Horror films about curses being passed on from person to person?
September 29, 2019 2:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of horror films in the vein of IT FOLLOWS, THE RING, and THINNER, where a supernatural curse torments you until you pass it along to someone else -- after which you are freed from it.
posted by egeanin to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have not watched this movie yet, but the trailer for Truth or Dare makes it clear within 30 seconds that one character is passing a curse onto a group of strangers to save his own life. Warning: The movie has a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by ejs at 2:47 PM on September 29, 2019

Also Drag Me to Hell has a protagonist suffering from a curse who learns of a way to pass it along to someone else. Great movie!
posted by ejs at 2:50 PM on September 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

The canonical example is the M.R. James short story Casting the Runes, which was adapted to film as Night of the Demon. It's the bit that "Science Fiction Double Feature" from the Rocky Horror musical references at "Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes/ And passing them used lots of skills".
posted by sukeban at 2:53 PM on September 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

Don't Kill It and From Within I suspect are orthogonal to your intentions, but I'm bringing them up just in case they're close enough.
posted by kimota at 2:58 PM on September 29, 2019

I feel strongly that Hereditary falls into this category, but I can't really explain why without spoiling it.
posted by nightrecordings at 3:00 PM on September 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Robert Louis Stevenson's short story, "The Bottle Imp," was made into a stop-motion film. The Diehl Brothers released it in 1952 under the title Der Flaschenteufel.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:44 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not a movie, but the Supernatural has used curses like this a couple times. Episodes include Bad Day at Black Rock (transmission via possession of a rabbit's foot) and Love Hurts (transmission via kissing).
posted by snaw at 5:15 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by mefireader at 5:32 PM on September 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Not what you're looking for, but it's worthy of remark. The recent Marvel movie Venom, which is generally bad except for a pants-on-head crazy good Tom Hardy performance, features gooey alien symbiotes which can't survive in our environment, but can survive in a compatible living host, where compatibility is uncommon. If symbiosis fails, the human (etc.) host usually dies.

The search for a compatible host is the main job of the unbonded symbiote, and while there is a Zuckerbergian human antagonist for the Eddie Brock, played by Hardy, there is also a symbiote antagonist, Riot, which has to get to San Francisco from some crash site in Malaysia, and it does so by hopping from host to host. Unlike the main character of Eddie Brock/Venom, the various hosts of Riot do not fare as well.

In the movie, the symbiote is a blessing and a curse; enhanced physicality, but, you also have a very powerful passenger that can take control of your body for its own ends.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:53 PM on September 29, 2019

I just happened to watch a classic of this genre last week - La Main du Diable (US. Title "Carnival of Sinners"). It's about a man who buys a magical left hand that gives its owner supreme ability - making him a master pianist/painter/boxer/safecracker, etc., whatever he wants. The only requirement is that he sell it on to someone else for less than he paid for it.
posted by five toed sloth at 8:11 AM on September 30, 2019

I am literally listening right now to an episode of The Truth Podcast in which this is a factor. Not necessarily a horror story (and sort of a movie only for your ears), but definitely a little creepy.
posted by Fuego at 8:27 AM on September 30, 2019

Not a movie, but the second episode of Creeped Out on Netflix features a puppet theater that traps a kid's parents as puppets until the kid can find someone else to pass the curse onto.
posted by subocoyne at 7:44 PM on October 18, 2019

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