People often identify monsters as spooky creatures or giant nuclear fallout infused animals destroying cities. Godzilla, the T-Rex, Frankenstein and Dracula come to mind. Movies along those lines are great for a scare because they obviously are not based in the real world. For me, the scariest characters are those that could and do actually exist in the world. These are my Top 10 Fictional But Realistic Monsters in Movies. No characters based on real-life people will be included.
10. Alex Forrest (“Fatal Attraction”):
Yes, “Fatal Attraction” is the ultimate piece of advise when it comes to deciding why not to cheat on your wife. Michael Douglas absolutely uses Glen Close for a bang-a-thon weekend away on business from his family. Yeah, he’s a dick. Unfortunately he put his dick in the wrong crazy person. Alex Forrest is “Not going to be ignored” and goes on a rampage of vengeful and well planned hatred. Obviously one should never enter into an affair when you have a family with kids. But do you have to be killed for it? Alex Forrest is on a crazed mission for this guy and his junk no matter the consequences for her or her weekend lovers wife. I get the wanting to cut off the guys dick off, albeit a bad decision. But did you have to kill and boil the family rabbit? What the hell did that little guy do?
9. Max Cady (“Cape Fear”):
Both versions of the no-holds-barred evil Max Cady in film history are great. The legend Robert Mitchum was menacing in the black & white original. But for myself he was topped by Robert DeNiro in the 1991 remake of “Cape Fear” in terms of inducing terror. DeNiro had to convince the great Martin Scorsese to remake this gem, and I’m unsure if the director saying yes was a good thing or a bad dream inducing moment. While guilty for his crimes, Cady was sentenced to a maximum stint for assault because his lawyer played by Nick Nolte does not even attempt to defend him in court. Prison gives you a lot of time to read which is exactly what Cady does. Finally released, the madman is laser focused on ruining the lives of his former lawyer and family in creative fashion. Everyone knows the shot of this demon strapped to the bottom of the family RV as they are trying to escape his wrath. For me, the killing of the family nanny then putting on her clothes to resemble her late at night takes the cake in the evil stuff race.
8. Capitan Vidal (“Pan’s Labyrinth”):
The obvious figure when it comes to WWII is Hitler. There were of course several countries that joined the Germans in the pursuit of taking over the world. Led by Benito Mussolini, the Fascist Party in Spain had countless citizens killed if they did not agree to his authoritarian rule. Director Guillermo Del Toro’s fantasy masterpiece“Pan’s Labyrinth” is filled with terrifying underground creatures. Yet the biggest monster is the human known as Capitan Vidal. This guy takes pleasure in torturing the rebels and does not care about his new wife and her daughter as long as wifey delivers him a male heir. Sadistic torture and questioning is all in a days work in the Spanish countryside for this guy. He is so bitter that taking a shot of bourbon with his mouth sliced open is just fuel to go out and beat up a prisoner in the barn.
7. Annie Wilkes (“Misery”):
OOOHHHHHH WEEEEEEEEE! This lady needs to find herself a hobby. Based on the popular Stephen King novel, “Misery” is the ultimate tale of a crazed fan. It is also a tale of plain bad luck. When author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) suffers a bad accident on the road during a snowstorm, who else is there to rescue the man other than Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). A spinstress in a home off the beaten path in a small New England town, Annie at first seems to be nursing the famous romance novel writer back to health. Then it becomes clear that this recluse of a woman has zero plans of letting the bed-ridden man go until he finishes his next novel. Her chaotic actions grow each day with the peak coming behind two hands wielding a sledge hammer aimed at a foot. This is the blueprint of fandom run-a-muck.
6. Hans Beckert (“M”):
Sometimes the worst monsters do not come with intent. They simply cannot turn off that part of their brains which allows them to do horrible things. Legendary silent film director Fritz Lang made a movie far ahead of its time. “M” was bold as it does not just feature but instead centers around a crazed serial killer played by Peter Lorre. This is not your run-of-the-mill stab artist. This guy kills little girls and not in a kind way if that were possible. Yet the scariest thing is that he does not seem to enjoy doing it. Something in his psyche is making him do this. Even when a manhunt is on for this man in a German town, he cannot stop himself from continuing to ‘M’urder children. Being unable to describe a monster and what they do is a scary reality that unfortunately exists.
