There are a lot of characters in the various worlds of pop culture who are designed to frighten us. From the terrifying rictus of the Joker to the quietly murderous politeness of Adlai Niska, many of our favorite imaginary friends are horrible, but few instill me with insistent loathing like Cyborg Superman. Superficially resembling the greatest superhero, his face is peeled away from a terrible metallic Terminator skull, and his missing parts have seemingly been kit-bashed from whatever scrap he could find, rudely impaled into his few remaining “human” parts. I know I’m sensitive to body-horror (Thanks, Rodrigo!), but he never failed to trigger a deep revulsion in me, which leads me to today’s intimidating query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) doesn’t underestimate the sheer body horror of Venom’s slavering fang-mouth, asking: Which fictional character would be the most terrifying villain to meet in real life?


About Author

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’ve always found the idea of Sabretooth absolutely frightening. Claws and teeth and a psycho-killer’s urges.

    And the way he has no limits nor compuction about killing others just to get revenge. He’s bad news, because he takes his battles so personally, and is practically un-killable to boot.


  2. Ram_evilspaceknight. on

    Dire Wraiths
    They have that whole bodysnatchers/the thing sense of paranoia and the way the way they steal your life and memories (a barbed tongue to the back of the head) yeeuch!

  3. Being severely arachnophobic, it would most likely be any of the spider-like villains or characters that turned into a giant spider. Aside from obvious instances (like when Spider-Man further mutated into Man-Spider), I’d be terrified to come across the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Separatist character Trench, who comes from a species of giant spider people.

    I would also be afraid of villains who could turn your nightmares into reality or make you relive them, like Scarecrow with his toxins. I’ll be honest, seeing “monsters” or nightmarish visions? I’m used to that. I saw plenty of crap like that when I was going through treatment for cancer and had some severe reactions to medications or extremely high fevers. My nightmares are bad things (like truly horrific things) happening to people I care about, particularly children (such as my friend’s kids or my nephews).

  4. Galactus: In this world, I believe that I would soil myself were he to step down right in front of me. His sheer size and magnitude would make me believe that nothing human could defeat him.

    • I think in my case I’d assume I was still dreaming and try to jump off of a building to fly. At least there wouldn’t be much time left for anyone to mourn my passing, though.

  5. lycanthrope – what could be more terrifying, on a personal level, than the possibility of being bitten and turning into a werewolf maybe the possibility of turning into a vampire

    • Depends on what kind for me. I’m less scared of being a monster than I am of being immortal. Don’t know why, but the idea of outliving everyone I care about over and over scares me much, much more than needing to drink blood or turning into a giant feral ball of hair.

      So if it were the kind of werewolf or vampire where I’m still me (in werewolf case, still me except for during the change), I’d jump at the chance. Heck, I’m already halfway to vampire anyway (I’m EXTREMELY sensitive to sunlight and I have to get blood transfusions frequently, not to mention I’m more of a night person anyway, so it wouldn’t be much of a change). For werewolf, I figure it wouldn’t be ideal, but I could always lock myself up (like on US “Being Human” or Oz from “Buffy”) or make some other contingency to be away from people during the full moon (also like “Being Human” where in the hours before the change, they dragged a pot roast around the woods for their wolf forms to track).

      But as I’ve been sick and in and out of hospitals my whole life, I’m probably seeing this from a completely different viewpoint. A blood addiction or turning into a giant feral furball a few times a month doesn’t seem all that different than some of the side effects of most of the medications I’ve been on.

  6. It’s gotta be Venom or Carnage because of the huge slavering mouths, tentacles and oozing bodies. You’ve also got that it could take over your body and make you into a lunatic killer.
    Honorable mention goes to the candle head monsters from critical hit with their oozing heads.

  7. Carnage would be a top contender, more so than Venon who I despise too much to be scared of.

    But old Spider-Woman villain Waxman could top even Carnage.

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