What scares us? Is it the unexplained bump in the night? Or would we prefer to see our nightmares in high definition? Many are both frightened and fascinated by the macabre. Perhaps there's some psychological factor at play here. Something that stems from the need to confront what we fear. But it's mostly for the cheap thrill.
It's the ability to project oneself into a story that's filled with danger, all from the safety of our couch! All that evil exists only onscreen... and in our bad dreams later that night!
Over the years, the horror genre has been populated with such a wide range of entries, the sub-categories are endless. We've got the old school psychological horror (Psycho, Silence of the Lambs), the Slasher flicks (Scream, Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street) and the Zombie genre (Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead, World War Z). And who doesn't love a good old fashioned monster movie like Frankenstein or Godzilla?
Monster movies are the cornerstone of the horror genre. They've been around pretty much as long as there have been moving pictures. There have been plenty of creepy creations that have accomplished their goal of frightening audiences. But today, we'll be looking at 20 movie monsters that unintentionally ended up being more "haha" than horrifying.
20 The creep from The Keep
This dates back to 1983 and was directed by Michael Mann. It was adapted from a story by the same name that was written by F. Paul Wilson. The ingredients were all in place for a dark, dreary, WWII-themed monster flick.
A demon called 'Radu Molasar' is entrapped in an ancient nickel-walled citadel otherwise known as "The Keep." He's accidentally set free by some looting German soldiers. Some of the bad guys in the film are taken out by Molasar. But then he saves the professor's daughter (because there's always a professor) from being assaulted by some soldiers. The monster here was both demon and savior. This dichotomy of bad versus good and who exactly represents those qualities is what made the book so compelling.
The film, however, struggled to get the demon right. The director couldn't make up his mind on how Molasar should look, so the monster was changed many times during the filming. Sadly, two weeks into production, the visual effects supervisor passed unexpectedly. The crew had no idea how he had planned on finalizing the effects in the 260 shots of movie that remained. The end result was a thick, unimpressive molasses-caked Molasar that looks like a rough draft of Thanos from the Avenger's movies.
19 Any of the trolls from Troll 2
In all fairness, the Troll movies fall under the horror-comedy umbrella. They do pack their fair share of intentional scares, but the producers understood that the writing and the overall look of the film were meant to have more of a fun house ride. They weren't trying to make a serious horror movie.
This idea was doomed from the start. The crew, including the director, were all Italian with little to no fluent English speakers among them. Filmed in Utah, the actors were mostly inexperienced locals. Most, if not all, of them had shown up to the auditions for roles as extras. One of the main actors was a patient at a local mental hospital who happened to be out on a day pass!
Even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the 1986 fantasy horror film, Troll, US distributors were skeptical about the film's chances of success. They changed the name in an attempt to make it a sequel with some kind of brand recognition.
The end result was a movie that was as good as the five-and-dime masked crew of critters pictured above. That is to say that the film was ridiculous, and the plot was even worse; the trolls were vegetarian, and they were trying to transform a family into vegetables so that they could eat them. Yeah, I'm not kidding.
18 Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
It's all in the title. There was really no good way to grab a solid picture of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, so we've provided you with a picture of one of its victims before he gets digested! You can just make out the start of the viscous, bubbly, yellow fluid that the bed produces to dissolve those unfortunate enough enough to lie in its carnivorous sheets. Kind of like a Venus Flytrap! This 1977 surrealist horror movie was written, produced and directed by George Barry. Never heard of him?
That's because this is his only work, which went undiscovered until its DVD release in 2004.
The story begins with a demon who fell in love so he created a bed for his demonic nookie. During that creation process, he accidentally ended the life of his love, and his tears of blood fell upon the now accursed mattress. While the execution of the low-budget film was obviously done at an amateur level, the film has gone on to attain a certain cult classic status. Its fan base appreciates the absurd concept and imaginative special effects. You have to admire the outside-of-the-box thinking behind this work. There really isn't a lot of competition in the 'scary bedroom furniture' genre.
17 Robot Monster
Gloriously hailed as one of the worst movies ever made. Just one look at the main monster should tell you everything you need to know. If you're thinking, “Hey man, that just looks like some dude in a gorilla costume with a space helmet slapped on,” then you would be exactly correct.
25 year old writer and directer, Phil Tucker, wanted a full robot for his 1953 science-fiction horror film. Unfortunately, a meager budget and a four day shoot resulted in him having to make do with what was available. It just so happened that what was available was a friend with a gorilla suit upon which Tucker stuck a space helmet on.
