Today’s Major Spoilers Question of the Day is brought to you once more by Fangoria Presents – a new film series selected by Fangoria for Horror Fans!  Use the comment section below to share your thoughts, with the best comment winning a DVD of one of the films in the series as seen on their website!  (Sorry, this contest is open to U.S. residents only!)

Before they started teaming up with Abbott and Costello, the Universal Movie Monster stable (Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy and ancillary members The Bride, The Creature From The Black Lagoon and the Phantom Of The Opera) were sterling examples of how to be really scary with limited budgets and limited means.  Using makeup and appliances, (and a willingness to suffer for their craft) Lugosi, Karloff and the Chaneys transformed themselves into creatures that seemed to come straight from the frightening images in your lizard brain, and delivered on the promise of a “horror” movie.  Many later tales failed to successfully top those “primitive” monsters (George Romero’s haunting study of seven doomed souls in an abandoned house notwithstanding), even with superior special effects and higher budgets, and even the likes of Doctor Caligari’s Somnambulist carry heavy-duty creep factor nearly a century on…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that “None of the above” is generally not an acceptable answer for our purposes, and is usually no fun to boot, asking: Which of the classic movie monsters holds the most terror for you? (Remember to show your work!)

Remember:  Once again, the best comment will win, thanks to Fangoria Presents!


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I think the Wolfman takes it for me. To me it’s not really about which one I’m most frightened of being attacked by. The whole werewolf thing to me is frightening because the innocent person BECOMES the monster. That’s what’s frightening to me — I could be derping along and bam, the moon comes out and I murder my family for now particular reason.

  2. Likely not a valid answer, but I find haunted houses the creepiest.
    I remember when I was 21 and first watched the Haunting of Hell House. I was truly unnerved for most of that movie (also amazed at the number of techno/industrial tracks that took samples form here!)
    Note: There may or may not have been a few sandwiches involved.

  3. Oldcomicfan on

    When I was a kid, they were mostly showing the Abbott & Costello horror movies on TV, which completely spoiled the monster movie genre after seeing those. That said, the only classic movie monster I really liked was the Wolfman, because Lon Chaney portrayed the guy as a tragic fellow caught up in circumstances beyond his control. Growing up in an family of alcoholics, I could really identify with that, while vampires and lurching creatures made of spare parts did nothing for me. To be honest, the only movie that ever really scared me was Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

  4. Imagine a creature made from bodies stolen from their graves. A mad doctor and his disfigured assistant assemble a huge man-creature, using lightning to give it the spark of life. He shambles around, terrorizing the village. The only thing he fears is fire, a primeval fear that we all share.
    Frankenstein’s Monster, a 7-foot brutish monster, IS the scariest of them all.

  5. I am not sure if it’s considered classic but the shark from Jaws scared the hell out of me and still does. I am 42 and still will not go in the ocean. Is my fear ridiculous, yes. But the fear of a “real” predator whose realm I am most lost and floundering in terrifies me. Real or not anything that effects your life for 31 years clearly struck a primal cord within the psyche. The “Lifeless doll eyes” get me every time.

  6. I’ll go with the Phantom. The romantic setting and the various obsessions that contribute to the tragedy make it for me. Plus the complete plausibility of the story really adds to the horror of what “normal” people can do.

  7. Zombies.

    In almost any other classic movie monster story, it seems there is at least SOME semblance of control or ties to their former selves. Heck, even some werewolf movies where they are truly “beasts” have shown that there is the chance that a werewolf might recognize someone from it’s human life. But zombies are mindless beasts that know only hunger, and there is no reasoning with a zombie or appealing to it’s humanity.

    Also, in most other monster stories, there are sometimes the chance to be cured or to reverse the effects before it is too late if you get bitten. But zombies, once you are bitten in most cases, you’re as good as dead.

    On top of it all, they are the walking dead (and I’m not referring to the series), and dead things shouldn’t move. That alone freaks me out more than the other aspects combined.

  8. Largely because he seems more menacing and went into his vampirism by choice (depending on the background you hold true) I have to go with Dracula. I always felt more sympathetic for the other classic monsters. Frankenstein never asked to be brought back to life and was largely misunderstood. Both the Mummy and the Wolfman were cursed through no apparent fault of their own. Whereas Dracula seems to enjoy what he is doing to people on many levels. Taking the girl, turning Renfield into his slave, torturing those in his castle and the nearby village. All are pawns to him. Through in the fangs, the lack of weaknesses, the undead aspect, etc. and he gets my vote.

  9. The Wolfman holds a specific significance to me. When I was kid, I would have very extensive internal debates over whether to leave the closet door open or not. My thought-pattern was if I closed it, i could hear him coming and try to take him out with my baseball bat. But that didn’t end so well for the guy in “Silver Bullet”. So if I left it open, he could just gobble me up with as little trouble as possible.

    I eventually upgraded to a wolf-headed cane like the one Claude Rains had in Wolfman. I don’t have any such interior debates though . . . but I still check every closet space in my apartment.

  10. While I hold a special place in my heart for werewolves, my answer goes to Vampires. This is because, with werewolves and some of the others, they do not look like the people you once knew, vampires do. With a vampire there can be a more relatable face, Salem’s Lot a kid interacting with now a former friend who became a vampire, and the turmoil that goes with it. Vampires is the fear that they look human, but really aren’t, they will talk to us, but we are just food to them.

    There was a passage in the Dresden Files where a vampire character was conversing with our hero, and pointed from a mother & her children, to an elderly couple, and more, and insinuated we were just a meal to him. Someone who can be so charming, but stab you in the back (neck) as sooon as you blink your eye.

  11. I know they’re not classic monsters, but the whatever they were from the original Don’t Be Afraid Of the Dark movie from the 1970’s still freak me out — and I saw the film only once over 30 years ago.

    As for the classics, I’m going to mention one not in the list: the Invisible Man. A homicidal maniac you can’t see? Yikes!

    Frankenstein’s Monster, especially as portrayed by Karloff, was far too tragic a figure to be terrifying to me; in The Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorius was the creepiest monster.

    The Wolfman? I think that’s terrifying only if you imagine what it would be like to be the Wolfman.

    Dracula? Generally too genteel to be really terrifying to me. Creepy and unnerving, but not terrifying.

    Creature From the Black Lagoon? Ever since my teens, any fear of the Creature is pushed aside by Julia Adams in her swimsuit.

    When I think about it, the most terrifying “monster” from classic movies I’ve seen is the house from The Haunting. First time I watched it on tape I had to stop it because it was scaring me too much (of course, watching it at 2 in the morning by myself in a completely dark house didn’t help).

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