Top 40 Scariest Doctor Who Monsters & Villains (10-1)
Guest contributor Tomas Edwards concludes his countdown.
Visually these monsters are quite scary, even if they are prone to over-doing the superhuman flexibility. There is something about their slightly different features, their deformed mouths and their pale, veiny skin which just sends chills down my spine. This great work from the make-up department is enhanced by an unsettling setting and some very creepy music, but none of these scary elements can compare to the terrifying concept at the centre of this episode. The idea of us pouring our minds, our souls into other creatures, and them presuming they are us, is quite disturbing. What is most disturbing is a lot of people (including me) would have the natural reaction of thinking “They aren’t real”, but in fact, they have the exact same memoires, thought processes, hatreds and loves that the rest of us have. This moral ambiguity is always an unsettling concept, and works wonders here.
Scariest moment: Jennifer vs Jennifer
9) The Doctor
Some people might argue that this is cheating, and that I shouldn’t have our great hero on this list, but I feel that when the Doctor loses control, as he does in The Waters of Mars and A Town Called Mercy, he can be truly terrifying. The idea that the hero of the story, the man who stops injustice and always crushes the villain becomes himself a force for evil is a very scary one, and whilst he is yet to really overstep the line, I get the feeling it won’t be long now before we see a Doctor commit atrocities enough to keep even the most stoic of viewers awake at night. It should also be noted that whilst I find the Flood truly terrifying (more on them later) the Time Lord Victorious scene was what really unsettled me in The Waters of Mars.
Scariest moment: “We’re not just fighting the Flood, we’re fighting time itself! And I’m gonna win!”
8) Vashta Nerada
This man-eating swarm of microscopic monsters made for a very interesting and quite creepy enemy. The idea that any shadow (On most planets, including ours) can contain Vashta Nerada is a very disturbing one, and one which is utilised brilliantly is Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead (It should also be noted that I found playing The Shadows of the Vashta Nerada quite scary to play). These monsters lend themselves to eerie lighting and shadowy corners, some of the most basically scary concepts, and also rely on the classic Moffat idea of making something perfectly ordinary (in this case shadows) and make them into a threat, whilst also playing with the ancient human fear of the dark. The skeletons in spacesuits are also scary, but do seem a little unnecessary.
Scariest moment: “We should go, Doctor!”
7) The Master
The Doctor’s arch-nemesis, his Moriarty, his equal and opposite, the Master is a very worrisome concept. I talk above about the Doctor crossing the line being scary, but the idea of having someone of equal ingenuity and power out there that is always over the line is much more unnerving. Some of things he has done are truly horrific, the most obvious being the mass genocide he committed in Logopolis, although another, more personal crime was the enslavement of humanity and frequent torture of the Doctor, Jack and the Jones family. Every version, for me, has brought some scary aspect forward, whether it is the horrible appearance of the Pratt Master, the cold hatred of the Jacobi Master or the insanity of the Simm Master. Particularly, Derek Jacobi brings forward some excellent acting, and really sends chills down my spine.
Scariest moment: “I…am…the Master.”
6) Weeping Angels
Now I know that the inclusion of these monsters at a position as low as 6th place will annoy some fans, so let me just say this: If the Weeping Angels had just been left alone after Blink, and their other two stories hadn’t happened, they would be in 2nd place. They are a very disturbing concept, and the make-up team did an excellent job at making them so human-like. They are very creepy until that moment when Sally and Larry look up to see it above them and then you have the first and only moment when I have screamed at something on the TV (I was only 9, OK). The following scenes, in which we see the Angels try and stop Sally and Larry escaping and corner them in the cellar, is very scary stuff. But alas, in later episodes this scariness dissipates. The Time of Angels featured some nice scenes in the catacombs, and the scene with the Angel on the screen is quite jumpy, but Angel Bob damages them a great deal for me, and the moment they moved I lost a lot of respect for them. They did, however, claw their way back in The Angels Take Manhattan, with some suitably menacing scenes, even if they are slightly spoilt by the gimmicky Angel of Liberty.
