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The Telekinesis-Centric Movies That Horror Fans Cannot Miss

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There are so many subgenres of horror that entire college courses are dedicated to the subject. Whether it be telekinesis, slashers, or creatures from outer space, every horror fan has a favorite creature that goes bump in the night. If you're a sci-fi fan, but already made your way through the greats, we recommend shifting gears to another type of mindbender: telekinesis-centric movies. Seemingly regular human beings with psychic powers bring a few key films to mind. The most referenced is likely 1976's Carrie. The Brian De Palma film starred Sissy Spacek as a girl with telekinetic powers that is pushed too far by her small town.

Pig's blood aside, a user on the subreddit r/horror recently asked which telekinesis-centric movie was considered best by fans of the genre. With all of the classic films making appearances on the list, the gruesome double feature that came in first may surprise you.

Psychic powers versus everything else

Humans tend to destroy that which they do not understand. Such is the premise for many movies centered around a misunderstood human with special gifts. Sometimes, there's a threat bigger than humanity, immediately pivoting the targeted human into a role demanding heroism. These films not only feature people with psychic powers, but they raise the stakes by positing those powers against paranormal circumstances. Although they aren't considered the best, these films came up in the conversation.

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood saw the immortal Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) reemerge from Crystal Lake only to go up against a telekinetic teenager, a new element to the usual camp fare. In another well-known horror franchise, Poltergeist (1982) kicked off the trilogy with 4-year-old telekinetic Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) as the conduit for the evil spirits in her house. Similarly, 1988's Cameron's Closet told the story of young Cameron (Scott Curtis), whose telekinetic powers release a demon from hell only he can defeat.

"Here's Johnny!" never fails to conjure an image of a smiling, ax-wielding Jack Nicholson for Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). Although Jack Torrance (Nicholson) is the first of the family to give in to the malevolent powers of The Overlook Hotel, the evil spirits are really after his son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The boy's shine is too enticing for the sinister hotel to ignore. Considered one of the best horror films of all time, The Shining also comes from the mind of Stephen King.

King released the sequel Doctor Sleep thirty-six years after The Shining, and it was promptly adapted for the big screen. Doctor Sleep saw a grown-up Danny (Ewan McGregor) return to The Overlook to protect Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl with telekinetic powers as strong as his own. King's 1980 novel Firestarter also made the list of best telekinesis-centric films. The sci-fi horror movie premiered in 1984, starring a young Drew Barrymore as a child with pyrokinesis on the run from a secret government agency. She's a firestarter, twisted firestarter (Note: The Prodigy song and movie are not actually related).

Telekinesis and the world around you

We're not condoning crime, but when it comes to solving a mystery or outrunning Jason Voorhees, we'd probably go with the former. Realistic crimes clash with the supernatural in these other telekinesis-centric flicks. Several films with real-world drama tend to appear on these lists.

For a blast from the past, check out a ranting Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes (1999), or The Gift (2000) starring Cate Blanchett (not the Jason Bateman one). In both films, a crime has been committed, and it's up to the protagonists to use their paranormal abilities to stop it from happening again. If you're still in a Cronenberg mood, The Mind's Eye (2015) may satisfy you. Even Roger Ebert's website points out the film's Cronenberg-esque moments.

And for a glimpse of what would happen if psychic twins went the way of the kid in Brightburn, check out 2011's Seconds Apart starring Orlando Jones and real-life twins Edmund and Gary Entin.

Scanners slides into the lead for telekinesis

David Cronenberg's Scanners (1981) was agreed upon as number one, with users doubling down that Scanners "is the correct answer. No one needs to post anymore."

Pulling from the (very real) MK Ultra experiments, Cronenberg tells the tale of scanners, humans born with paranormal abilities as a result of human experimentation. Cameron (Stephen Lack) is one of the many scanners whose abilities are uncontrollable until the ambiguous organization ConSec captures and doses him with Ephemerol, a drug that helps control his powers. ConSec is seeking out scanners for their own purposes, while rogue psychic Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) tries to destroy the security organization. The film is best known for its exploding-head scenes, which established the director's signature "body horror" style. Shortly afterward, Cronenberg directed another psychic-centric film — The Dead Zone (1983) starred Christopher Walken and was based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. As we'll see, the prolific author's work pops up in the psychic genre often.

Scanners had a tepid reception both in the US and Canada, but over time it became a cult classic, inevitably prompting a sequel. Scanners II: The New Order wasn't directed by Cronenberg, but kept in line with the vein-popping, mind-blowing action of its predecessor. The filmmakers swapped ConSec for local police, and Michael Ironside for Raoul Trujillo (Mayans M.C, Hawaii Five-0).

Scanners is currently available on HBO Max, and Scanners II: The New Order is available on Prime Video.