13 Scariest Horror Movie Monsters Of The 2010s, Ranked
While the monster movie has always been a big part of the horror genre, the popularity of big-screen creatures has varied. The 1990s were marked by some great monsters, but as low-budget found footage and post-modern slasher movies became the popular subgenres of the 2000s, monsters took a backseat.
But as the 2010s rolled around, rapid developments in CGI meant that horror monsters returned with a vengeance. Convincing, terrifying creatures were no longer just the domain of high-budget cinema, and filmmakers made use of digital tools to deliver a wide range of scary beasts. But it wasn't all CGI--some directors embraced the practical make-up effects of previous decades to satisfying toothy and gloopy effect.
It's now October, a month in which many horror fans spent their nights watching scary movies in the build-up to Halloween. There are few things more exciting and enjoyable than a great monster movie, so we've rounded up the scariest monsters of the 2010s. And once read this, check out our rundowns of the best monsters of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s...
13. Ghosts (Crimson Peak)
Guillermo Del Toro's gory, gothic romance wasn't well received, compared to his other movies, but there is much to like, including the gruesome ghosts which haunt the movie's mansion. These bloody phantoms are both visceral and otherworldly, their high-contrast red design a world away from more familiar cinematic spectres.
12. Demon (The Wailing)
Na Hong-jin's South Korean supernatural horror ends with the reveal that the seemingly innocent old Japanese man suspected by a small town of witchcraft is an actual demon who collects the souls of the living. This grinning, cackling spirit helps make a truly unsettling ending.
11. Krampus (The Krampus)
The Krampus is a demonic creature from Austrian folklore who punishes naughty kids at Christmas. He's also the perfect holiday horror villain and is the monstrous threat in this hugely entertaining seasonal horror movie. Director Michael Dougherty (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) makes us wait for his eventual arrival, but this fearsome, long-tongued, huge horned monstrosity is worth sticking around for.
10. Mister Babadook (The Babadook)
The shadowy boogeyman that torments a mother and son in Jennifer Kent's The Babadook hides inside a pop-up book that mysteriously appears inside their house. Mister Babadook feeds off fear, growing in size and ultimately controlling the mom. He's ultimately revealed to be a manifestation of grief and anxiety, but it doesn't make him any less terrifying while he's on screen.
9. Aliens (Attack the Block)
Comedian Joe Cornish made his directorial debut with this British alien invasion horror thriller, which combines gritty urban drama with John Carpenter-inspired sci-fi action and introduced the world to John Boyega. Boyega plays the leader of a teenage gang who must fight against a horde of terrifying alien creatures, who are attacking his housing project. The invading aliens are inventively designed, fast-moving black shapes with sinister glowing fangs.
8. Jötunn (Troll Hunter)
This hugely entertaining Norwegian movie uses its found footage style to bring a level of gritty realism to an outlandish monster movie. It focuses on a documentary crew following the exploits of a man who claims to track giant trolls through the countryside. The movie's troll design hits a great balance between scary and cartoonish, and the Jötunn is the largest and most aggressive troll, who becomes infected with rabies and starts to threaten populated areas.
7. Sarah Creature (The Void)
The Void taps directly into the gore-laden monster movies of the '80s, with a clear influence from such cult favorites as The Thing and From Beyond. The film takes place overnight in a small hospital, where an unlucky group of people is besieged by both a sinister cult and tentacled monsters from some alternate dimension. The most memorable is the Sarah Creature, who was once a girl named Sarah Powell but is brought back from the dead by her grieving father as a four-legged beast covered in rotting flesh with a nightmarish tentacled skull-face.
6. Moder (The Ritual)
In David Bruckner's folk horror tale The Ritual, four pals set out on a hiking vacation in Sweden, but find themselves at the mercy of the ancient demonic creature Moder and the murderous locals who worship it. Moder is a truly strange and nightmarish creation, with four huge elk-like legs, a human torso for a head, antlers for arms, and glowing eyes in its belly.
5. Pennywise (It)
The malevolent clown Pennywise is just one of the guises used by the ancient, shape-shifting interdimensional being in Stephen King's classic novel It and the two recent movie adaptations. But it's the one that everyone knows, and Bill Skarsgård's truly terrific portrayal of this child-eating creature makes for some seriously scary scenes.
4. Red Face Demon (Insidious)
James Wan's Insidious gave us this spooky entity, who rules over the nightmarish dimensional known as the Further, and loves to scare the s*** out of the living by suddenly appearing behind them. He's a tall hooved humanoid creature with claws, a long tail, and a face that looks like Darth Maul's mischievous younger brother.
3. The Pale Lady (Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark)
The movie adaptation of Alvin Schwartz's classic horror stories features several memorable monsters, including The Jangly Man and Harold the scarecrow. But it's the Pale Lady that will give you the worst nightmares. This sinister, smiling, apparition torments Chuck as he runs around a mental institution, appearing in every corridor, shuffling slowly but relentlessly towards him.
2. The Creatures (A Quiet Place)
John Krasinski's hugely successful A Quiet Place is set in a world where huge, deadly alien creatures have overrun and massacred much of the population. These long-limbed beasts are unable to see, but operate with a heightened awareness of sound, as well as possessing natural armor that makes them impervious to conventional human weapons.
1. Mutant Bear (Annihilation)
Unquestionably one of the scariest monsters of the decade, the bear in Alex Garland's dark sci-fi horror has been mutated by the "Shimmer," a huge electromagnetic shield created by an amorphous being from space. While the bear's body is largely intact, it's the head that's truly disturbing--part of the skull is revealed, but with a human skull somehow fused on top of it. Yikes!