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DO NOT FUCK AROUND WITH THE MUMMY
October 28, 2009 10:03 PM   Subscribe

A Hierarchy of Classic Horror Monsters: Regular vampires are shit. They can only beat Zombies, Witches, assorted Poltergeists, and Mr. Hyde. That is BARELY BETTER THAN A REGULAR PERSON. Shut the fuck up about vampires.

...Over at io9, they’re doing another one of those “who would win?” voting contests, this time between classic horror monsters. This is, obviously, madness – the general population is ignorant as to the nature and danger of assorted monsters, and consequently their opinions on the potency of those monsters is suspect. This is evidenced by the very first competition: ”Zombie versus Mummy,” in which Zombies won by about 30%.

This is nonsense, and it needs to be rectified.
posted by mediareport (129 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
Young girls and vampires.

Well, so few have the resources to own a horse anymore.
posted by HTuttle at 10:10 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


What are you talking about? Vampires aren't big obedient furry creatures, and putting them between your legs and going galumpfing around is almost unheard of.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:20 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Now, contrary to popular belief, the Mummy is not a kind of zombie. He is more accurately a kind of desiccated Lich: an undead sorcerer, preserved against the ravages of time by Egyptian black magic. He is fully intelligent, with the same enhanced physical capabilities as lesser undead.

This statement clearly runs counter to Brundlefly's First Law. I won't dismiss it out of hand, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
posted by brundlefly at 10:26 PM on October 28, 2009


13. Nyarlathotep

This rings true. I just dinged level 17 with my Nyarlathotep toon in CO and he's pretty much unstoppable.
posted by ryoshu at 10:27 PM on October 28, 2009


A sweaty mass of hot throbbing horse muscle between the legs will often negate the need to seek out more subtle Freudian satisfaction.
posted by HTuttle at 10:28 PM on October 28, 2009


This is a good post with good information. Everyone needs to know these things. I approve.
posted by Caduceus at 10:30 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This rings true. I just dinged level 17 with my Nyarlathotep toon in CO and he's pretty much unstoppable.

Wait, what? What are you talking about, and where can I play it? And if you're fucking with me, I will hunt you down and feed you to Nyarlathotep.
posted by Caduceus at 10:38 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


B-String Monsters That Deserve a Turn in the Limelight
posted by Artw at 10:51 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, but what about ninjas?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:27 PM on October 28, 2009


Now, contrary to popular belief, the Mummy is not a kind of zombie.

Everything I need to know about Mummies I learned from Jonny Quest.

Speaking of which, that hierarchy is bogus. No mention at all of The Invisible Monster?
posted by philip-random at 11:28 PM on October 28, 2009


We should see what this dude has to say about a plate of beans.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 11:30 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


His assertion that Frankenstein's monster is the Batman of monsters obviates the rest of his methodology. If Frankenstein's monster is Batman and Batman always wins (which is a TRUE FACT), then Frankenstein's monster must therefore be more dangerous than anything else on that list. Q.E.D.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:53 PM on October 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


Plus, he’s really wealthy, so could easily afford the silver bullets needed to kill the Wolf-Man.

Indeed, one of Dracula's secret powers is incredible wealth. This should not be overlooked in any discussion of Dracula. In fact, it is his wealth that allows him to be so much more effective than other vampires. He is a lesson in the power of capitalism.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:53 AM on October 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'd add Godzilla between Dracula and the hosts of hell. Also missing: the Blob. The Blob seems like it could take both Dracula and the Wolf-Man in a fair fight, but would perhaps be stymied by a clever witch. Truly, a conundrum.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:35 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone brings up Godzilla in the comments; his conclusion is similar to yours: "I debated including the giant monsters on the list; the problem is that guys like Godzilla or King Kong are really more like natural disasters than they are like monsters–that is, their danger is measured purely according to the amount of material resources needed to overcome them. So, if you dropped Godzilla down in 19th century England, he would probably roast Dracula with his radioactive fire breath. But if Dracula were around in the late 1960s, you can bet he’d be the one hypnotising the one-eyed scientist into giving him the Oxygen Destroyer, or using his giant moon-laser to destroy Godzilla.

As a rough estimate, I would put the Blob at about the same level as Frankenstein’s Creature, Godzilla at the same level as Dracula, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man with Malphas (& al.)."
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:41 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah? Well, where do shadmocks fit in...? Not really thought about it have you...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:09 AM on October 29, 2009


I have issues with a few of the definitions used. Regular shambling zombies (such as Night of the Living Dead) are fairly immortal, and do not rot. Death has rejected them, so they don't suffer from decomposition, only regular damage. That's why you have to burn the bodies after you give them a headshot. The strength of the zombie horde does come into play, as you can have thousands of them working to the same purpose. You can't get that degree of cooperation from any of the others on the list. Voodoo Zombies should be right at the bottom, as they have no will without their master, and so they don't pose any danger usually.

Twilight vampires are nothing like proper vampires.

Unclean Poltergeist spirits cannot aim their telekinesis for headshots. Nope. No way. They have no accuracy, they are just swiping at things. They are not only susceptible to magic, any common man of the cloth can dispatch them, so if you ordinated the Creature from the Black Lagoon, it would wipe out the unclean spirits with every step.

Wolf-Man can be killed by all sorts of silver weaponry, not just bullets. So a regular vampire could easily sneak up on him and gank him with the cutlery.

I do like the concept of The Mummy being an Egyptian Lich. But that would place him higher than the Wolf-Man or Frankensteins Creation, as Liches can summon hordes to defend themselves. Frankensteins Creature doesn't have any defense against being torn limb-from-limb by jackal-headed soldiers.

And heck, why not include Godzilla, if you're going to include Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep? They are pretty much natural disasters as well, and there is nothing you can hope to do against them except hope to be eaten first.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 2:47 AM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Vampire Reunion.
posted by crossoverman at 3:15 AM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, but what about ninjas?

Ninjas fail to destroy Robocop; but Clarence Boddicker gives Robocop a soul, not to mention giving every entry on this list a third eye chambered in .45 ACP. Can you fly, Bobby?
posted by kid ichorous at 3:51 AM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


And heck, why not include Godzilla, if you're going to include Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep? They are pretty much natural disasters as well, and there is nothing you can hope to do against them except hope to be eaten first.

Surely there is absolutely nothing natural about Cthulhu?

But still, if he includes Mr Hyde and Creature from the Black Lagoon, or indeed Frankenstein's Monster, I think Godzilla should be there.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:59 AM on October 29, 2009


The author seems to assume a lot of things, such as this one about Frankenstein's Monster:

(additionally: the Creature has no True Name, and this makes him very difficult to target with deadly spells)

I imagine if it really came down to it, a quick look at the doctor's journals might reveal something such as,

"June 23, 1893

It is as if the creation is my own flesh and blood. I have begun to think of him almost as my own son. I've even found myself calling him 'Stan' in moments of weakness..."

