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The 10 Most Terrifying Television Monsters-of-the-Week

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | July 18, 2012 | Comments ()


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The Waters of Mars Crew -- "Doctor Who" -- In a Mars base the inhabitants are being infected by a mysterious water creature which takes over its victims. The Doctor is thrust into the middle of this catastrophe knowing a larger one is waiting around the corner.

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Der Kindestod -- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- While hospitalized with a severe case of the flu, Buffy battles a demon that sucks the life out of sick children.

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Roland and the Marionette -- "Fringe" -- When the Fringe Team investigates a case where a victim had his heart extracted, it's just the beginning of a series of mysterious and reanimating events tied together.

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The Gremlin -- "Twilight Zone" -- A man, newly recovered from a nervous breakdown, becomes convinced that a monster only he sees is damaging the plane he's flying in.

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The Cannibals of Countrycide -- "Torchwood" -- Upon entering an apparently deserted village in the Brecon Becons, the Torchwood team is separated. Finding his people are the prey in a savage game of cat and mouse Jack faces a team of ruthless hunters far more skilled in surviving outside the confines of the city than he.

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Leonard Betts -- "The X-Files" -- After an ambulance accident leaves Pittsburgh, PA's EMT of the Year Leonard Betts without a head, and what's left of his body seems to walk right out of the morgue, Mulder and Scully investigate. They find what may be evidence of evolution from man to something... cancerous.

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The Living Doll -- "Twilight Zone" -- A frustrated father does battle with his stepdaughter's talking doll, whose vocabulary includes such phrases as "I hate you" and "I'm going to kill you".

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The Gentlemen -- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- A group of murderous creatures straight out of a fairytale steal the voices of Sunnydale.

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The Weeping Angels -- "Doctor Who" -- The Weeping Angels (also known as the Lonely Assassins) are an ancient race of aliens. Their usual mode of feeding is to send their victims back in time, feeding on the resulting energy difference. When they are not being observed by another sentient being, they can move very quickly and silently, but when they are being observed they become "quantum-locked", occupying a single position in space. In this state, they are frozen and indestructible.

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The Peacock Family -- "X-Files" -- The remains of an infant suffering from an uncharted amount of birth disabilities are uncovered in a field in rural Home, Pennsylvania. The only suspicious residents are three brothers who have lived on their family farm for twenty-some years. They live there alone. Or do they?

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  • The Gentlemen is an episode of Buffy that I remember clearly. I watched the show now and then but that episode hooked me.

  • Jim Slemaker

    The Peacock Family ep was the first my wife ever watched of "X-Files". She never watched another episode.

  • dizzylucy

    The Gentlemen were pretty scary, especially the way they moved, but nothing tops the Peacock family for me. To this day I can still get freaked out thinking about it.

  • The "Talky Tina" episode of the Twilight Zone is one of the creepiest things ever. "I'm Talky Tina.... and you had better be nice to me!" **shudder**

  • Ginny

    The Vashta Nerada from "Silence in the Library" were much scarier to me than the "Waters of Mars" monsters. I also second Supernatural, the first season scared the shit out of me; especially Bloody Mary and that kid in the lake.

  • Jezzer

    Ooh, yeah. The Vashta Nerada were terrifying, but even worse was the dead girl who became a diminishing echo within their communicators.

    Speaking of echoes, the unseen possessor in the episode "Midnight" was absolutely terrifying, especially because you NEVER SEE IT. The creature's presence is conveyed entirely by the actors' words and reactions.

  • ,

    The vampire in the original "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." That seemed to be the first time in ages that anyone took real bloodsucking vampires seriously.

  • Socraz6

    Also from the X-files, the chameleon people who lived in the forest.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Johnny Mathis' Wonderful Wonderful is on my Halloween mix because of the Peacocks "Home" episode of the X-Files.

  • KatSings

    Do the Weeping Angels count as a monster of the week? I thought they were a recurring thing.

