What makes a monster movie truly terrifying? Why, a great monster of course! Any effective creature feature has to have a genuinely frightening ghoul, ghost or goblin that insincerely scares the pants off audiences. The Thing has the wonderfully menacing shapeshifter, Alien has a chest-bursting parasite and Hellraiser features the biggest freaks in hell known to man. All of these horrors have a threatening monster at the center, which is more than can be said of these next 15 entries.
The following monsters on this list are ones that aren’t so much frightening as they are pathetic. We’ve all seen monster movies and thought to ourselves, “what’s so scary about that?” Today we’ll dive into that question and examine 15 creatures that don’t exactly keep us awake at night, and ones that could be easily defeated if we ever came across them in real life. To be clear, the monsters on this list don’t have to be from terrible movies. There are several monsters from some great horror/comedies that made the cut, simply because these creature-features have some of the lamest monsters imaginable.
With that in mind, here are the 15 Least Threatening Monsters in Horror Movies.
15. Critters (Critters)
After the popularity of 1984’s Gremlins, a series of knockoffs were made to cash in on the tiny creature-feature brand. Critters remains one of the more popular copy-cats, and spawned several sequels, one of which had the franchise inevitably journey into space. That journey would make sense as these tiny furry critters are from space themselves, having travelled from planet to planet until they eventually landed on Earth.
The critters would probably be what your Furby from the 90s would look like if it went on a serious drugs/alcohol bender. They sport blood shot eyes, long claws and razor sharp teeth to eat everything in sight. They like to cause mischief just like their Gremlin counterparts, throwing food and nipping at the heels of their unsuspecting victims while they spout off inaudible gibberish.
While they’re supposed to appear threatening, they fall under the category of “so small you could just kick them” kind of monster. The only thing that makes these creatures the least bit intimidating is their ability to move in packs. Other than that, they’re nothing that a baseball bat or a tennis racket couldn’t handle.
14. Jack (Jack Frost)
1997’s Jack Frost is known for kicking off the acting career of American Pie’s Elizabeth Shannon, and not much else. It’s a B level horror movie with a lackluster production, and an even more lackluster villain in a walking snowman that likes to stab people with icicles. After a serial killer named Jack Frost is arrested, the prison vehicle which was supposed to transport him to his death sentence collides with a GCC company tanker. The experimental acid from the tanker spills onto Jack, which melts his skin and bones and fuses his consciousness with the snow on the ground. It’s not long before the deranged killer is back on the prowl, only this time as a bloodthirsty snowman.
Jack is made of snow, which means that he’s vulnerable to any form of heat. Not the best defense to have, especially when Spring and Summer roll around. Plus, Jack is a snowman reminiscent of Frosty, which doesn’t generate the scariest façade in the grand scheme of things. All you need to take down this abominable monster is a can of hairspray and a lighter, or a good working space heater.
13. Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (Ghost Busters)
Now revered as a classic, 1984’s Ghostbusters was a huge success thanks to its off-beat brand of comedy mixed with some fantasy and horror elements. It featured wide a range of terrifying ghouls for Dan Aykroyd , Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson to shoot and capture with their proton packs, but the most recognizable is undoubtedly the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
After being asked by the evil Gozer to choose the form of the destructor, Aykroyd’s character Ray unintentionally calls upon the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who pops into his head for all those fine memories the mascot created when he was a kid. The four ghost busters watch in horror as Stay Puft marches down the streets of NY, smashing cars and toppling buildings with a lovable grin on his face.
While his size might be great, at the end of the day Stay Puft is just one gigantic marshmallow. Granted, he’s a marshmallow that could eat you, but still, a few flamethrowers or a couple guided missiles would make short work of the tasty snack sailor. Better yet, his remains would supply the world with enough mallow to make smores for the rest of eternity. And who doesn’t love smores?
12. Trees (The Happening)
Director M. Night Shyamalan has made quite the reputation for himself as a guy who absolutely adores a twist ending. He uses them in practically all of his movies: Bruce Willis was dead the entire time, Mr. Glass was a psychopath and The Village turned out to be set in modern times. Some of these twists work, while others, more notably the recent ones, do not. One of the more disappointing endings was featured in his 2008 effort, The Happening, in which a mysterious plague has broken out that causes everyone infected to commit suicide.
