Top 5 Terrifying Creatures In Children's Media
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Top 5 Terrifying Creatures In Children's Media

These are just a handful of creepy creatures that kept me awake at night when I was a kid.

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Top 5 Terrifying Creatures In Children's Media

In last week's article, we discussed why darkness in children's media matters and how it can properly convey a message/theme in that media. Now I feel like sharing some of the notable monsters that terrified me when I was younger and, to an extent, still terrify me today. These are the creepy crawlers that sent shivers up my spine.

1. King Ramses (Courage the Cowardly Dog)

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Anyone who watched this show remembers how creepy some of the creatures could get. However, no creature on the show was quite as unsettling as King Ramses. After his ancient slab is grave robed, King Ramses comes back to life and takes revenge on those who have taken it. Unfortunately, the slab is now in the possession of Courage's family and the man of the family, Eustace, refuses to part with it. This prompts Ramses to send three Biblical-style plagues on the house until the slab is returned.

Ramses is an example of how bad CGI can be effectively used. His unnaturally stiff movements mixed with his long skeletal form creates something uniquely unnerving. His moaning, almost zombified, voice also adds to his terrifying otherness. Just the looking at his memorable form reminds me of when I was a child and saw this episode for the first time. I couldn't sleep out of fear of seeing the skeletal, swaying form demanding that I, "return the slab."

2. The Other Mother/The Beldam ("Coraline")

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The Other Mother (or the Beldam) is a terrifying creature because it lures you in by it's appealing looks and attitudes. Early in the film, the Other Mother presents Coraline (the main character) with a seemingly perfect world compared to the complications of the real world. Her new family spends time with her doing all kinds of fun things, but this is all a ruse. The Other Mother uses these things to lure children to her, replaces their eyes with buttons, and feeds off their lives.

It's quite appropriate that a creature that lures you in, traps you, and slowly drains you for sustenance that resembles a spider and a vampire. She evokes that childhood fear of certain adults and that moment in our childhoods when we realize that there are some adults we cannot trust. Her design is an off-putting mix of slender arachnid limbs and twisted human skeletal vertebra. Mix that with a shattered face with a long smile and soulless button eyes and you have a nightmare inducing creature.

3. The Corpse (Are You Afraid of the Dark)

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I'm not joking, the thing that you are currently looking at was on an episode of a television show that was meant for kids. In the episode, there is a mysterious invisible entity that apparently drowns children in a school swimming pool. The kids learn that it is an invisible rotting corpse and throw chemicals in the pool to make him visible. It is revealed that the school pool was built on an old cemetery and this creature drowns those who disturb its slumber.

What can I say about this creature that can't be said just by looking at it. It's a rotting corpse of a human being complete with a skeletal face, rotting clothes, and unnatural zombie-like movement. Not to mention the red coloration (due to the chemicals) that give it a disturbing gory look (which was a clever way to get it around the censors). Like I said before, this is what kids watched and it scared us into not even wanting to go anywhere near water (that and "Jaws.")

4. The Mysterious Stranger ("The Adventures of Mark Twain")

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This is literally one of the most disturbing things that I've ever seen in a piece of children's media. The film "The Adventures of Mark Twain" is a little known claymation film from the 1980s. However, I remember seeing it in grade school and being scarred for life by this thing. In the film Mark Twain takes his own characters (Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher) on an airship in an attempt to reach Halley's comet. Along the way they run into this guy.

The Mysterious Stranger introduces himself as an angel, specifically Satan. Yup, this guy is Satan and he shows the children his power by creating life on a small island in a black void. He and the children sculpt people out of clay and Satan fills them with life. He monologues about his disgust of humanity and how finite and meaningless their lives truely are. He sends disasters to kill these little people and destroy their civilization, wiping away any trace of them ever existing. The children flee back to the safety of Mark Twain and his ship as the island crumbles and Satan disappears, stating how meaningless life seems to be in the grand scheme of things.

So after reading that you can probably tell why this has terrified so many people. The creature's unsettling design makes it worse. It features a red suit of armor with no head. Instead it has a creepy mask on a stick that constantly changes from one creepy face to another. It also features multiple, emotionless voices when it speaks. This is on top of the existential dread and nihilism that he cruelly conveys to children. Let's just say this thing would even leave adults in the fetal position. It has to be seen to be believed.

5. Frollo ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame")

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This one might be a shock to some of you. Why did you chose Frollo, when the rest of your list features disturbing and terrifying otherworldly creatures? Frollo is just a human. Why would he take the number one spot after literally putting Satan on the list? Yes, Frollo is not some demonic creature or a vengeful ghost, he is just a man; that's what makes him so terrifying.

Frollo is a judge in Paris, who uses his power and influence to basically commit genocide on an entire ethnic group that he views as unholy and inhuman. He uses his religious devotion to place himself on a pedestal and uses religion to justify his evil actions. He sexually pursues Esmeralda against her will and threatens to kill her if she basically doesn't have sex with him. Frollo is unlike the other monsters on this list because he is very much real.

While Frollo was not a real character, we have all seen this kind of person in real life. The people who use religion and moral order to talk themselves and others into committing various atrocities on those they see as lesser. We saw that with the Nazis and the Westborough Baptist Church. We see powerful men using their position to coerce sex out of women who don't want it, just look at the news these days. Frollo is a monster, but he is a human monster. A monster we are all capable of seeing and one that we are all capable of becoming, which terrifies me more than any fictional creature on this list.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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