Demon stories have been around since the dawn of time. Many of the terrifying demons we see in movies are based on the Bible, Greek mythology, and ancient faiths’ demonic scriptures. What is it about the devil that makes it so terrifying?
Is it their capacity to possess persons and cause harm to those they care about? Is it their capacity to remain undetected for long periods of time? Is it because they employ their supernatural abilities to torment newcomers who have settled into abandoned manors?
Some of the demons’ origin stories let us identify with their unfortunate existence. They cause us to rethink our notions of good and evil. We try to convince ourselves that ghosts and demons don’t exist. Despite this, we have trouble sleeping after viewing a horror film based on a true story.
Whether it’s the documentary-styled Paranormal Activities or the Ed and Lorraine encounters from The Conjuring, there’s something for everyone. Today, we’ll look at the origins of twelve soul-corrupting and horrifying monsters from horror films. For the sake of some of our readers’ discretion, some of the stories are based on genuine events.
1. Bughuul – Sinister
Bughuul is a pagan god who has been forgotten for a long time. He would use youngsters to persuade them to murder their entire family and eat the child’s soul. In Sinister, he used home movies to record the children murdering their families. Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime writer, and his family move into a new home.
It’s the same home where the previous occupants were assassinated. He intends to utilise the tragedy as a starting point for his next tale. He stumbles upon some home recordings made on super 8 mm while looking for answers concerning the previous resident’s missing child.
The prior family’ murders are documented on the home videos. In each film, a cryptic symbol and Bughuul himself emerge. An extended cut reveals it is the children who killed their families and went missing shortly after. Ellison consults with an occult professor about the tapes and the mysterious symbol.
The professor suspects that a cult is trying to reincarnate Bughuul. After taking the tapes to a police officer, Ellison gets to know that the murders occurred in different locations all over the country. All of the murdered families have previously lived in the same house. The murders began after they moved out.
Ellison moves into a new house, making his family the next target for Bughuul. The super 8 mm home movies were titled Pool Party, BBQ, Lawn Work, Sleepy Time, and Family Hanging Out. They spanned from 1966 to the present.
In the footage of the Pool party, three members are spotted tied to pool chairs where an unseen entity pulls the rope and drowns them to their death. The reflection of Bughuul shows in the pool water. Bughuul travels to the mortal world using pictures of himself. Moloch, his brother, sewed his lips shut.
He was enraged because he had stolen his child’s sacrifice rites. His pale complexion and absence of eyes give him a frightening appearance. To survive, he must feed on the souls of youngsters. He appears to have caught up with the times, as he had the kids film the murders of their family on super 8 mm.
He uses the footage to travel and haunt the new families. A new tape called house painting appears as Ellison’s daughter begins painting the symbol for Bughuul and proceeds to kill her family. All the missing children of the murdered families stare at her from the film and hide as soon as Bughuul appears.
2. Lipstick-Face Demon – Insidious
Many titles have been given to the Lipstick Face demon from Insidious. He’s also known as the Red Face Demon or the Man with a Fire in His Face. His bright yellow eyes, crooked teeth, and forked tongue give him a devilish appearance. He is one of the fallen angels who has never entered hell.
He became trapped in the Further, a paranormal dimension, and began to govern it. A series of strange happenings starts to stalk Josh and Renai as they move into a new residence with their children. As their son Dalton goes into a coma, their problems appear to be infinite.
Dalton’s capacity to undertake astral projection is later discovered, and he has somehow ventured into the Further. Renai hears the Lipstick Face Demon speak for the first time on the baby monitor. He says, ‘I want it immediately!’ she overhears. In Cali’s chamber, she notices a shadow form.
The family relocated because they believe the house is haunted. However, they are unable to ignore the paranormal activity, which accompanies them to their new home. Lorraine, Josh’s mother, is scared when she sees the Lipstick Face Demon standing behind her son.
Specs and Tucker are her psychic and paranormal investigators. After learning something is seriously wrong, they team up with psychic Elise, who reveals Dalton has been to the Beyond.
