It’s that time of the year again – it’s the All Hallows’ Eve. It’s time to carve pumpkin heads, jump-scare unsuspecting friends and decide which horror game to play during the adult hours. Some of us will return to the classics, like Resident Evil and Silent Hill; others might prefer something modern, like Dead Space or The Evil Within.
To assist your decision-making process, this list showcases 5 of the scariest monsters which, in one way or another, stalk the protagonist throughout the campaign. And to keep things more varied, I only considered one monster per franchise because otherwise, this list would consist solely of monsters from Silent Hill games.
And now, without needless hesitation, let’s begin with number five…
5. The Hunter (Dead Space)
With the lasting impact that Dead Space made on the horror genre, it’s no surprise that one of the scariest monsters from it takes an honourable spot on this list. When their own ship crash-lands onto USG Ishimura, Isaac Clarke and the crew find themselves stranded on the giant planet-cracker along with a slew of deadly Necromorphs. They soon discover that the only way to kill these creatures is by dismembering them.
However, Challus Mercer, a member of the local cult, views Necromorphs as an integral stage in human evolution. This belief led him to create The Hunter. With a pair of glowing eyes and a lack of jaw, The Hunter is definitely frightening in terms of appearance alone.
This artificially created Necromorph first appears during Chapter 5 and is impervious to Isaac’s Plasma Cutter, or any other conventional weapon, for that matter. Unlike regular Necromorphs, The Hunter fully regenerates any lost limbs within seconds. He’s also fast to approach and using a Stasis module only slows him down briefly. Isaac seemingly puts a stop to him by freezing the Necromorph solid, though it doesn’t last for very long.
Appearing again at several intervals, The Hunter stalks Isaac all the way to Chapter 10, before finally being disintegrated in the scorching flames of a shuttle engine.
4. Kusabi (Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly)
Twin sisters Mio and Mayu find themselves in the secluded Minakami village while strolling through the woods. Little do they know, this village once hosted a ritual involving, you guessed it, twins Yae and Sae. Compromising the ritual, one of the twins managed to escape, while the other, Sae, was sacrificed regardless and now haunts the village.
Following the ritual, anyone who enters the village is supposedly stuck there forever and the twins must now find a way out. With its chilling atmosphere, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is among the scariest video games ever made. And, while Sae herself, with a creepy laugh, is no doubt frightening, it’s her entourage that takes a spot.
A wandering folklorist, Seijiro Makabe, was hanged to temporarily appease the dark powers residing beneath the village. And he subsequently turns into an apparition known as the Kusabi which accompanies the game’s antagonist, Sae.
During the first encounter against him, the Kusabi is invincible to Camera Obscura. And at this point, the only option is to avoid him at all costs, since any attacks from him are lethal. He then reappears as a boss at the very end of the game and taking a photograph of his ominous expression will more than likely send shivers down your spine.
3. Laura (The Evil Within)
Laura Victoriano is brought back to life by her brother as a vengeful spectre after being killed during arson. With six elongated limbs and long black hair covering her face, Laura somewhat resembles Kayako from The Grudge. And her appearance was seemingly inspired by multiple Yokai (phantom) from Japanese folklore.
Created in the best tradition of the scariest monsters in Japanese horror, Laura appears multiple times throughout The Evil Within. She always seems to emerge from a puddle of blood, signifying her appearance with a terrifying scream.
The best strategy is to simply run, as taking her down requires way too many resources. She then appears once again during Chapter 5 as a mandatory boss. And because of how she died, Laura is especially susceptible to fire. Defeating her on the game’s Akumu difficulty, where Sebastian dies from a single hit, is an achievement on its own.
With someone as prominent as Shinji Mikami manning the helm, you’d think that most of the ideas would stem from him. But no, the creation of Laura is credited to his apprentice, Ikumi Nakamura, whom you might remember being a blast to watch during E3 2019. Oh yeah, and she also created The Keeper. Seriously, what’s going on in that girl’s head?!
2. Pyramid Head (Silent Hill 2)
Silent Hill games feature some of the scariest monsters in video game history, so picking just one isn’t easy. Upon receiving a letter from his wife, James Sunderland travels to the town of Silent Hill to meet her at their “special place”. But there’s a catch: his wife, Mary, is dead. And as you later find out, James himself killed her and is now in denial.
Because of this, almost every monster in Silent Hill 2 represents a part of James’ psyche, and venturing further, he encounters the iconic Pyramid Head. Clad in a blood-stained apron, this mysterious being often wields a giant sword or a spear and conceals his face in a triangular headpiece. Theories on his existence vary, but allegedly, he represents James’ sense of guilt along with a suppressed lust for the opposite gender.
Their first encounter in Wood Side Apartments concludes without bloodshed, with both characters standing on either side of metal bars. But following this uneventful encounter, you realize that the Pyramid Head could now appear anywhere throughout the game.
He appears again during multiple instances and in a way, guides James on his path of redemption. And at the very end, James must battle two of them in order to fully atone.
1. Nemesis (Resident Evil 3: Nemesis)
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis revolves around Jill trying to escape from Raccoon City, all the while avoiding the hulking Nemesis. And while he appears in other games in the series, his first and most prominent role is in this entry.
Manufactured by Umbrella, Nemesis is a nearly invincible Tyrant type monster clad in a tight leather suit to cover his malformed body. And, as experienced firsthand by Brad, he also uses a poisonous tentacle to pierce his prey. Overcoming this threat early on, with no more than a few shotgun shells and a handgun, makes you feel like a total badass. This fight also makes you appreciate the otherwise – mostly useless – dodge mechanic.
Contrarily, using an unlockable weapon with unlimited ammo, like a Gatling Gun, feels like wearing a condom. But it doesn’t stop at that. From there, Nemesis stalks you throughout the rest of the game, rarely providing a moment for a reprieve. And going forward, these optional encounters don’t become any less difficult, with Nemesis mutating even further.
Nothing feels quite as unnerving as hearing a door behind you slam shut and the growling “S.T.A.R.S.” emanate from behind. However, to acquire every item and weapon drop, you must overcome Nemesis a total of 7 times! And that’s not even including the mandatory boss battles against him.
These were the scariest monsters that kept me awake at night. What monsters robbed you of precious sleep? Let me know in the comments below.