“If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: 10 Movie Monsters From The 80s Ranked By Toughness”
The decade of excess is responsible for some of the most impressive movie monsters in cinema. Suddenly the horror, sci-fi, and slasher genres were augmented with more robust villains than ever before as visual and practical effects became more innovative and realistic. Creature creators like Stan Winston and Ray Barker created monster icons for stories by directors like Wes Craven, James Cameron, and John Carpenter.
These directors overhauled the cheesy aliens of the ’50s, the slow-moving zombie tropes of the ’60s, and the shuffling slasher archetypes of the ’70, and in their place were oppressive killing machines that couldn’t be stopped. All hope was lost if the Terminator got you in his sights, and what could you do against a demon that only attacked you in your dreams? Here are 10 movie monsters from the 80s ranked by toughness.
Introduced in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, “Deadites” took the zombie trope to the extreme. Ghoulish demonic beings that were released by opening the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, they dogmatically pursued their victims until they stopped putting up a fight and succumbed to a gristly death.
That they were entirely creations of practical effect wizardry only seem to add to their grotesque status. As they struggled to find living souls to consume and inhabit mortal flesh, their dark overlords ensured that they were difficult to kill, even for Ash.
After a father loses his sons to a hit-and-run involving a joy-riding teen, he locates a local witch to raise a Demon of Vengeance. Dubbed “Pumpkinhead”, the gruesome creature marked all the wrongdoers of its summoner for death and could track them wherever they fled.
Not only can victims never escape Pumpkinhead, but the only way to kill it is to seek out their summoners and destroy them. The more there are summoners, however, the stronger Pumpkinhead is, and the harder it is to kill it. If Pumpkinhead is killed before he can complete its task any new Pumpkinhead raised will fulfill it first before moving on to other victims.
8 THE BLOB
A classic horror film from the ’50s starring Steve McQueen, The Blob was remade in the ’80s with more modern special effects. It follows the same premise of a giant alien made from pink slime that slowly makes its way through a small California town, ingesting everyone and everything in its path.
Because of its ability to grow at an incredible rate, it was difficult to avoid even if it wasn’t very fast. It could suck victims through kitchen sink drains and sewer grates, where they became organisms that were part human and part blob.
7 ALIEN QUEEN
After Alien, it hardly seemed the xenomorph could get any more terrifying, but Aliens delivered the goods in the ’80s by giving audiences the hive Queen. At first seemingly stationary, busy making hundreds of eggs while her drones did her dirty work, she surprised everyone when she detached herself and went after Ripley.
It took Ripley strapping into a giant loader to take on the Queen, who moved with surprising dexterity for how large her head was in comparison to her legs. She used her tale like a deadly whip, and her jaws were even more powerful than a normal drone. It took Ripley ultimately flushing her out an airlock to kill her.
6 THE THING
John Carpenter’s The Thing is a horror classic for a variety of reasons, but at the top of the list is the stunning practical effects work and creature design. The creature itself, an alien life form that can duplicate human victims after absorbing them, brought about a whole new wave of terror in the early ’80s.
The Thing was a relentless foe, constantly infecting hosts to ensure its survival. It took out an entire group of researchers in the Arctic, making them turn on each other until none of them were certain if they were who they appeared to be. By the end of the film, no one was certain if it was even dead.
First introduced in Hellraiser, Cenobites were the demonic beings who offered anyone that could solve their “puzzle box” endless delights as they’d never experienced on Earth. What they failed to mention was that these delights were coupled with unimaginable torture.
Cenobites were notoriously difficult to kill, in that they resided in another dimension and often only came through a portal into our world for small periods of time. In later films in the franchise, it was shown they could be killed, but where one died, more were always there to take their place.
Where man was once the apex predator on Earth, soon they became the prey when an alien warrior landed in the South American jungle. A group of highly trained mercenaries and commandos tried to take it on, but it ripped through their numbers in a violent slaughter.
With the benefit of superior strength, size, speed, and regenerative abilities, predators outmatch humans in every way. Add to that incredibly advanced technology, and they are almost unstoppable. The respect a worthy opponent, however, so your key to survival may be fighting with honor.
3 THE TERMINATOR
Introduced in James Cameron’s The Terminator, the cyborg assassin (made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger) became the definition of the indefatigable antagonist. The T-800 was an unstoppable killing machine that didn’t need food or sleep to pursue its prey.
In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the T-1000 was the Terminator sent after the Terminator, and it proved to be a formidable upgrade to its predecessor. With the ability to assume the form of anyone it touched as well as mold its metallic alloy frame into various weapons, it took fire and heat to finally end it.
2 JASON VOORHEES
Jason Voorhees ushered in the decade of excess with gratuitous brutality that built on the slasher films of the ’70s. He may have started off as an ordinary homicidal maniac like Michael Myers in Halloween, but by the second Friday the 13th film, he had truly transformed into a monster.
Voorhees became a creature out of nightmares who dogmatically pursued his victims, gaining supernatural powers with every kill. In his subsequent films when he faced off against Freddy Krueger, it seemed that nothing could take down a killer who refused to die.
1 FREDDY KRUEGER
While you might be able to outrun Jason Voorhees and The Blob or outsmart the Predator and Terminator, there’s no escaping Freddy Krueger. He finds you in your dreams and tortures you, and just when you think you’ve seen the last of him, he reaches into your reality.
The product of Wes Craven’s childish nightmares, Freddy Krueger the dream demon appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 and continued to slaughter teenagers for many subsequent films. Because everyone needs sleep sometime, there’s nowhere to run from Freddy.
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