Elise has a lengthy history with the family, having been sought out by Josh’s mother Lorraine to assist her son Josh, who was having some strange behaviour. Turns out, as a child, Josh had the ability to astral travel as well but he had repressed those memories. An old lady had tried to possess him and use those abilities.
Elise had managed to prevent the possession by locking his abilities. The lipstick-faced demon wants Dalton as he wants to exploit his abilities. He wants to create chaos and terror. Josh decides to astral travel to rescue Dalton from the Further.
He finds the lipstick-faced demon, sharpening his claws in his liar while listening to Tiny Tim’s ‘Tiptoe through the tulips’. Josh manages to rescue Dalton. The demon clutches Dalton’s legs with his claw. After struggling for a while Dalton manages to escape. But the horror doesn’t end there.
Later, it is revealed that Josh encountered the old lady from his childhood in the future, who has now possessed him and returned to the real World. The lipstick face demon is the strongest antagonist in the Insidious universe. He makes an appearance in all the films of the franchise.
He makes a creaking noise whenever he appears. He is capable of mentally and physically torturing children. After Dalton managed to escape from his liar, the Demon moved on to torment other children.
3. Deadites – Evil Dead
Deadites are nefarious demonic monsters with the power to inhabit both dead and living people. They are the Evil Dead franchise’s adversaries. Tormenting the living gives them joy. In the first episode, the protagonist Ash manages to avoid being possessed by the deadites.
When the monsters emerge from the Necronomicon, however, everyone else around him becomes possessed and dies. The deadites can be eliminated by amputating the possessed humans’ bodies altogether. Cheryl, Ash’s sister, was the first to fall victim to the deadites. Demonic trees kidnap her and torment her.
Those who are gravely damaged and on the verge of death are taken over by the deadites. Those with a weak willpower are targeted by the deadites. After drowning in murky water, Ash is possessed by the deadites in the second part. However, as soon as sunlight comes into contact with him, it dispels evil.
He is once again possessed by the deadites, but he is able to fend them off by restoring his humanity. He gains the courage to fight back after discovering his dead girlfriend’s necklace. The deadites are enraged when Ash is named the chosen one. The Necronomicon has the ability to modify the rules at any time.
The risk is heightened by the unpredictability. The deadites have the ability to zombify severed limbs, heads of dead animals, and possess inanimate objects. The deadites are part of a hive mind, controlled by the Necronomicon and Kandarian demon.
The deadites can not only possess humans, but they are also capable of reading their minds and memories which makes it easy for them to pass undetected. They can regenerate from severed limbs as long as the head hasn’t been cut off. In ancient times, the deadites used to dominate Earth.
Eventually, they were banished and trapped in a parallel realm. After a verse from the Necronomicon was read out loud, it freed the deadites to roam around Earth. Slowly, they adapted to the times and were able to possess human beings through computer viruses.
There are several ways to defeat the deadites which doesn’t include dismembering bodies. They are averse to sunlight and can be fought off by sheer willpower. The possessed humans can be claimed back by sending them off in an alternate universe. The deadites are vile and sinister, but not undefeatable.
4. Pazuzu – The Exorcist
Pazuzu was the son of Babylonian God Hanbi. Pazuzu is the evil that extinguishes evil. In Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, he is the King of Wind Demons. He is frequently shown as a half-human, half-animal hybrid. During droughts, he delivers starvation, and when it rains, he brings locusts.
Pazuzu’s amulets were placed in people’s homes to ward off Lamashtu, the arch goddess who tortured pregnant women and small infants. Pazuzu is portrayed as an evil figure in the Exorcist novels and films. He possesses Regan, a little girl who is playing with an Ouija board. Captain Howdy is how he introduces himself.
Regan begins to act abnormally when she is taken into her control. She starts swearing profanely and injures herself with a crucifix. Doctors and therapists who come to examine her are scared away by her. Her mother, who has been rendered powerless, seeks the aid of a priest to exorcise Regan.
Regan is visited by Father Merrin and Father Karras. With sarcasm and some harsh comments, Pazuzu welcomes the priests. Father Merrin discovered Pazuzu’s amulet in an excavation site at the start of the film. While dreaming about his mother, he saw Pazuzu.
