14 Scariest Bags in Horror Movies

Bags are everyday objects. They’re useful for holding many things. They also hold the potential to be utterly terrifying.

Bags don’t get much scarier than the one in Asami’s room in Audition (1999).

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When thinking of the scariest objects in horror movies, specific items might come to mind. Freddy’s bladed glove. Jason’s machete. Leatherface’s chainsaw. All iconic, all scary. But what about something more generic, something you might see in your everyday life that can be frightening when wielded the right way? Maybe a pair of scissors, or possibly a hammer? What about a bag?

Bags are some of the most versatile objects in horror movies. They are often used as killing implements. A scene where a killer uses a plastic bag over someone’s head is a common sight, and it’s almost always disturbing. But the horror potential of bags doesn’t stop there. They’re not just weapons. Bags are also used as disguises, sometimes in extremely memorable ways. And many times it’s not the bag itself that’s frightening, it’s the thought of what might be inside that terrifies us the most. Collected here are a few of the scariest bags to ever appear in a horror movie.

The Scariest Bags in Horror Movies

Black Christmas (1974)

Clare sits behind the attic window in Black Christmas (1974).
Maybe the best thing about Clare’s death by plastic bag is that it is never discovered, despite being visible through the attic window. Well, Clare is discovered once, but the person who finds her body is quickly killed as well.

Black Christmas is an instantly recognizable part of the holiday season for horror fans. Of its many memorable images, the sight of Clare, dead, sitting in a chair with a plastic bag covering her frozen-in-fear face, is what endures the most. The image is so wonderfully upsetting that it made it onto the original posters for the film. It’s not just the sight of Clare’s plastic-covered face framed in the attic window that makes it such an eerie piece of slasher history. Her death scene, in which she is attacked in her room while her sorority sisters have a party downstairs, is particularly unnerving.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Jason wears a bag and carries a pickaxe in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981).
Steve Dash and Warrington Gillette both played Jason in Friday the 13th Part 2.

When people think about bag-headed slasher villains, Jason Voorhees is surely near the top of the list. In his first appearance in the franchise as an adult in Friday the 13th Part 2, Jason wears a bag over his head with a rope tied around his neck. The bag isn’t as memorable as the hockey mask Jason acquires during Friday the 13th Part 3, but it’s entirely debatable whether or not the bag-mask is more or less scary.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Tina is zipped up inside a bloody body bag in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
Tina appears in the body bag twice throughout Nancy’s dreams in the movie.

In the early 1980s, Wes Craven was trying to create something new and different within the genre he’d found himself inextricably associated with. What he made was A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film with some of the most haunting and disturbing imagery in all of horror. One scene in particular that stands out is when Nancy falls asleep in class the day after her best friend Tina is killed. As Nancy dozes off, she see a figure through the classroom doorway. Standing in the hallway is Tina, zipped up in a transparent body bag, with blood staining the inside of the bag. Following Tina’s blood trail into the hall, Nancy then sees Tina’s body, still in the bag, dragged away by invisible hands. It is one of the most striking images in a movie filled with beautifully grotesque imagery.

Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Mattson gets suffocated by Chucky in Child's Play 2 (1990).
Chucky’s victim here, Mattson, was played by Greg Germann who is most recognizable from his role as Richard Fish in the TV show Ally McBeal.

In Child’s Play 2, Chucky continues to expand his methods of murder in increasingly violent ways. After Chucky is brought back to life in the Play Pals Toys factory and a worker is fatally electrocuted, a Play Pals executive named Mattson is tasked with getting rid of what he thinks is just a doll. He throws Chucky into the backseat of his car, not knowing that he’s sealed his fate. Chucky forces Mattson to drive him to Andy Barclay’s new home, and, with Mattson’s usefulness expired, Chucky uses a plastic Good Guys bag to suffocate the hapless executive. It’s not the most elaborate of Chucky’s kills, but it is fairly gruesome.