Having been not named in the novel is not the same as the Monster actually having no name.
posted by explosion at 4:10 AM on October 29, 2009


I would say that the most horrifying monster of all is white text on a black background.
posted by NoMich at 4:12 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


(additionally: the Creature has no True Name, and this makes him very difficult to target with deadly spells)

Abby Normal
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:56 AM on October 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


I think he is vastly underestimating the strength and agility of the garden-variety vampire.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:57 AM on October 29, 2009


Don't get the mummy, when the mummy gets drunk he unravels.
posted by Sailormom at 6:07 AM on October 29, 2009


I don't care about all you haters. He rightly puts Nyarlathotep on the top of the list, and that's what makes my cold, heartless cubiness warm inside.

Also, I'm going to propose that ̧̧̗̪̺̻̠̩ͣ̎ͣ̐̋̅͞ͅZ̢̰̥̱̰̈́͑̊̈̊͂̉̊͝A̪̫͇͔ͣ͌̐͗ͣ͟L̸̇ͯ̈́ͨ̏G͖͎̈́̋ͪ̏̐̀ͮͣͨO̵̮̰̯̖̔͆̈́̈́ is just another manifestation of Nyarlathotep.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 6:14 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree with the author that the io9 poll is flawed. It's a popularity contest, pure and simple, an attempt to win page views by rewarding readers for having popular opinions (just like any other Gawker post). It is no measure of how threatening a particular creature is.

To really look at a hierarchy of threat, we need to start from the perspective of a potential victim and work our way up from there. As I can tell you from personal experience, there is little practical difference in being locked in a closet while the corpse of your dead wife, animated through dread magics, pounds on the door with cold, unyielding fists and being lost in a Bavarian forest, running from a chorus of howls and snarling, fanged mouths.

In the end, the victim's life will end. Whether it ends at the claws of a werewolf, fangs of a vampire, axe of a drowned kid, or nightmare of a dreamstalker doesn't matter.

Now, I've looked into classification schemes for antagonists before, so would like to take these last few minutes to look into a Monster and Antagonist Relative Classification scheme. Each creature would get classified across multiple categories and by referring to their MARC record, one could get a sense of just how much trouble they're in for. We'll keep it simple and quick and just break things down into three axises, Scope, Modus Operandi, and Power Level.

To start with, we need to determine the monster's Scope. This represents how close you need to be to the monster to be threatened by it. That haunted house might have the power to animate clown dolls and trees, but if you live two towns over, you're not that much at risk.

1. Personal - The creature only threatens those within arms reach. It may move about, but as long as you are not where it is, even if that just means locking yourself in the closet behind a hopefully sturdy door, you should be fine. Examples: Jack Torrence, Not Yet A Zombie Jason, Michael Meyers.

2. Local - The creature threatens a region. While it may only be a danger to you if you personally encounter it, its nature is such that it could be anywhere. As long as you are in its local territory, your life is at risk. If you flee, you should be okay. Examples: Pyramid Head, a haunted house, Leprechaun.

3. Regional/Reach - Like Local, but expand the creature's area of threatening influence to a wider swath. You do not need to be near the creature to be at risk. If you are marked by the creature, it can get you at even greater distances. Examples: Dracula, Samara from The Ring, Freddy.

4. Worldwide - Whether you know it or not, you are currently being threatened by this creature as you go about living your normal, every day life. It might take an extraordinary act to get its attention (reading forgotten lore, reciting a rhyme to a mirror at midnight, etc) but it doesn't matter where you are, it can reach out and get you. Examples: Cthulhu, Aliens, International Cults.

5. Reality - Not only are you threatened, but the entire fabric of reality is threatened by the creature. Examples: Nyarlathotep, Satan, Ogdru Hem

Okay, so now that we can break down monsters by their Scope, we should look at their Modus Operandi. What prompts the creature to kill? How does it select its victims? As a middle aged dude, I'm a lot safer from psychopaths than I would be if I was a big-breasted, sex-crazed cheerleader.

1. Reactive - The creature only lashes out when prompted to. If you're kind to it, or at least don't rile it up, you should be okay. Examples: Frankenstein's Monster, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy

2. Predator - The creature stalks and pursues its victims. The type of victim does not matter - when it needs to kill, it will kill in order to satisfy some base need. You can't blame the creature for their actions, even if you know that some part of the woman you love is trapped deep within its rotting core, its just that dread need has taken them over. Examples: zombies, werewolves, CHUDs

3. Hunter - A step up from the Predator, the Hunter has a certain type (or thing) it desires. Those that are not its type are threatened as per a Reactive creature (coming between Dracula and the reincarnation of his dead beloved is not a great idea) and those that fit its type are in grave danger. Give it what it wants and it might go away. Example: James from Twilight, a lich looking for its phylactery, Freddy

4. Growth - The creature does what it does not just to survive, not just because it's its nature, but to prosper at your expense. This need to thrive could be instictual or intentional. Examples: a zombie virus, Godzilla, the RNC

5. Destruction - The creature seeks only to destroy. Chaotic, it lashes out indiscriminately and revels in the destruction it causes. Examples: Azathoth, Mr. Hyde, the Devil's Rejects

Now we need to break down the actual Power Level of the creature. Looking at the Scope and MO of two similar creatures, let's say Jason Before He Was A Zombie and Jason After He Was A Zombie, we can see that their rankings would be pretty similar. However, Zombie Jason would be much more of a threat as he has abilities simply psychopath Jason lacks - bullet resistance, enhanced strength, etc. No matter how crazy normal Jason is, he's still human and therefore can tire or get hungry. Zombies on the other hand, never seem to tire and their dead fists pound relentlessly on the door, the bass drum accompaniment to their hellish moaning hunger.

So let's start our Power Scale at 1, which represents a normal human. Let's end it at 20, which represents Great Old Ones dreaming at the bottom of the ocean, who if they woke the world would end. Obviously, there are higher levels than 20, but once you hit epic territory, the mind shatters trying to differentiate between the horror. Each step up the scale represents a doubling increase in power. Rather than chart out monsters, we should instead look at their abilities and create modifiers based on them.

For example, let's say that being undead gets the creature a +2 modifier due to its increased resilience and strength. Thus the animated corpse of your wife that died accidentally in the night and who that you attempted to bring back to life using dark magics found in a forgotten tome bought from a sketchy antique store you don't remember ever seeing before but who has in addition to all her faculties an unquenchable hunger for brains would be Power Level 3. A mummy, on the other hand, would get not only the Undead bonus, but also a bonus for having magical abilities. Let's put our theoretical mummy's magical abilities around a +3 as it can turn to a plague of locusts, raise zombies, and turn wood into snakes. That makes the mummy a 6 on the Power Scale, or 8 times dangerous than a reanimated wife.

Please note that this is just an expression of the power of the creature, not its overall threat, which is a combination of all the factors discussed above. My zombie wife is of much greater threat to me as I was the one who pulled her soul from the grave and bound it to her dead flesh which makes me conveniently (for her, at least) the nearest meal, as opposed to Hashmut Ptah, The Undying Priest of the Ash Wind, whom I have never offended personally, but could drown me in scarabs if he so desired.