The characters in The Happening shoot themselves, throw each other off of cliffs and even lay down in front of running lawnmowers. The viewer racks their brain trying to figure out what’s causing everyone to suddenly go suicidal: is it aliens? A government conspiracy? All wrong. In an ending that’s clearly phoned in and defies all logic, it’s revealed that it’s mother nature herself making us humans go nutty. As it turns out, Earth views humans as pests, and like any pest, we’re almost exterminated by Earth’s ecosystem by the release of a toxin in the air that makes us want to kill ourselves. The twist is farfetched, even by Shyamalan’s standards, resulting in one of the oddest and laziest McGuffins in years.
11. The Gingerbread Man (The Gingerdead Man)
Horror movies love to take something that we associate with our childhood, like dolls, books or even board games, and make it a murderous killing machine. Perhaps it is because we are so comfortable around these things that they appear more frightening when they pose a threat. While this trope has been used effectively, it can also seem silly when it goes a tad too far.
2005’s The Gingerdead Man is a perfect example of what happens when this concept goes a tad too far. The plot involves an evil yet adorable cookie that comes to life with the soul of a serial killer. Once in his new form, the murderous Gingerbread Man decides to wreak havoc on the girl that testified against him. The movie is camp in the most primordial sense of the word as we watch a six-inch-tall cookie run around with a knife, and somehow even finagles his way into driving a car.
There’s nothing less frightening than a monster that you could defeat by dunking him in a glass of milk and eating him. The Gingerbread Man is as laughable as he is delicious, and is further discredited by the fact that he’s voiced by veteran loose cannon Gary Busey.
10. Chucky (Child’s Play)
Unlike the sophomoric Gingerdead Man, Chucky is a good example of when turning something familiar from childhood into a coldblooded killer works effectively. Even though he’s thoroughly frightening (at least when the original Child’s Play was released in 1988) you just can’t watch the movie and think to yourself, “why doesn’t somebody just kick him?”
While he’s usually not without his trusty knife, Chucky really isn’t all that threatening. He’s a doll, for crying out loud; a plaything for children. Even though he’s inhabited by the soul of a dangerous criminal, he shouldn’t be that hard to take down. As we’ve seen from the first movie, his body becomes more human as more time passes. This means that Chucky bleeds and hurts just like anyone else. It wouldn’t be difficult to get a golf club and give him a few smacks to the noggin to calm him down. Though he’s eventually defeated in Child’s Play and all of the declining sequels, we wonder why it takes our heroes so long to subdue a doll that’s no more than a few feet high.
9. Zombie Turkey (Thankskilling)
One could call Thankskilling the best holiday movie about a murderous turkey ever made, but that wouldn’t be saying much. In fact, not much can be said of this bizarre 2009 comedy/horror about a homicidal turkey that kills off a group of college kids one by one during Thanksgiving break. The fowl beast takes it upon himself to peck his victims to death and eat their remains. Oh, and did we mention that the Turkey trash talks? Because, yeah, it trash talks.
Like the Gingerbread Man, this villainous turkey necromancer isn’t exactly frightening for the fact that he would look more at home as something you serve up with a side of stuffing and cranberry sauce. This turkey is so over-the-top and vulgar that he doesn’t come close to making a tremor in the villainous Richter scale. It also doesn’t help that he’s given a cockamamie 500-year-old backstory about being resurrected by Native American in order to kill pilgrims. All you would need to defeat this homicidal bird is an oven, a carving knife and a bib.
8. Giant Mutant Rabbits (Night of the Lepus)
This is why you never inject bunny rabbits with hormones and genetically mutated blood. The result is a race of bloodthirsty horse-sized rabbits who terrorize a nation! This is a lesson that should be learned from 1972’s Night of the Lepus, a movie which has gained cult status for its absurd plot and extremely dated effects. After a naïve zoologist performs experiments on farm raised rabbits, the cute bunnies grow enormous in size, and, of course, have a taste for destruction.
