6 Monsters to Keep You Up at Night

I heart monsters. Truly, madly, deeply – love monsters.

My favorite are the kind that only kids can imagine – you know, the the ones lurking under beds and behind closets? Usually slimy with dozens of eyes and big sharp shark teeth?

When I was a young warthog, I used to imagine a whole parade of monsters coming out of my closet and marching past my bed. I was convinced that if I opened my eyes and peeked out from under the blankets, they would eat me.

Somehow, this made it difficult to sleep.

From the photo album

Now that I’m a grown-up, I’m 99% confident that the only things in my closet are dusty scarves and old skirts and moths. (AHHH.)

But I still have a fascination with monsters. There’s nothing that can mesmerize me more than a good old-fashioned scarytimes monster.

Just for you, I’ve written about 6 favorite monsters that thrill me every time. Now they can keep you up at night, too. You’re welcome.

Why don’t we look under the bed together? You go first.

Amazing art by the talented Goro Fujita

  • 6. GIYGAS FROM EARTHBOUND

If you were a kid in the 90s and owned a SNES, then there’s a good chance you’re familiar with this bizarre yet awesome Japanese RPG. I will someday post at length about this game, by which I mean this Thursday. 

But today I’m just going to say that the final boss Giygas has some of the most terrifying dialogue to ever occur in a video game. You may have heard about this before, because the horrifying nature of this dialogue has reached viral meme status. (By which I mean that Cracked likes to talk about it – and by the way, Cracked is almost certainly run by SNES-owning children of the 90s.)

Shigesato Itoi, the mastermind behind Earthbound, infamously patterned Giygas’ dialogue in the game after a certain childhood trauma that occurred when he accidentally went into the wrong theatre and saw a movie entitled The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty. This movie traumatized Itoi so much that he just HAD to put dialogue/elements of it in the final battle, thereby paying his trauma forward for all the little children who played the kid-friendly Earthbound.

This means that Giygas – the big bad alien guy that plunged your entire world into chaos – basically spends the entire boss battle begging you not to hurt it anymore. Because his dialogue is essentially the same as the victim in a horror movie which has Dismembered Beauty in the title.

Also, there’s something wonky going on with the Giygas art, which has been theorized to be everything from a fetus to a boob. I don’t know. But this interview of Itoi discussing the infamous dialogue suggests that it is, in fact, a boob. /learning

  • 5. NO FACE FROM SPIRITED AWAY

I rewatched Spirited Away a couple days ago. IN THE NAME OF RESEARCH. Wherein I learned many important things, such as that I still love this movie, and that it’s probably the best animated movie I’ve seen in my entire life, and that I might like it even more than Finding Nemo and The Iron Giant combined.

I love No Face. His character design is so strong that he can just stand there, and I instantly know what he’s about and what he wants. And the parts that I don’t know I want to know. Because he succeeded in intriguing me.

For me, the best monsters make it about you. Giygas accomplishes this by suggesting that you’re the bad guy. Now, I know that No Face has a message about greed somewhere in there, but for me the more potent message has always been that we all have a No Face. We all have a part of ourselves so desperate for love and affection, we will poison ourselves to get it. No Face’s desperation for love is palatable, especially in those beginning scenes where he doesn’t even say anything.

Spirited Away actually has a bunch of great monsters. Before re-watching the movie, I was originally going to write about Yubaba. As a kid, Yubaba scared me more than No Face – personally, I think there’s something uniquely scary about Yubaba to children, as she inhabits such a twisted mentor/mother role. And she has a huge head.

Mostly it’s the huge head

  • 4. THE MONSTER FROM SUPER 8

Yes, I liked the monster from Super 8! Okay, hear me out. Like a lot of people, I found the ultimate reveal disappointing, at least in terms of monster design. I don’t want to spoil it for people, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I liked the 1st half of the movie better than the 2nd half (and that Super 8 often feels like 2 distinct movies).

Nonetheless, I think Abrams did the monster really well. Why? Well, the monster in that movie is not really the thing that eventually shows up eating people. No, the monster is Super 8 is a conglomeration of bad things that happen to the main character – his mother’s death, his father’s aloofness, fighting with his best friend, having a crush on a girl who can only be described as the Juliet to his Romeo – things that are, for the most part, outside of his control.

At the end of the movie, the main character gives a little speech about how bad stuff happens. And it’s okay. Bad things happen.

Also? That movie has some killer suspense. Seriously.

That’s it for this 1st installment! I will pick up the trail next Monday with 3 more monsters to give you the willies. (Thursday is a post about the SNES game Earthbound.)

But before then – 

What do you think of my choices? Do any of these monsters interest/scare/thrill you?

What would YOU pick? What are some of YOUR favorite monsters?

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