Evil Pop Culture Spirits, Ranked From Worrying To Terrifying

Ghosts. Nobody knows if they exist, but almost everybody is afraid of them, something pop culture has taken full advantage of. But where do the evil spirits of horror rank compared to each other? We put it together, based on how you tick them off and how effective they are once you do:

Mr. Boogie, Sinister

On one hand, Mr. Boogie kills entire families. On the other, you have to go pretty far out of your way to get him on your case. Also, you can’t quite take a guy called Mr. Boogie entirely seriously, no matter how evil he is.

The Saeki Family, The Grudge

What’s creepy about the Saekis is that they’re the ghost as a virus; what starts out as a tragic misunderstanding accumulates more and more ghosts as it kills people. That said, all they really need is a decent therapist, so if you bring in Cole Sear, that more or less solves your problem.

The Candyman

Tony Todd put a real spin on the legend of Bloody Mary with this movie, so much so that he was brought back even though he was technically replaced in the first movie. He’s got every right to be angry with humanity, considering all he wanted to do was paint and marry a white woman, and for his crimes, he got his hand cut off and was stung to death by bees. Still, any ghost you can avoid by not talking into a mirror isn’t quite as threating as some of the others on this list.

Grace, The Others

On one level, Grace is fairly harmless, even if you do invade her home. On the other, she not only killed her children when she heard her husband had died, she actively refuses to let them move on to the afterlife. Do ghosts have a CPS?

Santi, The Devil’s Backbone

Santi is actually a tragic figure. Murdered by a bully, all he can do is repeat a loop, over and over again, even when he finally gets closure. Then again, the bully who killed him is stabbed with spears by all the other kids he’s pushed around before Santi finally gets his revenge, so he’s more effective than half the ghosts on this list.

Samara, The Ring

Normally, Samara would rank lower, but we’ve just gotten more screen-obsessed since this movie arrived in 2002. Today, if somebody found a creepy VHS, they’d watch it, get the phone call, and then upload it to YouTube thinking it was a kick-ass viral marketing gimmick. Although we suppose if it went viral, enough people would watch it that you’d probably be off the hook.

The Poltergeists, Poltergeist

Sheer numbers help the Poltergeists here, but also helping is that there’s not an easy way to get rid of them. This isn’t some creaky old haunted house; it’s a nice, new development that really, one just naturally assumes isn’t haunted. At least until that freaking clown starts moving.

Mal, Inception

We know you’ll object, but think about it. She’s dead. She haunts her husband. There’s no way to avoid her. Once you’re in the world of dream, your ass is hers unless you keep an eye out. Really, there’s only one other ghost who can top that, and we’ll get to him in short order.


Unlike most of the ghosts here, Beetlejuice isn’t really actively homicidal. He’s certainly a jerk, but what makes him rank so highly is that, unlike most of the other ghosts here, he’s intelligent. Once he gets the lay of the land, he formulates a plan to be cut loose on the mortal world and he nearly pulls it off. In fact, you can argue Beetlejuice got closer to beating the heroes than anybody else on this list. Well, with one exception…

Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street

We’ve got the most dangerous ghost of all right here. You can’t avoid him by staying away from his house, you can’t dodge him by not talking into a mirror, and you’re never going to finish his business for him to make him go away. Really, if Freddy’s comin’ for you, it’s a matter of how long you can stay awake.