Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Psychobabble’s 100 Favorite Monsters!


Welcome, foolish mortals, to Psychobabble’s House of 100 Monsters. Creak up the steps and over the threshold. Within this vile abode you will encounter not 98, not 99, but one hundred of the most terrifying, horrifying, unpleasantifying creatures who have ever haunted the page, the screen, and the breakfast table. They are my personal favorite freaks, ranked from terriblest to really terriblest. No Halloween is complete without a visit to a spook house, and my house of horrors is as spooky as it gets. So I formally invite you to freak out to Psychobabble’s 100 Favorite Monsters. Step right this way…

100. Tar Man

First, allow me to guide you down into the basement where a certain deceased individual has recently been resurrected by a certain military-grade toxic gas. Don’t ask me who he was in life, but in death this standout star of Return of the Living Dead is like an E.C. Comics zombie in the oozing flesh and he wants one thing only... brains!

99. Black Frost

Sidestep the Tar Man and take a break by our deep freeze. Oops. Bad idea, because inside is a terrifying thingy that blasts incapacitating frosty air from its jockstrap. This is how Black Frost brought down The Mighty Boosh, and it traumatized many viewers of their surreal British comedy by baring its unsettlingly white teeth before breaking into a hideous dance of death. He’s one icy bastard.

98. Clayface

Wait a minute… that chap wasn’t Black Frost at all! His face has morphed back into its natural state—that of one Matt Hagen, better known as Batman’s hulking, shape-shifting nemesis Clayface, one of the nastiest and most genuinely monstrous monsters to ever menace Gotham City!

97. Wampa

Back in the deep freeze is another terrible creature, a towering snow beast with white, shaggy fur and clawed paws the size of trashcan lids. Is it the Yeti? Nah. They wouldn’t know what the hell a Yeti is up on the distant planet of Hoth. That’s where the Wampa whomps Luke Skywalker’s face off in the shocking attack that kicks The Empire Strikes Back into gear.

96. Pumpkinhead

Today is Halloween, and no Halloween is complete without a Jack-o-Lantern. This Jack-O-Lantern doesn’t just sit around on the porch with a candle in its head. It bites back. As created by special effects whiz Stan Winston, Pumpkinhead is a fabulous creation and his movie is an underrated Halloween treat.

95. Evil Laura Palmer

Now we will venture out of the cellar door and into the backyard where…wait! Watch your step! You’ve stumbled into the center of our circle of sycamore trees and into the nightmarish netherworld known as the Black Lodge where the white-eyed dopplegänger of deceased Homecoming Queen Laura Palmer crawls toward you while screeching the scariest screech ever screeched (and backwards, no less). The scariest thing about the terrifying finale of Twin Peaks’ original run, Evil Laura Palmer will plague your nightmares. Meanwhile….

94. Chernabog

…all hell breaks loose…quite literally. A mountain of the Bald variety bursts through the Earth. All manner of spooks fly about it. Perched at the top is the most threatening, hideous, horrific creature of them all: a huge-horned Hell beast with musculature that would put Fabio to shame swirls Fantasia into the stuff that bad dreams are made of. He has nice taste in music though.

93. Lady Stoneheart

From the woods comes a zombie lady bent on vengeance. Apparently, she did not like having herself and her son slaughtered at a certain wedding…a Red Wedding, that is. So she returned from the dead with a bit of magic and is now on a killing spree, but only in the pages of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, not on the Game of Thrones series. And that TV show is quite a bit less creepy because of her absence.

92. The Woodsman

Twin Peaks: The Return, however, is a TV series never wanting for creepiness, and it experienced what may its creepiest moment when a creature who rode into our world on the back of the A-bomb goes on a head crushing spree while transmitting a cryptic radio message across White Sands, New Mexico. “This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within” deserves a place with The Wolf Man’s “Even a man who is pure in heart…” poem among horror’s great bits of doggerel.

91. Victor Carroon

The Woodsman may be a thing from another world. Victor Carroon is an astronaut from our world who became infected with a thing from another one after an ill-fated space trip. Upon returning to earth, he slowly transformed into a big, nasty blob, but not before exhibiting more uncannily frightening human characteristics that make this star of The Quatermass Xperiment a sympathetic cousin to the Frankenstein Monster.

90. Boo Berry

You’ve been having a pretty rough night. Maybe it’s time for another break. Step back inside the monster house, step into the kitchen, and have a snack. I’ll just open up this box of cereal and….AHHHHH!... THE CEREAL BOX IS HAUNTED! Fortunately, it is haunted by the tastiest of all of General Mills’ monster cereals: the Peter Lorre voiced, Smurf-toned Boo Berry. One of the biggest downsides of going vegetarian a few years ago is I can no longer enjoy my favorite Halloween treat (hooves are a key ingredient in those mini marshmallows, you know).

89. Delbert Grady’s Girls

No one loves a good bowl of Boo Berry better than kids. Those two dead-eyed little girls in the kitchen doorway could probably use a few sugary bowl to pick them up. I bet they would eat it forever and ever and ever.

88. Rancor

Suddenly the kitchen floor splits open and you are dropped back into the basement, into a small nook you’ve yet to visit where you must prove your mettle by doing battle with a giant beast I call the Rancor. This is the creature who almost had Luke Skywalker for lunch in Return of the Jedi, and it is a horrifying creation despite looking like a potato with big hands.

87. Lizard of Doom

Did you survive your latest ordeal? Good. Then perhaps you will live long enough to get injected with a serum that may make you impervious to burns but transforms you into a repulsive, chameleon-like being with serious daddy-daughter issues. That is what happened to Steve Coogan’s mad doctor in an episode of the uproarious horror series Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible.

