For sheer visceral thrills, nothing beats a classic horror film. From Halloween to The Shining to A Nightmare on Elm Street, scary movies traffic in sensational sights and iconic characters intended to make you shrivel up in your seat. Because of their reliance on grandiose villains and elaborate practical effects, there are plenty of iconic horror props that have appeared on the auction block over the years. Take a look at some of the most valuable screen-used items that have been used to deliver scares.
1. Zuni Doll (Trilogy of Terror) // $204,000
Anyone who believes television can’t serve up the spooky stuff hasn’t seen 1975’s Trilogy of Terror, the made-for-TV anthology movie written by horror legend Richard Matheson and directed by Dan Curtis. While the first two segments are forgettable, the third, “Amelia,” has endured. A lonely single woman (Karen Black) is terrorized in her apartment by a “Zuni fetish doll” she intended to be a gift for her boyfriend but that has come to violent life. In 2019, the prop doll sold at a Profiles in History auction for a staggering $204,000, blowing away pre-auction estimates of $12,000 to $15,000.
2. Jason Voorhees’s Costume (Friday the 13th) // $45,000
It’s a close race, but the most iconic horror movie villain costume of all might be the tattered rags and hockey mask sported by jilted camper Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th franchise. A complete costume from the 2009 remake—jackets, pants, boots, gloves, and the mask—was offered by Profiles in History that same year and sold for $45,000.
3. Jack Torrance’s Axe (The Shining) // $209,000
Few rampages are as memorable as the one perpetuated by Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining. At the end of the film, an insane Torrance stalks his wife and son in and around the snowbound Overlook Hotel while wielding an axe, which he eventually uses to destroy a bathroom door to deliver his signature line: “Here’s Johnny!,” which Nicholson improvised. After filming was completed, the axe was purchased by a crew member during a sale of the film’s props, costumes, and set decorations. He intended to use it to chop wood, but fortunately, it never served its practical purpose and remained in good condition. The axe was put up for sale by Prop Store in 2019 and sold for $209,000.
4. Freddy Krueger’s Costume (A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child) // $14,900
Char-broiled villain Freddy Krueger haunted cinemas for much of the 1980s. The fourth sequel, 1989’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, provided the scares and Krueger’s classic look that fans had come to expect. Actor Robert Englund’s wardrobe from that film, including the familiar hat and iconic red and green sweater, came up for sale during a Premiere Props auction in 2014. It sold for $14,900.
5. Ripley’s Spacesuit (Alien) // $204,800
The bulky spacesuit worn by heroine Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in 1979’s Alien was enough to protect Ripley from the terrors of outer space while she tricked the Xenomorph horror of her inner space out of an airlock. The suit, which was said to be inspired by samurai armor, was offered for sale in a 2018 Profiles in History auction and fetched $204,800.
6. Martin Brody’s M1 Garand Rifle (Jaws) // $89,600
The climax to one of the most revered horror films of all time, 1975’s Jaws, involves Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) aiming an M1 Garand rifle at an air canister he has shoved into the shark’s giant maw. With one shot, he blows the beast up. The rifle used by Scheider in Jaws went up for sale at a Profiles in History auction in 2018 and sold for $89,600.
7. Gill-Man Mask (Revenge of the Creature) // $70,000
One of Universal’s marquee monsters was the “Gill-man,” the submerged monster from 1954’s Creature From the Black Lagoon. The character was designed by effects artist Bud Westmore, who was inspired by the Oscar statue bestowed during the Academy Awards. (He wondered what the blank-faced design would look like with a fish head and fins.) A mask used during the filming of the 1955 sequel, Revenge of the Creature, stayed in the Westmore family for decades before it was offered by Profiles in History in 2009 and sold for $70,000.
8. Gremlin Puppet (Gremlins 2: The New Batch) // $10,000
While Gizmo is among the more adorable screen characters of the 1980s thanks to his starring role in 1984's Gremlins, his fellow Mogwai aren’t quite so photogenic. This puppet from the 1990 sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, was operated by hand and fishing line. It sold for $10,000 at a Prop Store auction in 2020.