When we think of Halloween, Jack-o-lanterns, black cats and things that go bump in the night come to mind… the monsters that make our hearts pound as we look for them under the bed and double check the locks on our doors. We love to be scared and it shows in our movie viewing preferences at this time of year and in our Halloween costumes year after year. In honor of every nightmare or sleepless night, This Awful Awesome Life would like to salute some of the most iconic “monsters” in folklore, books, movies, TV or your imagination. Happy nightmares!
Werewolves appear in Ancient Greek and Roman folklore – typically they are men who have been punished for attacking children and eating human flesh. In European folklore, werewolves were men who charmed wolves with a Wolfbann – a malevolent spell cast on wolves to make them attack. Men who sold potions to protect against wolf attacks were suspected of consorting with witches and using Wolfbanns to scare people into buying their remedies. In Old English folklore, werewolves were men who could change into wolves. As the legend evolved men who were bitten by infected wolves or werewolves turned into werewolves against their will during the full moon.
Books/movies/TV series about werewolves include:
The Wolfman (1941 version and 2010 remake)
Curse of the Wolfman
The Twilight Series
An American Werewolf in London
The Werewolf of Paris
Dracula is the most famous vampire of all time. In folklore, a vampire is an undead creature that subsists by feeding on the blood of the living. In European folklore, these undead beings often returned to the neighborhoods they inhabited before their deaths to attack loved ones and terrorize the community after the sun sets. Vampires can be killed by exposure to sunlight or a wooden stake through the heart.
Books/movies/TV series about vampires include:
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Dracula (the 1931 movie classic)
Nosferatu (the 1922 movie classic)
Interview with the Vampire (book and movie)
The Twilight Series
Dark Shadows (The TV series not the movie)
What We Do in the Shadows (the movie and TV series)
Blade I & II
Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movies and TV series)
Ghosts, phantoms, poltergeist, spirits and wraith in folklore are the souls or spirits of dead humans or animals that can appear to the living. Ghosts can appear as invisible presences, translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, or realistic, lifelike forms. In horror stories ghosts are typically souls of people with unfinished business with the living such as; criminals who try to continue their crimes or atone for them or the souls of abused or murdered people looking for justice.
Books/movies/TV series about ghosts include:
The Shining (the book and the movie)
Amityville Horror (the book and the movie)
The House on Haunted Hill
The Others (The books and the movie)
Beetlejuice (the movie and cartoons)
The Sixth Sense
What Lies Beneath
The Ghost Whisperer
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Casper (the movie and cartoons)
Imaginary Friend (a new novel by Stephen Chbosky)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
A Ghoul is a demon or monster from Arabic folklore that inhabits graveyards and consumes human flesh. In modern fiction, ghouls are undead monsters.
Books/movies/TV series about ghouls include:
One Thousand and One Nights
The Night of the Living Dead
The Ghoul (1933 Boris Karloff film)
A Mummy is a dead human or an animal whose skin and organs are preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity or lack of air. In horror movies, Mummies rise up from the dead and walk around.
Books/movies/TV series about mummies include:
The Mummy (1932 Boris Karloff film)
The Mummy (1999)
The Mummy Returns
The Scorpion King
The Jewel of Seven Stars (the book by Bram Stoker & the movie)
The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb
The Mummy’s Hand
Frankenstein’s Monster is the creation of Dr. Victor Frankenstein in the Classic novel, Frankenstein; or, The New Prometheus by Mary Shelley. The monster is supposed to be 8 feet tall and composed of body parts taken from dead people and sewn together to create a new body. He is brought to life by a combination of alchemy and chemistry with the help of a jolt of electricity courtesy of lightening.
Books/movies/TV series about Frankenstein’s monster include:
Frankenstein; or, The New Prometheus
Frankenstein (the 1931 film classic)
Bride of Frankenstein
Son of Frankenstein
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Ghost of Frankenstein
The Monster Squad
Zombies are fictional undead beings created by the reanimation of a corpse. In Haitian folklore, a zombie is a dead body reanimated through magic. In pop culture reanimation of the dead usually involves science fictional methods such as carriers, radiation, mental diseases, vectors, pathogens, or scientific accidents instead of magic.
Books/movies/TV series about Zombies include:
Shaun of the Dead
World War Z
Dawn of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead
28 Days Later
The Walking Dead (Graphic novel & TV show)
The Cell by Stephen King
The Evil Dead franchise
Early Christians in Europe considered witches to be evil (doing the Devil’s work) which inspired the iconic Halloween figure. Early witches were pagans who through the use of witchcraft, created magic spells and called upon spirits to do their bidding.
Books/movies/TV series about witches include:
The Harry Potter franchise
The Witches of Eastwick
The Blair Witch Project
The Wizard of Oz
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Bewitched (the TV show not the movie)
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Demons are perceived as malevolent beings in religion, folklore and literature. Ironically, demons weren’t originally considered evil in Greek mythology. In Ancient Eastern folklore and Christian folklore, demons are considered harmful spirits which cause demonic possession.
Books/movies/TV series about demons include:
End of Days
The Evil Dead
Angels and Demons (the Book and the movie)
The Divine Comedy
Lucifer, Satan or the Devil are names for a being that seduces humans into sin or falsehood. In Christianity and Islam, he is a fallen angel or jinn – who was a favorite of God because of his piety and attractiveness before he rebelled against God and chose to rule Hell instead serving God in heaven.
Books/movies/TV series about devils include:
The Ninth Gate
The Devil’s Advocate
The Devil and Daniel Webster
The Grim Reaper
The Grim Reaper is the personification of death.In some mythologies, the Grim Reaper causes the victim's death by coming to collect them. The Grim Reaper is usually portrayed as a skeleton in a hooded robe with a scythe or as a stereotypical undertaker type in a dark suit.