He also stumbles upon a demon god statue that returned after Regan’s exorcism. Regan turns her head three-sixty degrees while attempting to banish the monster. In the exorcism procedure that ensues, Pazuzu fights back with extreme vulgarity and violence, which causes Father Merrin to die of cardiac arrest.
Later, Father Karras pulls Pazuzu into his own body and jumps out of the window. His death puts a temporary pause to the horrors of Pazuzu. He returns in the sequels to create more chaos. When The Exorcist was released, harming children in horror movies was frowned upon.
It was very unsettling for the audience to see a child use vulgar words. It was the first time a horror movie had shown the extremely violent nature of exorcisms. The Exorcist gained the reputation for being the most disturbing horror movie at the time, eventually ending up as a horror classic in the years to come.
Pazuzu has been evil since the beginning of time. He is terrifying enough to scare other demons. He is not only the evil that drives away evil. He is merciless, sinister, and undefeatable. He appears as the antagonist in the sequels as well as the television adaption of The Exorcist.
5. Mammon – Constantine
Lucifer, Mammon’s father, was born and raised in Hell. He shares his father’s anti-human sentiments and fantasises about controlling the world. Living in his father’s shadow is a source of frustration for him. So, with the help of a powerful psychic and heavenly guidance, he prepares to escape Hell and take over Earth.
When John Constantine approaches Lucifer for assistance, his schemes are thwarted. Constantine has the capacity to perceive the actual form of half-breed Angels and Demons. His abilities caused him to try suicide as a teenager, but paramedics saved his life. He is a lung cancer patient who smokes like a chimney.
He’s sent to look into the exorcism of a little girl who had been possessed by a demon attempting to break through to Earth. Gabriel, a half-angel, has a tense confrontation with him. Detective Angela Dodson summons Constantine to look into the suicide of her twin sister. Her sister shared Constantine’s psychic skills.
Her parents committed her to a mental institution because they were unsure how to deal with her powers. Angela shared the same gift as her sister, but she repressed them after seeing the tragic fate of Isabel. Later, Constantine activates her psychic powers in a life-threatening situation.
Constantine is helped by his apprentice and driver Chas Kramer. He ends up being a victim to Mammon’s schemes. While investigating Isabel’s suicide and other paranormal deaths, Constantine and Angela come across the satanic bible.
It prophecies Mammon will try to take over the Earth with help of a powerful psychic and divine intervention. Mammon had tried to use Isabel as the psychic until she foiled his plans by taking her own life. Once Angela’s powers are activated, Mammoth drowns her in a swimming pool to reverse baptize her.
He is helped by other half-breeds like Gabriel, who are fed up with God’s favoritism over humans. In order to save Angela, Constantine cuts off his own wrists hoping to summon Lucifer. He tells Lucifer of Mammon’s plan to take over the world.
Lucifer banishes Mammon back to hell and burns off Gabriel’s wings, turning him human. Mammon may be a sinister demon but he is hardly a match for his powerful father.
6. Valak – The Conjuring 2
Valak is mentioned in Demonology writings as one of Hell’s commanders. Valak is thought to be a fallen angel. Valak is represented as a newborn with angel wings riding on a two-headed dragon in mythology and grimoires. Lorraine states that her house has been plagued by visions of a cloaked person.
Valak takes on the shape of a nun in the Conjuring universe. Lorraine’s trust in God is mocked by her looks. Valak impersonates a nun in the spin-off to insult the nuns in Church. She is more powerful than Annabelle, another conjuring universe enemy. The crooked man is likewise played by Valak.
Ed and Lorraine were brought in to see if a demon had truly persuaded Ronald DeFeo Jr into murdering his family, or if it was just a lie he told to save himself by claiming possession. Lorraine is lured into the cellar by Valak while recalling the scenes. Lorraine is tormented by images of Ed dying.
Lorraine is still being tormented by Valak’s dreams in which Ed is badly harmed. After being driven by a dream, Ed paints Valak as a Nun. Valak torments the couple with the artwork. The British Hodgson family believes their home is haunted. They call in Ed and Lorraine to investigate.