86. Fluke Man

Despite the fact that he lives in poop, there’s nothing funny about Fluke Man, a sewer-dwelling, Chernobyl-born, mutant parasite looking for a host in the toilet of our haunted abode. Fear not, because Mulder and Scully are on the case, but even these stalwart federal agents may not be able to stomach a gape-mouthed creature who burrows under the skin and smells absolutely terrible.

85. Madame Leota

All done in there? Well wash your hands and be sure to flush. So what’s next? Well, there’s only one way to see the future in this domicile of the damned. Step into the medium’s chambers where Madame Leota’s head floats in a crystal ball. Her incantations beckon the phantoms in our Haunted Mansion to rap tables, shake tambourines, ring bells, and play music from regions beyond.  She is both a marvel of theme park technology and a chilling spin on the evil fortune teller.

84. Groovie Goolies

And now the grim, grinning ghouls begin their tune. Drac is pumping the pipe organ. Frankie is pounding on his bone drums. Wolfie is strumming his harp thingy. Everybody shout…come on now, sing out. It’s time for the Goolie Get Together, and cheap jokes and molar-rotting bubblegum pop is on the docket. The horror. The horror.

83. Dr. Anton Phibes

Another macabre musician gets in on the act, but there is no poppy joy in the melodies of Dr. Anton Phibes. He is still mourning the death of his beloved wife, Victoria, and plotting the plague-themed murders of the physicians he blames for her death. Phibes’s zeal for death and skull-like face make him a monster through-and-through, but his love of music and art deco design at least make him a cultured one.

82. Elizabeth Selwyn

Elizabeth Selwyn is another wronged creep out for revenge. Way back in 1692, she was burned at the stake for allegedly playing footsy with Satan. 300 years later, a woman who looks suspiciously like Selwyn is serving as the concierge of our own little Horror Hotel (or our own City of the Dead, depending on which title you prefer). Whether she’s spitting on the assholes that sentence her to death or orchestrating human sacrifices almost 300 years later, Selwyn is as tough and self-possessed as Dracula.

81. Hitchhiking Ghosts

Wait! Where do you think you’re going? You can try escaping these sundry horrors, but you’ll never be rid of them. Just look over your shoulder. Why, it looks like you’ve picked up one of our Hitchhiking Ghosts. Is it the little chain gang refugee with the Cousin-It beard? Or the portly fellow with the top hat? You better hope it isn’t the skull-faced gentleman. It could be anyone of these marvelous illusions that have jumped from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and onto your person.

80. Zelda Goldman

The grim grinner hijacks you and drags you kicking and screaming back into our own Haunted Mansion. Your penance is to get locked in the room of a woman suffering from spinal meningitis who needs constant tending. And if she has her way, you will join her in never getting out of bed again. Demonizing the infirmed is in terrible taste, but no one ever accused Pet Sematary of being in good taste. However, many have accused Zelda Goodman of being the single scariest character to ever appear on screen.

79. Candy Man

You dash out of Zelda’s sick room and take refuge in the upstairs bathroom. Then in a fit of poor judgment, you peer into the medicine-chest mirror. “Candyman,” you say once. “Candyman,” you bravely repeat. Against all that is sensible, you say it a third time. “Candyman.” Now twice more: “Candyman, Candyman.” Way to go. Moments later, you have the bloody hook of yet another wronged individual—this time an elegant African-American man who’d been tortured and murdered by vile white supremacists— skewered through your torso. Serves you right.

78. Hill House

There is no sense in trying to run off again. No point in trying to escape to another room. Our next monster is inescapable. It surrounds you. It swells its doors unnaturally, transmits the booming of a bouncing cannonball down its halls, and imparts chalky demands for your soul on its walls. It is this house, Shirley Jackson’s (and Robert Wise’s) Hill House, and it will come for you in the night…in the dark.

77. Rudolph (aka: Gossamer)

You end up down a hall of barred doors. One swells, but not because of the haunting. It swells because a massive beast is pushing behind it, and he wants nothing more than to break out and… get a manicure. The door bursts into splinters and before you stands a gargantuan, wiggy mass of ginger hair wearing a rather sensible pair of tennis shoes. Monsters are such inter-esting people.

76. Grampa Munster

Up from the basement shuffles another creep who should be quite familiar from the small screen. He holds a beaker brimming with a smoking mystery concoction and wears a warm smile. Don’t be fooled though. This kindly looking old gent is really a vampire, and he may torture you with Borscht-belt jokes… or perhaps even run for mayor of New York. He is the patriarch of TV’s most munstrous family and the only thing more unsettling than his thirst for blood is his constant stream of goofy schemes that tend to blow up in his own face.

75. Stygian Witches

In a corner of Grampa’s basement lab, three eyeless women hover over a vast caldron. Be silent and still as a corpse, because their hearing is exceptional, and if they sense anyone in the room, that person will end up as another ingredient in their caldron stew. That is, unless you can snatch away the enchanted glass “eye” they use to see. In Greek mythology, they were known as the Graeae. Clash of the Titans tied them to the River Styx by renaming them the Stygian Witches. Either way they are a terribly terrifying trio.

74. The Kraken

Perhaps the Stygian Witches are not quite as terrifying as the great beast who troubles the Grecian shore. In Norse mythology, the Kraken is nothing more than a colossal squid. In Clash of the Titans, Ray Harryhausen made this mythical sea bully much more frightening and interesting by basically imagining the Kraken as a giant, four-armed reptile man. Harryhausen was such a master monster maker that most people now picture his beast rather than a big cephalopod when they hear the name “Kraken.”

73. Maleficent

When they hear the name Maleficent, they wet the bed. That’s because she is one of the very scariest of Disney’s scary villains. With her bizarre horned cowl, corpse-blue face, and ability to transform into a humongous dragon, she takes a fairly mediocre cartoon and transforms it into a towering testament to Disney’s ability to traumatize children.

