We all know that there’s more to a good horror movie than the appearance of the villain. Suspense. Atmosphere. Jump scares.
Good old-fashioned extreme bodily dismemberment. Horror movies are a craft, and good filmmakers don’t need to use special effects as a blunt instrument to tear screams out of audiences.
That said, a truly horrific movie monster, realised with great make-up effects or skilful CGI, can really make the difference between a good movie and a great movie. But it's the truly garbage monsters that can make the biggest difference.
We’ve all been there: a movie is scaring us silly, but the terrifying monster that has been so carefully foreshadowed is finally revealed as a lukewarm drip and all of that lovingly cultivated fear parps straight out of the room like a deflating balloon.
But disappointment isn’t the only way that a monster can ruin your movie night. Far from it. This list looks at the most pathetic, the most underwhelming, and the plain silliest monsters in horror.
And it's true what you’re thinking – it’s a crowded field! So for this list we’ve tried to zoom in on some of the more interesting embarrassments, and to avoid notoriously terrible monsters like the gremlins from Troll 2, or ones that are deliberately ‘so bad it’s good’ like Sharktopus, Rubber, or Zombeavers.
Let the roster of shame commence!
10. Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
Everybody knows that there was no reason to remake A Nightmare on Elm Street. The franchise was thoroughly exhausted, having dribbled and wheezed to a stop after five increasingly redundant sequels and an ambitious but patchy reboot.
But if there's one thing franchises are good for, it's a cash-in, and in 2010 Freddy was duly dragged from the grave for yet another spree through the dreamscapes of yet more naughty teenagers.
It's not a total turkey. There are some good performances and some strong effects sequences, and Jackie Earle Haley’s interpretation of Freddy is commendable in many respects.
The decision to make Freddy’s burned face look more realistic, however, is one of the most important examples of the main problem with the remake: it just doesn't capture the sense of the fantastic and the weird that made Wes Craven's first Nightmare such a fascinatingly original and scary piece of work.
Freddy was always a burn victim, but Craven's decision not to be too literal with Freddy's facial disfigurement had important effects on the whole feel of the film. It allowed Robert Englund's devilishly charismatic performance to shine through.
It was expressive, and it was suggestive, in the way that great surrealism can be. And it made Freddy appear more ghoulish, less like a real person who had suffered vigilante justice and more like some dripping, grisly, otherworldly phantom.
When it's too anatomically correct, as it is in the remake, it loses its freakiness and feels - well, ordinary, and it should go without saying that a dream demon should never be ordinary. Even at his cheesy, quipping, shark-jumping worst, Freddy was never dull.