Most of the scenes are clearly actual-sized rabbits stomping on miniatures in slow motion, but let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment and pretend like these “monsters” actually exist. A super race of giant bunnies isn’t really a huge threat to our way of life, besides the fact we might become distracted with how cute and cuddly they are. The only real threat here is their ability to reproduce super quickly, but even if they do, a small army or militia should have no problem taking out the furry beasts and making some well-seasoned rabbit stew out of the slaughter. There have been more threatening rabbits in cartoons than in Night of the Lepus, including Bugs Bunny who, with all of his shenanigans, is still more intimidating.
7. The Blob (The Blob)
Like the title suggests, the main villain in this creature feature is just one giant gelatinous blob that looks like it should be spread on your morning toast. The alien organism looks like it escaped from a giant jar of jelly rather than a meteorite that crashed into Earth. After landing near a small town in the country (of course), the blob takes hold of unsuspecting victims as it grows in size with each new person it absorbs.
The blob isn’t particularly fast; it movies at a snail’s pace down roads and inside movie theaters to gobble up its favorite meal: obnoxious teenagers. The marmalade alien also doesn’t appear to show any signs of intelligence. It doesn’t talk or bother to establish some sort of pattern to its mindless killing spree. It’s susceptible to cold climates and can be easily frozen, which makes it pretty ineffective if it were ever to invade Alaska or anywhere that has snow. Good thing it conveniently decided to land in the American Southwest. If it had landed anywhere in Northern Europe, it would have been sadly out of luck.
6. Invaders (Signs)
Speaking of alien invaders who should do some more research on the places they’re invading, the intergalactic conquerors from Signs are so inept they leave us wondering how they managed to fly their spaceships to Earth without crashing. For a superior race of beings who have invented interstellar travel, the invaders from this M. Night Shyamalan production are boneheaded on a number of different levels. Let’s just start with the obvious: they can be killed when they come into contact with water, a substance that covers 75% of planet Earth!
Somehow that doesn’t seem to dissuade the alien beings from invading our home turf, who are either so cocky they didn’t care about the water issue, or were so stupid they didn’t do their research. The scenario they encounter would be the equivalent of humans invading a planet mostly covered with liquid hot magma, and then being surprised when we’re burned to death.
Their second mistake is that they show up buck-naked. If you were traveling to a planet made up of more than half of a substance that would kill you, a raincoat or just a shirt would be the bare minimum. With their blatant shortcomings, all you would need to defend yourself during the invasion in Signs is a couple of super soakers and maybe some water balloons for good measure.
5. Goblins (Troll 2)
In the realm of terrible movies, there’s Troll 2, and then there’s everything else. It’s either going to be the funniest movie you’ve ever seen, or the biggest regret of your life. Either way, there’s no denying that Troll 2 is plagued with a slew of problems including its laughable script, shoddy production design and most of all, its awful stable of villains, ironically enough, none of which are trolls.
When a family takes a trip through a mysterious town titled Nilbog (which they only realize too late is ‘Goblin’ spelled backwards) they uncover a terrible plot by the inhabitants, who are planning to eat the unsuspecting vacationers. The townspeople in disguise are really disfigured Goblins, not trolls as the movie title would suggest, and unfortunately for them they’re all vegetarians. In order to eat their victims, the eco-friendly monsters must first turn them into vegetables using some weird kind of green paste.
The fact that they’re not even meat eating takes the Goblins’ ominous presence down a couple pegs. Considering that they share more common goals with Captain Planet than they do monsters makes them laughable as a threat, especially considering how stocky and stupid they appear to be. If you ever find yourself in Nilbog and cornered by these ridiculous creatures, just grab the nearest blunt object and get to whacking.
4. The Stuff (The Stuff)
What do you get when you cross sour cream and an evil subconscious that wants to eat all humans? The answer: one of the lamest monsters in movie history. Larry Cohen, known for writing thrillers like Phone Booth and Cellular, took a stab at directing this 1985 sci-fi/horror which was simply titled, The Stuff. After stumbling upon some weird goo erupting from the Earth, a couple of miners get the brilliant idea to just start eating it. They decide its tastes so good that they want to market it to the world, and soon it takes the American public by storm.