72. The Blair Witch  

Maleficent will make the most hardened youngster run for the exit. That’s exactly what you do when she appears, dashing out the back door and into a vast, tree-crowded yard that seems to go on for miles and miles. How did you end up out here so far from any trace of humanity? Well, there is a trace up in that tree: a bundle of sticks tied to resemble a stick-figure man. Was it made by the Blair Witch? You’ll go to your grave wondering that because she will never appear even when she forces you to stand facing a corner right before your lights go permanently out. That you never see her makes her infinitely more terrifying.

71. The Grand High Witch

Of course, sometimes seeing a witch can be paralyzing too. But that’s no witch! Why, it’s nice Angelica Houston coming to greet you. Wait a minute…what is she doing? That’s no Angelica Houston face. It’s a mask, and underneath is the most awful face you will ever see. That face is a nasty match for the Grand High Witch’s intention to turn you and everyone you known into mice.

70. The Wild Things

Now what?!? What the Hell are those hulking things plodding out of the woods, things so uncontrollable that even the Grand High Witch goes running in fear. Why, they’re not horrible at all. They just want to howl with you under the full moon and parade around with you perched on their backs. These wild things may be the most lovable monsters you’ll meet in this accursed place, so you might as well enjoy their company while it lasts. Let the wild rumpus start!

69. Chucky

Now who’s this little fellow? Another kid-friendly creature? Then why is he cursing like a longshoreman and wielding a kitchen knife? Ack. He must be one of those demonically-possessed dolls. At least you may get a few laughs before he hacks you to bits.

68. Morty Ingles

That doll turned out to be an unpleasant surprise, didn’t it? Well, that funny little ventriloquist’s dummy propped on Don Rickles’s lap has to be totally benign aside from its cutting sense of humor, right? Another façade falls away and underneath the generic dummy mask is Rickles’s mutant brother Morty growing out of his hand! The most shocking twist in Tales from the Crypt’s long history of shocking twists produces one of the most bizarre monsters on this list. And one of the funniest.

67. Skesis

There’s nothing funny about these puppets, which resemble rotting vulture corpses. Like Walt Disney and Roald Dahl, Jim Henson delighted in traumatizing the kids he entertained, and many kids came away from The Dark Crystal with a serious fear of beaked puppets. Sorry, Gonzo.

66. Elvira

Elvira made her name by putting a corny yet hilarious spin on z-grade monster movies, but is she a monster herself? If so, what is she?  A witch? A burlesque vampire? A were-wig? There’s definitely something inhuman about Elvira and she definitely deserves a place among our other ghouls.

65. Carrie White

By now you're probably thinking that I deserve nothing less than having a school gymnasium crush me to death. Fortunately, our next monster can take care of that without so much as lifting a finger. Carrie White’s mighty telekinetic ability comes as a shock since she seems so frail, but once she starts bugging out her eyes and cocking her head, apocalyptic horror is in order. I bet you regret dousing her in pig’s blood.

64. Skeletor

Okay, enough telekinetic chaos. Let’s head back into the house and retire to the nursery where we’ll crack open the toy box and look for something to play with. How about that muscle-bound skull man? Just be careful, because as striking as his purple and blue get up is, he is pure evil. The Masters of the Universe universe was lousy with similarly colorful, spectacularly designed monsters, so intergalactic thugs such as Trap Jaw, Beast Man, Mer-Man, Evil-Lyn, Whip Lash, and Clawful could have easily found a place in our realm of ridiculousness, but Skeletor wins the slot because he was the baddest bad of them all.

63. Spike

Oh-oh. Looks like you woke the baby. And that piercing cry is not going to stop. That little baby (well, they’re not even sure it is a baby) looks like nothing but head, neck, and swaddling, but it definitely has a healthy pair of lungs…at least until its put upon dad pierces them with a pair of scissors. Monster babies do not come more disturbing than the one who haunts poor Henry Spencer in Eraserhead.

62. Regan MacNeil

The eraser-shaving-speckled explosion that finishes off Spike wakes up another kid in our nursery, and she’s a Hell of a lot worse than the baby. She’s a filth talking, puke spewing, head-swiveling, crotch-stabbing bundle of puberty and Satan, and her antics completely revolutionized scary movies in 1973.

61. The Evil Queen

While we’re in the nursery, maybe we can take in another classic Disney tale for the kids. This one involves delightful plot in which a woman schemes to have her stepdaughter’s heart cut out of her chest. The woman is the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and she’s two monsters in one. For the first half of the film she’s a sadistic but beautiful wicked-stepmother. In the second half, the Queen transforms into a terrifying, apple-wielding witch that could transform any nursery into a nook of nightmares.

60. Flying Monkeys

Alright, turn off that video or you’ll have bad dreams all night. Let’s watch this other kiddie flick about a little girl who travels to a Technicolor Wonderland but wants nothing more than to return to a sepia pig farm in Kansas. That’s not even the scary part. Actually, The Wizard of Oz has lots of scary parts, and for many disturbed kids, the scariest are those grinning yet dead-faced blue monkeys capable of snatching little girls and delivering them into the arms of an even scarier being you’ll meet later in our terrifying tour.

59. The Man Behind Winkies

The Winkie Guards are other scary characters in The Wizard of Oz, and that scariness certainly inspired Oz-superfan David Lynch to name the diner-of-doom in Mulholland Dr. Winkies. Behind the diner is where a man comes face-to-face with an entity straight out of his nightmares and drops dead from fright in a scene often cited as cinema’s scariest.

