A Bloody Good Time 9.27.12: The 10 Worst Horror Movie Monsters/Villains
Posted by Joseph Lee on 09.27.2012
From Toshio in The Grudge and the aliens in Signs to the goblins in Troll 2, Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, and others, 411's Joseph Lee ranks his Top 10 Worst Horror Movie Monsters/Villains!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Last week I ranked the Hellraiser series. I've got some things to get to. So before we get to this week's ABGT, let's talk about October.
Some of you (hopefully all of you) may read Shawn S. Lealos' Alternate Takes, in which he goes over all things comic book related. He's had knockout tournaments for comic heroes and villains, and it seems to have went over very well.
Normally in October I have a huge countdown of some kind, but wanted to mix it up this year. Lealos' Knockout deal was such a good idea that with his permission, I decided to steal it. Okay, I guess the technical term is "borrow", but you get the idea. Starting October 4, we will begin a 32-character tournament for horror movie villains, monsters, what have you.
How does this affect you? You decide who wins! I'm going to make a 32 list based on your suggestions, rank them by my own opinion to determine seeding and then I'm staying out of it. Each week there will be a poll with each matchup that you will vote on who you like better. All I will do is provide write-ups for the matchup, give the strengths and weaknesses of each and then count the winner. For all of those who hate my opinions, this is your chance to voice your own! It all goes down next week.
Here is a list of who I have so far, based on the most obvious choices and the most votes from your comments: Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jigsaw, Chucky, Pinhead, Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, Leatherface, The Wolf Man, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Godzilla, King Kong, Norman Bates, Ghostface, Pennywise, Predator, Xenomorphs, The Creeper, The Tall Man, Leslie Vernon, Henry (from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), Otis Firefly, Victor Crowley, Sadako, The Shark from Jaws, The Thing, Jack Torrence, The Deadites, Patrick Bateman, Candyman.
I haven't ranked them based on my own preference yet, I'll do that before putting them into brackets next week.
Now here's the important part. This week only we're having a special buy-in round for the 32nd spot. Whoever gets the most votes from this list, based on comments from last week, gets the final spot in the tournament. Your choices are:
John Doe (Seven), Annie Wilkes (Misery), Henry Kane (Poltergeist 2), Gage Creed (Pet Sematary), Baby Jane Hudson (Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?), Brice (Below), Frank Zito (Maniac), Eddie Quist (The Howling), Belial (Basket Case), Angela (Sleepaway Camp), The Truck (Duel), Damien Thorn (The Omen), Matt Cordell (Maniac Cop), The Killer Tomatoes, Jerry Blake (The Stepfather), Cujo, Leprechaun, Dr. Giggles, Lionel's Mother (Dead Alive), Billy Chapman (Silent Night, Deadly Night), Alymer (Brain Damage), Luther Watts (Luther the Geek), Asami (Audition), Pumpkinhead
Look at that rather large list carefully and vote. If I have to break a tie, I will, so hopefully it's definitive who gets that last spot.
It's kind of funny some of you voted for a couple of those, because I actually have them on this week's list.
This week, as a precursor to the October-long Knockout tournament, I'm looking at the worst horror movie monsters/villains. These are the antagonists of horror films that are either laughably stupid or so inept at their job that they are never believable as a threat. I could start naming off things like Monsturd or The Gingerdead Man but those movies were never meant to be taken seriously so you can't really blame them for being jokes. As dumb as a movie like Jack Frost is, its clearly meant to be parody. It's the exact same deal with Leprechaun. You may not like the movies, but they aren't meant to be scary so you can't hate them for not being scary.
I may be repeating myself slightly from when I did an annoying characters list earlier in the year, but it's not like my opinion is going to change. However some of these weren't annoying, just stupid. Some were both.
#10: Pumpkinhead (Pumpkinhead)
See what I mean? Do you know why I think Pumpkinhead is a bad movie villain? All flash and no substance. You see, he looks like a menacing villain, but he's involved in a movie franchise that's pretty bad and for a vengeance demon he never seems to be anything more than a mindless monster. He looks good because he was designed by Stan Winston. Stan Winston could have made a version of Monsturd and it would have looked amazing. But looks aren't everything.