Their youngest daughter Janet gets possessed by the previous house owner, Bill Wilkins. During the climax, Valak appears as the Crooked Man. It is revealed that Bill Wilkins doesn’t intend to harm the family; it was Valak who manipulated everyone into thinking otherwise.
Valak locks the members of the Hodgson family outside, except for Janet. She manipulates Janet into attempting suicide. Ed breaks into the house but he is attacked by Valak. Lorraine realizes she needs to find Valak’s name to condemn her back to hell.
She remembers the demon’s name from one of her visions and sends her back to Hell. She saves the lives of Ed and Janice. Valak reappears in Annabelle: Creation, and The Nun.
It is believed that she enabled another demonic entity to possess Annabelle. We do not get to see her origin story in the Nun but we get to know how terrifying Valak really is.
7. Lamia – Drag Me to Hell
The Lamia is a formidable demon with a reputation for torturing its victims for three days before dragging them to hell. Drag Me to Hell’s main antagonist is a wicked demon. The Lamia is frequently said to be the most terrifying of all demons.
She is a strong and old monster that may be called by malevolent sorcerers, witches, and vengeful gipsies. The Curse of Lamia cannot be stopped once it has been started. For three days and three nights, the victims are plagued. The door to hell then opens, and they are taken into an eternity of misery by the malevolent dead.
Christine Brown is cursed with the Lamia curse by Sylvia Ganush, starting her countdown to death. The Lamia has the ability to induce visions and hallucinations. It has the capacity to control electrical devices such as vehicle doors and cell phones. The Lamia delights in dragging her victims through hell.
Sylvia Ganush is a gypsy homemaker who feels insulted by Christine. After getting into an altercation, Sylvia curses one of Christine’s buttons. Christine begins to get haunted by hallucinations. After visiting a Shaman with her boyfriend, she gets to know that a great evil is haunting her.
Stressed by the prediction and hallucinations, Christine gets a nosebleed. She visits Sylvia hoping to get the curse reversed, but she arrives to find Sylvia’s family mourning her death. Christine attempts to reverse the curse by digging up Sylvia’s grave and placing the button at her mouth.
Her attempt is futile as she places the wrong envelope at the grave. In the end, she gets dragged to hell by Lamia. The demon uses cursed items to haunt the victims. Many people have attempted to get rid of Lamia’s curse, using various methods including a séance. But all of them met with a tragic fate.
Lamia has the ability to alter reality and possess people and animals at will. No one can escape the curse of Lamia. She is invincible.
8. The Cenobites – Hellraiser
The Cenobites are extra-dimensional entities that have been maimed and are looking for sexual delights. They are incapable of distinguishing between pain and pleasure. Except for Angelique, all cenobites were once humans. They’ve been indoctrinated to torment mankind for all eternity in the Labyrinth.
After solving the riddle on one of Lemarchand’s boxes, the cenobites can be summoned. Frank solves the riddle that summons the Cenobites in the first Hellraiser film. As he transforms into one of them, his appearance changes. Larry, his brother, and Julia, his second wife, move into his home.
Julia had an affair with Frank before she married Larry. In the attic, she discovers Frank in his new form. She resolves to bring him humans who he may prey on in order for him to revert to his previous form. Kirsty, Julia’s daughter, becomes suspicious and follows her to the attic.
When Frank tries to attack Kirsty, Julia throws the puzzle box out the window, distracting him. Kirsty solves the mystery and summons the Cenobites in the hospital. In exchange for Frank’s custody, they agree to her stipulations. Frank drains Larry and wears his skin to deceive others, but the Cenobites aren’t fooled.
When a person solves one of the puzzles to summon Cenobites, if they are deemed worthy by the Leviathan , they are turned into a Cenobite. They are taken to hell and transformed at the Cenobite Transformation chamber. During the transformation, the person’s body is mutilated and the blood is siphoned out of their body.
They are left with the essence of what they once were. From time to time, a group of Cenobites rebel and question the authority of the Leviathan. It always ends up with the death of a Cenobite. One of the most prominent Cenobites throughout the franchise is Pinhead.
He is the undeclared leader of the group and one of the main antagonists. The appearance and nature of every Cenobite are unique on their own. Some treat them as angels, and others think of them as demons. They are extra-dimensional creatures, who derive pleasure from torturing others.
