Aaron: Mmmm, beasties? Are we talking baddy beastly, fur-covered cuddle-bear, or any creature, good or bad, decidedly not human? I’ll take a swing! 😛 My top ten creatures (I cheated on some) in books, movies, and games:
10: Khepri (Perdido Street Station) — China Mieville’s novels contain so many imaginative beasts, I have difficulty picking one, but the Khepri stand out above the rest for me. The scarab-headed, humanoid creatures excrete colorful waste from which they sculpt magnificent works of art. Love it!
9: Bioraptor (Riddick) — A number of cool creatures have emerged from the franchise, especially the latest movie, but the Bioraptor, so slick, alien, and animal continues to intrigue me. Aliens from the eponymous movie have a similar believable predatory movement and hunting instinct, working together to make the creature real for me.
8: National Institute of Mental Health (The Rats of NIMH) — Of all the amazing creatures portrayed in both the book and movie, the most beastly for me was the human hand injecting the squirming rats. Nicodemus? The Great Owl? Terrifyingly cool. But the lab-coat-gods with their nasty syringes, plotting evil in ignorance, have haunted me for three decades.
7: Encephalitis Lethargica (Awakenings) — Viruses figure prominently in fiction today as the worst kind of beasties, but the specific condition described by Oliver Sacks plagues me. It’s real, and it’s not clear whether the patients are self-aware while trapped in their own bodies or not, but what if they are… ?
6: Gmork (The Neverending Story) — The harbinger of the Nothing, Gmork relentlessly chases Atreyu across the universe of imagination. That gravelly voice, and insidious smile can never be erased from my mind. Falcor comes in a close second in this film full of furry beasties.
5: Baboo (Archer) — The animated ocelot from Archer. I don’t think I should say anything more than, “Baboo!”
4: The Maxx (Comic and Animated Series) — I honestly loved this character from the first moment I saw him appear on Liquid Television. I’m glad for my fuzzy memories about him, his dreamy context and his powerful silhouette. Remarkable and psychologically relevant, a favorite for sure.
3: The Mayor (Buffy) — Diabolical, hilarious, and utterly evil, The Mayor of Sunnydale has a wretched appetite and monstrous predilection for cleanliness which may be his most beastly trait. Also, he’s a big snake.
2: Eborsisk (Willow) — A troll become hydra!? Heck yeah! Go get ‘em Madmartigan! For the record, I didn’t know it was called an Eborsisk until I looked it up. Also, I always thought it was Mad [space] Martigan. Who knew?
1: Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men) — Without hesitation, Anton Chigurh is the biggest, beastliest, baddest creature I’ve encountered in both film and on the page. A special forces trained sociopath armed with a cattle gun and an existential view of his role in the execution of his tasks, Mr. Chigurh embodies fate, and meeting him is like running your mortality incarnate. Heads or tails? As absurd as life or death.