13: Top 5 movie monsters


Ben Blacker

Writer of Hex Wives, co-creator of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, producer of the Dead Pilots podcast and host of the Writers’ Panel.

The show gets #spoopy as the Thrilling Adventure Hour ’s Ben Blacker joins Mark to count down his top five silver-screen terrors.

Ben co-created the Thrilling Adventure Hour with his writing partner Ben Acker as a live theatre show in the style of an old-timey evening of radio entertainment. There’s over a decade’s worth of Thrilling to enjoy, so subscribe to the free newsletter to get some hand-picked favourites you can see and hear via YouTube.

Ben’s picks

In order of discussion:


Known more commonly as “the alien from Alien(s) ”, the Xenomorph or internecivus raptus is Ben’s top pick because at its heart, Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien is a horror film, and this monster ticks all the boxes.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Whether in its original 1954 form or its most recent, romantic incarnation, the Creature makes Ben’s list for its exceptional design, its pathos, and because childhood memories. If you’d like to know more, you can read Ben’s friend Mallory’s book, The Lady from the Black Lagoon, about the Creature’s designer, an overlooked name in Hollywood’s history.


The original Gremlins is fun for most, if not all the family, as it so well intersects comedy and horror. Ben appreciates how the rules are set out, but that as an audience we don’t yet know what the consequences are for breaking them. Ben is not a fan of the sequel, as it skews too much towards the funny.

The Thing

The titular Thing from The Thing is terrifying in its amorphousness. It can take the shape of anything it touches, and although it involves some body horror — of which Ben isn’t a big fan — it comfortably makes Ben’s list as a full-on monster, albeit a somewhat formless one.


Ben’s final pick is the worm things from Tremors, one of his favourite movies (and a firm favourite of Mark’s). Ben appreciates the cool, gross and classic monsteriness of these underground creatures, but is not on board with the name “graboid”, and he wishes to make this position absolutely clear.

Mark’s pick

In order of discussion


For Mark, a proper zombie film ends with courage in the face of utter hopelessness. They’re one of the few fictional entities that still scare Mark. Although he originally lauded 28 Days Later as a great modern take on the zombie, he’s not so sure it holds up.

Audrey II

Although Ben doesn’t consider this Little Shop of Horrors baddy scary, Mark thinks potentially being grabbed by the balls and eaten by a giant blood-sucking plant with the voice of a Motown legend to be a little intimidating.

Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal the cannibal, in all his incarnations, makes Mark’s list as an almost supernaturally naughty man, but can Ben reconcile this against his criteria, or does this constitute a slippery slope?


Mark put Pennywise the dancing clown on his list for similar reasons to Ben’s selection of the Thing. (And yes, Mark understands that Pennywise is just one form of It, but it’s the version we see most in the films.) Mark finds the films not only funny, but really scary (especially the first).

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Photo credit for Ben’s headshot: Roman Cho