9. Abalam – The Last Exorcism
Abalam is the demon that possessed Nell, a ranch hand’s daughter, and impregnated her. In The Last Exorcism, he is the adversary. Iris and Daniel, filmmakers, are working on a documentary to delegitimize exorcisms. Cotton Marcus, a preacher who fakes exorcisms, is the focus of their investigation.
After the birth of his ill kid, he lost faith. Nell’s father wakes up to find his cattle killed and his home destroyed. He summons Marcus to execute an exorcism, thinking it to be a demon’s work. Nell is drenched in blood and has weapons at her disposal when she wakes up. Marcus feels Nell requires psychiatric assistance.
Marcus insists that the devil expose himself, assuming Nell is hallucinating. Abalam introduces himself and informs him that when he uses Nell, she burns. Abalam then goes on to murder the household cat. Later, Marcus runs across Logan, who is reported to have had an affair with Nell, in a pub.
He denies that Nell is expecting a child. Marcus insists that Abalam come forward and speak with him. When Abalam fractures Nell’s fingers, he offers to do so provided they keep silent. Abalam breaks three of Nell’s fingers. Marcus turns to Priest Manley for help.
When they arrive at the house, they find it wrecked and covered in satanic images. The sound of chanting leads them to a cult, who were worshiping Abalam. The cult leader pulls out a demon fetus from Nell and throws it into the fire. It begins to take on its true form as Marcus rushes to fight off the cult with his cross.
Some of the crew members are found dead. The editor gets chased but Caleb appears in time to save him. Abalam possessed Nell to use her as a host to deliver his offspring.
He tortures Nell and kills the animals around them. He is the master of speech and he is capable of possessing priests. He was summoned by the cult in the woods. He continues to follow and torment Nell in the sequel.
10. Paimon – Hereditary
King Paimon is one of Hell’s most powerful kings. He commands two hundred armies of spirits, the most of them are angels. For his allegiance to Lucifer, he was expelled from heaven. King Paimon is both an artist and a scientist. There are others who adore him and wish to see him appear in this world.
Paimon’s face has a feminine appearance, but his physique has a manly one. His followers believe he favours a male host in order to improve his attractiveness. When the cult successfully summons Paimon to Charlie’s body, he appears befuddled and terrified by what he sees.
He doesn’t seem to want to be a part of the mortal realm. He looks to be out of touch with reality and out of place. It’s his ardent followers, not Paimon, who should be dreaded. Ellen, also known as Queen Leigh, is the leader of a Paimon-worshiping secret sect. Ellen had two children: Anne, her daughter, and a son who killed himself.
The group wanted a male body from Ellen’s family to serve as Paimon’s vessel. After attempting to possess her son, he develops signs of Schizophrenia and commits suicide. Ellen and Anne become apart after the catastrophe. Anne marries Steve and they create a family together.
They have an older son Peter, and a younger daughter, Charlie. Anne tries to keep Ellen and her influence away from her family, but Ellen weasels her way in. Charlie has a close relationship with her grandmother. Later, she is used as a temporary vessel for Paimon.
The possession is a confusing time for Paimon and Charlie, as they try to make sense of their surroundings. Ellen’s death leaves Charlie isolated and confused. During a party, Charlie has severe allergic reactions after eating a cake laced with nuts.
Her brother Peter tries to rush her to the hospital but gets in an accident after crashing into a dead deer. Charlie doesn’t survive the crash. At Charlie’s funeral, a cult member suggests holding a séance to communicate with Charlie. During the séance, Paimon succeeds in possessing her soul and begins to torment Anne’s family.
Anne fails in getting rid of the conduit holding Paimon in the mortal world. Anne becomes unsettled after finding her mother’s headless corpse next to Paimon’s sigil. Steve dies in a fire while trying to burn the conduit.
Anne gets possessed by Paimon and starts loitering around her son with other cult members. They succeed in using Peter as the male vessel, as originally preferred by Paimon.
