The YouTubes. I watch a lot of it. I especially like channels that are horror specific like WhatCulture Horror and Top 5 Scary Videos. There’s a few individuals worth your attention as well. I frequently check out (and subscribed to) Nightmare Maven and Possessed By Horror. My point is, ideas for posts frequently come from/are inspired by stuff I see online.
For instance, I’ve seen a few segments here and there on monsters that people have forgotten or don’t talk much about. But for some of those monsters, there’s a good reason for this–they don’t get the job done for whatever reason. That said, here’s my own list of 10 Monsters That Just Aren’t Scary. There’s a few from their list, but they all fell short for me in one way or another.
From Lon Chaney Jr. on, werewolves have never had much of an effect on me. The original Wolfman looked way too well groomed for one thing. True, the transformation scene from American Werewolf In London is a high mark, especially for its time, but the resulting beast itself was pretty meh. And the ab-riddled furballs from Twilight, I’m just gonna act like they don’t exist.
As long as I’m talking classics…sure the original Bela Lugosi Dracula can be tense and atmospheric here and there, but, well, I hesitate to admit that I don’t really like Lugosi much as an actor. I get that any movie is at least in part a product of its time, but nothing about this iteration of Dracula, or pretty much any really, ever struck me as suave, sinister, or menacing. Okay, maybe except for Christopher Lee.
This might be a personal problem. I think rats are fucking adorable, even the Gambian Pouched Rat they used for Ben in the 2003 remake of Willard. It doesn’t help to know that in the original, for the scene where the rats are all over Ernest Borgnine’s hands when Willard yells “Tear ‘im up!” was accomplished by smearing peanut butter on Borgnine’s hands so the rats would lick it off. That’s. So. Cute!
#7 Rawhead Rex
Maybe I just have a general problem with creature features. Most of the time they just don’t work. There are notable exceptions: Splinter, Carpenter’s version of The Thing, 1988 remake of The Blob. Most of the time, however, The Big Bad just leaves me unaffected and disappointed. Rawhead Rex is big, toothy, and loud. Sorta like Thanos in need of some dental work, maybe from Corbin Bernsen.
The Burrowers was, eh, okay, but these things just looked silly to me, I didn’t understand them.
Anyone who’s been wasting their time around this blog knows that I regard The Descent as one of the most over-praised, over-discussed, over-rated movies out there, and part of the problem is The Crawlers. They were okay for some cheap jumpscares, but otherwise not much as a source of horror.
Hear me out. The Cenobites are indeed gruesome. Chatterer is pretty creepy. Butterball reminds me way too much of the Michael Shea’s supercreepy short story “Fat Face.” But they aren’t scary for a much different reason. They’re just. So. Cool. The leather Matrix-like long coats, the bondage-themed look, and “The box. You opened it. We came.” I would totally be Pinhead.
Man I never got this one. I know it’s a cult fave. I know it’s got a very cool vengeance premise which I’m always on board for. But damn. I just didn’t get nary a single heebie jeebie from the ol’ punkin dude. It just looked way too much to me like a bad ripoff of a Xenomorph.
I mean, you had to know Bruce was gonna end up on this list. The problems with the mechanical shark that resulted in Spielberg rethinking how to shoot Jaws are pretty much common knowledge. While the end result still makes for some tense viewing, The Big Bad itself has not aged particularly well.
#1 Cthulhu, Elder Gods, Old Ones
Here’s how Lovecraft put it:
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far…some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
I’ve mentioned this problem elsewhere. You can’t successfully represent some being on screen if that being reveals those “terrifying vistas.” It’s just never gonna measure up, especially if merely seeing these entities or even discovering they really exist could be enough to drive one into despair and madness.
And that’s it! Head down to the Comments if you wanna share the creatures that you found particularly underwhelming.