For some reason, Tucker thought, “Yeah, sure, why not?” This creature's origin story was that of a destructive agent sent from the Moon. And since the soviets hadn't yet landed on the moon when this film was released, nobody could definitively say that this gorilla space monster WASN'T from there.
Despite its laughably simple design, Ro-Man (the robot monster) ends ALL of humanity. Save for a handful of the planet's last human survivors. He manages to off some of them as well before falling in love with an Earth girl. A tale as old as time, I suppose. Alien destroys planet, girl from planet falls in love with it. Sounds plausible.
16 The sorry-looking aliens from Signs
With the brilliance that was The Sixth Sense, it was easy enough for everyone to agree on the merits of M. Night Shyamalan as a competent filmmaker. So when his 2002 alien invasion flick came out, hopes were high for a fresh take on the old story arc of intruders from another world visiting Earth. For the most part, it succeeded. The first glimpse of an alien makes for a highly dramatic and somewhat disturbing introduction to the monsters of this movie. The shaky home-camera footage highlighted on national news gave the event a sense of legitimacy.
It offered just brief look of the creatures which built up the reveal that happened later in the movie.
But then, in an effort to get all Shyamalan-y on the plot, he reveals to us the ONE weakness that these aliens have: water. Think about how mind numbingly stupid this is. Aliens came to a planet that is 71 percent covered in water. A planet that is also inhabited by beings made of 60 percent water. If you can beat your movie monster with a squirt gun, then you've only made them extremely ridiculous. Even if they do make really freaky clicking sounds.
15 The Gingerdead Man
The coolest thing about The Gingerdead Man is the fact that they got Gary Busey on board for the starring role in this 2005 horror comedy. He stars as the awesomely-named Millard Findlemeyer, a crazed criminal who ends up getting the electric chair for his crimes. His mother, who is a witch, takes the ashes of her cremated son and mixes them with some gingerbread spice mix.
The chain of events that happened in order for him to be made into a large gingerbread man is too complex and unbelievable to plot out for you here. But once you accept this creature's existence, you're all set for what ensues next! You get to watch Gary Busey voice a foul-mouthed blob of cookie dough as it terrorizes a small town bakery. Revenge has never been sweeter, I suppose.
To be honest, I've seen scarier puppets come out of a third grade art class, but this movie actually had some production value. While maybe not at the top of his game, 2005 Gary Busey is still a gift for something this intentionally campy.
Bonus points for the titles of the sequels, to this film: Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust and Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver.
14 The furry terrors from “Night of the Lepus”
When you're trying to make something terrifying that is inherently anything but, the first thing you need to do is re-brand. I'm sure that you've deduced from the picture that "Lepus" is the genus name for hares and jackrabbits. On paper, I would probably be much more scared of a rabid “Lepus” than a big ol' fluffy bunny. But in actuality, they're both pretty damn cute. Such was the problem for the team that made the 1971 science-fiction horror thriller, Night of the Lepus.
Even with the stoic coolness of DeForest Kelley (Bones from Star Trek), the movie had a hard time making people fear these floppy-eared carrot-eaters.
Having them run through obvious dioramas of towns only added to the cheese factor. The plot of this film, if you will, is a pack of mutated rabbits that overthrow the townspeople, so the townspeople understandably strike back. The grand finale involves mass electrocution of the horrible hopping menaces. When movies miss the mark so hard, they gain an audience that appreciates how bad the final product is. Especially when said project is trying so hard not to be bad in the first place. Thus is the fate of Night of the Lepus, which became an instant cult classic.
13 The miss of Mansquito
Sometimes all you need to know about a movie is in the title. Mansquito. Part man, part mosquito. Two things that can be incredibly annoying. Put 'em together, and you've got the makings of a dream date from hell.
This schlocky piece of sci-fi monster was courtesy of SyFy pictures, an offshoot of what used to be the Sci-Fi Channel. This film was obviously a made-for-tv adventure. As well, it shares some glaring similarities to The Fly which is arguably the best human-to-insect movie ever made (either the original or the remake).
In an attempt to cure a disease by exposing mosquitoes to radiation, a prison volunteer gets dosed by an experimental serum while bitten by the radioactive blood suckers. The story calls for this character to go through various levels of transformation throughout the movie. It's like if Peter Parker had been bitten by a radioactive mosquito instead.