The Pumpkinhead films are all bad. I know the first is loved in some circles but outside of Lance Henriksen's great performance there is nothing in that thing worth salvaging, in my opinion. The monster is never used to its fullest potential and suffers even more when Winston's no longer involved and a decent look is ruined by CGi or bad puppetry. But hey, if you disagree, vote him into the tournament and let's see how far he goes against some real horror baddies.
#9: The aliens in Signs.
I may have mentioned it before but I'm not a fan of M. Night Shyalaman. I know that's not exactly a surprising statement these days but I don't even like The Sixth Sense as much as most people (still decent, though) and think Unbreakable is not as good as everyone says it is. That's just my take on things. I think everyone can agree that the aliens in Signs are stupid. There is one moment in the entire film where they appear to be somewhat threatening, and it's a jump scare.
The rest of the film they have trouble getting through thin walls (with all of their advance technology), seem to have no strength to break down closed doors and the worst part...they're hurt by water. I'm sure it was Shyamalan trying to reference War of the Worlds but that story is actually clever and waits until after the aliens have left their death machines before killing them off with diseases that they haven't been exposed to. This makes the aliens stupid by having them land on a planet covered with the one thing that will kill them.
#8: The Giant Claw
It's kind of hard to decide between all of the 1950s B-movie monsters for a post on this list that you could slot any of them in here and be successful. Sometimes a movie monster of that era is designed well and could believably be a threat. I totally buy a giant spider as a menace in Tarantula. Godzilla's made a pretty good name for himself just by being an irradiated reptile. But The Giant Claw is something else entirely.
While maybe not the laziest movie monster of its time (see Robot Monster), it's definitely a stupid looking monster that could never be considered a threat outside of its size. And even then I may just start making fun of it as it dropped a house on me. I really don't need to write anymore because, I mean..look at it.
#7: Vagina Dentata (Teeth)
When I first saw it, I actually kind of liked Teeth. I think it was the fact that it was something new and original blinded me to the fact that its about a girl with teeth in her vagina. As horror villains go, that's not only lame but its impractical. She's only a threat if someone sticks something down there and she decides to bite down. Otherwise, what else is she going to do? Shove her crotch in your face and hope she can take off a nose?
Sure, the film gets around this problem by making her attractive and making every male in the world a sleaze that wants to have sex with her (even her brother). But what about the married guys that piss her off? Is she going to seduce everyone? It's probably not going to work every time and it may be easier to just buy a gun. Add to that the fact that if she's ever discovered she's getting locked up or having some serious dental work done. Problem solved.
#6: Toshio from The Grudge
I've discussed little Toshio before and my opinion has not changed much. The very first time you meet Toshio, you're probably thinking he's a weird little Asian kid. When you meet ghost Toshio and he does the cat howl, it's probably a little creepy for about a minute. Then you realize that this is all he does. He's not threatening. He has never actually harmed anyone in the entire Grudge franchise. All he does is sit there and make cat noises at you. That's fine, I guess. He could be the precursor to Kayako showing up and ripping your jaw off. But he just does it so often it's really irritating.
That's all I can really say about him. He's as annoying as he is useless. If the Ju-On films scared you at all, it certainly wasn't because of a kid who howled like a feline. The woman crawling down the stairs, making guttural throat noises and twisting her body like a contortionist? That's eerie. This kid? Just start barking at him. Maybe he'll run away.
I have to reiterate this. A villain in your horror film never actually gives anyone any reason to be concerned. Maybe it's the fact that he's there at all that's supposed to be scary. But I think if I had to put up with that kids meowing for as long as he does it, I'd start looking for Kayako. I'm going to die anyway, might as well not get tortured on top of it.
#5: The Ice Cream Man
I finally tracked down Evilspeak and watched it recently. I've come to the conclusion that Clint Howard just isn't scary. In that movie he's really not supposed to be, but he's the main villain in The Ice Cream Man and not once do I suddenly want to cut back on my frozen dairy products. As a concept, it could be good. Horror movies have made everything from toys to Santa Clause scary for someone at some point, so taking another childhood hero (of sorts) and making him an evil killer is a good idea.
