The horror genre is one of life’s greatest guilty pleasures. Whether you like to scream, are a fan of the macabre or just want to enjoy a mindless monster movie over popcorn, horror is the perfect genre for just about everyone. But what really makes a good horror movie is not a lot of gore or the right atmosphere, it is the monster! Simply put, we are scared of things that go bump in the night, of the creepy crawlies worming their way through our nightmares, the unstoppable killers revving up their rusty chainsaws, shambling zombies feeding on the living, and the ghastly specters haunting us from beyond the grave that remind us of our own mortality.
Of course, some monsters are scarier than others. How many times can you see a masked killer before it’s one time too many? Are zombies scarier than vampires? Are possessed demon children with glowing eyes who speak in haunted nursery rhymes scarier than the old country folk out in the backwoods who don’t take kindly to the van full of young teens in these here parts? For this quiz, we will give you a list of classic movie monsters for you to rank. When you tell us which ones are scary and which ones aren’t, we will let you know which of these monsters will inevitably get you.
How do you rate Pennywise the Dancing Clown?
The star villain of the 2017 movie It, Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the answer to author Stephen King asking the question “what are children most afraid of?” This terrifying transdimensional shapeshifter feeds on the fears and flesh of children, haunting them as the adults of their sleepy New England town ignore their plight. But how do you rate this carnivorous clown on the scale of movie monsters?
What are your thoughts on zombies?
Zombies are the monster of the 21st Century. Ever since George Romero revolutionized the horror genre by changing the mindless servitors of Voodoo into the undead in his film, Night of the Living Dead, zombies have symbolized our greatest fears. From 28 Days Later to Shaun of the Dead to Zombieland, these mindless ghouls have shambled across modern movies, preying on our fears of viral outbreaks, of being brutally killed, and of losing our identity to the mindless masses. But how do you rank zombies—truly horrific or a just mindless Hollywood trope?
Were you scared by the Xenomorph in Alien?
The main aliens in the Alien franchise, the Xenomorphs are the scary embodiment of the unknown and unknowable that we might find out beyond the periphery of man. These cosmic apex predators are primal in every way, linking reproduction and death as they procreate through killing hosts into which they lay their young. Plus, these exoskeletal killers literally have acid in their veins! But do the Xenomorphs, who first appeared in 1971, stand up to the test of time?
Did Jaws make your jaw drop?
While not a classic monster in the traditional sense, the shark in Jaws is still one of the most fearsome movie monsters ever to swim through moviegoers’ nightmares. The shark in Jaws is confirmation that whenever we venture out beyond reach of land, there is something waiting for us in the depths below the waves. Do you consider this shark a proper sea monster or just another fish waiting to be turned into sushi?
How do you rate the monster Gojira?
This massive reptile is the classic giant monster and the most famous example in a genre that is full of them. Known to Western audiences as “Godzilla,” the beast has appeared in 31 films since he first smashed through Tokyo in his 1954 debut. Do you think this scaly saurian giant is a horrifying primal force to be feared or a hokey remnant from a time when movies had cheesy gimmicks?
How does Clover from Cloverfield rank on the horror scale?
Another famous kaiju, the Cloverfield Monster (known as Clover) destroyed New York in the 2008 sci-fi horror movie that started this franchise by visionary producer J. J. Abrams. The monster famously appeared in the shaky cam, documentary-style approach to visual storytelling that made Cloverfield such a unique viewing experience, slowly being revealed over the course of the film even as it towered over the skyline. Do you think Clover is horrific, or is this just a guilty pleasure for moviegoers of the internet age?
Did Imhotep in The Mummy scare you?
Imhotep is the main mummy in the film The Mummy (both the 1932 film and the 1999 reboot). Loosely based on the historical figure of the same name who was both the Pharaoh’s chancellor and the High Priest of Ra, the movies reinterpret this figure as a terrifying undead mummy who was tortured and buried alive only to return with supernatural powers. Does Imhotep make you quake with fear, or are you ready to bury this character back under the sands?
What are your thoughts on the Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth?
The Faun in Pan’s Labyrinth is an interesting monster, in that he demonstrates a paternal protectiveness of the main character Ofelia at times while still having an alien quality and dangerous wrath that come from being a woodland spirit. The creature sends Ofelia on missions that put her in danger and ultimately result in her death. But is he a real monster or just a cuddly fairy-tale critter?
Is The Human Centipede a monster?
The Human Centipede is where monstrosity and victimization merge in a cruel medical experiment gone wrong. This movie is infamous and has spawned countless parodies and two sequels—making the Human Centi-trilogy a thing no one asked for and every true horror fan has to cringe through. But is this premise really scary, or is it merely gross?
How do you feel about Michael Myers in Halloween?
A serial killer in a mask is the sort of monster that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. In the case of Michael Myers, we all know he’s technically just a human being, but with his penchant for inhuman cruelty and the fact that he seems unkillable, he hacks through his victims like a primal force of personified murder. Do you find this masked maniac to be terrifying or merely another guy with an axe to grind?
