Warning: Spoilers for Stranger Things below.
In the last few weeks, the world has been enraptured by Netflix's new hit series Stranger Things. With their dynamic characters, nostalgic themes and complex story lines, The Duffer Brothers created a fascinating world for viewers to sink their teeth into.
With every great hero comes a great villain, and Stranger Things' otherworldly monster more than fits the bill. If transporting you to another dimension and ripping your body to shreds wasn't enough, the creature also implants said shredded bodies with slugs (RIP Barb). All in all, a pretty nightmare-worthy beast.
Stranger Things might be the topic on everyone's lips, but it's far from the first show to create a such a frightful foe. Below are 11 more television monsters that scared us as much — if not more — than the Demogorgon from Stranger Things.
Note: This list is in no way exhaustive and only represents the feelings and deep-seeded fears of the author.
1. The Gentlemen — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In the show's seven season run, has there ever been a Buffy villain more terrifying than the Gentlemen? Answer: No. These floating silent killers with their long fingers and ghoulish grins haunted my nightmares for weeks after viewing.
2. Weeping Angels — Doctor Who
Although grounded in sci-fi, Doctor Who is known for incorporating multiple genres. I think Whovians across the board agree that the most terrifying creatures in the galaxy are the Weeping Angels. Just remember, "Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink."
3. Pennywise the Clown — It
It isn't technically show, but the 1990 adaptation of Stephen King's work in a two-part television event scarred generations of children — including yours truly — and is therefore worthy of a spot on the list. With a feature-length film on the way, we'll soon see if Bill Skarsgård's performance will keep us up at nights the same way Tim Curry's did.
4. Twisty — American Horror Story
Episode: "Monsters Among Us"
Speaking of clowns, this TV character significantly exaggerated my coulrophobia (fear of clowns). American Horror Story is chock-full of eerie characters, but none are quite as terrifying and tragic as Twisty the clown. With his bloodied costume and bag of murderous tricks, Twisty was the last form of entertainment you'd want showing up at a party. Unless you're Dandy, that is.
5. Wendigo — Supernatural
The Wendigo is not an original Supernatural creation, but they took the creature and turned it from myth to a nightmare. The less-than-human beast that feasts on human flesh helped set the tone for the show in only the second episode.
6. Well Walker — The Walking Dead
Episode: "Cherokee Rose"
The Well Walker may not be the most threatening zombie from The Walking Dead, but he's definitely one of the most gruesome. Watching his disgusting bloated body being ripped in half was pretty unsettling and definitely made me put down the plate of spaghetti that I had unfortunately been eating at the time.
7. The Peacock Family — The X-Files
Initially aired in 1993, "Home" is the first X-Files episode to include a viewer discretion warning and the only one to be given a TV-MA warning with its broadcast. From burying a deformed baby alive in the first scene to finding the decapitation of the town Deputy, this inbred mutant family put up quite a fight against Scully and Mulder.
8. Water Zombie — Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Episode: "The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float"
Even though Are You Afraid of the Dark? was technically for kids, there was nothing kid-appropriate about the water zombie in "The Tale of the Dead Man's Float." This aquatic decomposing corpse was enough to keep me in the shallow end of the pool for a few months.
9. The Haunted Mask — Goosebumps
Episode: "The Haunted Mask"
The monster from this 1995 Goosebumps TV movie was way scarier than it deserved to be. I'm not sure if The Haunted Mask is still as scary today as it was when I was five, but I don't intend to find out. The only other Goosebumps monster I was debating putting here was Slappy from "Night of the Living Dummy."
10. Willie — The Twilight Zone
Episode: "The Dummy"
The main reason I didn't include Slappy was because if we're talking scary ventriloquist dummies, I have to go with Willie from The Twilight Zone. What is it that makes dummies so scary. Is it their limp wooden bodies? Their irritating voices? Or is it because it seems just a little too easy for them to take on a life of their own? I say all of the above.
11. Zeke The Plumber — Salute Your Shorts
Episode: "Zeke the Plumber"
Salute Your Shorts is far from a scary show, but there is something so harrowing about the titular character in "Zeke the Plumber." What the legendary camp ghost story character lacks in a nose he more than makes up for in a cursed plunger and death threats. Spooky.
As I mentioned earlier, my list is in no way exhaustive and there are plenty more scary television monsters out there that I'm sure I've never come across. So, what television characters do you find the scariest? Let me know in the comments section!
Which television monsters are the scariest? Share your favorites in the comments!