58. Bruce

This kids’ room is too horrible, and not just because the Diaper Genie hasn’t been emptied in a week. Let’s get out of here and adjourn to the aquarium. Yes, friends, our eerie edifice has everything, even a fishy gallery large enough to display a 25-foot, three-ton great white shark. Bruce may not be the biggest carcharodon carcharias ever discovered, but he is certainly one of the most preternaturally intelligent, making him more monster than fish. He’ll swallow ya whole, make your net look like a kiddie-scissor class cut it up for paper dolls, and keep you out of the water all summer long.

57. Argonaut-Killing Skeletons

Just as mindless as Bruce the Shark, and just as deadly, seven sword-wielding skeletons suddenly spring from the floor. I hope you’re armed and an expert swordsman because stabbing something without flesh or organs is a real challenge. I’m sure the same can be said of animating the miraculous skeleton army that stars in the most unforgettable sequence in Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts.

56. Zacherley

Those skeletons are among the screen’s coolest monsters, but no one’s cooler than the Cool Ghoul. He’ll crack wise about classic monster movies and maybe even croon a groovy tune about having “Dinner with Drac” or joining the “Transylvania PTA”. He’s Zacherley, the horror host with the most, and he’s here to guide you down into…

55. Princess Asa Vadja

…our crypt where a woman burned at the stake and forced to wear a mask of spikes for witchery or Satan worshipping or some other such crime against Christian decency is entombed. Whoops. I think you just dripped a little blood on her, and now Princess Asa Vajda is poised to return to life to make yours miserable.

54. Irena Dubrovna

It’s hard not to feel sorry for someone who was tortured and murdered by a bunch of religious fanatics, even if that someone is as terrifying as Princess Asa Vajda. It’s even harder not to feel sorry for a woman whose fanatical religious beliefs have rendered her unable to enjoy a role in the hay without turning into were-cat…or at least believing she has turned into a were-cat. Whether Irena Dubrovna is a real monster or only thinks she’s one, she is certainly capable of cold-blooded murder. But you won’t hold that against her when you fall victim to her cool charms in Cat People.

53. The Cookie Monster

All this monstery mayhem is making you hungry. Then I shall escort you back to the kitchen where you can take a cookie from our jar. Gasp! It looks like someone already devoured them all! What wicked hell-beast would do such a thing? And it almost looks as if her merely crushed them up in his mouth without even swallowing them…what a waste! This could only be the vile work of that soul-shattering fiend known as the Cookie Monster!

52. Large Marge

Oh, come on. I realize that the Cookie Monster is a thing of unspeakable horror, but you’re actually trying to escape again? It hasn’t worked out for you so far. But I suppose that when you saw that big rig parked out in front of our domicile of deviance, you saw an easy way out. Well, good luck, because that normal-looking trucker has an awful secret. It seems that on this very night, ten years ago, on this same stretch of road, in the dense fog, just like this, she saw the worst accident she ever seen. There was this sound like a garbage truck dropped off the Empire State Building… And when they finally pulled the driver's body from the twisted, burning wreck, it looked like... THIS!


51. Baboo Yagu

Wow. So you’re staying in that truck, eh? Possibly not a good idea, especially since Large Marge pulls over to pick up yet another passenger. This one is even more terrible than the phantom driver. He’s a Cockney nut job…a green, witchy villain with a polo mint taped to his left eye and an oversized thumb (a real boon to hitchhikers such as him). The tale of how that thumb came to be is as disturbing as Large Marge’s story: born with a thumb as tiny as a single sugar puff, Baboo Yagu hunted down a hornet who stung that puny digit until it swelled to gigantic proportion. Ohhh the pus! The pain! The black voodoo! The wet jigsaw puzzle! Baboo Yagu  is the most nefarious creep to trouble The Mighty Boosh and the unsuspecting comedy fans who expect hilarity rather than undiluted horror from the cult British sitcom.

50. Ymir

Off in the distance, a strange craft from 20 Million Miles from Earth crashes to the ground. Out totters a tiny creature smaller than Baboo Yagu’s sugar-puff thumb. But the helpless space-reptile rapidly grows to King Kong-size and engages in some very Kong-like behavior. Ymir is Ray Harryhausen’s tribute to the big gorilla that inspired him to become a stop-motion master, and the sweet, confused, unfairly pursued creature may even project more inherent humanity than the king of apes.

49. Sparky

Another sweet-natured monster comes trotting down the road. The last time it did, Sparky got squished by an oncoming car, but its inventive young owner stitched his beloved wiener dog back together creating a lovable little frankenweenie.

48. The GhoulLunatics

Sparky yips and dashes off, leading you right back to that terrible place you so wanted to escape. Sorry. There’s no escape. Not when we’re just halfway through our hundred horrible monsters. So you chase Sparky back into the house, down the staircase spiraling into the basement (Hiya, Tar Man! Still there, I see!), and down deeper still into a secret crypt where three positively unpleasant looking individuals are vying for your attention. The Vault Keeper beckons you to hear a terrifying tale of VENGEANCE FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!!! from his VAULT OF HORROR. An Old Witch with a single bulging eye cackles over a criminally comic story of INFIDELITY AND MURDER!!!! as she attempts to shroud you in THE HAUNT OF FEAR. Finally, a shrivel-faced Crypt Keeper yearns to share his TALES FROM THE CRYPT!!!!!!!!!!!! Which will you choose, kiddies? Maybe it’s best to just run back up those steps.

47. Sweetums

Uh oh. Someone is blocking your escape route. And that someone is big. Don’t worry though. Despite his gargantuan fangs, tattered clothes, and poor grammar, Sweetums is a friendly guy, and the coolest of the guy-in-a-costume Muppets (suck on that one, Big Bird). Sure, he may try to eat you, but that’s just because he thinks you’re so sweet. Endearing!

