In honour of things that go bump in the night – and the holiday that embraces them in a big bloody hug – I’ve compiled a list of the bogeymen that haven’t had their due. Sure, these creepy creatures may have spooked a fair few of us but the likes of Michael Myers, the Blair Witch, Leatherface, Pennywise (of course, frickin’ Pennywise) and even bloomin’ Jaws have stolen their thunder as the nightmarish monsters that haunt the collective dreams of a generation or two who have seen way too many movies and TV shows.
So, here they are, the scary monsters and super creeps I really hope I don’t run in to tomorrow.
(Honorary mentions: Pyramid Head, Eugene Tooms, Mrs Massey from ‘The Shining’ and, erm, the Sanderson sisters?)
5. Alley Man
Is it a man? Is it a woman? Is it a malevolent monster metaphor sent from the warped mind of David Lynch’s brain to screw with us and set the tone for the rest of his psycho-thriller puzzle pic ‘Mulholland Drive’? Definitely the latter.
In this unforgettable early scene from the director’s 2001 masterpiece, an anxious man who has just described a troubling nightmare takes his companion into the alley behind the diner from his dream – and out pops the dark and disturbing hobo-like horror he described as being confronted with in his night terrors. The sequence can almost be appreciated as a short film that stands on its own within the framework of the epic enigma that surrounds it – and it’s definitely the freakiest five or so minutes from a fascinatingly freaky whole.
4. The Peacock Family
‘The X Files’ threw up a fair few shady characters, extra-terrestrial or otherwise, but Mulder and Scully’s most terrifying foes were a twisted take on the family unit, bringing the horrors of the Peacocks home. Receiving a viewer discretion warning for graphic content, the episode ‘Home’ centred on three severely deformed brothers living on an isolated farm who keep their mother (and lover – ick) under the bed and routinely kill anyone whose snooping threatens their existence – not to mention the barely-born babies that are a product of their maternal incest. Gross but memorably horrific, ‘Home’ freaked me the F out when I was about 11 – I stayed up too late and remember the home-invasion scene, where the boys pay the sheriff and his wife a visit, ruined my sleep for a week.
3. The Pale Man
Grimm fairytales were never so grim! Guillermo del Toro outdid himself with ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, a dark fable he is yet to better, but the crowning achievement was surely the intensely scary Pale Man. Referencing Goya, this awful bogeyman is an artistic achievement despite being grotesque – and the baby-eating backstory and eyes-in-hands look only add to the terror. When he wakes up… well, I was awake for a while after that.
2. Tristana Medeiros
Those last five minutes of the first ‘REC’? CRAP STEAKS! Little girls shouldn’t look like that – but little girls possessed by demons and twisted into a crazy-scary fiend lurking in the highest reaches of a forsaken hotel? I want my mommy.
1. The Gentlemen
The highlight of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s ghoulish creature canon also provided, arguably, its best ever episode ‘Hush’. Tim Burton’s visual aesthetic is referenced heavily but the Gentlemen are scarier than anything offered up by ‘Sleepy Hollow’ or even the creepy stylings of ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. Despite the influences though, the Gentlemen are a unique creation – sunken-eyed, suited, knife-wielding baldies with metallic grins – only rendered more scream-worthy thanks to the genius Whedon concept of them being fairytale monsters who steal the voices of their victims so there’s none of that pesky screaming business when they get down to the business of stealing hearts. Can’t even shout, can’t even cry… TURN THE LIGHTS ON!!!
Happy Halloween, peeps. Avoid dark alleys.