Unfortunately, I lack the time or remaining bullets to list out all of the possible modifiers to a creature's Power Scale. I'd be interested in reading what Metafilter comes up with after overthinking that particular plate of brains (hah, now she has me doing that too!), but I'm not sure the closet door will hold out much longer and there is a something with a MARC Record of s1-mo2-pl3 out there trying to get insi
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:21 AM on October 29, 2009 [325 favorites]


Shadmocks can only whistle. Pffft.
posted by adipocere at 6:22 AM on October 29, 2009


Regular vampires are shit. They can only beat Zombies, Witches, assorted Poltergeists, and Mr. Hyde. That is BARELY BETTER THAN A REGULAR PERSON.

What? No. Your historical "regular" vampire is a lot closer to Dracula in terms of power. They don't just "sneak around in the dark and drain blood from people;" they have superhuman strength and hypnotic abilities, they're also - depending on your source - capable of flight and transforming themselves into a bat, a wolf, or a mist.

My biggest problem with the current interpretation of the vampire is the attempts to pass them off as mere troubled souls who happen to have an unquenchable thirst for blood. It's totally not their fault, of course, and like any other bad boy they're just waiting for the right woman to come along and help them mend their ways.

Vampires don't have feelings, for christ's sake. They're monsters that feed on human beings and must be destroyed at all costs. Bella shouldn't be agonizing over whether she can change Edward...unless it's into dust with a well-placed stake. I can't really blame Stephanie Meyer though, since the Twilight series is merely the final act in the decades-long castration of the vampire genre that began with sad bastard Barnabas Collins and continued with the brooding fops of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and the kung fu-fighting, frosted tip twats of the Buffyverse.

I'll take it all back if Blade makes an appearance in New Moon, however.
posted by total warfare frown at 6:24 AM on October 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


Dracula is also immune to the sunlight, as were all vampires until Nosferatu. He just loses some of his powers in the daylight.

Also if you like Dracula and think vampires aren't supposed to have feelings, I'm not sure what to tell you other than to actually read the book instead of just watching movies. Dude's a jerk, but that's sociopathy rather than not having any feelings. You might like Midnight Mass.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:35 AM on October 29, 2009


Yes, a large army of shambling ghoul-zombies would probably be more dangerous than one wolf-man. But a large army of anything is going to be more dangerous than one of something else. A large army of Draculas is doing to be exponentially more dangerous than a large army of shambling ghoul zombies.

I think he is wrong to be so dismissive of the plague aspect-- zombies, by their very nature, are found in large numbers whereas it takes time to make a single wolf-man or a single vampire or a single Frankenstein's creature so they should be evaluated accordingly. I don't doubt that hundreds of zombies could overcome the nameless creature and rend him limb from limb.

I also agree with brundlefly that The Mummy is just a zombie-- and a dry, dessicated one at that. I don't believe The Mummy is particularly strong-- he just doesn't have the muscle tone. So while he might be able to strangle a normal human to death, he would be no match for say...Mr. Hyde.

I believe the list vastly underrates Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde is evil in a way that the unnamed creature is not, and I think their physical powers to be about even. Yes, the unnamed creature is capable of learning and even begins to philosophize, however, he only has a normal human brain that has been traumatized (in the same way as perhaps someone who has had a stroke) whereas Mr. Hyde's brain has been finely tuned by the potion to the point of surpassing normal brain power.

I believe the list vastly overrates the wolf-man. Don't forget the wolf-man is a normal human being most of the time and only becomes a monster during the full moon. That leaves him vulnerable during 25 out of 28 days.

One thing the list does get right is "normal" (heh) vampires; it takes hundreds of years to make a Dracula, to develop the cunning and the resources. I would guess most vampires are easily caught and dispatched within a few months unless they have help from an older, wiser mentor. The first instinct is to feed and that means they are not very good at covering their tracks. It only takes a few human deaths to put people onto the presence of the undead in their midst and once that happens, the vampires are toast. Again, like the wolf-man, they are vulnerable during a large part of existance and even during the night there are so many defenses against them-- they have to be invited into the house, and they can be thwarted by garlic and crosses.

Can you tell I had a misspent youth?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:39 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Related YT link:
Monster Party by Rangoon Online

It puts wolfman squarely at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of social cache and rapping ability.
posted by codacorolla at 6:39 AM on October 29, 2009


On the subject of monsters, I would like to point out the most excellent T-shirt I'll be wearing this Halloween in lieu of a costume.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:44 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Guys, you're making this way harder than it needs to be. The Mummies totally rock harder than the Zombies. And both rock harder than Vampire Weekend.
posted by jonp72 at 6:45 AM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Where does he put Karl Rove on this list?
posted by spicynuts at 6:51 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


These are all pretty compelling arguments, and it's nice to see Cthulhu properly rated!
posted by MoreForMad at 6:52 AM on October 29, 2009


Counterpoint for the "modern, castrated vampire" being weak. They work on the "media" scale, in that once they get picked up by major media, their power spreads to impressionable young girls, who in turn may control their parents in a limited fashion. Have you seen "My Super Sweet 16" or any of that rubbish? Snag one of those teenage girls, and you have more power than you realize. Gather a handfull of them, and you have a make-shift army.

No monster stands alone (unless that's their thing, like wolfmen and Frankenstein's monster, the latter is rather intelligent if you ignore the re-interpretations following his initial creation by Mary Shelley). To judge them as such is to ignore their real power (unless you're pitting them in some weird cage-match).
posted by filthy light thief at 6:56 AM on October 29, 2009


My only quibble with the otherwise excellent Robocop Monster Metric (RMM) is minor:
So let's start our Power Scale at 1, which represents a normal human. Let's end it at 20, which represents Great Old Ones dreaming at the bottom of the ocean, who if they woke the world would end. Obviously, there are higher levels than 20, but once you hit epic territory, the mind shatters trying to differentiate between the horror.
This would mean that the Great Old Ones only represent a 524,288 times increase in power over an ordinary human. This seems too low to me, considering that they can destroy the fabric of reality, while ordinary humans can only, say, steal my lunch money. Half a million ordinary humans will be no match for the horrors when R'lyeh rises again.
posted by autopilot at 7:00 AM on October 29, 2009


I also agree with brundlefly that The Mummy is just a zombie-- and a dry, dessicated one at that. I don't believe The Mummy is particularly strong-- he just doesn't have the muscle tone. So while he might be able to strangle a normal human to death, he would be no match for say...Mr. Hyde.

The mummy has supernatural mummy-strength. He's been dead for thousands of years and can still walk around? No. Even if we accept that some curse or ancient evil has returned the mummy to a semblance of life, that doesn't explain how his old-ass withered muscles could walk him around. They obviously cannot, which means that he is entirely powered by a supernatual force. One that doesn't care about getting anywhere in a hurry, but does care about kicking your ass. DO NOT FUCK AROUND WITH THE MUMMY.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:04 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mr. Hyde??? Any half assed tittie bar bouncer would shove his cane you-know-where.
posted by digsrus at 7:07 AM on October 29, 2009


Wait, what? What are you talking about, and where can I play it? And if you're fucking with me, I will hunt you down and feed you to Nyarlathotep.

