Top 10 Unbelievably Scary Demons from Movies



Top 10 Unbelievably Scary Demons from Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Shane Fraser

Demons from movies that terrorized and scared their way through these horror films with terrifying effect. WatchMojo counts down the list of the scariest movie demons we could think of in time for halloween. But which movie demons will scare their way to the top? Will it be the Deadites of "The Evil Dead", Pazuzu of "The Excorcist", or perhaps the Lipstick-Face Demon of "Insidious"? Watch to find out!

They shock, startle, scare, and unsettle. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Demons.

For this list, we’re looking at demons that have transcended their films to impact culture as a whole. While “demon” has a loose definition, we’re including entities that originate from a world of ill repute - whether that is hell, purgatory, or some other frightening netherworld that defies explanation. With that in mind, beings that would be described solely as boogeymen, ghosts, or run of the mill monsters are excluded – though those who straddle the line between beings may still count. Also, representations of Satan are not eligible. A spoiler alert is probably in order.

#10: Annabelle’s Demon
“The Conjuring” franchise (2013-)

Dolls are just inherently unsettling. Combine that with demonic possession and you have one scary franchise. “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” expanded on the haunted doll mythos by drawing from the supposed true story of Annabelle, a doll that the famous ghost-hunting duo, the Warrens, came across. The previous owners brought the doll to them after they observed it moving on its own. Because of its malicious tendencies, the Warrens concluded that this was the work of a demon and not a little girl’s spirit as originally presumed. And so the story was immortalized in film, making Annabelle a doll-household name.

#9: Krampus
“Krampus” (2015)

The Krampus is Santa’s antithesis. Instead of supplying presents and goodwill to children at Christmas, the Krampus tortures them and kidnaps their loved ones. This terrifying concept— most likely deriving from Germanic Pagan folklore—sets the basis for the 2015 film “Krampus,” though the big screen story has a slightly comedic tone. Although some may refer to the creature as a boogeyman, The Krampus is also described as a large horned half-goat, half-demon figure that drags those without Christmas spirit to its netherworld. Most adult viewers were too jaded to be afraid of Krampus, but children who hold Christmas sacred were shell-shocked by the film.

#8: Hellboy
“Hellboy” franchise (2004-08)

The odds were against Hellboy from the beginning. Born to a witch mother and demon father, and summoned from Hell as an infant by Nazi occultists, he wasn’t expected to live a decent life. But Hellboy did just that, becoming a hero who protects the world from evil beings, both supernatural and not. Originally a comic book character, Hellboy translated to film perfectly. Thanks to Ron Perlman’s portrayal and Guillermo del Toro’s directing, the “Hellboy” series is one of the most original takes on the superhero genre. If only we could get that third movie. See: not all demons are so bad.

#7: Cenobites
“Hellraiser” franchise (1987-)

Originating in a Clive Barker novella, the Cenobites made their film debut in “Hellraiser” in 1987. They are descendants from a hell-like place in which torture is tantamount to breathing. Each Cenobite is terrifying in appearance and distinctly disfigured, as their leader Pinhead was not named facetiously. It is an unassuming gold or brass-trimmed box that lets them reach Earth, which never bodes well for whoever opens it. The Cenobites then take them to what we humans would perceive as a netherworld to partake in an eternity of transcendental suffering. Of note: Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites were not initially confirmed to be demons – but they were progressively presented as such as the “Hellraiser” series went on.

#6: Bughuul / ‘Mr. Boogie’
“Sinister” franchise (2012-)

Bughuul is a newer addition to the demon Rolodex, but its appearance and occupation has bolstered its reputation. It is a frightening, soul-stealing demon that attaches itself to movie footage shot by the children it possesses. These films capture the children murdering their own families as dictated by the one they call “Mr. Boogie.” This is a cycle that repeats from family to family after each one discovers the ever-expanding reels of film. When each killing is complete, the Pagan Babylonian deity takes the children to its realm for unending servitude. Sinister is right…

#5: Balrog
“The Lord of the Rings” franchise (2001-03)

Balrogs are the demons of J. R. R. Tolkien’s mythological world. They are subservient to the Prime Dark Lord known as Morgoth and reside in the depths of Middle-Earth. Though referenced in most of the books, it’s in the film version of “The Fellowship of the Ring” where the main characters encounter one of these creatures. The Balrog appears as a giant, fiery, whip-wielding monster, and its battle against Gandalf is, to use a clichéd word, epic. “The Two Towers” shows us the result of this battle, and its accompanying twist is the best in the trilogy.

#4: Lamia
“Drag Me to Hell” (2009)

Gypsy curses are low on the list of things we wish to happen to us, and “Drag Me to Hell” elucidates that sentiment. After a bank employee refuses a request for an extension on a mortgage payment from a Gypsy woman, she becomes the victim of a curse that summons Lamia, one of the most vengeful and persistent demons in film history. As is custom, the Lamia subjects her to severe psychological torture, despite all attempts to undo the curse. After three days, the demon does as the title prophesizes, and we don’t want to imagine what happens after that.

#3: Deadites [Kandarian Demon]
“The Evil Dead” franchise (1981-)

The Deadites are life-forces, like humans, that have been possessed by the Kandarian Demon, and serve as the main antagonists throughout the “Evil Dead” films. The demon is initially summoned from the Sumerian version of the Book of the Dead found in the remote cabin. After being unleashed, it takes over humans’ bodies by rendering them evil and zombie-like, and it affects all of the main characters at some point. There are few limits to what the demon can control, and these parameters are tested by Ash throughout the series. The chaos that the Kandarian demon causes is truly unparalleled.

#2: Lipstick-Face Demon
“Insidious” franchise (2011-)

For this generation of horror moviegoers, the Lipstick-Faced Demon is etched in their consciousness. Few characters have made such a startling first appearance, and this is due to the suddenness of its pop-up and the brightness of its makeup. We learn later that this demon is from a ghostly world called The Further, and it has a propensity for abducting children’s bodies. This leads us to the penultimate scene in the demon’s lair. Unfortunately, there was no replicating the impact of its introduction, as many people felt its climactic appearance, in which it’s found sharpening its claws, lacking. That may be why it hardly appeared in the sequels.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few (dis)honorable mentions:

- The Creeper

“Jeepers Creepers” franchise (2001-)

- Abyzou

“The Possession” (2012)

- The Beast

“Poltergeist” franchise (1982-)

#1: Pazuzu
“The Exorcist” franchise (1973-)

During the early ‘70s, no movie scared people more than “The Exorcist,” and Captain Howdy was responsible. Viewers couldn’t handle the demonic possession and manipulation of a 12-year-old girl, as theater patrons reportedly fainted, puked, and walked out in significant numbers. This demon—first proclaiming to be the devil himself—is eventually outed as Pazuzu, though it is not named in the original movie. Pazuzu terrorized characters and moviegoers for decades, especially those of the Christian persuasion, some of whom believed the movies themselves to be cursed and that watching them could cause them to be possessed. It’s astounding that a fictional character could make such a real impact on society, and that’s why Pazuzu is number one.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite movie demon? For more hellish Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to