Nothing is more memorable than a great movie monster. There have been many monsters in films over the years. Some have been amusing, some are annoying, and some actually make it to downright scary. Today, we’re looking at the monsters that scared us the most in horror films. While that is a hard list to narrow down, these eight definitely made the cut.
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The Pale Man – Pan’s Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth was filled with all sorts of fantastical things. It fits with the story of a girl named Ofelia who creates detailed worlds in her dreams to help her escape from her evil stepfather. Of all of those things, nothing is as memoerable or as terrifying as the Pale Man. He guards a gigantic feast in one of Ofelia’s dreams, and will attack anyone who steals food from it. Although he has no eyes, he knows when Ofelia grabs some food, and he quickly stuffs an eyeball into each hand, holding them up near his sockets so he can see. Yeah, it was just as disturbing as it sounds.
Freddy Krueger – Nightmare on Elm Street
There were plenty of slasher flicks with good villains, but none so memorable as Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. The product of writer-director Wes Craven, Krueger was played by Robert Englund, who managed to embody everything terrifying about the the razor-glove wearing serial killer. Krueger begins as a creature who only appears in the dreams of his victims, meaning that he not only attacks people who are at their most vulnerable, he also can’t really be avoided, as everyone will eventually fall asleep. He becomes more vulnerable when brought to the real world, but he’s still terrifying, no matter where you encounter him.
The Tooth Fairy – Darkness Falls
If you never saw the 2003 horror film Darkness Falls, you probably still think of the Tooth Fairy as a benign being that brought you money when lost a tooth as a kid. The elderly woman in the film was burned, accused in a disappearance, and eventually hung. She swore vengeance, and returned as a spirit bent on revenge. Her one weakness is light, and when the town is blacked out, she emerges to take her revenge.
The Crawlers – The Descent
There’s nothing worse than being lost, especially in an underground cave system. But just when you think things can’t get any worse for the group of female spelunkers, the crawlers show up. The eyeless beasts follow their prey using sound, not sight. The relentless nature of the beasts only makes them all the more frightening. In fact, one of the most terrifying moments in the film is the first time you see one of the crawlers. One of the women is panning a video camera around using its night-vision feature, and you see one of the beasts standing right behind one of the other women.
The Thing – John Carpenter’s The Thing
John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing contains one of the most inventive movie creatures of all time. In the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, you’ll find a research station. The station is home to a number of people, and one shapeshifting alien. This alien can take the form of anything that it has ever killed, including any of the people at the station. It also takes on various other forms, many of them extremely unnerving. Uncertainty, suspicion, and the fact that you can never know what the creature looks like are just some of the things that make it so terrifying.
The Predator – Predator
Another great example of a terrifying movie monster is the Predator. One of a species of alien trophy hunters, the Predator used a cloaking device to veil itself from sight, and a variety of exotic weapons, including a shoulder-mounter cannon, to take down its prey. Although the Predator isn’t actually seen on-screen that much, it’s the feeling of being stalked that gets to the men it hunts. The Predator is all the more terrifying because it isn’t hunting for food, or on instinct. It hunts for sport.
The Xenomorph – Alien
Quite possibly the most iconic and recognizable movie monster of the last 40 years is the Xenomorph from Ridley Scott’s Alien. Designed by renowned Swiss artist H.R. Giger, the alien has acid for blood, a mouth lined with fangs, and even another, smaller head with lots of fangs inside that mouth. From the birth of the alien as it burst out the chest of a crew member, to the numerous encounters the remaining crew had with the beast, it’s a mix of suspense, horror, and the terror of being stalked. If you want to feel just how stressful being stalked by a Xenomorph is, try playing Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation.
Pennywise – Stephen King’s It
Aliens and monsters are scary, but one of the most terrifying things in the world for many people is a clown. And when it comes to clowns, none is more terrifying than Pennywise, the supernatural clown from Stephen King’s It. In fact, Pennywise is not really a clown. He’s an inter-dimensional alien which reads the mid of its target and takes the form of whatever it fears the most. Pennywise appears as the Mummy, the Werewolf, and a variety of other monsters in the course of the story, but it’s the clown that he keeps coming back to, and it’s the clown that Tim Curry made so damn creepy in the 1990 film adaptation of the novel.