Its avatar is 7 foot tall and made of nightmares.

I do have to take issue with the author's representation that Nyarlathotep is an avatar of Azathoth. Azathoth is a primordial force of nature; chaos incarnate. Nyarlathotep is something sinister, having motives of its own, whereas Azathoth just is. Given the cosmic scale Nyarlathotep inhabits, you are most likely to encounter its avatar instead of the being itself. That said, you are still fucked.
posted by ryoshu at 7:17 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


This would mean that the Great Old Ones only represent a 524,288 times increase in power over an ordinary human.

Well, not so much an ordinary human, but an ordinary psychopath with all the abilities and limitations of a normal human. While Norman Bates could use his human-powers to steal your lunch money, he would more likely use them to stab you to death. The Power Scale does not necessarily translate into number of people killed, or how many people it would take to defeat them. Instead, it more represents the level of damage the creature could do and how difficult it would be to stop them.

Now, could 524,288 Norman Bateses (Batesi?) take on Cthulhu? Ignoring the fact that Ole Tentacle Lips went down to a fishing boat being rammed into him, probably not. A few big stomps and that number drops rapidly. But, could 524,288 Batesi kill as many people as Cthulhu? Certainly. Would it be as hard to stop 524,288 Batesi as it would be to stop Cthulhu? Probably.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:18 AM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Another factor to consider in determining a monster's degree of threat is how difficult it is to dispatch or render harmless, and what resources would be required.

As our base hero, let's take a well trained, cool-headed police officer with standard equipment. Mr. Hyde would barely pose a threat to someone armed with a modern handgun and trained in its use. The same goes for pre-revenant Jason Voorhees. A werewolf is slightly more difficult to defeat, because you need silver, but a cop with silver bullets would easily stop a werewolf. An advanced vampire such as Dracula ranks higher, but due to his weaknesses he can still be defeated by one person or a small team, given suitable equipment and knowledge. At the other end of the spectrum we have threats such as Godzilla, who requires a full military action to be turned back.

Arcane and supernatural threats can be judged similarly. Can the entity be dismissed by reading a couple of lines out of a book, or does it require a lengthy, complicated ritual?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:23 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


werewolves, hands down, with the day (and the night)
posted by neoist at 7:26 AM on October 29, 2009


I would agree w/ robocop is bleeding. And I believe that Batesii is the correct spelling of the plural form. You have to calibrate the scale accordingly.

Half a million psychopaths of the Norman Bates variety are at least as powerful as an "elder god" (put in scare quotes as I'm not entirely sold on the reality fabric-rending abilities of Cthulhu). Double that power scale if all the Norman Batesii are Birtherites or Tea Baggers. Treble it if they all are carrying some sort of vorpal weapon, even if the vorpal weapon in question is just a piccolo.
posted by Severian at 7:37 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Indeed, one of Dracula's secret powers is incredible wealth. This should not be overlooked in any discussion of Dracula. In fact, it is his wealth that allows him to be so much more effective than other vampires. He is a lesson in the power of capitalism.

This is the great popular appeal of Dracula and the Ann Rice vampires. And this is actually sort of the appeal of the Twilight Vampires, as well, except you substitute "incredible wealth" for "upper middle class." Instead of fantasizing about a vampire with a castle in eastern Europe and fancy clothes, it's more about a fantasy with a vampire who drives a Volvo, lives in a Victorian house and has a doctor for a father.
posted by deanc at 7:38 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Treble it if they all are carrying some sort of vorpal weapon, even if the vorpal weapon in question is just a piccolo.

If you let me dual wield Piccolos, I'll take on a half million teabagging Norman Bates.
posted by ryoshu at 7:41 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Indeed, one of Dracula's secret powers is incredible wealth... In fact, it is his wealth that allows him to be so much more effective than other vampires. He is a lesson in the power of capitalism.

A blood-sucking monster that cannot die is a great metaphor for corporate capitalism.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:47 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I agree with the relative vulnerability of the Wolf Man. As mentioned above, his classic vulnerabilities being silver and being a human most of the time, there is one additional weak point which is more dangerous to the Wolf Man than these two threats....



...


WOLFMAN'S GOT NARDS!
posted by utsutsu at 7:47 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


An advanced vampire such as Dracula ranks higher, but due to his weaknesses he can still be defeated by one person or a small team, given suitable equipment and knowledge

THAT WOULD NOT KILL DRACULA
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:48 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yes, if you were able to subdue that particular Piccolo and control him via rectus digitalis I would have to concede that you would be able to take down an army of Batesii.

But, then I would also have to conclude that you could probably do that on your own. And that you were a giant monkey man with a tail and glowing blonde hair.
posted by Severian at 7:48 AM on October 29, 2009


AN OPEN LETTER TO ADVENTURERS BY C. VECNA, LITCH:


Recently there have been some unkind rumors and speculation about my hand...

posted by The Whelk at 7:49 AM on October 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


I really want to see a satirical teen riot movie, especially since we have a bunch of old teabaggers rallying about how much they hate youths getting involved in politics.

How it would work: A young president analogous to Obama decides to compete with his dwindling approval ratings by implanting a subliminal earworm inside trance-y alternative music from a band analogous to Animal Collective. Unfortunately, the power of suggestion gets out of hand, and the teens become violent and go on a riot against the public, and begin gluing spikes to football pads and attacking old people with baseball bats and splintery wooden boards with nails they affectionately call "death panels."

The world is saved by a young, attractive group of College Republicans who only listen to Christian Rock and Country music, who face a tough battle, but ultimately win thanks to their stockpile of automatic weapons and ammunition ("I KNEW it was a good idea to buy all the bullets I could once the Democrats came in power!"), plus their being morally superior.

In the press junket, Fox News would do interview the teen actors and host "Will It Happen Tomorrow?" segments. MSNBC and The Daily Show have on the director and have him talk about the satire, and in the interest of equal time, CNN would have on child psychologists and Sanjay Gupta to discuss how much evidence there is that alternative trance music leads to rioting.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:53 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Monster and Antagonist Relative Classification scheme.

There are no words to express my delight.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:55 AM on October 29, 2009


Also, I feel the need to stump for all of Japan's monsters. While they may not be infinitely strong, they make up for it with style and creativity, and a westerner would have no idea how to deal with them, which gives them a huge leg up on werewolves and vampires.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:00 AM on October 29, 2009


Mr. Hyde??? Any half assed tittie bar bouncer would shove his cane you-know-where

Wow. You are so wrong that I am afraid for you.

Mr. Hyde would barely pose a threat to someone armed with a modern handgun and trained in its use.

One problem with discussing the various threats posed by these monsters is we are all using different definitions. Are you basing your assessment on the original novel, the original novel plus the earliest movie, or all that plus later editions? Going by the recent British mini-series Jekyll, Mr. Hyde can easily handle a human with a gun because of his lightening reflexes.