11. The Beast – Poltergeist
Reverend Michael Kane is the head of a sect that believes in the apocalypse. He persuades his followers to commit mass suicide and then commits suicide himself. He utilises their combined might to transform himself into the beast. As the departed continue to enter the light, his power begins to wane.
However, he gains hope when the Freeling family builds a mansion on top of his tomb. Carol Anne, their daughter, emits a pure brightness that attracts him. He aims to seduce her and use her light to entice other souls to the other side.
Kane approaches other friendly spirits and persuades them to kidnap Carol Anne and drag her to the other dimension through the television screen. Carol Anne is saved by her mother, foiling Kane’s goal. Tangina persuaded more of Kane’s supporters to join him in the light. It further weakens and enrages Kane.
Kane utilises his last strength to resurrect his followers’ bodies and consume the Freeling mansion. The Freelings, unfortunately for Kane, managed to avoid his anger. The Beast, also known as Reverend Michael Kane, is the main antagonist of the Poltergeist trilogy.
In an attempt to apprehend Carol Anne, he pursues the Freeling family. He reappears in human form in the sequel to trick the Freelings. Carol Ann’s grandmother’s psychic abilities enable her to keep the beasts at bay. He is banned from entering the premises without permission.
He waits till the death of the grandmother to attack the Freelings. Kane shows his vile nature by forcefully attacking Diane by possessing Steven. Steven is able to fight off the possession and defeats Kane by using a magical spear. In the third installment, Kane manages to possess an entire building and uses mirrors as a conduit.
Once again Tangina arrives in time to rescue Carol Anne, but she ends up getting captured. Kane almost succeeds in capturing Carol Anne. She is spared as Kane is offered redemption if he enters the light. The incident puts an end to the hauntings of Reverend Kane, bringing much-needed peace into Carol Anne’s life.
The beast remained a sinister creature in life and death. He was a power-hungry soul, who led a cult full of impressionable people. He convinced all of them to give up their lives, to use their souls for his convenience. Calling him the beast is an understatement for his vile and sinister nature.
12. Krampus – Krampus
Krampus is a mythical horned beast from Alpine mythology. During the Christmas season, he accompanies Santa and punishes misbehaving youngsters. Instead of presents, he leaves birch rods for the youngsters who haven’t been on their best behaviour, according to legend.
The demon Krampus is called in the film Krampus when someone loses their Christmas spirit. Three days before Christmas, the dysfunctional Engel family gathers to celebrate the holiday. Max wishes to write a letter to Santa Claus since he still believes in him. Max’s cousins make fun of his beliefs.
They mock him for believing in Santa Claus and read his letter out to him. Max’s heart bleeds as he proclaims his hatred for his family and even Christmas. He rips up his letter and tosses it out the window. His father attempts to console him by telling him that his family can be unpleasant, but he loves them nonetheless.
He encourages Max to keep his Christmas enthusiasm alive. Later that night, the town is attacked by a heavy blizzard. It results in a widespread power outage. When Beth walked out to check on her boyfriend, she was pursued and seized by a big demonic creature.
When Tom and Howard go looking for Beth, they discover her boyfriend’s house in ruins. The chimney is destroyed, and there are big goat-like hoof prints all over the home. They are assaulted by an invisible snow monster, but they manage to flee and return home after locking the windows.
Christmas ornaments come to life and begin to attack the family, one by one. Howie Jr gets dragged to the chimney by the cane of a live gingerbread man. Tom decides to find shelter for the family in an abandoned Snowplow. Omi stays behind to distract Krampus, while her family flees to safety.
When the family is under attack by the Elves, Max apologizes to Krampus for losing his faith on Christmas. Krampus accepts his apology and throws him into a pit. The next morning Max wakes up in his bed, thinking of the events as a nightmare. But the gift left behind by Krampus confirmed the reality of the events.
Max’s Christmas spirit is restored but Krampus continues to keep a close eye. Krampus can be thought of as the evil version of Santa. He goes around punishing kids for misbehaving and losing their Christmas spirit. Krampus is believed to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology.
In German Krampus literally translates to Claws. Krampus was created as the demonic counterpart of Santa Claus, who would go around disciplining children for misbehaving. The long-horned, dark-haired demon with fangs is a creature out of nightmares.