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10 Most Insidious Horror Films About Evil Corporations

If corporations are people, then these big businesses are way more deadly than any of your favorite horror movie maniacs.
corporate horror films
By  · Published on October 16th, 2021

5. InGen (Jurassic Park, 1993)

Corp Jp

Evil is such an ugly word. When it comes to International Genetic Technologies or InGen for short, I prefer to think of them as misguided. Founded by the honorable John Hammond, the bioengineering company set out to bring extinct dinosaurs back to life. It’s a noble, albeit entirely stupid, cause. Does InGen skirt rules and regulations? It depends on who you ask. Are they willing to sacrifice human life to achieve their goals? Yes, but people die all the time. Do they ever learn from the terrible mistakes they make and the awful carnage they cause? Not exactly. But who can blame them? Dinosaurs rule! They smash things and roar. I’ll take all your InGen stock. This is one corporation you can always trust to bounce back. (Chris Coffel)

4. Cuesta Verde Real Estate (Poltergeist, 1982)

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With the deregulation machine that was Reagan Era politics in the early 1980s, the government put a lot of trust in corporate America. They naively believed that American progress was driven by the private sector, and that our citizens would be enriched by the opportunities corporations could provide. Trickle-down economics believed that by giving corporations tax cuts that would boost their bottom line, they would put that money back into their workers, creating a cycle of success. Naturally, that didn’t happen, and corporations used deregulation to boost their own personal paychecks by cutting costs that they funnelled back into themselves. 

This is the crux of the haunting in Poltergeist. Cuesta Verde real estate developer Mr. Teague chose to make more money rather than properly relocate a cemetery. This creates a domino effect, awakening a supernatural force that uproots the well-manicured lawns of his suburban hideaway, sucking it into a spectral vortex. There are a lot of themes that Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg play with in the film, but this one is underlined in blood red ink: the corporate world is going to drag us all to hell. (Jacob Trussell)

3. Silver Shamrock Novelties (Halloween III: Season of the Witch, 1982)

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Here’s the thing. Halloween III is both a cult favorite and a bastard stepchild with people to this day still loving it, hating it, and ignoring it all together. And that’s fine, I get it, you come expecting a dude with a knife you’re not going to be happy when the big bad turns out instead to be a corporation. But look, if you will, at all the stuff we get in exchange.

Tom Atkins, stud. A dense backstory involving witchcraft and Stonehenge. Another score by John Carpenter and his sidekick Alan Howarth. A kid killed as a test with the promise of millions more to come. And an ending that’s far darker than any other Halloween entry can claim as our hero screams to no avail while hell is unleashed across America. Silver Shamrock is a corporation targeting children, and you absolutely have to respect that whether or not you acknowledge the commentary on how real-world companies do the same via clever marketing, catchy jingles, added sugar, and the idea that you suck if you don’t have the same cool stuff your friends have. Others on this list are typically after profit and shareholder approval, but Shamrock’s CEO simply wants snakes and bugs to eat your kid’s brains from the inside out. That’s some evil shit. (Rob Hunter)

2. The Umbrella Corporation (Resident Evil, 2002)

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Just when you thought modern pharmaceutical companies are terrible and corrupt, the Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil franchise said hold my beer. They don’t just provide typical medical products. No, a majority of their profits come from manufacturing viral weapons to be used by the military. Their labs are packed with sick experiments that have warped human flesh into unrecognizable forms. But it doesn’t stop there! Their latest experiment, the t-virus, is unleashed about the world, leading to an apocalyptic zombie outbreak that threatens the survival of humankind. But despite the decimation of humanity, Umbrella persists, hiding out in underground labs to keep testing away at the t-virus to make it even more lethal. Plus, their leaders are always dressed in some combination of leather outfits and stylish shades, so you know they mean business. (Mary Beth McAndrews)

1. Weyland-Yutani (Alien, 1979)

Corp Aliens

When I think of evil corporations in horror movies, my mind instantly goes to the one at the center of the Alien franchise: Weyland-Yutani. The corporation’s nefarious deeds have been expanded on through Alien’s various tie-in media, from comic books, novels, and video games, but just focusing on the Weyland-Yutani featured in the original series give us a crystal clear picture of their corporate culture. The only interest they have in mind is their own, and they won’t let anyone stand in the way of the progress they want to see made in the world. 

That progress is focused squarely on the Xenomorphs potential as a deadly biological weapon, and they will stop at nothing to see their dream become a reality. Unfortunately for Weyland-Yutani, Xenomorphs don’t play as nice as they’d like them too, and in their pursuit to weaponize that race of aliens, they leave countless acid soaked bodies in their wake. We know corporations don’t care about people, and Weyland-Yutani leaves us no room to question that truth in the Alien franchise. (Jacob Trussell)

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Jacob Trussell is a writer based in New York City. His editorial work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Rue Morgue Magazine, Film School Rejects, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the author of 'The Binge Watcher's Guide to The Twilight Zone' (Riverdale Avenue Books). Available to host your next spooky public access show. Find him on Twitter here: @JE_TRUSSELL (He/Him)