Horror movies are all about the monster, right? Whether it’s the monster within (werewolves), the monster that is society (zombies), the monster we can’t say no to (vampires), the monster we can’t control (pandemic), the monster we can’t ignore (Godzilla and ilk), or the monster from the past (ghosts). You get the point.
But not all movie monsters are metaphorical. Or maybe they are, but they’re just so darn scary that our brains don’t work and we can no longer make the connection.
So without further ado, here are seven of our absolute favorite movie monsters!
Freddie Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
The thing about Freddie Krueger that made him so terrifying, besides that creepy song, was that you were only safe from him when you were awake. In your dreams, Freddie took control and he could come for you any time he wanted. It was Inception for the 1980s… and the 1980s were apparently a very scary place!! The reason he’s an all-time favorite, is because he’s also deadly funny.
The Pale Man (Pan’s Labyrinth)
In Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 Spanish-language film Pan’s Labyrinth, there is perhaps one of the most terrifying movie monsters that I have ever seen, in the form of an unnamed character known as The Pale Man. What makes this monster so scary is its simplicity. For those who haven’t seen this enchanting film, I won’t spoil it for you. Just be ready for it when it happens.
The Crawlers (The Descent)
This 2005 horror movie might just be one of the most claustrophobic, disturbing horror movies that I’ve ever seen, or at least it tops the list. When a group of hikers becomes stranded in a cave, the creatures they come across will frighten you to your very core.
There’s a reason that clowns are often listed among people’s worst fears. Me? I always liked clowns. But after watching last year’s remake of It I started to rethink that stance. Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise here is positively terror-inducing.
Pazuzu (The Exorcist)
If you didn’t catch it the first time, Pazuzu is the name of the demon that takes possession of Reagan in The Exorcist. What’s terrifying about this movie monster, is how brazen it is. Oftentimes movie monsters are just barely in the frame, hiding, working in the dark, only peeking out at precise moments. But not Pazuzu. Once the possession of Reagan takes hold, Pazuzu wants everyone to know he’s there, and he doesn’t give AF! Acting out, spewing profanities, all while trapped inside the body of a young girl. It is positively chilling.
The Thing (The Thing)
Set in a remote Antarctic research base and featuring a shapeshifting monster with teeth for days, you may want to leave the lights on for this one.
The Xenomorph (Alien)
While this creature’s first appearance came in 1979, she’s been terrorizing moviegoers ever since. Bony, slimy, and oddly protective (in her own way), the Xenomorph begins life as a parasite, which eventually kills its host. This bipedal extraterrestrial can track you by your electrical impulses, and when they find you, usually a good amount of slime is involved in some way.