It gets more ludicrous as the film progresses, especially since there's a secondary female scientist character who's also going through transformations. Except she's transforming at a slower pace because her dosage was smaller. Makes sense. the film has a very loose story arc that revolves around the Mansquito trying to fulfill his biological need to mate with the Womansquito. He meets his end when the infected female scientist electrocutes herself and Mansquito with a broken electrical cable. All in all, the film might have been better if the writing wasn't so derivative and just plain lazy.
12 It's Octaman
He sounds like a Marvel superhero that just didn't make the cut, but should have since they made a mutant hero out of every other animal/man combination. Octaman was a 1971 film that was cast in the mold of classic monster movies. Since this was written and filmed in the tail end of the '60s going into the early '70s, I'll give you one guess as to what the source of this monstrous mutation was. If you guessed radiation, then you win the prize. And while most human/animal hybrids come from a human joining with some ghastly beast, Octaman was just a dangerous, radiated octopus that mutated into a humanoid.
Then, it decided that people sucked and that it wanted to rampage through their cities.
But no matter how many people Octaman takes out, the fact that it's just a dude dressed up in a rubber suit is hard to shake off. While it's freaky and fun, the costume design is hardly intimidating despite being one of Rick Baker's first works. He would eventually go on to win awards for his special effects in films like An American Werewolf in London and Men In Black. I'm not saying I wouldn't run the other way if I saw that thing coming out of the ocean. But it would be the obvious human underneath that mask that I would be most concerned about. Anyone who willingly dresses like that in public has got some issues.
11 That jacked-looking Jack Frost
The weird thing about this title is that there are actually two Jack Frost movies you could potentially be streaming. One stars Michael Keaton who perishes in a car accident but comes back as a snowman to reconnect with his kids. Then, there's the other Jack Frost film, which follows the story of a snowman that just wants to end the lives of children.
It should be easy to make a snowman scary. You've got the cold, lifeless eyes made of black coal, and a long, rotting vegetable for a nose. All packed together into a cold, soulless mass of frozen ice and snow. Snowmen should be downright terrifying.
But thanks to the classic animated production by Rankin/Bass, there have been generations of us that have been led to believe that an animated snowman is our friend. Any snowman basically looks like Frosty the Snowman, and he is our winter pal. Sorry, but you won't be tricking me anytime soon.
So no matter how many people that the snowman in Jack Frost finds and adds to his body count, it all makes for more smiles than screams. Which also begs the question, why did they use a snowman to represent a criminal named Jack Frost? Especially when the box art was pretty creepy to begin with.
10 Campy "Killers From Space"
It must have been so easy to make movies in the '50s. No budget? No problem. People were so enthralled by the newness of the medium. They would plop themselves down to watch whatever dreck you threw up on that silver screen. "What? You could create 'aliens' with a few scuba suits, some ping pong balls, and a black magic marker? Sign me up!" This is very much apparent in the B-movie classic, Killers From Space. Not only are they definitely not scary, they really don't do much damage to anyone's life.
They actually go out of their way to save a human being, albeit for their own evil intent.
But still! You don't get to see much of them until halfway through the film. But since it clocks in at just a little over an hour, you don't have to wade through much. Even though the tempo of this movie never really picks up. There are some oversized insects and reptiles that are mutated by radiation, of course. While never hailed as a "good" movie, it is appreciated for its commentary on the fears of the atomic age at the time. It also pioneered some of the film concepts and techniques. Techniques and concepts that went on to define the trope of the radiation monster that dominated that cinematic timeframe.
9 It Conquered The World
Conceptually, the 1956 black and white sci-fi horror film, It Conquered The World, has a decent plot. An evil alien from Venus makes contact with a disillusioned scientist from Earth and convinces him to provide assistance in the name of bringing peace to our world. Of course, the Venusian creature had other world-dominating ulterior motives.
Through the use of mind-control devices carried out by bizarre bat-like creatures, the invader is able to enslave the entire population of Earth except for just a few humans. Eventually, they end up taking out the alien with a blowtorch to its face. It's a better premise than Jack Frost, no doubt about that.
But the whole buildup is ruined when you actually see the giant vegetable with arms that the production team came up with. It looks like a reject from the H. R. Puff-N-Stuff crew! The pitiful creation would visibly roll along the ground, haplessly waving its claws like a child stuffed into an ill-fitting Halloween costume. The design of this creature is so bad, that it swings all the way around and somehow manages to achieves some warped sense of brilliantly bad.
You couldn't create something this awful even if you tried. So props to whoever stapled that thing together and had the stones to say, "Yeah, that's a scary alien from Venus all-right. Just like you asked. Now pay me."