46. Im-Ho-Tep

Don’t fancy being a puppet’s canapé? Then you best dash back down into the crypt, past the GhoulLunatics (Gasp!!! Choke!!!) and into our Ancient Egypt section where a desiccated mummy is on display. Now he looks nice and harmless, doesn’t he? Well, then feel free to read that scroll rolled up on that table over there. Go ahead…

…Gotcha! The mummy’s hands begin to shift for the first time in eons. He shuffles out of his sarcophagus, and the sight of this drives you mad….MAD! (One would think you’d built up a resistance to this kind of thing after encountering fifty or so other monsters tonight. Go Figure.) Now step aside, because the most romantic of the classic monsters is off to reunite with the love of his life. Isn’t that sweet?

45. The Phantom of the Opera

Erik the Phantom may take issue with that last statement, because he’s pretty romantic too. He’s also a great lover of music. Sure, terrorizing the chanteuse you adore and killing everyone who might get in the way of her career is highly antisocial behavior, but cut the dude some slack. He lives in a sewer, has a face like a melted skull, and is a monster. They play by different rules.

44. Ash’s Hand

Enough monkeying around in the basement. Come on back upstairs and have a seat at the kitchen table. Maybe you’d be interested in picking up a plate. Hmmm. That’s odd. You didn’t intend to smash that plate over your head. It’s almost as if your hand has a mind of its own. That’s right, Jack! Your hand, much like Ash’s in Evil Dead II, is all full of demons, and there’s only one way to deal with a hand like that. Cut it off and tell it, “You’re going down.” If it runs off and still tries to kill you, you can always fight back by attaching a chainsaw to the stump. Groovy.

43. Anthony Fremont

Ding-dong! You step away from your latest confrontation to answer the doorbell. Why, it’s just a sweet-faced kid from down the block. But what’s he holding? Some sort of two-headed gopher? Better tell little Anthony Fremont that he did a real good thing making that disgusting creature or he’s liable to wish you into the cornfield or zap you into a jack-in-the-box. Then it would not be such a good life.

42. Witch Hazel

Kids love cartoons, so you deal with Anthony by sitting him in front of the TV and switching on Looney Tunes. This is a good one! It’s the one where Bugs Bunny goes trick-or-treating and ends up at the home of a hairpin-spouting witch! Sure, she wants to eat Bugs, but is she so much more terrible than a coyote constantly scheming to eat a helpless roadrunner or a talking pig? She’s a delight, and her appearance means that Looney Tunes are about to indulge in a bit of Halloweeny atmosphere, which makes a looney thing even loonier.

41. Vermithrax Pejorative

Suddenly there’s a deafening swoosh from above. We all run out onto the lawn: me, you, Anthony, the TV. We gaze up into the sky to see a dragon with a massive wingspan swooping through the sky. We have never seen a dragon like this. Nothing created with stop-motion or CGI compares. Even Guillermo del Toro and dragon-master George R.R. Martin agree that the star of Dragonslayer is the greatest dragon ever conceived for film. Vermithrax Pejorative is not only marvelously realized, but her name is totally hilarious.

40. Audrey II

Vermithrax may be a visually awesome giant monster, but can she talk? Can she sing?? Audrey II can do all that and more. It’s an intergalactic houseplant that exudes personality, feeds on human blood, draws in record-breaking crowds of gawpers, and can probably do an amazing rendition of “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” too.

39. Mr. Dark

Shhh. Listen. Is that a calliope you hear? Hey, maybe a carnival has come to town! You skip down the road, away from that terrible house whose grounds should be sowed with salt, and toward a shadowy carnival ground. In the center stands a debonair gentleman in coat and top hat who promises you everything you could want if you just take a look at yourself in his hall of mirrors. You want to be forever rid of that foul, foul house in which you’ve been recently imprisoned? Dumb wish, because Mr. Dark of Something Wicked This Way Comes may be one of the most charming demons on this list, but he’s also a right bastard when it comes to fulfilling wishes.

38. Killer BOB

Ping! Wish fulfilled. You don’t have to go back to that house, but you do have to spend some time in our Hall of Mirrors. You peer into one, but it is not yourself you see reflected. It is a grotesquely grinning man with shoulder-length, greasy, grey hair. Looks like you’re back in the Black Lodge, and now Killer BOB is with you. He may look like a set decorator, but he’s actually the embodiment of man’s capacity for evil.

37. HAL

A beam of light falls on you and you are whisked out of the Black Lodge and into a vast spacecraft hovering near Jupiter space. An unsettlingly calm voice keeps calling you “Dave.” It’s just the ship’s computer. Nothing too monstrous about that…except HAL is more like Frankenstein’s creation than a laptop. He’s a sentient and surprisingly emotional man-made machine willing to kill rather than be undermined or disconnected.

36. Kang and Kodos

Silence, Earthling! This spacecraft has just been invaded by a pair of one-eyed, tentacled creatures from Rigel VII, and your puny species is downright prehistoric compared to the Rigellians. Look! They have even replaced your primitive table-tennis paddles with an electronic, interactive game called Pong! Cower beneath their spirit of hostility and menace!

35. Dr. Hannibal Lector

Fortune is on your side. You find a board with a nail in it, and the makeshift weapon sends Kang and Kodos on the run. They beam you back to Earth, where you end up in a high-security prison facility. You approach a glass wall behind which is a pretty normal looking man with a talent for sketching and psychoanalysis. You’re lucky that wall’s there, though, because if it wasn’t, he’d eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

34. The Grinch

Being consumed by a cannibal wouldn’t be too festive, would it? Dr. Hannibal Lector is not the only beast on this list with an aversion to festivities. The Grinch actually hates Christmas…the whole Christmas season. Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason. Yet, there he is…showing up every year near December 25th on your TV or in the pages of that classic Dr. Seuss book. The good news about this monster is that he always comes around to the niceness of Christmas in the end, he’s barely bigger than a Who (who are so small, a whole population of them can fit on a speck of dust), and it’s nowhere near December 25th.