What about Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th?
The spiritual blood-brother to Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees is the star of the Friday the 13th franchise, making him yet another masked mass murderer slicing his way through hapless victims in a series of slasher films. Beyond his tendency to cut people up, he also has returned from the dead and demonstrated inhuman strength. Is he a terrifying horror monster or just another relic from the 80s?
Are you startled by the Gremlins?
The Gremlins films were classic comedy horror movies of their time. They took the concept of pet ownership and personal responsibility to whole new places as the protagonist, Billy, receives a cute Mogwai as a pet which he names Gizmo. But when wet, Gizmo makes clones of himself. Then these clones—who are all evil—eat food after midnight and turn into scaly fanged monsters called Gremlins. Are these scary beasts or just cutesy pets?
Do you fear Frankenstein’s Monster?
The novel Frankenstein by poet and pioneering women’s rights activist Mary Shelley invented the genre of science fiction. It also redefined the existing genre of horror, creating a new undead monster that has been chased by mobs of torch-and-pitchfork-wielding peasants from one movie to the next for eighty years. Are you afraid of this classic horror character?
What are your thoughts on Pinhead in Hellraiser?
Pinhead is the main villain of the Hellraiser series. One of the cenobites—former humans who have transformed into extradimensional beings—Pinhead is a hellish torturer who can be summoned by activating a puzzle box in our world. With a face filled with nails, Pinhead is an iconic manifestation of torture taken to horrifying extremes. Does this demon live up to the hype or is he a dated relic from horror's past?
Are you haunted by thoughts of Sadako?
Sadako is the main villain of the Japanese Ringu series (known in America as The Ring). The character is a vengeful ghost who has the power of thoughtography, which is the ability to burn images into a person’s mind with psychic powers. The Ring films are among the most popular Japanese horror franchises to ever terrify viewers in the West. Do you find this child ghost terrifying or just unsettling?
Did The Wolfman make you want to howl with fear?
This character is the iconic werewolf in most American horror movies, and one of the Universal Monsters that dominated Hollywood horror for most of the 20th Century. The character’s first film was made in 1935, introducing him to movie audiences who got to watch as this monster shed his humanity under the raging lunacy of the full moon. Is this the sort of horror that makes you howl, or do you just want to send this monster back to the doghouse?
What are your opinions on Pyramid Head in Silent Hill?
Appearing in the 2006 film, Silent Hill, based on the popular video game series of the same name, Pyramid Head is one of the great creations of modern horror. Also known as “Red Pyramid” or “Red Pyramid Thing,” this humanoid monster is the ultimate faceless killer stalking through the mists swinging a massive curved sword and with giant scuttling black bugs swarming about him. Does Pyramid Head frighten you or is he a monster best left to video games?
How do you feel about vampires?
Vampires are perhaps the ultimate monster of Western literature. Their bloodthirsty appetites represent lust, greed, gluttony, and the loneliness of immortality. These romanticized monarchs mix Victorian aesthetics with carnal hunger, captivating our interests with their lusty beauty and ferocious savagery. Do you find these Gothic blood suckers to be terrifying, alluring or something else altogether?
How scary do you consider Count Dracula?
Count Dracula was not the first vampire, but he is by far the most famous. This Transylvanian count was (very) loosely inspired by the 15th Century leader of what is today part of southern Romania, a man named Vlad the Impaler who delighted in cruel punishments and skewered his enemies on wooden stakes. The Count is an altogether different sort of monster, able to transform his shape, to possess the minds of his victims, and to survive almost any harm except for sunlight, garlic, religious symbols, and being impaled by a wooden stake through the heart. But is he scary?
Did The Thing frighten you?
The Thing is one of the classic aliens of horror, an entity that spawned some of the most nightmarish images of body horror to ever appear on the big screen. This entity can emulate the appearance of anyone, causing the group of Antarctic researchers who encounter it to quickly turn on each other as it kills and replaces first one, then another. Does this shape-shifting monstrosity chill your blood or is it more of a lukewarm effect?
How scary is Freddy Krueger?
Freddy Krueger is the stuff of nightmares - literally. This claw-handed killer is a scarred wreck of a man, his bad skin condition manifesting as a form of monstrousness made flesh. That he lives in the world of dreams, killing people through their dreamscape while they sleep, makes his fleshy deformities all the more haunting. Does Freddy keep you up at night or do his films put you to sleep with boredom?
Does the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth scare you?
The film Pan’s Labyrinth has many monsters, both real and mythic. The most terrifying of these is the Pale Man, a blind flesh-eating creature with hands in its eyes who eats faeries, sitting at a feasting table like the Greek titan Chronos with empty children’s shoes piled as a not so subtle allusion to the empty shoes of children killed in the Holocaust. When the film came out, the Pale Man terrified audiences. Are you afraid of the Pale Man?
Are you scared of the Zombie Redneck Torture Family?
