That is not the case with horror monsters though. They always have to stick to certain defining characteristics. The serial killer only has two: crazy and kills people. If a writer ventures too far away from the definition of a horror monster, it becomes something else and fanboys will rage against it with angry message board posts on IMDB.com.
HIS HEAD IS TOO BIG!!! U R EPIC FAIL!!
Here is a rundown of why many of the most common horror monsters ruin horror stories by being as threatening as a PSA on the dangers of walking with your shoes untied.
Zombies: They are only effective in large numbers, making a single zombie about as horrifying as the elderly, who are still kinda horrifying in a "looks like a corpse" way. Since horror stories need suspense, zombies always seem to sneak up on somebody in these stories even when alone. It's like they know when to stop moaning when there are fresh humans right around that dark corridor. How a large group of stupid zombies can pull this off is a mystery since they are not well known for their leadership abilities. Well, Dick Cheney was a leader and he is practically a zombie, so I guess it's possible.
Most of the danger in a zombie story usually comes from the protagonists themselves. There are always several character archetypes. The smart guy, the bad ass, the old dude/lady, the slut, the couple (oh I bet one of them won't be bitten!), and the jack-ass, fuck-up, or traitor. Those last three are sometimes the same guy and they always screw everything up with either their incompetence or douchebaggery. It's like he thinks if he were to give the zombies everybody else, the zombies would spare him and give him safe extradition to Madagascar. Although, if they get away with their crap in the story, they never think it all the way through and end up having to fight lemur zombies.
Ehhhhh, I will consider your offer for....AUUGGHH eat one with gun.
Witches: Their back story always seems to be about turning to black magic because they want revenge. No seriously, they always want revenge. If they don't, then their just evil for evils sake. Even with their evil powers though, they always have a weakness. I'm not sure how many have a deadly allergic reaction to water, but I know if I was a witch, I wouldn't just leave buckets of water sitting around in my home.
Werewolves: Not sure why they always seem to appear in vampire stories eventually, but the werewolf is mostly just about being a bitchen wolf. Which, is bitchen because wolves are awesome. Some movies have them being able to control their "shifting" and their consciousness, which leads to them being aggressive....and not much else. That makes werewolves about as horrifying as that drunk at the end of the bar who thinks you might be the postman who is sleeping with his wife. The uncontrollable werewolf is much better for a horror story. It makes them unpredictable and thus much harder to take a picture of for a t-shirt when they are howling at the moon.
Hey! You told me you wanted a werewolf for your t-shirt photo shoot. Well?
Ghosts: Unlike the other monsters on this list, many people believe in ghosts. Also, they aren't really monsters. They are usually dead peoples souls who are left behind because they have been wronged, or because they really like being evil. Or because they really liked the house they were living in and now some black people moved in! Or because a little kid and his counselor ghost friend, who hasn't realized he is dead despite only having a small child talk to him for months, haven't helped the ghost cross over. Or because their great-great-great-great granddaughter hasn't avenged their pet cats murder. Or because, for a lot of reasons is what I'm getting at here.
They usually have some sort of supernatural powers which usually include dimming the lights, knocking on doors really hard, writing on things with blood (whose?), interior design, and appearing only in the 3rd act of a movie. Some of the more clever ones go for the possession route after realizing they aren't very good at throwing knives and that having physical hands is better for strangling. The smartest ones just possess Jack Nicholson once they realize he is already kinda crazy and has probably had 4 people killed with his connections.
How he greets everybody.
Most ghost movies have gone for "gritty realism" now a days, such as the Paranormal Activity movies. This has probably been influenced by the dozen or so pseudo-scientific ghost hunting shows currently running. At least the movies haven't borrowed from the TV shows too heavily as many scenes in the movie would just be two people sitting in the quiet dark for 30 seconds until one of them suddenly turns to the other and whispers, "Did you hear that?" Also, using EMF detectors to find ghosts is a pretty gross misunderstanding of what that device does. When a ghost hunter thinks a device is helpful with finding ghosts based on some dude who bought one once at Home Depot and noticed numbers on it when they moved it around their house, it probably means they have found just as many ghosts as Scooby Doo.
Vampires: Not sure when the pussification of Vampires began, or why it was even necessary, but they where the kings of horror movie monsters for a long time. Dracula was a badass. You would have to be a badass to be able to wear this and not get the shit kicked out of you or invited out antiquing. Yet, modern vampires have gotten angsty and understand today's youth for some reason. It's almost as if every new vampire story is being written by My Chemical Romance.
True Blood has bucked this trend some. The vampires in that are older, not total wuss factories, and still murder people without discussing their feelings first. Okay, there is a little of that, and the show is losing me with too many supernatural entities, but at least they still have their weaknesses. The sun kills the vampires in this show, it doesn't make them glitter and wax poetic about it making them look like a Hello Kitty notebook. Surely, that is embarrassing but you're a fucking vampire! You could easily kill whoever made fun of you. A bedazzled gun is still a gun.
Even worse, for some vampires, lasers turn them into a metallic alphabet
So right now, Vampires have to be considered the lamest horror monster since they barely qualify as one today. Than again, you are pretty much safe during the day so maybe they where kind of lame to begin with. Actually, almost every horror monster is more, or only, effective at night. No wonder aliens and robots sometimes appear in horror films. They are the only ones who are a 24 hour threat.
Well that decides it. Sci-fi is a better genre than horror. That is what I set out to prove in this post right? What's did I title this again? Oh...shit.
Disclaimer: This article is stupid. Also, honorable mention to Frankenstein's Monster but he was really just a super zombie anyway.
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