33. Willie

Well, then why does it look like you just got a Christmas present? Open up that box, and inside you’ll find a little, wooden man, but he’s not doll or toy. He’s a ventriloquist’s dummy. Sit him up on your knee. Now have a drink. Make him tell a few jokes. Have another drink. Set Willie aside and have another swig of bourbon. Wait. Did he just turn his head on his own? You must be pretty drunk, because now you hear him haranguing you. You try to smash him, but you’ve somehow destroyed a totally different dummy instead. In one final, nightmarish twist, you become the dummy and Willie the grotesque ventriloquist. Welcome to the Twilight Zone, sucker.

32. Betelgeuse

How are you going to get out of this one, Puppet Face? You might need to get your biological body exorcised from that wooden one. Better call in the bio-exorcist. Just say his name three times. Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse. You sure you want to do this? OK, then… Betelgeuse! He may zap you back into human form, but Betelgeuse is causing all kinds of mischief, transforming a harmless banister into a human-eating snake, scheming to marry your daughter, and forcing you to participate in a Harry Belafonte lip-synch routine. Better get rid of him fast. Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!

31. Anyanka

That was a close one. I bet you wish you never even started reading this list of Psychobabble’s 100 Favorite Monsters. Go ahead and wish you never started it. Wish that there have never been any monsters at all. Go on. Poof! A hideous wish-making demon fulfills your wish, but since you wished all monsters out of existence, she then instantly turns into the more human form of Anya Jenkins. The twist is that Anya’s a Republican…so she is still a monster! Ahh! This will never end! Fortunately, she is also very witty and the only member of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer team willing to call everyone else out on their lameness, making her the most amusing (ugh) “Scooby.” Just keep the bunnies away from her.

30. Count Orlok

Looks like the vampire slayers have their work cut out for them. Into this awful scene comes the big screen’s very first vampire of any note…the true Master of all creatures of the night. Before Dracula became all sexy, Count Orlok looked like a bald, beanpole rat. Boy, was he ugly! The makeup and Max Schreck’s weird, marionette-like performance make this particular Nosferatu cinema’s scariest.

29. Max Schreck

Don’t worry, though. Count Orlok is just a movie character and Max Schreck is just an actor. Or…is he? Bah-dum! Perhaps Schreck played such an effective Nosferatu because he really was Nosferatu. At least that’s what Shadow of the Vampire presupposes. As embodied by Willem Dafoe, this Max Schreck is hilarious, slimy, kind of sad, and as awful as the character that made him infamous.

28. Jack Goodman

Things are getting pretty hairy, but things look up when an old friend enters the scene. Unfortunately, good old Jack Goodman was recently mauled and killed by a wolf, and he still looks pretty mauled but a whole lot less killed. Jack’s still as chummy as he was in life, but he’s going to look worse each time he visits you. That is unless you slay the werewolf who made him a charming yet terminally bored ghost.

27. Talky Tina

Hi! I’m Talky Tina, and I love you very much! I’m an adorable little plaything with a newfangled mechanism inside by belly that makes me talk, move, and murder! I have cute pigtails tied with little bows and I don’t think I like you. In fact, I’m beginning to hate you, and I am going to kill you, because that’s the sort of twisty thing that would happen in the scariest episode of the Twilight Zone.

26. Ygor

Speaking of twisty, check out that guy’s neck! Looks like someone tried to hang him but it didn’t take! Actually, that’s exactly what happened. Ygor isn’t the garden variety assistant so many z-grade monster movies assume he is. He is a master manipulator masterfully portrayed by a leering, scheming Bela Lugosi in Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein. Lugosi did his finest work as what may be the most unsung monster of Universal’s golden age.

25. Granny Hart

After that brief layover in Visaria, we are back in the Zone, peering into the cottage of a bedraggled old woman bent over a bubbling caldron. At the sound of your knock on her door, she gussies herself up in the wink of an eye, welcomes you in with oodles of charm, and offers you a love potion. All she wants in return is your soul, which is apparently the only thing keeping you from poofing into a black panther every night at midnight. “Jess-Belle” may be the most cinematic episode of The Twilight Zone, and Jeannette Nolan’s delighted/delightful performance as Granny Hart is one of the series’ very best. No other witch on this list is so overjoyed to be a witch.

24. Illyria

And perhaps no other monster on this list is so filled with loathing as the demon Illyria. She has so much disdain for humankind that she hollowed out the body of the most beloved member of Angel’s detective team and used it as a vessel for her time on Earth. Illyria is a wild cocktail of hatred, superhuman strength, and childlike confusion regarding the ways of people. The greatest tragedy of Angel is not that Illyria took over Fred Burkle’s body…it’s that Angel got cancelled way to soon after she did.

23. Animal

The sound of Illyria pummeling you with her demon fists is unexpectedly drowned out by an even noisier din. It sounds like someone set Keith Moon, John Bonham, and a four-year old loose on a drum kit. Back in the band shell (where the hell are we now anyway?), a mad-brained drummer is beating his skins senseless and jabbering like a caveman. “Eat drums! Eat drums!” No, Animal, you don’t eat drums. You beat drums. And no one beats them like you.

22. The Gremlins

You back away from the crazed monster playing a seemingly endless drum soul then… oops! Looks like you knocked some fuzzy little thing into a small pool of water. It suddenly sprouts a bunch of weird back babies. They may look hungry, but don’t feed them…it’s way past midnight. No! I said don’t feed them! Does everyone around here have hearing problems? Now you’ve done it. The spirit of mischief Animal sparked ignites like an inferno as your series of mishaps results in a swarm of reptilian gremlins with the manners of toddlers. What we need here is a parental figure to get them under control.

