Ouija boards are just another board game, right? Think again. According to horror movies, they’re your worst nightmare. Monopoly, Clue, or, hell, even Jumanji would be safer options.
With Halloween coming up, let’s revisit some of the films that taught you exactly what terrors Ouija boards are capable of — in the most cinematic way possible, of course. Friendly reminder: You know you’re gonna be sleeping with the lights on when a video starts with “based on a true story,” so proceed with caution.
When their friend Debbie suddenly dies after burning a Ouija board, her friends brilliantly decide to communicate with Debbie’s spirit with the same Ouija board. Idiots. Things unsurprisingly go downhill from there.
Oujia: Origin of Evil — the second movie in the franchise and a prequel to the first — hits theaters October 21.
The Exorcist, 1973
This classic film took the horror genre to whole new level of creepy. When 12-year-old Regan plays with a Ouija board, she meets a new imaginary friend she names Captain Howdy. Turns out Captain Howdy is actually “the devil himself,” who possesses Regan and makes her do horrific stuff like masturbate with a crucifix.
Paranormal Activity, 2009
The OG Paranormal Activity inspired five more movies for a reason; it’s beyond freaky. A dude tries to confront the spirit dwelling in his house via a Ouija board, and the board later sets itself on fire. ABORT MISSION!
The Conjuring 2, 2016
If The Conjuring didn’t freak you out enough, its sequel will. Two young girls bring out a Ouija board, setting off a series of weird events that become known as “England’s Amityville” — y’know, the real-life Long Island house that inspired The Amityville Horror murders.
I Am ZoZo, 2012
In an indie trailer that looks a little too realistic, a bunch of friends celebrate Halloween by Ouija board–ing with a spirit called ZoZo. They would’ve been better off going trick-or-treating.
If you learn one thing from this ’80s cult favorite, it’s this: Do not, under any circumstances, play with a Ouija board alone. Linda ignores this warning and often talks to a spirit named David — who then ends up taking control of her life.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose, 2005
This movie, based on true events, doesn’t need an actual Ouija board to scare you away from them forever. After 19-year-old Emily Rose dies, her priest is arrested for negligent homicide. The jury is told Rose suffered from epilepsy and psychosis, but maybe something supernatural is going on here. In real life, Anneliese Michel died in 1976 after becoming mysteriously ill and undergoing multiple exorcisms.
White Noise, 2005
There’s no physical Ouija board in White Noise either, but the characters are still contacting the dead. Instead of spelling out words, spirits speak through audio recordings hidden behind the white noise on TVs and radios. When Michael Keaton’s character tries to communicate with his late wife, something much more sinister talks back.