These monsters from The Cabin in the Woods are the main horrors that beset the film’s five teenage stars/victims. Clearly distinguished from regular zombies, the zombie redneck torture family combines all the cruelty of both horror tropes - savage and unkillable as the undead but driven by a sentient sadistic purpose, even mocking the main characters with the severed head of one of their fellows. How would you rank the zombie redneck torture family?
Do you feel the need to hide from Mr. Hyde?
One of the most famous monsters of all time, Mr. Hyde (and his alter ego, Dr. Jekyll) has appeared in all sorts of movies, such as the old black and white silent adaptation of the novel from 1920, the 90s children movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the disappointing 2017 remake of The Mummy. Is he the ageless horror Hollywood considers him to be or should the good Dr. Jekyll prescribe him a sedative?
Were you frightened by the creatures in The Mist?
The Mist is not so much a monster in this case as the vehicle which transports these monsters into our world. In this film based on a novel of Stephen King’s, the mist that appears has all manner of creatures in it, such as gigantic spiders with acid webbing and scorpion-tailed wasps. Are these misty horrors terrifying in your opinion?
Were you scared by the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park?
Some people think the star of Jurassic Park is either Jeff Goldblum or Sam Neill. Those people would be wrong. The real star is the T-Rex. This apex predator that ruled the Cretaceous Period might not be the most handy dinosaur around, but it’s massive fangs, huge bulk, and insatiable appetite made it king of the dinosaurs, and it spent much of this movie reminding the various humans what it means to be king (hint: it means eating lesser non-king beings). Do you find the T-Rex terrifying or has the fear of it gone extinct?
Did the velociraptors in Jurassic Park scare you?
The other main dinos in Jurassic Park, the velociraptors were not a single entity unto themselves but a savage pack of coordinated killers who strategically solved puzzles and laid traps. These sharp-clawed carnivores tore through their prey with sadistic precision, unzipping bellies with a slit of their toes and tearing limbs from bodies. Are you afraid of these saurian raptors?
Were you frightened of the Jotunn in The Ritual?
The Ritual is a great Netflix Original movie based on Adam Nevill’s novel of the same name. In the movie, a group of friends go hiking in northern Sweden, but when one of them hurts his foot, they decide to take a shortcut back to civilization through the woods. Strange things begin to befall the group, but the reveal of the monster at the end is a hideous twisted shape whose name - Jotunn - is inspired by the giants of Norse myths. Does the Jotunn scare you?
Are you scared of the trolls in Trollhunter?
Another Scandinavian horror movie, the 2010 Norwegian film, Trollhunter, was a mockumentary of the “found footage” variety, showing the events of a number of characters hunting trolls in the Norwegian wilderness. Do the trolls in this modern classic of comedy-horror frighten you or do they crumble under the bright light of further scrutiny?
Do Kaiju frighten you?
Kaiju are giant monsters. From King Kong to Gojira to Clover, these monsters have been a staple of the 20th Century. Like the monsters of myth, these creatures terrorize modern audiences by smashing through cities, reminding modern humans just how small we are compared to these creatures. But is their terror as big as they are?
Does the Babadook keep you up at night?
The Babadook is the titular monster in a 2014 horror movie that surprised audiences, functioning despite its low budget effects by using the various tropes of good horror storytelling to shape a gripping narrative. This monster appeared in a children’s book in the film, and in true horror movie fashion, broke free of the book to terrorize the characters. Did the Babadook scare you or is this something you can close the book on?
Are you scared of the Dybbuk in The Possession?
Dybbuks may be the most horrifying thing ever to come out of Jewish folklore. The earliest surviving mentions of these evil spirits come from the 16th Century, but they gained greater notoriety when a box containing a dybbuk was put up for auction on eBay in 2003 - an item that was auctioned off by a family that had survived the Holocaust. The resulting haunting inspired the film, The Possession. Did this Dybbuk scare you or is this a box office flop that can go back in the box?
Does the Predator prey on your fears?
Predator is the name given to any member of the main alien species of the Predator franchise. These bipedal hunters can turn invisible, have blood that glows, and travel from world to world seeking the greatest game. The sixth film of the series is coming out later this year. Do you fear the Predator?
How do you feel about Leatherface?
The main character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface is actually based loosely on the historic serial killer, Ed Gein. Taking the cannibalistic murder redneck archetype to a new place, this chainsaw-wielding murder-junkie redefined body horror with his rust-flecked splatterfest of grim slasher gore. Where does Leatherface rank in your hierarchy of serial killers?
Are you afraid of Sharknado?
Sharknado is exactly what it sounds like: a tornado full of sharks. Perhaps there is no better evidence for the current state of Hollywood producers sinking the industry than the fact that the sixth instalment in the Sharknado franchise, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time, is set to be released later this year. While a sharknado might not be conventionally scary, it seems to have audiences coming back to take another bite out of the franchise. Is this a scary monster to you or is it just scary that this series has six installments?