  • Jezzer

    I think they were originally intended as a one-off, but brought back for the new series in an attempt to pander to longtime fans that was only slightly less obvious than the attempts to make everyone notice HOW INCREDIBLY SPECIAL AND WONDERFUL AND SPUNKY AMY POND IS LOOK AT HER ISN'T SHE AN AMAZING FIRECRACKER.

  • Milagro

    X-files alone could fill the list, one of the best is :"Unruhe" episode, the killer lobotomises his victims to "cure" them from their mental illness though they aren't sick.

  • Ktcat8

    My friends are also terrified of the Weeping Angels, but I just don't get how they are scary!

  • chanohack

    Before I started reading this listt I had the Weeping Angels in mind, thinkin there was nothing scarier on tv... I'd repressed those fucking Peacocks, but you're right, damn you.

  • damnitjanet

    Oh, dear fucking CHRIST! Just the picture of Mrs. Peacock freaks me the fuck out. I am not easily frightened by anything, but that episode had me checking all my doors and windows...even knowing that wouldn't stop the Peacock boys. And...it freaks me out to this day.

  • Stella

    Not sure why, but Nathan Fillion as Caleb on Buffy is the scariest thing I'd seen since the X Files (for reals Flukey was scary, I was afraid to use the bathroom after that!). Caleb embodied everything I feared in men of faith - that they abhorred women, thinking we were all harlots and should die, how they used Scripture to debase the girls, ugh, I shudder just remembering that. Weird, it doesn't SEEM like it'd be scary, but it left an indelible impression on me. Was very glad when I next saw him as Mal and could switch to loving him instead of fearing him.

  • Maguita NYC

    That's because Nathan Filion is that amazing at his job, and that much more convincing than any CGI'd, make-uped, siliconed, or any other type of monster.

  • Meepmeep

    The salt monster from original Star Trek! Obviously!

    http://www.geektress.com/image...

    So many childhood nightmares....

  • idiosynchronic

    I can beat that - the Spaghetti Monsters from Space 1999. Coupled with tthe local PBS station airing the eps on Sci--Fii Friday nights at 11pm, it was terrifying.

    http://www.google.com/search?q...|5;d|Z_9IT6iXdRDzNM:

  • John W

    Although this was from a TV movie and not a show, the devil doll from Trilogy of Terror starring Karen Black scared the living s*** out of me.

  • badhorse666

    What about the Smilers from the series 5 episode "The Beast Below"? I had nightmares for weeks.

  • Anne Lucchesi

    The Smilers were creepy, but they never actually did anything. That was one of the most disappointing episodes for me in the villain dept. To have something that nightmarish and just drop it.

  • Haystacks

    I see your terrifying in-bread Peacock family and raise you the terrifying killer rednecks "The Benders" in Supernatural.

  • One of the few episodes I won't watch again. Friggin' humans.

  • dahlia6

    In-bread is really good with butter and jam. ;)

  • Haystacks

    giggle.

  • John G.

    Didn't Buffy just steal "the gentlemen" from Dark City?

  • Jezzer

    Not really. Similar in appearance, maybe, but completely different in motive and execution. They surgically remove hearts from their victims, who are very much awake and aware but mystically prevented from making a sound.

  • QueeferSutherland

    How'd Hannity not make the cut?

    Forealdo, the creepy baby dolls from the second episode of The River were marvelously unsettling.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    "Der Kindestod". Astonishing. Hollywood gets German right for once.

    My vote goes to the Angels as well. Although the Gentlemen and the Empty Child are tied for second place.

  • birdgal

    Two votes for empty child! "Are you my mummy?"

  • ed newman

    I don't remember a specific monster as I was pretty young and 70's TV monsters were pretty cheesy but I remember the one's on the Night Stalker freaking me out.

    And for 3-year-olds, nothing was as scary-mesmerizing as the monsters on Lost In Space!

    Of this list the Peacocks were the worst for me.

  • Megsammor

    This Doctor Who episode is a good one but I have to say that the Silence freaked me out more. All those horrible faces and looking down and seeing the tally and knowing they were all in the room with you.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    What do you mean, the Silence? I have no recollection of it.

