Total Takeover: When It Comes to Possession, These 10 Movies Do It Right
Whether it be via a force of good or evil, something about not being in control of our own bodies fascinates us. While we would definitely steer clear of Ghostbusters‘ Zuul, we might not mind Lily Tomlin’s Edwina taking up residence in half our bodies—especially if the results were as hilarious as All of Me. To review all our options, we put together a list of the all time top 10 creepiest (and funniest) supernatural hijackings!
1. All of Me
Watching Edwina (Lily Tomlin) possess the right side of Roger’s (Steve Martin) body while he maintains control of the left makes for one of the funniest paranormal flicks out there. It’s not all zombies after all!
2. Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich, in all of its weirdness and humor, is movie about possession in a pretty literal sense. When Craig (John Cusack) finds a portal into Malkovich’s mind, we realize that the movie title wasn’t joking. Thankfully, there are few things funnier than the idea of John Malkovich as a world-famous puppeteer.
Ghost has taught us many things that we were blind to before. First of all, we learn that pottery wheels can sexy. Then we learned that perhaps we should be a little more trusting of hack psychics because they may actually help us get in touch with our dead husbands. No one can truly forget when Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg) allows Sam (Patrick Swayze) to possess her body so that Molly (Demi Moore) can be with him one last time. Weird? Uh, no, not at all.
Though the scene is only a few minutes long, Sigourney Weaver character’s possession by demigod Zuul makes a lasting impression. There is something simultaneously creepy and sultry about her gyrating about in her orangey-red shimmering kimono, and even Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), the ultimate ladies man, almost falls for it.
5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Whether you’re a fan of the 1957 release or the later 1978 remake, Invasion is a classic story about happens when aliens take over our friends and family. Sincerely, both movies are frightening, though the original is so dramatic and full of male bravado that it always has the upper hand. Over time, the unforgettable plot line of the pod people replacing our loved ones with carbon copies of themselves, except with a lack of empathy or emotion, has become a metaphor that gets used everywhere.
6. Men in Black
Vincent D’Onofrio is recognizable mostly due to his role on Law and Order and in Full Metal Jacket and Ed Wood. But we can’t forget him as Edgar the cockroach guy in Men in Black. Is it creepier to hear Edgar speak or watch his skin fall of his bones while cockroaches emerge from his sleeves? The ending scene when he rips off his skin to reveal an eighteen-foot tall cockroach creature is unparalleled in its grotesqueness.
7. Paranormal Activity
Back when The Blair Witch Project was released, we thought we’d reached the pinnacle of fear. We were wrong. Paranormal Activity uses the “found footage” technique so well that it nearly kills us with fright. Over the course of 21 nights, we witness Katie’s slow descent into possession, which leads to her killing her husband and disappearing. Initially, we feel something for Katie and her insistence that something is haunting her, but by the end when she presents her maniacal, demonic face to the screen, fear and repulsion take on a new meaning.
Grant Grant was made for those who love the grotesque and unfortunate. It’s like The Exorcist‘s Regan, but on steroids and funnier. The performance that Michael Rooker delivers as the disgusting slug-being and Brenda James gives as a giant pregnant mass have us convinced that cheating on your wife (or spending any time in the woods) is always a bad idea.
9. The Exorcist
Demonic possession is a cultural obsession and nobody has been able to capture it better than William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist. No matter how advanced CGI technology has become or how much better our special effects artists are, there is legitimately nothing creepier than Regan’s spinning head and green eyes.
10. The Haunting in Connecticut
This movie has an insane cult following, and rightfully so—it is terrifying. The well-meaning Campbell family moves their dying son (and the rest of the family) into a (unbeknownst to them) former funeral parlor so that they can be closer to the hospital where the son is receiving treatment. What the son actually receives, however, is a haunting. He becomes possessed by an evil spirit, and only set free when the entire house burns to the ground.