Dr. Giggles (1992)

Dr. Giggles drips blood on his doctor's bag in Dr. Giggles (1992).
Dr. Giggles was played by the late Larry Drake whose career also included playing the villain Durant in Darkman (1990).

As Dr. Giggles himself says, “a good physician always has the right instrument for the job.” But if you see this doctor opening his doctor’s bag, you’ll soon learn that the “right instrument” means the instrument of your demise. The bag isn’t really Dr. Giggles’, and he isn’t even a real doctor. His father, Dr. Evan Rendell, was the town’s doctor long ago, but Rendell went insane and murdered a bunch of people. Dr. Rendell became a local urban legend after he was killed, and his son (who is also insane) was eventually locked up in an asylum. The son, nicknamed Dr. Giggles because of his distinct laugh, escapes the asylum as an adult, finds his father’s bag of medical instruments, and continues his father’s murderous work.

Tomie (1998)

Tomie's eye opens from inside a plastic bag in Tomie (1998).
Tomie (1998) is the first in a long-running franchise that, to date, spans multiple films released between 1998 and 2011. The character of Tomie was originally created by horror-manga master Junji Ito.

Tomie is a movie about a monster. The monster just happens to be a beautiful teenage girl by the name of Tomie. Tomie is the kind of girl who everyone falls in love with, but the love she inspires turns into obsession, jealousy, violence, and murder. Tomie cannot die though, because each time she is killed she regenerates and lives again. But before we learn any of this in the first Tomie movie from 1998, there is a scene in which a man walks down the street with a bag in his hand. The man can’t tear his eyes away from the contents of the bag, and as gazes down we see what he sees. From a slit in the bag an eye slowly opens. We are looking at a living severed head inside a plastic bag. That is just the first of many unsettling moments in Tomie.

Audition (1999)

Asami patiently waits in her room for a phone call while an ominous bag lies in the background in Audition (1999).
Audition is directed by the Japanese master of genre films, Takashi Miike. (pictured: Eihi Shiina as Asami)

The bag in Audition is the central piece in one of the most well-crafted jump scares in any movie. Up until the scene that includes the jump scare, the mood in Audition is tense, but it’s not outright terrifying. Earlier, Asami was selected from a mock audition created as an excuse for widower Aoyama to select a potential new wife. Asami is shown to be quite odd, sitting perfectly still in a room with a phone and a large bag, waiting for an unspecified amount of time until Aoyama calls her. Then the phone rings, and the bag moves. It doesn’t just move, the bag lurches back and forth on the floor as a guttural sound emanates from it. We later learn what is in the bag, and it’s bad, but this first moment is what always catches viewers off guard.

The Bags (2000)

A knife sticks a killer bag to a door in The Bags (2000).
The writer and star of The Bags, Jeremy Gardner, has appeared as an actor in movies including The Battery (2012), Bliss (2019), and Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022). Gardner also wrote the scripts for The Battery and After Midnight (2019).

The bags in The Bags aren’t necessarily scary, but they are evil. The box they came in even says so. So when Kay, a grocery store clerk working in his first week, needs plastic bags for a customer, you’d think he would avoid the box clearly labeled, “EVIL BAGS.” But no, he opens the box and hands the bags out to multiple customers before realizing his mistake. Now there are killer bags floating around killing people. To make matters worse, the bags are multiplying by breeding with normal bags, and they could soon cover the entire town. If you couldn’t already tell, The Bags is a horror comedy in the vein of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978).

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Su-mi reaches towards the bloody bag in A Tale of Two Sisters (2003).
A Tale of Two Sisters is one of multiple adaptations of the Korean folktale titled “The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon.” (pictured: Im Soo-jung as Su-mi)

The distressing bag in A Tale of Two Sisters is crucial to a massive turning point in the movie. The story is about a pair of sisters who are living with their father and their abusive stepmother. Giving away to many details about the relationships within the household will spoil the experience for first time viewers. All that can be said is that the large bag seen being dragged through the hallways of the house is vitally important, and when it first comes on screen it is a shock that comes after another huge shock, and leads to yet another shocking moment.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Kris is carried away in a body bag in a school hallway in A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010).
In A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), it is Kris inside the body bag instead of Tina as in the original. Kris is the equivalent of Tina in the remake, though Kris gets more screen time overall than Tina did.

