If we were making a list of what not to do in a horror movie, using an ouija board would probably be first on the list – followed closely by having sex. Ouija boards basically beg for trouble. You’re reaching out into the universe, asking whatever spirit wants to talk to come hang out with you. Ouija boards may be a classic at sleepovers (until someone gets too scared and starts crying), but their potential for terror has also made them a horror movie staple.
These ouija board horror movies should only be watched at your own risk. We can’t be blamed if you start to shake when you see a board on store shelves or in the cabinet of your friend’s house. At least watching is better than awakening the spirits on your own.
A teen tells her friend, Laine, that something is horribly wrong with her ouija board. She burns the board, then hangs herself. But then Laine finds the ouija board still in her dead friend’s room. If that’s not a sign that something is about to go horribly wrong, we don’t know what is.
Laine and her friends pledge to find out what’s going on with the board. This, of course, entails talking to it again. Strange things start happening, and they’re only going to get worse. This 2014 movie also got a sequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil, which might even be scarier than the first.
2. Paranormal Activity
You may just remember the freaky bedroom scenes from this rather unfairly maligned classic. But Paranormal Activity also features an ouija board in its key scenes. When Katie and Micah move into their new San Diego house, Katie claims that the evil spirit that has haunted her her whole life has followed them. Micah, although skeptical, places a camera in the home to catch any “spirits” that may loom. Soon, the footage reveals more than Micah could have bargained for.
At first, the camera only shows flickering lights and low noises, but on the 13th night of filming, a demon emerges after Micah asks the spirit if it wants to use – you guessed it–a ouija board.
3. The Exorcist
The ouija board makes another appearance in the classic 1973 film, perhaps the most famous horror films of all time. Actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter, Regan (Linda Blair) play with a ouija board and pretend that they’ve summoned a spirit named Captain Howdy. But after the supposedly fake séance, Regan acts differently…
After the mysterious death of Regan’s babysitter, the doctors recommend that Chris find someone to give Regan an exorcism. Regan’s bizarre behavior will make you think twice about ever going near a ouija board, even if you intend it as a joke.
4. What Lies Beneath
Claire Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer) thinks that her neighbor may have killed his wife after Claire stops seeing her around the neighborhood. Along with a friend, Claire holds a séance to get answers about the believed disappearance. Soon, signs from a spirit start appearing in Claire’s life even when she’s not using the ouija board, from the woman’s initials showing up on her computer to messages on her bathroom mirror.
This creepfest isn’t just an ouija board movie: It’s also a chilling crime thriller. No matter what, it’ll leave you (rightfully) afraid of going anywhere near an ouija board.
This cult classic shows just how quickly an ouija board can tear a group of friends apart. Brandon Sinclair thinks that using a board to summon the spirit of David, a dead 10-year-old boy, is a brilliant party trick. David initially seems to be a helpful spirit–but David isn’t who he is pretending to be. The supposed boy spirit is really the ghost of a murderer who is not done killing.
When the host of the party and his girlfriend start experiencing signs of David’s presence in their home, they also begin to notice that accidents and deaths start occurring in their inner circle … and David won’t stop unless someone stops him.
6. Sorority House Massacre 2: Nighty Nightmare
Five college women buy a haunted house to use as their sorority house. Five years earlier, violent murders were committed in the home, allowing the girls to nab it for a low price. In a less-than-brilliant idea, they decide to stay in the home the night before the movers get there so they can meet them first thing in the morning. Of course, the house has no working electricity yet, so phone lines are dead and darkness means darkness.
The girls investigate the basement and discover an ouija board. Naturally, they decide to use it even though there are no working phones. The neighbor was suspected of committing the crimes, but there was never enough evidence to convict him. He enters the home and begins to kill off the sorority girls one by one. A couple of lessons here: Do not stay in a home without power if you are going to try to awaken spirits. And don’t buy a notoriously haunted house.
7. The Uninvited
Rick and Pamela are siblings who purchase a seaside home together for a low price. After they meet the owner’s granddaughter, Stella, they learn that her mother fell to her death in the home. Stella is devastated that the home is being sold, and she reveals that her grandfather wouldn’t let her in to say goodbye to it. Rick, with a perhaps unwise crush on the young woman, lets her in to say goodbye, then continues inviting her over.
When weird things start happening, the siblings believe that Stella’s mother is manifesting herself. They host a seance (featuring our beloved ouija board) and everyone finds out that Stella’s mother didn’t fall–she was pushed. And now that they’ve contacted the ghost, her killer won’t stop until they’re all dead.
8. The Pact
After her mother dies, Nicole Barlow returns home to plan the funeral, although her sister Annie refuses to memorialize the abusive woman. When Nicole goes missing inside the house, Annie is forced to return home to find her.
Soon, Annie has recruited a psychic, her cousin, and her niece to figure out what is haunting the house. Once they resort to a homemade ouija board, things get really out of hand.
Featured still from "Ouija" via Universal Pictures