Scariest moment: “You’re not looking at the Angel.”
5) The Beast
Now, I may not be religious, but I cannot deny that whenever I have a look at religious texts the idea of the Devil (and its various other versions) sends a chill down my spine. The fact Doctor Who took this concept and made it real is a brilliant one, and has an excellent pay off. This terrifying concept is graced by an exquisite voice actor (One of Doctor Who’s best I think), Gabriel Woolf (A rather ironic name), who provides a very intimidating voice which does wonders with the already exquisite dialogue. Some may say showing the Beast took away from the fear, but I felt the CGI was so wonderful, and the design so terrifying, that it is actually made it scarier. As the Doctor stood there, facing the Devil itself, with any hope of escape apparently gone, I couldn’t help but think he might not make it.
Scariest moment: “Don’t turn around.”
Now this monster being on the list is probably going to come as a bit of a shock to some, but I honestly think this monster deserves a place here (also, my list, my rules). The concept behind them is horrific, the idea of living people, people who can feel pain, being created simply to be destroyed, all so other “real” humans can carry on living. The most disturbing thing about this is that there is a genuine argument for doing it, and the scariest villains are the ones whose reasoning is almost sound. But the true horror lurks in the wonders the make-up department worked when giving these “patients” every disease in the universe (Which doesn’t make much sense but never mind). These people look so realistic and so horrific that I could not sleep the night after I saw it (On Easter as well, Russell). A very scary foe, in my opinion.
Scariest moment: “The Flesh is free!”
3) Toby Zed
The Beast is terrifying, but The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit is at its absolute scariest when Toby is on screen and possessed (He’s even a little bit creepy when he isn’t). The thing that really gets me about him is the smile. That cruel, twisted malicious smile that he displays just before murdering his friend, and in some fan’s eyes his lover, was enough to give me nightmares for weeks. And it isn’t made any less frightening by the horrid way in which he murders her, blasting a window apart causing her to be sucked out into the terrible vacuum of space, and then to be sucked into a black hole (a fate which later befell both Toby and the Beast, incidentally). It should also be noted that his red eyes, fiery breath and alien tattoos enhance the fear factor significantly.
Scariest moment: Toby kills Scooti.
2) The Midnight Entity
One of the greatest fears that humans have is the fear of the unknown (which, as J.K. Rowling pointed out is what causes people to be afraid of the dark and death, just as a point of interest and an opportunity to reference my favourite author twice in this series), and that is pretty much the central concept at play with this monster. I personally believe that if this monster is ever shown, or ever provided any more description than the one it got (a running shadow) then it would hugely damage it for me. Other elements that affect how scary this monster is for me are Lesley Sharp’s stunning acting and some excellent dialogue from Russell T Davies. It also very frightening to think about what you would do in that situation. Would you be like Jethro, trying to see reason but ending up falling for peer pressure? Like the Hostess, realising the danger and saving everyone? Or like Biff and Val, willing to do anything to save yourself, and ignoring all reason? A very disturbing idea and not one I wish to linger on.
Scariest moment: “Do we have a deal?”
1) The Abzorbaloff
Yes, what else could reach the top spot? This magnificent foe has received more love than any other monster in all of Doctor Who, even greater than the Kandy Man and the Isolus, an impressive feat. The reason why it is so terrifying is due to the great use of body horror, which is particularly disturbing (and not at all a laughing matter) in the case of poor Bliss. It is also graced with a chilling performance from Peter Kay (It really came as a surprise when I found out he was a comedian) and some horrifying lines, such as the infamous “She tastes like chicken” moment. It was only fitting that this great nemesis should die in such an ingenious way, being absorbed by a paving slab. Such a stroke of ironic genius.
Scariest moment: Bliss’ fate is revealed.
And for the real number one… show