It is interesting that no one (other than the original blogger) is attempting to assess the risk posed by witches-- probably because there is no definitive canon.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:03 AM on October 29, 2009


AN OPEN LETTER TO ADVENTURERS BY C. VECNA, LITCH:


Recently there have been some unkind rumors and speculation about my head...

posted by ryoshu at 8:04 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You guys. Maybe they don't fit the "classic" category, but surely the Langoliers beat all comers. Those little fuckers eat reality. Also, Bronson Pinchot, which should count for something.
posted by Skot at 8:05 AM on October 29, 2009


No love for Kure Kure Takora? Oh, you say, he's just an anthropomorphized octopus, big deal. But! I have heard tell that once his unheimlich theme song becomes lodged in your brain, you kill yourself.
posted by everichon at 8:18 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps Cthulhu is not the appropriate metric for the high end of the scale when it comes to Elder Gods. As Robocop is bleeding pointed out, the master of R'lyeh was taken down merely by being rammed by a well placed steam boat, which only has a Power Scale of 4 on the RMM.

Some of the other elder gods approach more Type III Kardashev scale entities. Considering that the entire Earth (including any and all Jasons, Batesii, Hydes, Draculas and Leatherfaces) would only constitute a Type I civilization with on the order of 10^12 W of power (in the electrical, not the RMM sense), the Type III entities are at least 10^20 times more powerful. This is the only reason for my quibble; perhaps rather than each level representing a doubling, each level should be a factor of 10.

ryoshu: Your piccolo idea is intriguing, considering that the shogoths appear to respond to musical piping noises. However, I do not believe it would be effective against Zombie Nixon and would suggest having +10 congressional committee hearing subpoena paperwork (printed with silver ink on garlic paper) as a backup plan.
posted by autopilot at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, I feel the need to stump for all of Japan's monsters. While they may not be infinitely strong, they make up for it with style and creativity, and a westerner would have no idea how to deal with them, which gives them a huge leg up on werewolves and vampires.

That would make sense if this was a Hierarchy of Mildly Annoying Monsters:
No description was left with any of these images, but in modern popular culture nurarihyon has acquired the impressive status of the supreme commander of yōkai, and the peculiar habit of sneaking into human houses in the evening while everyone is busy, making himself at home and drinking the tea.
...
Not so celebrated or powerful is the nurarihyon of folklore, a weird sea monster found in the Bisan Strait of the Seto Inland Sea off the shore of Okayama Prefecture. A bulbous, floating mass vaguely resembling a human head, it bobs in the waves until someone in a boat attempts to take it, at which point it sinks to the bottom (nurari), only to pop up again (hyon) a short while later. It will repeat this behavior again and again, seeming to tease whoever takes an interest in it.
It will drink my tea and/or bob in the ocean. I'm terrified.
posted by ryoshu at 8:27 AM on October 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


In the end, the victim's life will end. Whether it ends at the claws of a werewolf, fangs of a vampire, axe of a drowned kid, or nightmare of a dreamstalker doesn't matter.

One word: Succubus.

That is all.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:31 AM on October 29, 2009


Read it and weep, monster-bitches!

I'm still the best.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 8:34 AM on October 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


but surely the Langoliers beat all comers

Pacman is back. And he's pissed.
posted by device55 at 8:40 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Would it be as hard to stop 524,288 Batesi as it would be to stop Cthulhu? Probably.

I disagree, sir, and in the strongest terms. Application of only a few, modest, nuclear devices would severely curtail, if not eliminate, a threat of 0.5 MB (mega Bates), while we have documentary proof (cstross, "A Colder War"), that such a response would do less than tickle a Kochesi-level threat.
posted by bonehead at 8:55 AM on October 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Any discussion of vampires has to factor in age, and the vampiric tendency to use human proxies for their dirty work. It's also important to consider the variance in their origins and weaknesses.

I'll start with age. As Secret Life of Gravy correctly notes, it takes centuries for a Dracula to develop from a lowly Edward. They need to be tempered by the passage of history. They need to amass wealth and influence - Drac had a band of Boyars at his beck and call in Transylvania, and started his relocation to London using a team of lawyers. A young vampire who survives that unfortunate 'teething' period will take a decade or two to get to a point where they are a threat to anything but the most oblivious human. They are, using robocop is bleeding's MARC scale 1s -2mo-3pl, a pretty lowly beast. But with even just a few decades under the belt, they get nastier. Drac affects London from Transylvania, and even the foppish Lestat impacts others miles from wherever he is. Older vampires play painful games with people out of boredom and ennui, and can not only eat you to death but spread corruption and death behind them like a wake, impoverishing their new homes to make the hunting easier. A poor neighbourhood with lots of shootings and murders makes it easy for an old leech to blend in. And the very clever elders won't even do the dirty work themselves - they'll get human puppets (like the aforementioned boyars or the familiars from the Blade series) to do the dirty work, so you have to wade through their servants first to get to them, by which time Boss has high tailed it out of there. And as has been mentioned often up-thread, the vampiric tendency to amass wealth is also gives them a keen advantage. No zombie horde ever had the wealth required to, say, start a lobby pushing for all bodies be immolated after the confirmation of death. No werewolf can have the impact to issue all the kiddies in the village with a lovely silver bracelet on their coming of age. Old, cunning and rich is a nasty set of conditions when dealing with human bastards. It becomes even worse when that bastard is immortal.

It also doesn't help that there are as many breeds of vampires as there are people on which they prey. Are we talking just your Victorian era reconstructed vampire, or do we expand to allow penanggalan, lamiae, and other such kin, let alone the differentiation between the strigoii mort and the strigoii vii? Or blood sucking watermelons, for that matter? Do we allow Hollywood mutations, like the weakness to sunlight, to permeate the mythology we are using? Does the prohibition on crossing running water include walking over buried sewer mains? Is the restriction to sleep only in their native earth limited to a literal, buried in a box of soil kind of thing, or does it allow a loose handful of soil in a coffin? What about some of the more obscure vampire control tactics, like their alleged penchant for counting seeds or aversion to wild rose?

A lot of the other monsters on this list are pretty straightforward. The Old Ones, Frankenstein's Creature, the Beast from the Black Lagoon and Hyde all have a single canonical jumping off point - one story or film that provides their genesis. Even the demons, while admittedly historically hard to categorise, have a very solid theology to work in. Vampires are just too varied to really be able to comprehensively rank. The impact of age, the type of vampire and the restriction set all have a huge impact. I'd back an old vamp over just about anything on that list, with the notable exception of the Old Ones.


