for female characters who are more of the antihero train.
7. Paranormal Activity (2007) – I will always pick this one over the many sequels though I’ve heard good things about 2 of the sequels and I’ll check them out. I’ve only seen up to 3 and I still think the first is the better one. This film works because it can happen. It probably HAS happened to people; hauntings, ghosts, paranormal events except it is a bit more glossy and made a lot of money for an independent film. The character Katie is believable but so is Micah, that non believer who just makes things worse and worse and then ends up paying for it in the end sadly.
6. Sinister (2012) – Another late watch in my horror watching. I do remember this film coming out and I think I was busy in college so I was not being bothered by horror at that time but seeing it a few years ago, I missed out on this and how different it is, plot wise. It’s cool seeing Ethan Hawke (he’s in Moon Knight, I’m so excited about that) and seeing his character just spiral down into chaos over the film canisters and watching how different families died by their hands or “other” hands and the lawn mower scene… yikes. What I also like is that we don’t see our demon antagonist often and when we do, it’s very sparse. You can’t get a good look at him at times and that’s on purpose.
5. Hereditary (2018) – This film changed my life and changed just how I perceive horror films. Hereditary left a HUGE impact on me and I think about this film all the time. It’s still a big “what the fuck” film and response and it’s not surprising that some people don’t like this film. It is divisive but WHY it is, I think that’s a universal answer of why people (like me) really like this one. It’s tragic, it’s about family, betrayal, loss, so much loss and secrecy. Every actor is GREAT in this film. It is a film you can just watch once, believe me as a warning.
4. The Exorcist (1973) – Sometimes I wish I was around at the time when this film was released because it did THINGS to people. There are stories of people fainting, vomiting, running out, being so offended, and things like that don’t happen for horror films anymore, perhaps Hereditary was that one for recent times. I still stand by the theory that if Regan didn’t play with that ouija board (I don’t touch those at all), she wouldn’t have been possessed. The film is still effective to this day and if you haven’t seen it, go watch this. Preferably in the daytime.
3. Night of the Demons (1988) – It’s fun, so fun and besides The Lost Boys, this film is very, very much an epitome of the 80s. Angela’s dance is iconic, I love the look of the demons (when they are possessing) and it’s all around a good time. I think I’ve seen the sequels but it’s been a long, long time but I do remember seeing the vhs covers at Blockbuster and being so intrigued and freaked out by them. I think one was also holographic?
2. The Evil Dead (1980) – This is one of the first films I thought of when I came up with the overall list. The impact and lasting impressions on The Evil Dead hasn’t waned at all. I’ve seen some episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead but also there was that random episode in Creepshow that dealt with that world and it was so random but fun. You have the Deadites, Ash, the book of the dead, the woods being haunted and possessed and that infamous tree assaulting scene… but it’s the entire movie that works. Beginning to end, it’s a rollercoaster.
1. Hellraiser (1987) – Angels to some, demons to others; that is the perfect way to describe Hellraiser and what Hellraiser is. I haven’t read Hellbound Heart, I’d like to one day but Hellraiser brings us into a world of where pleasure and pain work together and despite having literal demons, the true antagonists are humans aka Aunt Julia and Uncle Frank Cotton. If you like gore, this is the one to look at.
They didn’t make the top 10 but if I did a top 20, these would be included! Here are some great honorable mentions: Clown (2014), Demons 2 (1986), Krampus (2015), Evil Dead (2013), The Babadook (2014), Antrum (2018), Constantine (2005).
These are all cool additions to the list and I’m sure there are others that I can’t remember but I tried to keep demon vs the devil separated because that is not what the list is! Granted, I can see a lot of comparisons and confusions on the two but maybe next time.
What movies would you include? Leave a comment below!