8 The laughable Leprechauns
It's hard to believe that they milked six movies and a reboot out of the Leprechaun series. The first one was laughable, but still enjoyably bad. It had Warwick Davis as the evil Irish immigrant along with the debut of a little known friend (wink-wink) named Jennifer Aniston. The writers tried to weave a tale based around the mythology of one of Ireland's most recognizable folktales. The plot involves a stolen pot of gold, a four-leaf clover, and an irate and ugly Leprechaun bent on revenge and the recovery of his treasure. There's even a rainbow scene at one point!
At times, the movie shoots for (and kind of achieves) a legitimate horror vibe.
But the writing goes out of its way to not take anything seriously. Most of the Leprechaun's dialogue is delivered in stilted, forced rhymes. “Try as they will, and try as they might, who steals me gold won't live through the night.” Not that the franchise ever had much credit, but when they start naming the sequels like a film series from the '90s, then you know they stopped trying at some point. Leprechaun 4: In Space and Leprechaun in the Hood that came out in 2000... Seriously? The movie still gets a lot of broadcasts come Saint Patrick's Day. Now that's kind of scary.
7 The over-the-top rigs of Maximum Overdrive
Can a truck be considered a monster? There is such a thing as monster trucks, but you know what I'm talking about. Anything can be made monstrous when Stephen King is involved. His sole directorial effort, Maximum Overdrive, served as a lesson to man-kind that we may not always be the masters over the machines we create.
The movie, released in 1986, is often panned as being too campy, and that critique is hard to deny. However, the movie is chock full of dark comedy that is light on the gore and heavy on the humor. The setup for the film revolves around a comet that passes too close to the Earth. Something in the comet's tail animates all the machines, often with dangerous results.
While hapless victims meet their demise from a wide range of machine-related tragedies, the main plot of the film centers around some survivors gathered at a gas station. They become unwilling human servants to the gas-thirsty trucks. These evil truck are more or less led by the homicidal toy truck pictured above.
King was panned for his writing and directing. The star of the film, Emilio Estevez, received poor reviews for his acting. But anything with an entire soundtrack composed of AC/DC songs can't be that bad, right? Don't take this one too seriously. It's still a fun ride.
6 The possessed laundry machine of The Mangler
In another film based off of a book by Stephen King, we start to realize that King probably gets his inspiration from bar bets. “Hey Stevie... bet you can't make a laundry machine scary, you chowder soaked New England hack!” Stephen doesn't even dignify the challenge with a reply. Instead he goes home and writes a whole collection of short stories called Night Shift. One of those stories, The Mangler, was about an industrial laundry-folding machine that's been possessed by a demon. The film adaptation did its best to breathe even a bit of horror into this ridiculous concept.
At the end of the day, though, there's only so much you can do with something that just... folds laundry.
Lord knows that legendary horror director, Tobe Hooper, did his best with this one. I completely understand the real risk that any industrial-sized piece of machinery poses to their often clumsy human operators. So it wasn't that hard to create tense moments in the film where the viewer knew that someone was about to get mangled by the mangler. Eventually, in an attempt to destroy the machine, an exorcism is performed on it. Obviously, it goes horribly wrong (do they ever go right?), and the machine gains mobility and starts chasing people down. It takes a silly premise to new levels of "Really?" It does star Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger), so it's worth watching if only for that.
5 The not-so-terrifying Triffids
Can plants be scary? I've been annoyed by plants, but never scared. The Venus Flytrap seems to have earned itself a fairly gruesome reputation, being one of the few plant species that evolved to be carnivorous. And since we humans are walking meat-bags, one can't help but connect the two.
But for the 1962 British sci-fi horror movie, Day of Triffids, they invented a made up species of plant that sported a deadly whip-like poisonous sting. The plant invaders are the result of an unusual meteor shower that also blinds the majority of the population. The film is an adaptation of the John Wyndham novel with the same name. The writer apparently knew that, no matter how scary his mobile, killer alien plants were, humans would still kick their butts. So he made the humans blind, making them easy prey for the seemingly intelligent and hostile shrubbery.
The book was easily scarier than the film. The cinematic version suffered from a low budget and the crappy special effects of its time. The Triffids mostly were featured as paper-mâché looking plants that violently shook when people are near. It made the few scenes that actually showed the Triffids laughably disappointing.