Why yes, I do run far too much Vampire:the Masquerade, why did you ask?This sort of bean plating happens when your pcs are all 300+ years old.
posted by Jilder at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You really, really wouldn't want to wave your piddly little handgun in the Alan Moore Hyde's face.
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2009


Ah, but that's assuming all the Batesii have gathered in some sort of uniform army, as opposed to behaving as lurking, psychopathic insurgents. Anybody could be a Bates, and if each Bates takes down a half dozen people, that's roughly 3 million dead before it's all over.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:01 AM on October 29, 2009


(Hey....the impact of age has an impact...who knew? I must be suffering from blood loss.)
posted by Jilder at 9:05 AM on October 29, 2009


good to see you're still with us RIB... how's your wife?
posted by Severian at 9:11 AM on October 29, 2009


Thanks for asking, Severian!

Judging from the noises in the basement, she's having a grand ole time. If you'd like to come over to join in the fun, you are more than welcome! Perhaps you would like to enjoy the many bottles of beers and fine selection of birthday cakes we have in the basement as well? Just follow the signs marked "Free Beer and Cake This Way!" I've put up around town. When you get to the house, feel free to let yourself in. I'll probably be busy upstairs with my books, so please be sure to LOCK THE BASEMENT DOOR SECURELY BEHIND YOU and enjoy!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:20 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Megadeath tolls are all very well but still within human comprehensibility. Koschei threats are an OCP, which tends to happen only once per civilization (i.e., at the very end). Gigadeath, even Teradeath (if the human blight ever get that big) levels are conceivable.
posted by bonehead at 9:23 AM on October 29, 2009


if each Bates takes down a half dozen people
Hmm... If each Bates (on average) can take down 6 victims, you know who else would be equivalent to 1 mega-Bates?
posted by autopilot at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, could 524,288 Norman Bateses (Batesi?) take on Cthulhu? Ignoring the fact that Ole Tentacle Lips went down to a fishing boat being rammed into him, probably not.

Pff. He hadn't even woken up properly. You'll know if he wakes up properly, because he'll eat your soul and that of every other living thing on the planet the moment he does.

A few big stomps and that number drops rapidly.

Dude, he's not Godzilla with a few tentacles.
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2009


I see that this point is in fact covered adequately above.

Zalgo is Hastur, BTW.
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on October 29, 2009


Now, could 524,288 Norman Bateses (Batesi?) take on Cthulhu? Ignoring the fact that Ole Tentacle Lips went down to a fishing boat being rammed into him, probably not.

Pff. He hadn't even woken up properly. You'll know if he wakes up properly, because he'll eat your soul and that of every other living thing on the planet the moment he does.


I know a cup of coffee first thing does wonders for me, at least.
posted by Jilder at 9:31 AM on October 29, 2009


Indeed, one of Dracula's secret powers is incredible wealth. This should not be overlooked in any discussion of Dracula. In fact, it is his wealth that allows him to be so much more effective than other vampires. He is a lesson in the power of capitalism.

Marx explicitly makes this connection more than once, much to the delight of cultural studies types who want an excuse to write about Buffy. For example (from chapter 10 of Capital):

"Capital is dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks."

and

"It must be acknowledged that our laborer comes out of the process of production other than he entered . . . The bargain concluded, it is discovered that he was no “free agent,” that the time for which he is free to sell his labor-power is the time for which he is forced to sell it, that in fact the vampire will not lose its hold on him 'so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited.'"

On a related note, surely psychological and social factors need to be taken into account when calculating the relative power of various monsters? I mean, automobiles kill way more people every day than your average monster does in a whole career of slaughter, but that doesn't make them scarier. It's not clear to me that mere power to kill should be given more weight than power to cause terror.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 9:41 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


August Derleth, BTW, has someone see off Cthulhu by nuking him. This is why we look down on August Derleth's Cthulhu tales.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dracula is The Man. We know this from Blacula.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Artw, Hastur's modern memetic complement is Candleja-
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 9:45 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ah, but we are missing the other parts of the MARC/RMM when it comes to Cthulhu. In his current, slumbering state, he's Scope 3 (Able to reach out via dreams to those who have been exposed to him in some way) and MO 1 (Reactive). Meanwhile, a Bates would be Scope 2 (Area around motel/home) and MO 2/3 (depending on which movie you encounter him in).

Cthulhu, in his slumbering or pre-coffee state, fits the top end of the charitable scale pretty well. I'd suggest that a fully awoken Cthulhu is a different creature all together, one with different Scope and MO than Dreaming Cthulhu. Perhaps there is more of a curve to the Power Scope than previously thought? I admit I had other pressing matters on my mind when I postulated it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:46 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


One suggests that when charting old-ones level power levels extra dimensions are necessary. Cthulhu is unmappable with integral, or even rational dimentionalities.
posted by bonehead at 10:03 AM on October 29, 2009


Pff. He hadn't even woken up properly. You'll know if he wakes up properly, because he'll eat your soul and that of every other living thing on the planet the moment he does.

Well, no, not exactly. I think technically what he does when he wakes up properly is spread his psychic consciousness around the world (not intentionally, really, just as a side effect of being awake), thus driving the entirety of humanity insane and into a frenzy of murder and rage, and he and his kin will eat whoever or whatever they happen to come across as they resume their dominion over the earth. It's not really a matter of souls (as Lovecraft didn't believe in them), but you can't really oppose him, either, as his mere fully conscious presence on the planet will drive us all mad. Awake Cthulhu equals end of human civilization, and, indeed, end of human consciousness. His awakening will reduce us to mindless bite-sized animal snacks.
posted by Caduceus at 10:20 AM on October 29, 2009


I would say that the most horrifying monster of all is white text on a black background.

Pish. Hardly. Easily taken down by one tiny little bookmarklet.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The supercomputer Hactar (and his minons the Krikkiters) covers each of robocop is bleeding's classifications in terms of scope, power level and MO. Easily type III on the Kardashev scale (built a bomb connecting the hearts of every major star in the universe), and the Krikkiters are interested and capable of killing and destroying on a personal as well as universal level.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2009


total warfare frown: "I'll take it all back if Blade makes an appearance in New Moon, however."

Here ya go.
posted by brundlefly at 10:52 AM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow... as far as modern Mythos horror fiction goes that "A Colder War" was damned fine... and seriously creepy.
posted by Severian at 10:56 AM on October 29, 2009


A Colder War is fucking awesome. It's basically what I would point people at if they wanted a modenr peice in the spirit of Lovecraft, rather than some watered down pastiche. As a bonus it even has Plutos in it as a Cthulhu deterrent weapon (guess how well that works).

The other Lovecraftian stuff Stross does, the Laundry series, is interesting but far more lightweight. I think in the intro he wrote for Colder War in the Wireless anthology he basically says that he couldn't keep that level of bleakness up for a longer piece.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ryoshu:
AN OPEN LETTER TO ADVENTURERS BY C. VECNA, LITCH:
Recently there have been some unkind rumors and speculation about my head...