Books/movies/TV series about the grim reaper include:
Meet Joe Black
The Book of Life
Death Takes a Holiday
The Seventh Seal
The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman
The Headless Horseman
The Headless Horseman is a fictional character from the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by American author Washington Irving. The headless horseman was a Prussian soldier who was decapitated by an American cannonball. The remains of his head were left on the battlefield when his comrades carried his body away, so according to legend he roams at night looking for his head.
Books/movies/TV series about The Headless Horsemen include:
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
The Headless Horseman (1922 film)
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980 movie)
Sleepy Hollow (the movie and the TV series)
The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow
The Swamp Thing
The Swamp Thing is a fictional superhero in comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a swamp monster that is part human and part plant. It was created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson. The Swamp Thing first appeared in “House of Secrets” #92 (July 1971) in a stand-alone horror story set in the early 20th century. It returns in a solo series, set in the contemporary world. The character fights to protect his swamp home, the environment and humanity from supernatural and terrorist threats.
Books/movies/TV series about the swamp thing include:
Two theatrical films – The Swamp Thing and Return of the Swamp Thing
A live-action television series -Swamp Thing (USA Network 1990-1993)
A five-part animated series -Swamp Thing (Fox Kids April 1991)
The Swamp Thing character also appeared in several other DC Comic series and a public service announcement for Greenpeace
Creature from the Black Lagoon
The Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 American black-and-white 3D monster horror film from Universal-International. In folklore and fiction, the creature is a piscine and amphibian humanoid having human characteristics plus the characteristics of fish or amphibians.
Books/movies/TV series about the Black Lagoon include:
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Revenge of the Creature
The Creature walks Among Us
Abbott and Costello Meet The Creature from the Black Lagoon
The movie inspired a novel of the same name and a limited books series
The 2017 film The Shape of Water was partly inspired by Guillermo del Toro's childhood memories of Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Jason is the main character from the Friday the 13th series. He first appears as the young son of camp cook-turned-killer Mrs. Voorhees. She seeks revenge for his death, which she blames on the camp counselors. Jason was originally scripted as a mentally disabled young boy. Since Friday the 13th, he has been depicted as a non-verbal, indestructible, machete-wielding mass murderer wearing a hockey goalie mask.
Books/movies/TV series about Jason Voorhees include:
The Friday the 13th franchise
Freddy vs. Jason
Michael Myers is the antagonist in Halloween, an American horror franchise consisting of eleven films, novels, comic books, merchandise, and a video game. Michael Myers is a serial killer who was committed to a sanitarium as a child after murdering his sister, Judith. Fifteen years later, he escapes and terrorizes his fictional hometown town, Haddonfield, Illinois. Michael kills on Halloween, after stalking his victims. The original Halloween, released in 1978, has inspired a long line of slasher films.
Books/movies/TV series about Michael Myers include:
The Halloween franchise
There are four Halloween novels
Freddy Kruger is the spirit of a serial killer. Freddy has the power to enter people’s dreams and kill them in their sleep using a gloved hand with razors. Killing them in their dreams causes them to die in the real world, sleep. In the dream world, he is nearly invulnerable. In the real world, he has normal human vulnerabilities and is limited by his mental condition. Freddy’s face is burned and disfigured. He wears a dirty red-and-green striped sweater and brown fedora, and his trademark metal-clawed brown leather glove only on his right hand.
Books/movies/TV series about Freddy Kruger include:
Nightmare on Elm Street franchise
It/Pennywise the Dancing Clown
It is the title character in Stephen King's 1986 horror novel It. It is an ancient cosmic evil that preys upon the children of Derry, Maine, roughly every twenty-seven years. It has powers that include the ability to shape shift, manipulate, and go unnoticed by adults. It primarily appears in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Books/movies/TV series about Pennywise include:
It: Chapter Two
The character, Pennywise makes a brief appearance in King’s novel, 11/22/63
The American punk rock band Pennywise took its name from the character.
The fictional character, Charles Lee "Chucky" Ray is the main antagonist of the Child's Play slasher film franchise. Chucky is a notorious serial killer. His spirit inhabits a "Good Guys" doll and he attempts to transfer his soul from the doll to a human body. The Chucky character was nominated for the MTV Movie Award (1999) for “Best Villain” for the film Bride of Chucky. Chucky dolls and Halloween costumes are available for purchase.
Books/movies/TV series about Chucky include:
Child’s Play (1988 film and 2019 remake)
Child’s Play 2
Child’s Play 3
Bride of Chucky
Seed of Chucky
Curse of Chucky
Cult of Chucky
Jigsaw is a terminally ill former civil engineer who kidnaps people he believes take their lives for granted. He "tests" them to make them prove they have the will to live. Mechanical devices are set to maim or kill the subjects if they fail to complete their test within a certain time period. Jigsaw claims he does not want to kill his subjects. According to him, their fate is in their own hands. If they have the will to survive they will use it to escape his traps. If not, they do not care enough to live. The media dubs him The Jigsaw Killer because he removes a jigsaw puzzle-shaped piece of flesh from the people who fail his tests to symbolize that the person "was missing a vital piece of the human puzzle: the survival instinct".
Books/movies/TV series about Jigsaw include:
The Saw franchise
All Photos are fair use unless indicated below:
Michael Myers Photo:
Tyler Mane as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's Halloween. © 2007 Dimension Films. All Rights Reserved.
Source - Photo taken by Marsha La Marca accessed 10/1/2019.