  • wendylouwho

    then ya missed an entire season...

  • Jezzer

    "then ya missed an entire season..."

    Speaking of missing things...

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Well, no. I did watch series 5 and 6 of the new Who. #6 was a bit short, which in hindsight is a bit odd...

  • valerie

    Dude, you forgot to add a pic of when Der Kindestod's eyes pop out to suck your life out. With its eyes!!! With SUCKERS on its EYES! While being invisible to everyone else around you! I remember when I first saw this episode it was spectacularly scarier then anything on Buffy before.

  • Maguita NYC

    He also forgot to add a picture of Kris Kardashian.

  • L.O.V.E.

    So I'm at the Orange County Fair tonight, strolling past the Giant Corn Dog stand, when none other than KK and her gaggle of guards walks directly towards me. Keeping Up With The Queen Kartrashian, in the surgically-pulled back flesh.

    I looked into the abyss, and it is cold, dark, and filled with botox.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Kris AND Bruce

  • Bronson

    Eugene Victor Tooms (the stretchy guy who ate livers to keep himself immortal in his bile-and-newspaper cacoon) from the X-Files.

  • alannaofdoom

    OH GOD just remembering those episodes is going to have me inspecting every air vent in my apartment tonight for loose screws.

  • bleujayone

    Actually, I thought the female serial killer on CSI was even worse. She used her dogs to attack, mutilate and kill people so she could harvest their livers to make protein shakes out of them. She had some sort of genetic ailment and she felt human livers worked best to combat it. The real scary part was showing a time lapse of her succumbing to it in prison.

  • Salieri2

    It was supposed to be porphyria.

  • Monica

    I vividly remember that episode. The same actress was also on episodes of NCIS and all I could think was "bitch you eat people."

  • mats19

    To this day I can't watch "The Gentlemen" unless it's daylight hours and someones with me, they are forever engrained in my mind as terrifying s.o.b's

  • Mrcreosote

    I might be mistaken here, but wasn't "It" a made for TV movie? Because in that case PENNYWISE !!!!!!

  • I'm not afraid of clowns, but damn, Pennywise scarred me for life!

  • Ley

    Almost cracked my screen trying to cover that Weeping Angel pic. Scary as fuck.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Are we not counting the Reavers?

  • Morgan_LaFai

    They aren't a monster of the week but a reoccurring theme/character in the series.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I get your point - but since the show was so short, didn't we only see them in one episode?

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I am pretty sure we never actually saw Reavers at all until the film (which would nix them from the list), but we sort of interacted with them in the original pilot Serenity and saw the results of their work in Bushwhacked. Plus I am sure they were referenced in more episodes, though I can't give precise examples. Clearly I need to watch the show again.

    Perhaps a better argument for their being a reoccurring theme has to do with the basic structure of a western. Westerns, at their heart, are stories about the overlapping of three conflicting cultures: (1) The lawless or renegade culture that for whatever reason left "civilization", (2) "civilization", and (3) the "Other". (1) and (2) come from the same source group but view it differently. The reason I put "civilization" in quotes is because it can be argued that the "Other" are civilized, it is just a different form that is not recognized by the "civilized". But that doesn't really matter in Firefly where the Reavers are clearly an uncivilized Other. The point of that whole Western lecture was to illustrate that the Reavers are fundamental to the construct of the show as a western and thus do not merit inclusion into a monster of the week category.

    They are totally scary as all shite though. That I grant you.

  • "Home" is easily a top 5 monster of the week episode of The X-Files and probably the creepiest pre-Walking Dead episode of TV I have ever watched.

  • laylaness

    The Weeping Angels terrify and mesmerize me. Thanks to the end of "Blink", I always avoid statues.

  • Haystacks

    Blink scared the crap out of me. But after I watched the second weeping angels episode, it became a lot less scary...