The Head of Vecna... Power gamer temptation too strong...
posted by bastionofsanity at 12:34 PM on October 29, 2009


This has been a fascinating discussion. I honestly did not know most of this information and once again, I really appreciate the depth of knowledge Mefites consistently display.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:12 PM on October 29, 2009


Vecna lives!
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on October 29, 2009


I had a pretty decent overview of the evolution of the vampire from serbian folklore to that pretty-boy Edward, but I accidentally deleted it halfway through. Anyhow, the modern victorian vampire that Edward draws from was created by a friend of Lord Byron in the middle of the 19th century. This is one of the first times you see him as an aristocratic sex predator. Before that the vampire was more like a plague, where a fellow townsperson (usually a pariah) would turn after they died, and be "responsible" for all sorts of local mischief... a bit like witches in colonial America.

Bram Stoker created the first super-vampire (borrowing or inventing most of his trademarked powers, like transformation) with Dracula near the end of the 19th century.

Silent films gave us the Bela Lugosi image with the cape and the slicked hair, as well as the ghoulish Nosferatu (which is probably closer to the original folk lore).

Hammer and exploitation films in the 50s, 60s, and 70s expanded upon the classics - ramping up the sexuality, and including female vamps in the mix (usually keeping them attracted to young women, though).

We don't see the tragic hero figure until the nineties, really, with Anne Rice and later Twilight (as well as more adult stuff like Feehan, Harris, etc.)

Plus some of the pre-christian vampires like the lamia and malaysian variants. That I didn't mention.
posted by codacorolla at 1:43 PM on October 29, 2009


I see there's no 'female monsters' on this sexist list.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:22 PM on October 29, 2009


August Derleth, BTW, has someone see off Cthulhu by nuking him.

But everyone knows if you nuke Cthulhu he just reforms quarter of an hour later but this time he's radioactive... and probably has a headache or something making him a bit pissed off as well.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:28 PM on October 29, 2009


I honestly did not know most of this information and once again, I really appreciate the depth of knowledge Mefites consistently display.

Trust me, with a lot of the knowledge regarding the top end of that scale, you're better off being ignorant. Well, if you're a human, at least.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:42 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


These monsters need to be put on a multi-dimension chart. I'm thinking "Intent" (How bad it wants or needs to kill/torture you), "Total Effectiveness" (How many it kills/ruins), and "Effectiveness per Capita" (how awful it is to get killed/ruined by the monster).

This just seems to do it on the scale of power, which is not so good. Consider that the strongest monster is, AFAICT, not so much evil as a manifestation of the chaos and unknowable nature of the universe.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:54 PM on October 29, 2009


It depresses me that these monsters don't exist. Can we include bears and sharks in this list, so that I don't feel so alone in the universe, and have some sense of scale? In horror movies, it's our killability and screamy-ness that makes us human. How can I feel human without a monster in wait to kill me?

If I run into a bear, I want to be able to say "IT SCORES 4.2 ON THE SCALE! IT'S MORE POWERFUL THAN TWO COMMON ZOMBIES! GET IN THE CAR!"
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:16 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy: "I believe the list vastly overrates the wolf-man. Don't forget the wolf-man is a normal human being most of the time and only becomes a monster during the full moon. That leaves him vulnerable during 25 out of 28 days."

FWIW, some formulations of the werewolf story allow them to transform at will, not just during a full moon. Thank you AskMe.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:46 PM on October 29, 2009


You guys what if a bear was a zombie

I'm just saying
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:44 PM on October 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


Perhaps there is more of a curve to the Power Scope than previously thought?

Well it could be argued that 524,288 is Cthulhu's base power level, but then you tack on various modifiers for the R’yleh homeground advantage, the stars being right (which lets it plunge between worlds), strange aeon bonuses, and the like. Then there’s the Cthulhu Cult members, who have to liberate Cthulhu in the first place, who would be standard humans with a base power level of 1 and a +1 or +2 modifier for “ecstatic religious psychopathy”. You need to cut through the cultists first and say there’s 10,000 of them so you’ve already tacked on 20,000 or 30,000 to Cthulhu’s base power level, even without any other modifiers. And Cthulhu's priests would likely have infiltrated the military, which gives you a penalty, because they've shredded all the launch codes.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:20 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


oh it did not just do that.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2009


kittens for breakfast: "You guys what if a bear was a zombie"

Holy crap. *runs to typewriter*
posted by brundlefly at 5:35 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


These monsters need to be put on a multi-dimension chart.
The original scale proposed by robocop is bleeding was multidimensional, with "scope", "modus operandi" and "power" as three separate axes. I might have contributed to a bit of a derail by focusing on the exponent of growth for the power axis (original proposed was 2, my suggestion was 10).
posted by autopilot at 5:36 PM on October 29, 2009


Basically we are recreating Horror Top Trumps.
posted by Artw at 5:56 PM on October 29, 2009


I wonder if these monsters make similar scales of relative threat level about us?
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:02 PM on October 29, 2009


Almost certainly, yes. They do.
posted by mediareport at 7:12 PM on October 29, 2009


You guys what if a bear was a zombie

He'd be like a normal zombie, but burlier and hairier, and maybe wearing more leather?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:48 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, autopilot, I was an idiot who hadn't seen his post, and had assumed everyone was talking about the linked article.

Also, I do want a bear zombie very bad. I've been asking for once since the betas of L4D1, but Valve doesn't listen. It makes more sense than the fucking Tank and Boomer ever did, and having zombie animals opens the door to a zoo level. If anything, imagine the dialog when a zombie panda charges at them, and they feel bad about killing it because its an endangered species.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:53 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I agree with the author that the io9 poll is flawed. It's a popularity contest, pure and simple, an attempt to win page views by rewarding readers for having popular opinions

I'm the editor-in-chief of io9. The thing I've objected to with our monster smackdown, which I've been dubious about since we started posting cage matches on Monday, is the fact that it pits CLASSES of monsters against CLASSES. I thought it would be better if it pitted specific instances of each monster against one another - the mummy from the recent Mummy franchise with Brendan Frasier vs. Edward the vampire from Twilight (the book, not the movie). I think that cuts down on the ambiguity.
posted by ghidorahnotweak at 9:47 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Great, now we have to start calling it "MeFi's own io9".
posted by Artw at 10:04 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your Morning Spoilers have totally ruined a lot of great shows for me so thanks a lot.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:10 PM on October 29, 2009


I think that cuts down on the ambiguity.

I like the ambiguity. Besides, I think The Mummy vs. Dracula is a tie, because the mummy is more powerful but could never catch Dracula.