The school hallway body bag scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is iconic, so it’s no surprise that it would be revisited in the 2010 remake. Though the images themselves, of Nancy seeing her friend carried away in a bloody body bag, are effectively the same in both movies, it’s the altered context of the scene in the remake that makes it notable. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) uses the idea of microsleep—sudden, short moments of unconsciousness often as the result of sleep deprivation—as a way to provide a novel way of scaring the characters (and the audience). Now, Freddy and his dream world can appear even when characters are seemingly awake. This is what happens to Nancy in the remake. She knows she’s awake, but she still sees her dead friend in a bloody body bag. It’s an extra level of scariness.

Found (2012)

A head rests inside a bowling bag in Found (2012).
After Found, a spinoff movie was made titled Headless (2015). Headless is the movie within a movie that Marty’s brother Steve uses for inspiration in Found.

The first line spoken in Found is, “my brother keeps a human head in his closet.” This is said by a young boy, Marty, who previously discovered that his older brother is a serial killer when he found human head in a bowling bag in Steve’s closet. The head we see Marty pull out of Steve’s bowling bag in the opening scene of Found is one of many Marty has curiously looked at over time. When Marty’s brother Steve eventually finds out that Marty knows that he’s a killer, it is a turning point in what is basically a coming-of-age film. Found is based on the novel of the same name by Todd Rigney.

Terrifier (2016)

Art the Clown carries his garbage bag of deadly weapons inside a diner in Terrifier (2016).
Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) also carries a garbage bag in Terrifier 2 (2022), at one point attempting to use it as a trick or treat bag from which we hear the clanking of his various blades and other weapons.

At first sight, a garbage bag isn’t necessarily the most threatening of Art the Clown’s accessories. However, it is one of the most important. Art can be seen carrying a garbage bag over his shoulder like some sort of demented clown-themed Santa Claus. But only Art would consider the items inside to be toys. The killer clown loads his garbage bag with all sorts of implements of gory destruction, and in Terrifier we witness some of those implements in action as Art the Clown murders his way through Halloween night.

Baghead (2023)

The bagheaded entity in Baghead (2023).
Baghead is based on the 2017 short film of the same name written by Lorcan Reilly. Alberto Corredor directed both the short and the feature.

When Iris (Freya Allan) inherits her father’s pub, she thinks she’s finally gotten a lucky break after being evicted from her apartment. But with the pub comes everything within the pub, including a supernatural entity trapped in the basement. The creature wears a bag over its head to hide its hideous features, but it doesn’t always look like a monster. The creature has the power to take the form of a dead person, memories and all, when coming into contact with an item previously owned by the deceased. Iris’s father used to make money off Baghead’s powers by charging people wanting to speak to their dead loved ones, and Iris follows in her father’s footsteps. Iris’s father was also killed by Baghead (showed to us as the movie begins), which doesn’t bode well for Iris.

Bag of Lies (2024)

The bag from Bag of Lies (2024).
Bag of Lies is from filmmaker David Andrew James in his feature-length directorial debut.

The bag in Bag of Lies is a mystery. Distraught husband Matt (Patrick Taft) doesn’t know much about the bag when he brings it into his home, he just knows what he’s been told it does. The bag, when used as part of a ritual, is said to hold the power to heal. Matt can’t bear the thought of losing his wife Claire (Brandi Botkin) to cancer, so he performs the ritual with no hesitation despite strict warnings about its rules and vague warnings about its dangers. Claire seems to be getting better after the ritual, but Matt sees and hears terrifyingly unnatural things in his and Claire’s home. And just wait until Matt learns what’s in the bag…

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.