  • Maguita NYC

    Does anyone remember "The Others" TV series with Julianne Nicholson, John Aylward, and Bill Cobbs? It was about a group of people, psychics, that encounter paranormal forces, and some were evil.

    It did not get renewed, but I remember it scaring the bejeezus out of me. The way they stretched the silent moments on and on, while the characters would just hold their breath and explore the suddenly darkened house.

    Sometimes, no monster is scarier than a suddenly, silent, darkened house. Especially when you're alone.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    No chupacabra? (aka: The only episode of X-Files I've ever actually watched)

  • Pants_are_a_must

    The Gentlemen. Always and forever a source of pant-shitting across the world.

  • Ruthie O

    I made the mistake of showing The Gentlemen in my Feminist Theory class. It wasn't a mistake because of the pedagogy; it resulted in a great conversation about gender, heroes, and fairy tales. It was a mistake because after my third shriek, my students realized what a complete and utter baby I am (even though they were shrieking too. mwahahaha).

  • pcloadletter

    Pants are a must.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Touché.

  • MachineGunJeanMaurice

    Fuck, fuck, fuck. That godamm x-files family was scary as all hell. Damn you Pajiba for making me remember this!! Although, to be fair, the Lamprey-Leech monster was also a scary m-f-er, also in the X-Files...

  • Nieve 'The Threadkiller Queen'

    The episode called 'irresistible' with the guy who dug up corpses and cut off the dead hair and nails before moving in to live victims, to this day I'm still scared!

  • Bex

    Donnie Pfaster. I still fear that actor to this day whenever he shows up on other shows.

  • Dave Dorris

    That was some of the most twisted shit ever on network TV. My recollection is that Fox never broadcast the episode again. Even they wondered what the hell they were thinking.

  • Psychicdog

    My mom used to love the Johnny Mathis song from that episode, "Wonderful! Wonderful!". Afterwards, she couldn't listen to it for a while without thinking about the Peacocks.

  • MG

    Yes. I was sure the Flukeman would be on here. I'd also add the fiji mermaid from "Humbug"

  • BiblioGlow

    Flukey! Ahhh!
    That episode nearly ruined a sleepover I had in middle school. Everyone was afraid to go to the bathroom.

  • Four Eyes

    I had a serious love -hate relationship with the X-Files. Loved the series, hated the freak-outs it made me experience. I swear this show nurtured masochistic tendencies in my then teenaged self!

  • Bert_McGurt

    Flukeman!

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    I've been watching too much Supernatural. All these seem tame compared to some of those episodes. Out of this list though, my vote is for The Weeping Angels.

  • She doesn't count, because she's in multiple episodes, but little girl Lilith is super creepy. I've been watching all of Supernatural with my son this summer, and his vote (also not qualifying) goes to Alistair. Mine would go to either of the doctors, though the one made up of other people's body parts was the worst.

  • Stacey Bryan

    Bloody Mary from Supernatural. Hands down. Creeped my shit out.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    All of season 1 of Supernatural is chock-full of terrifying monsters. Fantastic.

  • BWeaves

    I think the creepiest monster on TV was 6 year old Billy Mumy in "It's a Good Life" (The Twilight Zone).

  • Mrs. Julien

    I must take this opportunity to share the best X Files line of all time: This is a classic case of demon fetal harvesting.

  • Salieri2

    I nominate for second and third place these golden greats from Scully:

    "I'm not the one who did the thing with the thing! (re: Mulder's staking of vampire pizza guy. Actually that ep was chock-full of awesome.]

    and

    "Even if I knew for certain I wouldn't change a day...well, except for that Flukeman thing. I could have done without that just fine."

  • Socraz6

    I was always partial to the episode where Mulder and Scully had to play the newlywed couple in pristine neighborhood, and Mulder tells Scully to go make him a sandwich. The look on her face was just priceless. Definite foreshadowing of his Californication character.

  • I_Sell_Books

    "Woman, make me a sammich!"

  • Jakesalterego

    "Petri...like the dish!"

  • The Dude

    I remember writing this one down.

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