21. Other Mother

There’s one! She’s patient, good humored, and a great cook. Just disregard those buttons sewn over her eyes, especially when she tries to sew a pair over yours before imprisoning you a nightmare nursery where she’ll suck your soul until you’re an empty skin sack. The Other Mother is utterly terrifying, the ultimate corruption of the person who’s main duty is to protect her children. If you’re as cagey as Coraline Jones, you may be able to escape her. If not, you’ll end up getting grounded... permanently.

20. Headless Horseman

A galloping sound emerges in the distance. Just as Other Mother is about to give you a lethal spanking, the sound becomes deafeningly near, and you are swept up into a strong pair of arms. Is this Other Father coming to your rescue? No such luck. It’s the ghost of a headless Hessian soldier who now uses a pumpkin to do his thinking. Or perhaps it’s just Sleepy Hollow’s head rapscallion, Brom Bones. Either way, this guy does not mean you anything but harm, and his petrifying presence causes you to pee all over his saddle. Even the Headless Horseman has no tolerance for that. He drops you back to the road, right in front of a toy store.

19. Killer Krusty Doll

To sooth your beleaguered psyche, you sink back into comforting, childlike behavior. So you go into the haunted toy store and buy yourself a doll. Considering your past experiences with Chucky and Talky Tina, dolls have not been ideal companions lately. Oh well. Some people never learn. This particular doll is as murderous and trash-mouthed as Chucky and Tina… and he’s even more hilarious than either of those two wads of plastic. Hey! It looks like the Killer Krusty the Klown doll isn’t really that bad at all…someone just flipped the switch on his back to “Evil.” You flip it back. He tells you, “I love you very much.” All is right with the world.

18. Renfield

Psych! Things most definitely are not right when some freak is glaring at you, giggling like a stalled motor, and snacking on cockroaches. From the corner of the store stares Renfield, minion of the king of the vampires and about a quarter-vampire himself. That lingering remnant of humanity make this sniveling sycophant one of the more sympathetic monsters on this list, especially when he is portrayed by the magnetic Dwight Frye.

17. The Alien

Just as he’s about to slurp on your jugular, Renfield gets a very queasy look on his face. Did he get hold of a bad roach? Nope. He’s suffering from stomach problems of a different sort. In a geyser of blood and flesh, his abdomen bursts open and out runs an adorable newborn alien.  In record time, the thing metamorphoses into a full-sized, alien murder machine with not one but two sets of bone-crushing jaws, basically literalizing the term “overkill.” The sleek, conscience-less creature corners you and is about to impale you on its jaws when…

16. Godzilla

…something rips the entire roof off the haunted toy store. A dinosaur-like monster the size of the Sears Tower flattens the Alien with one stomp and lifts you up to stare into its gargantuan eyes. It lets out a roar like iron rending and vomits blue flames into the sky. Is Godzilla friend or foe? That depends on the movie. You cross your fingers and hope that this massive monster is the one in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster rather than the righteously pissed A-bomb victim of Gojira.

15. Dr. Frank-N-Furter

Music soothes the atom-age beast, and a silky voice lulls Godzilla, who places you back on the ground and clomps off. You are left with the strangest of creatures, a stunning vision in garter belts and afro. Don’t get strung out by the way Dr. Frank-N-Furter looks, though. He’s just a sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania, and he thinks you look pretty groovy. Frank is beyond groovy… a veritable force of nature who could put Godzilla to shame, especially as portrayed by the divine Tim Curry (no one rhymes “satanic” with “mechanic” like him).

14. Lady Sylvia Marsh

If anyone could make Frank-N-Furter seem almost tame, that being might be Lady Sylvia Marsh. The Lady is a vampire/snake-priestess thingy who worships a giant night crawler and just has to dance whenever she hears a wind instrument in Ken Russell’s outrageous adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Lair of the White Worm. Russell’s empathy is clearly with the vivacious, anti-religion, anti-priggishness, and very funny Marsh and not with the dull prudes who would thwart her plot to feed virginal Catherine Oxenberg to her wormy master. She can barely contain her glee when blasting venom on a crucifix or baring fangs at her numerous victims.

13. It

Lady Sylvia Marsh is pretty evil. It is the embodiment of evil, an ancient force of all that is bad that takes the form of the things its victims most fear before consuming them. At its most deceptive, It takes the shape of a kid-friendly clown before destroying the lives of those young people, but it might also appear as Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, The Mummy, or The Wolf Man, making Stephen King’s It your one-stop monster shop and Psychobabble’s favorite novel, horror or otherwise. And once again, Tim Curry makes Pennywise absolutely compelling viewing.

12. Nessie

The last several monsters have taken you on a terrible globetrotting trip from deep space to Japan to Transexual, Transylvania, to Wales to Derry, Maine. Now you somehow end up in Scotland on the shore of a great loch. All is quiet and still. A ripple appears on the water. Then a torrent of bubbles break on the surface. The entire body of water quakes as an endless length of neck spears through it. The head towers above you. You reach for your camera, but you’re conveniently out of film. For the thousandth time, Nessie appears for a photo op with a dopey human who botches the opportunity.

11. Dr. Jack Griffin

Still marveling at what you just saw, you are taken by surprise when someone taps on your shoulder. Who’s there? Looks like no one, but as you walk off, you are tripped to the ground by an unseen leg and bonked on the skull by an invisible fist. The perpetrator quips his way through your beating, and you must admit, he has a sharp sense of humor. Dr. Jack Griffin pulls on a pair of trousers and the seemingly empty garment dances donuts around you while singing “Here we go gathering nuts in May.”

10. The Gill Man

Then from out of the loch, another creature rises. One so horrible that he scares off the Invisible Man, leaving you alone to face a scaly evolutionary throwback that is part man, part fish, and all monster. It’s your fault for invading the Gill Man’s watery territory. He reaches a webbed, catcher’s mitt-sized claw out and takes hold of your skull. Will this night ever end?

