Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Six of the Scariest Monsters from 60 Years of ‘Doctor Who’ History

For what was originally intended to be an educational kid’s show that used time-travel as an excuse for history lessons, it’s amazing just how much BBC’s Doctor Who has evolved since its debut back in 1963. From low-budget war stories taking advantage of existing period-piece sets to small-screen epics featuring CGI that rivals many modern blockbusters, there’s something here for everyone – even horror fans.

In fact, the show has a long history of scaring its viewers, with even genre creators like Neil Gaiman famously claiming to have watched certain episodes from behind the couch to protect himself from its numerous monsters. And with this sci-fi saga currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, we thought that this might be a good time to highlight six of the scariest monsters from the 60 years of Doctor Who history.

While this list is based on personal opinion, don’t forget to comment below with your own favorite time-traveling fiends if you think we missed a particularly creepy one. After all, there are over six decades of creatures to choose from, and even the most recent episodes have something scary to offer.

Now, onto the list…

6. Krynoids

Doctor Who scariest moments

First introduced in the 1976 serial The Seeds of Doom, the infectious Krynoids are a plant-based alien species hell-bent on eliminating the vegetarian inhabitants of the universe. While that sounds like a silly premise, the show’s depiction of these green monsters leans heavily into classic sci-fi body-horror, with the original serial borrowing many elements from films like 1951’s The Thing From Another World.

And while the special effects here aren’t exactly Rob Bottin levels of convincing (though watching these episodes on a low-end CRT through a shaky signal might help with that), the implication that these spores could take over the minds and bodies of the entire human race will always be terrifying.

5. The Flood

David Tennant’s tenure as the 10th Doctor is often cited as one of the most iconic renditions of the character, but I’d argue that a huge part of 10’s success is due to the incredible antagonists featured in that era of the show. For example, 2009’s The Waters of Mars tested the Doctor to his limits as he faced off against a sentient liquid that turned its thirsty hosts into dry-lipped water zombies.

Admittedly, space-zombies aren’t exactly the most original concept in the history of sci-fi, but the addition of the Doctor’s moral dilemma about stopping a tragedy he knows is meant to happen as well as some gnarly make-up effects make these parched undead some of the spookiest monsters in the show’s history.

4. Rutans

You’ve got to hand it to early Doctor Who for managing to tell extremely engaging yarns on a shoestring budget. Case in point, the 1977 serial Horror of Fang Rock is often remembered as one of the show’s most thrilling stories despite being mostly confined to a single location and relying on primitive effects to bring the villainous Rutans to life.

A race of jellyfish-like aliens obsessed with defeating their intergalactic rivals (the Sontarans), what really makes the Rutans scary is how they’re presented as a near-supernatural threat immersed in the eerie fog surrounding an isolated lighthouse. It’s unclear whether or not this was the writers’ intention, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see these amorphous creatures at the end of an especially eerie Lovecraft tale.

3. Possessed Ood

Doctor Who scariest episodes

Despite their eldritch appearance, the hive-minded Ood are actually a benevolent race of telepathic humanoids easily manipulated by other species. However, their terrifying design is soon put to good use by the showrunners as these docile creatures turn into unstoppable murderers once their hive mind is hijacked by a seemingly demonic entity in The Impossible Planet – which is precisely why they rank so high on this list.

Admittedly, the idea that this alien race was being possessed by space-Satan ended up being much creepier in theory than in the CGI-heavy finale of the story, but every subsequent appearance of the Ood has left viewers with an eerie feeling in the back of their minds as they wonder if any of that demonic influence still remains…

2. Vashta Nerada

Doctor Who scariest monsters

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more common phobia than the fear of the dark, and that’s why it makes sense that one of the scariest Doctor Who stories features sentient shadows that feed on human flesh. Thought to be the origin of legends about people disappearing in the dark, the Vashta Nerada are terrifying enough as a concept, with the Doctor going so far as to describe them as “piranhas of the air” as he warns his companions to watch out for astronauts with more than one shadow.

However, things become even creepier once these gloomy beings consume the contents of their victims’ space suits and leave behind re-animated skeletons that they can manipulate like a living body. If that doesn’t scream sci-fi horror, I don’t know what does.

1. Weeping Angels

Originally introduced in a standalone episode that basically amounts to a 45-minute horror film (2007’s Blink, starring Carey Mulligan!), the Weeping Angels have since become one of the show’s most popular recurring villains and a staple of sci-fi horror in general. Described as quantum-locked predators who can only move when they’re not being observed, this SCP-esque threat represents the absolute peak of Who-vian terror.

Some fans claim that the show ended up overusing the Angels until they were no longer scary (with one episode even revealing that the statue of liberty was one of them all along), but I’d argue that the disturbing implication that any statue could potentially be a quantum-locked monster makes the Weeping Angels worthy of the number-one spot on this list.

The post Six of the Scariest Monsters from 60 Years of ‘Doctor Who’ History appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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