But Clint Howard just isn't scary. He's a lovable goof. Maybe that's the point, or maybe the role was horribly miscast. Either way, it just doesn't work and there's no way I'm going to buy this guy as a threat. And if you need to know more about why this is a bad villain, this film is packaged in a set with Jack Frost 2 and Killer Tongue. Someone knows the place of this movie in horror history.
#4: Angela (from Sleepaway Camp 2 and Sleepaway Camp 3)
I'm not going to include Angela from the first film because even if I don't like that movie, she is scary in that final shot. That reveal will haunt your nightmares, even if you know it's coming. I think it's the way her face is superimposed over the young man's body combined with that weird noise she's making.
But Pamela Springsteen in the sequels is not scary at all. She's not pleasant to watch. She's just over the top and annoying. She made my "annoying characters" list because of the way she's portrayed in these two movies and she makes this list for the same reason. I'd rather watch any of the above films (or all of them in a marathon) than watch her performance again. It's bad acting and bad writing making a horrendous character. The fact she isn't #1 is a testament to how bad the next three are.
#3: Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Leprechaun? Meant to be silly. Killer Condom? Obviously a joke. Death Bed? Meant to be taken seriously. I could get into the weird pseudo-pretentious tone of the film but that's not really why this thing makes the list. It's a killer bed that eats people. It laughs, it digests and it apparently contains the soul of a demon. We find this out after a long, complicated back-story that is told by the ghost of a man trapped in a painting. I don't really need to point out that this movie is just weird.
This bed will eat anything, including people, fried chicken, wine and pepto bismol (sometimes it gets indigestion). The only reason this bed kills anyone is because everyone that comes across it is an idiot. They travel to an abandoned house and proceed to have sex, play poker, jump up and down, whatever. It's apparently the greatest bed in the world because it attracts so many people. If this movie were a parody, it could have been funny. But it's not, it's a weird, bizarre arthouse horror film with a killer bed.
Instead of posting a clip from the movie (it's not hard to find on Youtube), I'm going to let you hear the comedy routine from Patton Oswalt that helped me discover it.
#2: The goblins in Troll 2
Well, it could be the fact that there are goblins in a movie called Troll 2, but even if this were under its original name of Goblins, it wouldn't matter. These are some poorly designed monsters that do nothing else but make us laugh. Troll 2 isn't infamous because Halloween masks and burlap sacks kept us up at night with fear. It's famous for its bad dialogue, obscenely horrible direction and these guys.
Troll 2 may be a joke, but director Claudio Fragasso meant for it to be serious. Not only that, he still thinks he made a good movie. Best Worst Movie will open your eyes about him and it's not very flattering. These creatures aren't the worst part because they aren't in it as long as everything else, but the moment you see them you know there's no chance in hell of salvaging this thing.
#1: Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation)
Do you know why Leatherface makes this list? It's not for the rest of the series but this specific film. He makes the list because unlike everything else on here, he was the perfect example of what a horror villain should be. It's why he's also up for votes next week. He makes this list because this movie pretty much ruined the character for years. It's not enough that Leatherface was in a bad movie, he was turned into a joke. And I don't mean a cackling, wise-cracking boogeyman like Freddy Krueger in later sequels. Freddy told jokes but he wasn't the punchline.
This movie has a Leatherface that screams and wails while dressing like a woman. He gets told to shut up by Renee Zellweger and listens. As a fan of horror and a fan of the original film, I cannot fathom why anyone thought this was a good idea. If you want someone to laugh at, Matthew McConaughey is right there making an ass of himself. Don't ruin a beloved character just because you think it'd be funny. Luckily the remake came along and attempted to make Leatherface scary again. Whether it succeeded or failed is up to you, but at least it knew not to make him a joke.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, as preparation for the Horror Knockout, I'm going to look at what I think are the WORST horror villians/monsters. If they're not scary, lame or completely fail, they'll make the list (probably).
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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