9. King Kong

Not soon enough! Because out of the surrounding woods trudges a humongous gorilla who scares off the Creature from the Black Lagoon and eyes you with curiosity. Aww. I think the big ape might be in love! He whisks you up in his massive paw and makes off with you to the highest point in the woods. Old King Kong may be big and gruesome, but you’re also kind of charmed by him and he has your full sympathy when an assault from the sky attempts to rescue you.

8. Darth Vader

Among the old timey airplanes that blast away at King Kong is a strange looking vehicle from a galaxy far, far away. The pilot of this tie-shaped aircraft is part man, part machine, a monstrous abomination—twisted and evil. So why is he trying to help you? Oh, he isn’t. He’s trying to blast your face off, and when Kong drops you to the ground, the Dark Lord of the Sith steps out of his TIE Fighter and raises his light saber over his head to slice you in half.

7. Medusa

Something distracts Darth Vader. He halts in mid slice, gazes forward, and instantly turns into a monument of stone. Better shield your eyes or suffer the same fate, because the snake-haired gorgon Medusa has just entered the fray. Is there anything more terror stoking than a creature so hideous that her appearance has the power to kill? And has Ray Harryhausen ever conjured a more magical creature than the Medusa who stalks Harry Hamlin through her shadowy lair in Clash of the Titans?

6. The Wolf Man

The monster onslaught is officially out of control as Medusa’s stare is broken by the piercing bay of a wolf. She slithers off and a furry, rabid, manimal drops from above. You’d give it a lethal whack in the face with the silver dollar in your pocket if you didn’t feel so sorry for Larry Talbot—the truly tragic man inside the wolf. You give him a sad, understanding smile then dash off before he treats your jugular like a dog biscuit.

5. Mr. Hyde

The full moon fades behind a dense bank of clouds, and The Wolf Man once again transforms back into Larry Talbot far behind you. Directly in front of you, kindly Henry Jekyll does the opposite. His elegant features grow soft and hairy. His well-kept teeth slump into a disarray of yellowed tombstones. His behavior undergoes a similar devolution as he leers at you and schemes to imprison you in an abominable love nest. As portrayed by Frederic March in an Oscar-winning performance, Mr. Hyde is the most disturbing monster of horror cinema’s earliest history. So you’d do well to get moving.

4. The Wicked Witch of the West

At the end of the gas-lit street, cobblestones segue into yellow bricks. Is that a path out of this endless nightmare of monsters? Nope! Because down dives a green-faced witch on a flying broomstick. As she tosses a ball of fire at you, she cackles something about ruby slippers. You glance down at your feet. Now how did they get there? Better give the witch back her shoes because she is a relentless hunter and won’t stop until she does to you what she thinks you did to her sister. Many children got their first taste of horror watching the Wicked Witch of the West terrorize Dorothy (and her little dog, too), and she has not lost an iota of her nightmare-inducing potency in nearly 80 years.

3. The Bride of Frankenstein

You lob your shoes at the Witch, which seems to appease her, because she flies off leaving you stranded in the driving rain outside of a looming, stone castle. You seek refuge from all this madness inside, where a raving doctor and his more erudite mentor stand over a shrouded figure on a slab. Oh good! She’s alive…alive! The experiment was a success, and a rather glamorous woman with a fashion-forward tower of hair bolts upright on the table. She only has four minutes of screen time in the film named after her, but the Bride of Frankenstein packs a lot of living into them. She learns to walk by leaning on the shoulders of her creators, takes in all around her with a wide-eyed mixture of wonder and disgust, tentatively considers a romance with an ugly but sensitive brute, and ultimately says “no thanks” to it all. That concise arc from childlike hesitancy to aggressive self-reliance makes the Bride a fully realized personality despite her lack of screen time. Couple that complexity with an iconic appearance and you’ve got one of the most memorable monsters in Monsterdom!

2. Count Dracula

Blah! The Bride’s birthday party receives a possibly unwanted visitor as a tremendous bat flaps through the window. It morphs into a man both elegant and repulsive. Whether he is the mustachioed rat-man with bad breath Bram Stoker described or the enchanting chap in opera-wear that Bela Lugosi embodied, Count Dracula is easily as iconic as Santa Claus, Jesus, or Mickey Mouse. He is a being of multitudinous powers, able to turn himself into a bat, a wolf, or mist; glamour his victims with a gaze; and live eternally by imbibing blood. Dracula is nothing if not eternal—a character who has been front and center in pop culture without a break for well over a century. He is the source of nightmares and romantic fantasies. And his cape is super cool.

1. Frankenstein Monster

Ka-BOOM! The wall behind Drac crumbles as a colossal figure bursts through it. Is it the Incredible Hulk? The Kool-Aid Man? No and no. It is the only monster who can out-monster every single other monster among Psychobabble’s 100 Favorite Monsters. His square head and electrode-adorned neck are all you need to see to identify this undead being. He could twist your head off like it was screw top, but what he really wants more than the satisfaction of murder is love. Like so many of the creatures on this list, his shocking appearance causes people to treat him like he is less human than they—and doesn’t that make us the real monsters? Nevertheless, the Frankenstein Monster is the ultimate monster because of his bizarre appearance and the pure humanity just beneath that frightening outer layer. He stalks toward you slowly, his huge mitts held outward in a tentative gesture. “Friend?” he inquires. “Friend?” Well, are you? You step forward with your own arms held outward. It’s been a hell of a night and you could use a nice, warm hug from a great, big lug. Happy Halloween!

Click for wallpaper size terror...

...and to see who's who in Psychobabble's 100 Favorite Monsters!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All written content of Psychobabble200.blogspot.com is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.