October 13, 2011

Monsters on TV: a guest post from Midnyte Reader


You don’t always have to watch a movie to find a scary monster. Many can be found right in your own living room. Sure, you can look under the furniture and in the closets, but you might want to turn on your television as well. Here are a few tv show episodes with monsters that I personally find give me that tingle of fright.

The X-Files:

Eugene Victor Tooms (Eps: Squeeze and Tooms)

This creepy human-oid was in two episodes. He comes out of hibernation every thirty years or so to eat people’s livers. It’s not just his yellow eyes that are scary, it’s the fact that he can squeeze into tight spaces and stretch his body. A window 20 feet from the ground? Piece of cake. Chimneys? No problem. Air vents? Hid there done that. So really, how safe are you? He even tried to get into one family’s house via the sewer and the only thing that kept him out was the childproof latch on the toilet bowl lid. Also, his demeanor is just so awkward and socially bizarre. He can pass for human, but there is something so off about him. Oh yeah, and he hibernates in nests he makes with paper and his own bile. Ick.

Forest Creatures (Ep: Detour)

I liked this one because of the buildup. The story starts out with a father and son out hunting and when they find bloody clothes, the father tells his child to run home. The father never returns. Authorities speculate that they came across a wild animal, but Mulder mentions that no animal will attack the strongest member of the pack when there is a weaker one. (The creature attacked the father, not the son.) Then the creature follows the boy home and tricks his mother into leaving the house. They are clever and a clever monster is a dangerous monster.

A search party is formed and one by one the people disappear. These creatures know the layout of the land better than the humans. They can set traps, misdirect, and hunt. They are also camouflaged so you can’t see them in their natural terrain. You may catch a glimpse of something from the corner or your eye, see the foliage rustle and hear them approach, but by then it could be too late. The only thing you might see is their red eyes. Mulder’s theorized that they may be related to the Mothmen of West Virginia or even the first Spanish explorers searching for the Fountain of Youth and have adapted to their surroundings.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

BtVS was filled with vamps, but the one I found most frightening was Angelus, Angel’s evil vampire alter ego, or rather, who he reverts to without a soul. He terrorizes the Scoobies and is skilled in psychological warfare and toying with his “prey.” He leaves a sketch of Buffy while sleeping for her in her room, kills Willow’s fish and finally murders Gile’s love interest Jenny Calender. And let’s not forget how he torments my beloved Spike. He embraces and joyfully revels in his killer instinct. It is disturbing because he was once friends with all of them, fighting beside them, helping them and for him to turn on them is scary. Perhaps one reason he was is vicious is because he did love Buffy. So what do you do when your friend or lover becomes a ruthless vampire? Do you take him out or try to save him? Oh the discussions we could have with that one.

The Gentlemen, (Ep: Hush) Well of course The Gentlemen has to be included. This episode won awards. A very grim fairy tale indeed. Not only are they eerie and creepy and deadly and float which adds to their supernatural quality, they have these hunchback sidekicks that chase you down. If this isn’t enough, if you happen to find yourself at their mercy, you’ve probably lost your voice, so you can’t scream for help or in warning and can’t communicate with anyone easily. They are terrifying in their silence and their graceful way of moving, their crisp, clean suits in direct contrast with gruesome smiles. Whedon claims that they are based on a dream he once had where a floating monster approached him in bed.


The Hell Hounds. (Ep: Crossroad Blues, Time is on my Side, No Rest for the Wicked and Abandon all Hope. ) The very first time I watched an episode that included the Hell Hounds, I realized that Supernatural is just as scary as any horror movie. You never see these demon dogs, but you know they are coming. You hear them breathing, growling, snarling. You see the fear on the victims as they plead and beg. There is not much you can do to protect yourself because your time has come. They are there to take your soul to make sure you fulfill your end of your devilish bargain.
The Scarecrow (Ep: Scarecrow). Scarecrows are one of my favorite Halloween decorations. They can be sinister or jolly, simple or elaborate, but there is something so primitive about them. A fearful golem or watchful sentinel in a field. It is their human qualities that we recognize and relate to. However, their lack of features, eyes, nose, mouth or even a face or even legs plus the fact that they are made of wood and cloth make them something less than human, something “other.”

In this episode the Winchester boys discover a town that is prospering because they sacrifice a man and a woman every year to a pagan deity. This deity happens to inhabit a frightful scarecrow.

Star Trek:

Salt Monster (Ep: The Man Trap). Okay, *this* monster was ugly and threatening. It could change shape and resemble anyone. Can you imagine you’re just talking with a friend and all of a sudden they put their fingers on your face and start sucking the salt out of your body? Eeek! The twist I liked was that this monster took the place of the woman she killed and her husband sympathized with the creature and even grew to love it.
The Mugato (Ep: A Private Little War. When I was a kid, this thing freaked me out. It seemed so fast and just appeared out of nowhere, attacking unsuspecting people. It reminds me of a gorilla, except with an enormous horn on its head, matching ones on its spine and long claws. If it didn’t kill you by bludgeoning you to death, you were a ‘gonner from the toxins it released when it bit you. Maybe it was so freaky because it was a creature I just had never seen before.

There are so many television shows that present a good fright. Twilight Zone, Outer Limits,and The Nightstalker are all classic monster mini shorts. Even shows like Millenium, Criminal Minds and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will give you the willies with their portrayals of the monstrous behavior of mankind. So, if you are looking for scary monsters, just keep surfing the channels. You’re bound to find something to whet your appetite for fear.


Midnyte Reader has been blogging her opinion on books and other things since April 2010, and doing a pretty good job of it. She's another aficionado of dark fiction, particularly with a supernatural element. You can find her elsewhere online too, including Twitter.


  1. love tooms... led me to great post from you... very nice.

    Jeremy [iZombie]
    iZombie Lover

  2. Tooms and the Forest Creature were creepy indeed. Two of my favs from X-Files.

  3. I love The Gentlemen. The creepiest monsters to ever appear on Buffy

  4. Great list! Hush is one of my favorite TV episodes of all time.

  5. I can never get enough of the X files. And yes, of course The Gentlemen are awesome.