4 Something fishy about Sharktopus
The name tells you everything you need to know about this made-for-TV trainwreck produced in 2010 by the SyFy Channel production company. Cashing in on super-cheap computer generated graphics, the writers tried to up the ante on the monster shark genre. They created a tentacled shark that looks like it belongs in a second tier video game than any kind of feature film. These CGI jockeys are the modern day B-Movie hacks. They make the most out of nothing and deliver a final product that is entertaining for its own ridiculousness than it is for any cinematic achievement.
There is some merit to this art, as it attracts its own subculture of a fanbase that appreciates it because it is just so bad.
So unbelievably bad. These writers realize that they're taking a shark, one of nature's most fearsome predators, and somehow making it completely silly. Sharks are about as scary as it gets. Jaws just featured a regular shark, and that film kept me away from any body of water for at least three summers. No extra appendages necessary. What the producers of Sharktopus failed to realize is that they weren't making an octopus better, they were just making a shark worse. And if that wasn't enough, they went and made sequels: Sharktopus VS Pteracuda and Sharktopus VS Whalewolf.
3 The C.H.U.D.'s
The early atomic age of the '50s and '60s was concerned with radiation and the mutating effects that came with it. In the '80s, they were still worried about it, but the focus had become more environmentally conscious. Nuclear waste became the monster-making boogeyman.
For 1984's C.H.U.D., the culprit that was the scariest monster of them all was the US government. They decided that the sewers of New York would be a good place to illegally store big canisters of radioactive nuclear waste. Of course, the large homeless population that inhabited the tunnels ended up being exposed to it. Rather than perish of acute radiation poisoning, they mutated into Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.
Trust me when I say that it sounds much more frightening than the caramel apple-headed goofs they ended up with. The scariest part of this creation was its name. For starters, I'm confused as to why the nuclear waste gave them all the same outfit. Wouldn't they still have their original street clothes instead of the matching black on black ensembles that they're rocking here? I guess most people didn't notice as they were too busy being eaten.
There was probably a solid statement on society and how we treat our homeless in this movie, but it was lost somewhere along the way as they paraded out the preposterous C.H.U.D.s.
2 The undead Sammi Curr
Trick or Treat was a great movie. It captured the teen angst of being the odd one out coupled with the appropriate heavy metal soundtrack. The musical landscape in the mid-'80s was very paranoid. More than a couple of witch hunts tried to scapegoat heavy metal as the reason for their kids being so messed up. This movie played upon those parental fears. It took all the staples of heavy metal culture and wrapped them into one rock 'n roll horror fest, complete with a back-from-the-dead rock star. The main character Eddie Weinbauer was expertly played by Marc Price.
Price is better known as Skippy Handleman from the TV sitcom Family Ties.
Gene Simmons fancied himself an actor in the '80s, and actually made an appearance in this flic. He actually pulls off a convincing radio DJ named Nuke who befriends the metal-head outcast, Eddie. He gifts him with a one-of-a-kind last recording of the troubled teen's favorite rock star... Sammi Curr. The whole thing is so over the top, even Ozzy Osborne has a cameo as a priest! When the re-animated rocker finally makes his return from the dead, what we have is an overdressed hairband frontman with an affinity for leather. We'd all be scared, if we weren't laughing at that outfit, Sammi.
1 The balls of Critters
This slice of American comedic horror came out in 1986. Two years after some much cuter and well known Gremlins destroyed a small town. These creatures escaped from an asteroid prison. Aliens are scary enough, but these were criminal aliens, so you know that they were up to no good.
They looked like a cross between a frog on a bad hair day and a really ugly dog. They generally did a lot of property damage, occasionally committing darker crimes. The similarities between these critters and the 'fed after midnight' gremlin were hard to ignore. Even though director Stephen Herek insisted that the script be written long before Gremlins went into production.
They tried to make these rolling balls of teeth scary, but their obvious puppet-like movements made most of their scenes look like a twisted outtake from a Muppet movie. They did have the ability to shoot poison spikes like an evil porcupine. That's probably the best animal analogy for these Critters. An alien porcupine with a rap sheet. That's what we're supposed to be afraid of here.
This was meant to be a horror comedy, but most audiences laughed at the horror whereas the actual comedy was horrific.
References: digitalspy, wikipedia, youtube, heavy, kunochan, water.usgs.gov, bloodygoodhorror, horrorfilmcentral, merriam-webster, buecher, syfy, stomptokyo, scifist,, holytaco, horrorgeeklife, imdb, metacritic.com, justscreenshots, interfilm,, riversofgrue, hairbandheaven, bloodydisgusting,