Things take a terrible turn when it’s revealed that the Stuff takes over the brains whoever eats it, turning them into zombie like creatures, whose only motivation is to eat more Stuff. The mind-devouring dessert starts to run rampant, and it’s up to an ex-FBI agent and a kid to stop the madness from spreading. It is actually easier than one would think, as all anyone has to do is just stop eating the goo and the problem is solved. The Stuff is kind of like the Blob, except it’s even lamer by comparison. The organism infects its hosts by being tasty, which is an interesting evolutionary advantage, but makes for a disappointing movie monster. While there are fleeting moments of genuine scariness, the Stuff’s overarching silliness is enough to overwhelm anyone with an overactive sweet tooth.
3. Gremlins (Gremlins)
If you ever have a cute furry creature known as a Mogwai for a pet, there are three important rules to remember. One, you can’t put them in bright light; two, you can’t get them wet; and three, NEVER feed them after midnight. That last one is especially important, because if you forget it, miniature green monsters might start cropping up and terrorizing your town. Released in 1984, it’s exactly what happens in the Steven Spielberg produced movie Gremlins. It’s a horror/comedy that sees a small town overrun with malevolent monsters destroying everything in sight. It’s up to the guy who caused to madness in the first place to put an end to it with the help of his Mogwai buddy.
Gremlins is certainly a fun and entertaining ride, and besides Ghost Busters, is probably one of the better crafted movies on this list. Still, the reptilian creatures, while humoring, aren’t the biggest threat when you break down their weaknesses. Sure, they spawn like wildfire whenever they come into contact with water, which is a scary thought when considering water makes up 75% of Earth. However, they can’t come into contact with direct sunlight without melting and bursting into flames. Actually any bright light is enough to kill a Gremlin, so if you ever find your town or city overrun with these little green ghouls, load up on some flashlights and double-duty batteries.
2. Leprechaun (Leprechaun)
Usually depicted as a happy-go-lucky fairy, don’t expect the Leprechaun from this movie to break out into an Irish jig if you ever cross paths with him. This creature from folklore is evil and sadistic, although whether he is genuinely frightening or threatening is another matter. After his pot of gold is stolen by an American, the Leprechaun travels over to the States from Ireland only to be tricked into getting locked in a chest. Ten years later, and the creature is accidentally released with his only goal to find his gold, by any means necessary.
The big problem with the Leprechaun is that while he’s supposed to come across as scary and menacing, he’s really more annoying than anything. While some movie monsters are stoic and creepy, this Irish ghoul never shuts up. His mouth is constantly running at a 1,000 words per minute, firing off wisecracks and dirty puns that make our eyes roll rather than increase our heartbeats out of terror. Like many other monsters on this list, he’s also small, which means all you have to do to disarm him is give the Leprechaun a nice good kick to the head.
1. Killer Tomatoes (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes)
With Stay Puft, the Gingerbread Man and the Stuff, this list is chock-full of lame edible movie monsters. However, nothing can touch the camp and genuine non-threatening vibes put out by the monsters in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which are, you guessed it, killer tomatoes. After reports of people and pets being eaten by the usually passive fruit start flooding the public, a government task force is dispatched to investigate the murderous veggies. Together this group of scientists and military men must band together if there is any hope of saving the world from these killer tomatoes.
Like a few other movies on this list, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is a comedy first and a horror second, if you want to call it that. However, the premise for the film is so outlandish and campy that it easily takes our top spot for featuring the least threatening movie monster. How could anyone, anywhere, find a murderous tomato threatening? The premise behind this “monster” defies all sense of logic. If these killer veggies/fruits ever invaded, all you would have to do is simply step on them and use the remains as leftovers. What’s even more dumbfounding is that the mutated veggies are disarmed in the movie by an awkward song blasted at extreme volumes, titled “Puberty Love.” With a weakness like that, it’s hard not to put these killer tomatoes as the crown king of least menacing movie ghouls of all time.
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