However, if you go by the SMOPL scale, Dracula is clearly the more persistent threat to a human, capable of an overall greater harm.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 10:19 PM on October 29, 2009


shame upon the filter - no mention of the SMOG MONSTER in this thread
posted by philip-random at 10:29 PM on October 29, 2009


or Colussus
posted by philip-random at 10:31 PM on October 29, 2009


H̠̞̤ͨ̄ͮe̳͚̻̟͛͐͛ ̫̘̮͍̾͛̓̓C͚̘͚ͨͧ͐͘ͅo̙͗̒̈͑̚M̶̥̜̹͍͔e͉̜̯̳̝̋͌ͦS
̻̠̻͉̥ͮ̊͞
̞̱̮͎͚͓̹͞Z̴ͭ̂̈́̓̓̀Ą̮͐ͣͪ̑͛ḶG̻̳̤͋̋͛̾ͅO̪̹͔ͬ̎̿͊͑!̬̩͕̪͚̒ͥͧͅ
posted by jannw at 1:46 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can we include bears and sharks in this list,

Zombie vs shark.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:24 AM on October 30, 2009


It's kind of a self-link, but this thread just wouldn't be complete without Frankenstein vs. Dracula: The Opera!
posted by vibrotronica at 9:23 AM on October 30, 2009


Great. It turns out that zombiism is just Bear Flu.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:04 AM on October 30, 2009


Thank you Smedleyman. Nice to know I'm appreciated to, even if not as feared.
posted by Hactar at 4:43 PM on October 30, 2009


Yet again I refelct that if I could only just predict the next big memes in the Archie McPhee school of mashup horror writing then I'd make a mint.
posted by Artw at 6:21 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


True that, Artw. I'm personally gunning for warewolves with a time machine in a storyline similar to BTTF. I imagine the main character has a degenerative warewolf disease which will cause him to spend more and more time as a warewolf as his body ages. If he leaves it as is, he will eventually become a wolf FULL TIME, meaning that he will never marry his fiance, who isn't aware he is a werewolf.

He goes back in time to try to prevent himself from being infected. Unfortunately, he accidentally runs over the wolf who bit him in the first place, what with going 88MPH on a rural street and all. Now he must race to find a warewolf in town willing to bite him before his organs shut down one by one as the wolf DNA leaves his body as history rewrites itself.

I'd also like to remake Das Boot, but with Sasquatches who are maintaining a treaty with NATO to guarantee their secrecy so long as they are willing to maintain defensive naval operations against the USSR. It's politically intriguing, as they are peaceful creatures, but they are compelled to fight in the atomic war as they fear they will be poached to extinction by tourists if their existence becomes widely known.

I have not seen Das Boot, but I know it takes place in a submarine and I watched a lot of Discovery Channel when I got cable, so I think I'm qualified.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:21 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I just had a thought: We're missing one element on the scale. Many monsters have ways to prevent their appearance, and sometimes the methods are very arbitrary and simple to do. For example, in some interpretations of vampires, they will not go anywhere near someone with garlic on their person, and they will not go inside your property unless you invite them in. Further, many monsters have weaknesses that are rather pronounced. Again using vampires, some older tellings say that they will compulsively count small objects (part of the inspiration for the Sesame Street character), meaning you could toss a handful of rice on the floor and run away. Another example: Facing Zod (a Kryptonian villain), you could stop him as a mere Earthling if you had kryptonite on you.

I propose we add Precautions, based on how easy it is to prepare the precaution and how effective it is. This is different from scope, as this is about changing yourself or your environment to prevent the attack. If word got around the neighborhood there were vampires on the prowl, you would definitely start carrying garlic, so this is an important factor. This is a factor of how easy the precaution is to enact and how effective it is. For example, an easy precaution that isn't very effective would be going to the second story of your house in a zombie outbreak. It's fine until they start shambling up the stairs.

We could also add a weakness scale, based on how easy it is to get what the monster is weak against, and how easy it is to use against them. Dracula is weak against a wooden stake (cheap), but you have to hammer it in (not easy). Werewolves are weak against silver bullets, which are easy to shoot if you know how to use a gun, but silver bullets are rare and expensive. Kryponite may be the easiest to apply (assuming you don't give yourself radiation poisoning), but it's also incredibly rare unless the plot demands you have a large quantity. The weakness scale has an issue, though, as some monsters share weaknesses with humans. It gets even more complicated, as sometimes those weaknesses are the single, exclusive weakness, like with some zombies who will only die if you shoot them in the head. This makes a zombie less weak than a human, but it's still weak in an intuitive way. I'm not sure how to unify this in a formula, but I'm sure if others care, they'll be willing to overthink it. Naturally, humans will score a one, with weaker creatures scoring a number closer to zero. Absolute zero would be a creature incapable of sustaining any form of animation for any length of time. Unkillable, unstoppable enemies would be pegged to the highest number, or infinity, however the math is written out.

Admittedly, there is some overlap between the two. A precaution against werewolves would be to carry a revolver loaded with silver bullets around a full moon, but that's also their weakness. If they are lucid werewolves, this also doubles as a deterrent, as they will see the gun and the shiny bullets and know to stay away.

That said, I'd be happy with Weakness and Precautions just being a coefficient of power-level.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:48 PM on October 30, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Horror Top Trumps.

I propose that all creature conflicts from this point on be resolved by the use of Horror Top Trumps, and where a card representing a creature is not available a card representing them in horror top trump format be created. Cthulhu, for instance, would be Physical Strength 95, Fear Factor 100, Killing Power 100, Horror Rating 100.
posted by Artw at 9:29 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I've just remembered, there may not be a zombie bear but there is a vampire dog.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:59 AM on October 31, 2009


Bateses (Batesi?)

When in doubt, I suggest you refer to the Stoakes-Whibley Natural Index of Supernatural Collective Nouns.
posted by ahughey at 6:50 AM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


One weakness many of these monsters have would be exposure to modern mythology. My wife read a rather bad piece of Buffy fan fiction which had Spiderman show up in Sunnydale. He mocked the shit out of the vampires and the Scoobies because, "The strength of ten men? What a joke!", to paraphrase. And it's true. Something with the speed, agility, and strength of Spiderman would kick the shit out of more or less any Buffyverse-style vampire. And Spidery isn't even especially uber-powered by the standards of the Marvell universe. Think about what would happen to the first vampire that started killing mutants.

Consider Superman: vampires are hurt by sunlight? Superman is sunlight. His powers are a product of our sun. He's the anti-vampire. Mummies? Heat vision. Werewolves? Good luck not breaking your teeth, hairy.
posted by rodgerd at 1:36 AM on November 2, 2009


If spidey did that he would immediately be smacked down by the fist of hubris. That's kind of how spidey works.

(also Superman is super vulnerable to magic)
posted by Artw at 6:27 AM on November 2, 2009


Marvel Zombies was moderately interesting.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:13 AM on November 2, 2009


I know I'm not weak.

Besides, has anyone thought about where Juon/The Grudge would fit here? I mean, it's not a thing, not a single being you can kill, it's the hatred of such a vile act that it's very nature poisons the area (giving it S2 or S3) but it can't be stopped. It continues to grow and destroy the lives (in the Japanese version, at least) of anyone even tangentially connected to just the vicinity in which the act was committed. It also protects its home, as it were, giving it an MO between 1 and 4, 1 in that it won't bother you if no one you know ever comes into any sort of contact with anyone whose ever come into any sort of contact of the hate, 4 in that it just keeps growing, poisoning.

That, and yeah, the yokai need to be included. Nurekabe? The living wet wall! Karakasa? The one legged umbrella that follows you!
posted by Ghidorah at 5:36 AM on November 3, 2009


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