Scary Jack in the Box

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He's not doing anything, but that doesn't stop him from being scary.


A jack-in-the-box is often a staple of childhood playtime and entertainment. Most times, it can be a fun toy for children to play with, but occasionally, it can also be a form of Nightmare Fuel for some. Either way, you can expect to see jack-in-the-boxes pop up in media.

May overlap with: Jump Scare, Surprise Jump, Monster Clown


Examples of Scary Jack in the Box include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Double subverted with the Farmers' Insurance commercial featuring a giant Jack-In-The-Box that fills the entire front of a classroom. The professor demonstrates how accidents could be "a little scary" by turning the crank, with the onlooking agents presumably thinking a giant clown will pop out and destroy the room. However, on the "POP" note nothing happens... until about five seconds later when a space capsule falls through the ceiling and crushes the Jack-In-The-Box.

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Maximilian Pegasus summons his Bikuri Box, a cackling, vaguely clownlike/GrimReaper-ish monster jack in the box, to deliver the deathblow to Seto Kaiba's Saagi the Dark Clown. Oh, did I mention that Bikuri Box stores a big scythe in his mouth?

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Used frequently by The Joker in all of his incarnations, particularly during the Silver Age of Comic Books.

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The jack-in-the-box in Neil Gaiman's horror story "Dont Ask Jack" (which was apparently inspired by an actual jack-in-the-box someone gave him).
  • If I recall correctly, the group of evil toys in Dean Koontz's Oddkins includes a jack-in-the-box.
  • In Jack Yeovil's Drachenfels, one character is murdered and set like this—his bones are removed and the rest of the body is folded in a box with a spring, then sent to a famous spoiled actress.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Cul De Sac had a school jack-in-the-box which, when opened, shot a clown into the ceiling. The class then spent the rest of the day hiding from it under a table.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In Wizardry 8 "Jack in the Box" is a buildable gadget that acts like a weak fear spell. Or you can put in the same box a demon doll instead and make insanity-inducing variant.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The short game Jack in the Dark (a promotional game for Alone in the Dark 2) is set in a toy shop and has an evil jack-in-the-box (who has the appearance of the main game's Big Bad) for a villain. The jack-in-the-box turns the toys evil, using them to kidnap Santa.
  • Mad Jack of Donkey Kong 64 is an enormous jack-in-the-box that tries to squash Tiny Kong flat.
  • In American McGee's Alice, one of the weapons is a jack in the box that breathes fire.
  • In King's Quest VII, this is one of the ways Rosella can die. In the tree house in Ooga Booga land, there's a jack in the box that will kill you if you open it.
  • The Joker is the most prominent villain in Batman: Vengeance, so obviously he has these in his arsenal. Unique in that they follow you if you get too close, and they seem to breathe fire. Their main weakness is Electric Batarangs.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

"The jack-in-boxes will always pop at every regal command."

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Walgreen's has intentionally-scary ones in its stores during Halloween. Turn the crank, and "Pop Goes The Weasel" plays, only for a Monster Clown to pop out and gives an electronically-rendered Evil Laugh.