5. Warden Norton (“The Shawshank Redemption”):
Warden Norton did not commit the worst acts a person can do, which is also why he is my personal most hated monster ever. In “The Shawshank Redemption” this man has people do awful things under his watch to prisoners that do not deserve it because he simply can. He is, for lack of a better word, a punk-bitch. The killing, torturing, and brutal treatment of prisoners sharing a cell block means absolutely nothing to this Warden as he watches on in delight with his officers beating the snot out of people that defy him. Killing an inmate that could exonerate the films’ star Tim Robbins is no sweat off of this mans back because he needs to keep Andy Duprasne cooking his books to avoid tax fraud. This is the worst type of monster. Somebody who cannot even pull the trigger yet finds pleasure in watching his minions do the deed.
4. Sid (“Toy Story”):
In a children’s cartoon villains are often essential. There’s a lot of good ones, but hands down the most f-up in the head was in Pixar’s first movie ever “Toy Story”. While a mostly fun adventure with a crew full of toys and various personality traits, Sid is straight up sadistic. This kid and potential future perpetrator of a school shooting is the darkest a Disney cartoon has ever gone. Sid loves to burn, mutilate, and pitch-patch together toys for his own twisted amusement. While yes these are toys not people, this is still really dark stuff for the young ones to see. Even my parents were like ‘Man, that kid was darker than what I thought when taking you to this movie’. Sid is one character you do not want to take to the children’s section of a thrift store.
3. Colonel Hans Landa (“Inglorious Basterds”):
Plenty of great bad guys to choose from in Quentin Tarantino’s cinematic vault. For me the most diabolical has got to be Colon Hans Landa from “Inglorious Basterds”. Christoph Waltz won his first Oscar as the frightening ‘Jew Hunter’, a fictional soldier during WWII. He was calculated in his interrogations from the opening scene while deep into his sadistic quest to eliminate all Jewish citizens in the country. What makes Col. Landa so terrifying is his calm demeanor in conversation. It makes those opposing him even more uncomfortable. Hans does not defeat you with physical prowess, that’s the mindless soldiers/killing machines job. He beats you because within a few minutes he knows when you’re lying. Killing Jews is just another day at the office for this man.
2. Nurse Ratched (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”):
That stare. That stare right there. It is like looking the devil square in the eyes. The Jack Nicholson classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is one of the best examinations of mental health of any art form. The crux holding back these patients when it come to progress and healing is this bitch. Louise Fletcher won a well deserved Oscar portraying the reincarnation of evil running a crazy people institution. She utilizes a calming level of speech that never falters. In reality, she could care less about these patients. What gets her jollies off is the ability to manipulate and twist these vulnerable human being’s minds to do her bidding. Imagine a preacher that has absolutely no good intentions. When Jack Nicholson, a wildcat of a patient, shows up then it is game on for this awful woman to destroy his spirit. Top on her truly horrible actions to cause a patient to take his life without any semblance of regret and you’ve got yourself the coldest person in the world. A woman that takes pleasure in putting down the mentally ill.
1. Norman Bates (“Psycho”):
The worst monsters in real life are formed over many years. In “Psycho” Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) owns a small hotel on the side of a backroads highway. For some strange reason all the rooms are empty. Why would that be? No, it is not because the Bates Motel is off the beaten path. It’s because the owner Norman likes to dress up like his deceased mother and straight murder you with his kitchen knife before throwing your body into the adjacent swamp. What’s even creepier, this schizophrenic psychopath keeps the rotting corpse of his mother nice and comfy in her old bed and makes sure she gets exercise by taking her down to the basement for a sit on her favorite rocking chair. The sequels and spin-offs try to delve into the crazy mind of Norman. Throw all those in the trash and embrace the most menacing villain in movie history as a solo experience. The term ‘Momma’s-Boy’ is one thing. Norman Bates makes the ‘Momma’s-Boy’ flock of men feel a bit, I don’t know, severely criminal. Maybe they should simply wear their mother’s high heels with nylons on and post it on the gram instead of stabbing people to death. Just an idea…