From Sympathetic to Sinister: Ranking Classic Universal Monsters

Hollywood has been creating monsters almost since its inception. A lot has changed since an unsuspecting woman removed the mask from a phantom, or Dracula lurked down that stairway. We now have burn victims seeking revenge on children in their dreams, and mute behemoths stalking their victims for apparently no reason.

Arguably, over time, audiences have become somewhat desensitized to the violence and horror that laces our movies. This is why, when we watch a movie from Universal’s classic horror catalog, we can sit through it without fainting. We’ve seen much, much, worse before. We forget that in the 1930s and ’40s, the face above brought screams and panic. If we shed the memories we have of these movies and their monsters, the dangers they present are still effective. Why else, 80+ years later, would we still revisit these tales of horror?

So, let’s take a look at these original creators of mayhem. This is a ranking of the Classic Monsters. Their rank is based on how menacing they are, not on the quality of their original movies (That’s a list for a different time).

7. The Wolf Man

Talk about a tortured soul. If any person in the Classic Horror universe deserves our sympathy (even pity), It’s Lawrence Talbot. He was pure of heart and said his prayers by night, but now he becomes a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the Autumn moon is bright, because some damn wolf bit him when he was saving the “third wheel”. Now he’s a tortured soul who has to deal with the horrific tragedies he commits and there is nothing he can do to stop it. At least it only happens when the circumstances are right.

Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man
Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man

 

6. Frankenstein’s Monster

He did not ask to be created. He had no choice in his physical body or his abnormal brain. He wants to experience life. He wants a companion (blind hermit or man-made monster). He wants to throw children flowers into the lake. Who doesn’t have a fear of fire or angry villagers? Leave him be, or he’ll throw you from a windmill (This guy likes to throw stuff)

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster

 

5. Creature From The Black Lagoon

I tell ya, love can turn a normal, black-lagoon-dwelling fish creature into monster. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it three times, even in 3-D. Gillman wants to be included, he wants to be normal, he wants a true love. He sets his eyes set on a girl. Let him have his girl and he will leave you alone. He just wants life, love, and the occasional murder.

Ben Chapman as Gill-man
Ben Chapman as Gill-man

 

4. The Phantom of the Opera

He’s disfigured but just wants love. Does that really make him a monster? Well, when he kidnaps a woman and tries to force her to fall in love with him or he’ll blow up the Opera house, then yes, yes it does make him a monster. He’s not a monster due to his horrible skull like disfigurements, it’s because he let it take hold of him and rot him from the inside. Love can cure a lot, but not that kind of thing.

Lon Chaney, Sr. as the Phantom of the Opera
Lon Chaney, Sr. as the Phantom of the Opera

 

3. The Mummy

Just because he was mummified and buried alive due to sacrilege, is no excuse to try to kill a woman who looks like an old flame. His problem is he’s delusional and in that delusional state he steals, kidnaps, and murders at will. He paid the ultimate price for his crime, and now he seeks approval and revenge. There is not much more dangerous a mixture. It absorbs him; he has no remorse, no regret, only Ankh-es-en-amon.

Boris Karloff as Imhotep
Boris Karloff as Imhotep

 

2. Dracula

He knows what he is and he doesn’t care. He takes no remorse in his actions. This makes him among the most menacing and dangerous. You really can’t tell he’s a monster until his teeth are sunk into your neck, but do not be fooled by this charming shape-shifter. He’s much smarter than the other monsters. This is why when he teams up with them, he is always the master mind. He likes to kill, he needs to kill. What he needs is to lighten up on the diabolical schemes. Take my advice Count, spend some time with your musical children and maybe relax with some….wine.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Bela Lugosi as Dracula

 

1. The Invisible Man

At first, he doesn’t seem like a menace. He’s just a young scientist who wants fame and fortune and accidentally discovers an invisibility serum that will eat away at his mental health. Quickly though, he turns to murder. By this time it’s too late, he’s full blown crazy. He murders for the joy of murder. To add to the menace, he could be anywhere. He could be standing in the corner watching you read this, studying all the ways he can kill you and get away with it….

Claude Rains as the Invisible Man
Claude Rains as the Invisible Man

 

About Mike Cramer 17 Articles
Michael Cramer is an ambitious 20-something go-getter who is always looking for his next step up the corporate ladder. Nah, he's just a guy who loves horror movies and wants others to hear his opinions like "that movie was great" and "that could have been better".

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