Cinema is often paradoxical: it's full of situations where opposites attract, or things are so wrong they're right, and we often see good characters go bad. As patrons of the cinema, we are frequently attracted to these paradoxes, and this is especially the case with movie characters so hideously deformed or badly misshapen that they circle back around to being adorable.
We don’t know quite what to do with these anomalies... do we hug them, or run away screaming? With that in mind, let's count down seven of our favorite creatures in cinema (and one runner-up) that are so ugly they're cute. When you wrap up with this one, be sure to check out horror loving kids and the parents who encourage it.
Sometimes one’s inner turmoil manifests itself as a living thing. And sometimes that living thing has murderous intent and lives in its host’s intestines until it can escape through his butt. But who says a physical manifestation of one’s inner turmoil can’t also be damn cute? Milo is hideous and full of ill will, but somehow he manages to be simultaneously adorable.
Slimer from Ghostbusters
Though Slimer is a made entirely of ectoplasm, is an extremely messy eater, has an insatiable appetite, and may come on a little strong at first, he has a tendency to grow on you. This Class Five Full Roaming Vapor is even sort of cute after you get over some of his less flattering attributes. Over time, this wraith has become somewhat of a mascot for the Ghostbusters brand and graced all sorts of merchandising; perhaps because of this, Slimer’s image has been altered to be slightly less hideous. RIP Ghostbusters Harold Ramis.
The Martians from Mars Attacks!
Based on a gory trading card series that originated in 1962, the Martians from Tim Burton's 1996 film are absolutely ugly and totally ridiculous looking, but somehow their hideous exterior lends itself to making the little creatures almost huggable. The giant brains that aid in their unmatched appetite for destruction somehow work to make these alien beings seem even more precious.
The Cockroaches from Joe’s Apartment
Joe’s Apartment is the kind of film that falls under the "so bad it’s good" classification, and the idea of singing cockroaches gets a little tired by the end of the 80-minute runtime... but it’s still a nice novelty. While cockroaches aren’t normally used in the same sentence as the word "cute," Joe’s insect friends do most certainly wind up winning us over in record time. They talk, they sing... what’s not to love?
The Zombie Baby from Dead Alive
This memorable tyke from Peter Jackson's gore epic is slightly repulsive, but it’s almost humanly impossible not to find a baby cute on some level. So while we weren’t entirely devastated to see this bouncing baby boy end up in the blender, we were slightly conflicted about rooting for his demise... he's still a baby, after all, and thus cute in his own disgusting, hideously misshapen way.
Brilliantly voiced by Seth Rogen, Paul is certainly not cute in the conventional sense. In fact, he’s barely cute in any sense, upon first glance. But his laid-back personality, affinity for birds, and ability to heal make him lovable. The fact that Paul’s companions (played brilliantly by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) are bumbling but lovable science fiction enthusiasts makes it all the easier to love this displaced alien.
The Chestburster in Spaceballs
This scene in Spaceballs is one of the film's greatest moments: it takes one of the most horrifying and frightening scenes from the classic Alien and makes it utterly hilarious. With the little creep donning a top hat and cane to sing a Vaudeville ditty, it’s impossible not to appreciate his charm. Though the chestburster itself is completely hideous in appearance, it's impossible not to find it somewhat cute on account of its showbiz talents.
Honorable Mention: The Killer Rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
It’s technically not ugly... in fact, the killer rabbit is actually pretty normal-looking at first, but it turns out to be just as vicious as it is cute... which quickly becomes apparent when it starts biting, clawing, and decapitating its way through a legion of knights.