The Terrifying Tech in Classic Horror Films

From evil cars with minds of their own to chainsaws used to torture and taunt—many of our favorite horror movies would be nothing without a little technology. Here’s how it played a role in some of the spookiest stories on film.

Hold on there, Jack. Methinks your typing on this Adler Universal 39’ typewriter means you’re headed for a mental break in this classic scene from The Shining. Next up, chopping through doors with an axe.

Image by Warner Bros. Pictures//Hawk Films

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Buffalo Bill has opted for a pair of night vision goggles through which he watches Clarice Starling in the Silence of the Lambs. He doesn’t even need a skin suit to be totally creepy.

Image by Strong Heart/Demme Production//Orion Pictures Corporation

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Samara crawls right through the TV screen in this scary scene fromThe Ring. The lesson to be learned here is never watch VHS when DVDs are an option.

Image by DreamWorks SKG, MacDonald Parkes Productions, BenderSpink

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Paranormal Activity taught us if your husband wants to set up a tripod to film ghosts attempting to possess you, your answer should always be no.

Image by Blumhouse Productions

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In Dawn of the Dead, humans took on zombies from this Bell Jet Ranger II helicopter.

Image by Laurel Group

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This Geiger–Müller counter played a role in The Hills Have Eyes.

Image by Twentieth Century-Fox

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This creepy music box comes from a scene in the 1980 movie The Changeling.

Image by Chessman Park Productions

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Seriously, we should all just stay away from TVs forever. Because that’s how people are abducted in horror films, just like Carol Anne in Poltergeist. “They’re heeere!”

Image by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/SLM Production Group

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The Descent gives us another scary flick takeaway—don’t go rappelling down a deep dark hole because there are things down there that want to eat you. Thank goodness for that pick axe.

Image by Celador Films/Northmen Productions/Path

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A machete is a staple of horror movies, and it’s the weapon of choice of Jason in Friday the 13th.

Image by Celador Films/Northmen Productions/Path

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Glove plus blade equals a great tool for snatching people in their sleep, which is exactly how Freddie Krueger rose to infamy in Nightmare on Elm Street.

Image by The Elm Street Venture

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Saw is evidence that a reversed bear trap is not just for catching bears, but also killing and taunting helpless hostages. Look how frightened she is!

Image by Evolution Entertainment/Saw Productions Inc./Twisted Pictures

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Psycho was the movie that spawned a lot of poor hygiene, because how do you shower safely after watching that?

Image by Shamley Productions

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Gun and hand become one terrifying megaweapon in this scene from Videodrome.

Image by Canadian Film Development Corporation/Famous Players

Image curation/research by Attila Nagy

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