One of the key components to a successful horror film is a memorable adversary for the protagonists. Often, the villain is human, or once was. Sometimes the foe is a possessed home, or a revenant that just won’t die. In rare cases, the monster is something a little more… unusual. As evidenced in the list below, we sometimes discover the enemy is more bizarre than we could ever dream: evil objects, demonic playthings, even malevolent pastries... monsters come in many forms. With that said, it’s time to take a walk down memory lane and look at ten more of the most unconventional monsters in horror cinema history. [Check out our first ten here.]
Note: To avoid a list that features nothing but SyFy Channel originals, we are only considering films that premiered in a medium other than cable television.
The Child’s Play franchise is hands-down better than Dolly Dearest, and we would never dream of trying to convince you otherwise. But the logic behind this film making the cut over Chucky is simply due to the fact that the Chuckster actually looks malevolent, even in his inanimate state, and seeing the little creep come to life as a killer seems like less of a leap than a whole factory full of reanimated Barbies on a homicidal rampage.
The Turkey from Thankskilling
There are a handful of horror films set around Thanksgiving, but Thankskilling is quite possibly the only proper Thanksgiving-based horror film currently in existence. (If and when completed, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving will join that very short list.) The lecherous, homicidal turkey is easily one of the most bizarre adversaries depicted on screen; it defies all logic and is so ridiculous that the films in this franchise are kind of fun. Thankskilling is also the only film series to ever skip its own sequel and go straight to a threequel.
The Puppets from the Puppet Master Series
David Schmoeller’s Puppet Master and its sequels feature some of the strangest antagonists ever to hit the screen. Pint-sized puppets that take on victims 100 times their size are pretty unusual, but somehow it works. The little creeps look so demure at first glance, but there's nothing innocent about these little sadists. Fans of the franchise may find it interesting that the "Blade" character is a likeness of Klaus Kinski, who starred in Schmoeller's 1986 film Crawlspace.
Big Ass Spider!
The latest effort from creative genius Mike Mendez (The Gravedancers) is a fun and ridiculous romp. The titular character is absolutely absurd; a giant alien arachnid is on a par with villains like Mega Piranha. But what sets it apart from other films of its ilk is that Big Ass Spider is well-written, features fun performances, and the creative team played up the camp factor just enough to let the audience know they were aware of how ridiculous the premise was... but not so much as to annoy them.
Just when you start to think there’s nothing left that hasn’t been done, a movie like Evil Bong comes along. Starring stoner legend Tommy Chong, this film was obviously made for (and possibly by) marijuana enthusiasts. Those less partial to the sinsemilla may not appreciate it as much. However, it’s hard not to laugh at the exploits of a maniacal bong.
This 1997 low budget schlockfest isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but it's kind of fun for what it is. A patriotic killer dressed up as Uncle Sam is certainly out of the ordinary, but somehow the concept works. With horror icon William Lustig (Maniac) in the director's chair, it’s not a total surprise that Uncle Sam has its own fanbase.
This is yet another example of a ridiculous inorganic monster: the telepathic title appliance, which literally sends its victims to Hell. A killer fridge is right up there with the tire from Rubber (which made our previous list) as the last thing that springs to mind when you think of potentially threatening inanimate objects... but that didn’t stop Nicholas Jacobs from exploring the concept in a feature film.
In Terror Toons, the titular characters escape from a DVD and out of the television screen; after that, they start on a killing rampage. Of course they do. Even the film’s ever-present camp factor couldn’t save this dud from being one of the most poorly-reviewed films of 2002. In spite of that panning, the film somehow demanded a sequel, so the world was introduced to Terror Toons 2 in 2007.
The Toxic Avenger
Toxie is technically not a villain – he's the protagonist of the franchise – but he is a monster, and he does kill people. A hero that gains his powers from being submerged in toxic waste is pretty brilliant, and Lloyd Kaufman’s flahship Troma release succeeds as a genre film, a comedy, and a satire of our nation’s disregard for the environment and future generations. Toxie is a fantastic creation, and Kaufman is a genius. The End.
The GingerDead Man
Brought to you by the same company responsible for the cinematic classic Evil Bong, this holiday horror film may be worth watching for the novelty factor alone, but certainly for no other reason. Its lead antagonist, voiced in the first film by none other than Gary Busey, is made of dough. Not that the film is meant to be fine cinema... but it’s hard to take something like this even a little seriously.
[Fans of unconventional movie monsters rejoice: GingerDead Man vs. Evil Bong will be available on DVD January 21st. ]