Gotta Fear ‘Em All: Our Top 10 Creepiest Pokémon

Pokémon; those cute, cuddly super-pets that we all grew up with. I can’t even begin to count the number of nights I spent gazing into the flickering light of my Gameboy Colour, desperately trying to paralyse a wild Abra or frantically chucking Ultra Ball after Ultra Ball at a Graveler. It was a video game and television series that took up a large chunk of my childhood, and I hazard a guess that many readers will be able to relate.

So, in honour of Pokémon’s 20th anniversary this year, I thought it only fitting to dedicate an entire post to the Top 10 Creepiest Pokémon in the canon. And trust me, there are a lot of them. After four solid hours of sorting through the online Pokédex, I can proudly say that the list is finished and I’ve successfully staved off adult responsibility for yet another day. Thank you Pokémon, you saviour of 90s kids who simply can’t face the crippling thought of mortgages, career options, and a life outside of their parents’ house.

  1. The Original Child Catcher: #425 Drifloon, The Balloon Pokémon

250px-425drifloonAt first glance, Drifloon looks harmless enough. It’s basically just a purple balloon with a mop of whipped cream on its head and some tape on its face. Its vacant stare and cute, little heart-shaped hands don’t exactly inspire one with a sense of impending dread. But they totally should.

First of all, Drifloon is a Ghost-type Pokémon, which immediately raises it in status from “incredibly dangerous children’s pet” to “soul-sucking emissary of the damned”. Ghost-type Pokémon are invariably evil and filled with a deep-seated hatred for mankind, mainly because they’re the souls of dead Pokémon who kicked the bucket solely because a bunch of kids decided it would be a fun idea to engage them in a fight to the death.

Yet in the Pokédex it specifies that Drifloon is not just made from the spirits of dead Pokémon, but also from the souls of people who have passed away. In other words, that balloon that just floated past you could contain the soul of your recently deceased grandma. And that’s not the end of it. Supposedly it “tugs on the hands of children to steal them away” and “children holding them sometimes vanish”. So yeah, not only is this balloon possessed by the angry souls of those who failed to pass on, but its sole purpose on this earth is to kidnap children. Nice Pokémon, nice.

  1. Welcome to the Twilight Zone: #487 Giratina, The Renegade Pokémon

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Giratina is a legendary Ghost/Dragon-type Pokémon that wields almost inimitable power. With its ragged black wings, piercing red eyes, and copious array of decorative spikes, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that it resembled the harbinger of death himself. It’s known as the “Renegade Pokémon” because supposedly it was so violent that it was banished to a place known as The Distortion World, where common sense and knowledge have been warped beyond all recognition.

If that wasn’t weird enough, it silently gazes at our world through a portal and can only manifest itself in an ancient cemetery. There’s something oddly tragic and disturbing about the image of some huge, heaving creature, with power beyond the realm of comprehension, staring at us through the void and waiting soundlessly for the chance to be released.

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Insects: #292 Shedinja, The Shed Pokémon

250px-292shedinjaShedinja was one of those bizarre Pokémon that you sort of acquired, rather than actually caught. The only way to get one was to evolve a Nincada into a Ninjask while having a spare space in your party, and suddenly a Shedinja would just…appear.

It looks kind of like a sad, little ladybug with an adorable halo floating over its head, but don’t let its appearance fool you. It’s another Ghost-type Pokémon and, as such, its primary purpose is to straight up ruin your day.

Shedinja is essentially the hollowed out shell of an insect that has, for whatever reason, come to life. According to the Pokédex, it apparently “flies without moving its wings” and “does not breathe”, which I can imagine is pretty unnerving for those of us who are used to seeing things fly with wings and breathe. You know, like everything else on earth.

And it seems Shedinja is pretty sensitive about the fact that it’s…well…kind of dead. If anyone peers into the crack of its back, it is said to “steal one’s spirit”. So, in this case, curiosity isn’t going to just kill the cat; it’s going to have its soul sucked out through its eyes. Lovely.

  1. The Candle that Burns the Brightest: #607 Litwick, The Candle Pokémon; #608 Lampent, The Lamp Pokémon; and #609 Chandelure, The Luring Pokémon
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Litwick wants to reduce its carbon foot-print, by burning your soul

This trio of terror may simply look like a bunch of household furnishings to you, but they’re more than just a stylish way for wealthy people to keep their homes lit. They form an evolutionary trio and all have two things in common: they are Fire/Ghost-type Pokémon and they all subsist off of the life force of mankind. I’m not even kidding.

Litwick supposedly shines its light and pretends to be a guide to those who are lost, but this is a clever ruse. It leads its victim into a dark corner before absorbing their life energy and using it as fuel. Evidently the roasted souls of the damned are a more economic option than oil. Lampent takes this whole deathly charade a step further and hangs out around hospitals, waiting for the moment of death and then siphoning off the person’s spirit like a hillbilly sucking on a gas hose.

250px-609chandelureYet, unsurprisingly, it is the big bad Chandelure that takes the cake for “most horrifying ceiling ornament”. It hypnotises anyone it comes across and sucks out their souls, leaving the discarded husk of a body behind like a crumpled soda can.

When they burn up a person’s essence for fuel, it is believed that their spirit will “lose their way and wander this world forever”. So, while the rest of us are basking in the comforting and totally not ominous flickering of those skull-shaped flames, some poor sap is wandering through purgatory wondering why it seemed like a good idea to have sentient chandeliers.

  1. I Wanna Be a Real Boy: #064 Kadabra, The Psi Pokémon

064kadabra_os_anime_2Now Kadabra is a Psychic-type Pokémon, meaning it wields telepathic powers that allow it to bend spoons, solve difficult puzzles, and induce unexpected, splitting headaches in passers-by. Why a creature that possesses the ability to move a car with its mind would want to serve a bunch of preteens as their pet-slave is beyond me, but Kadabra’s undeniably spooky qualities are not.

Supposedly, when a Kadabra is close by, clocks will start running backwards and shadows will begin appearing on television screens. Looking at either of these phenomena will cause the viewer to experience extreme bad luck. Yet perhaps the weirdest feature of this spoon-wielding sage is its origin story.

According to the Pokédex in FireRed, it says: “It happened one morning – a boy with extrasensory powers awoke in bed transformed into Kadabra”. Basically Kadabra is like some freaky reverse-Pinocchio. So if you find that your kid has taken a sudden liking to your cutlery drawer, I’d say keep an eye out.

  1. Let’s Lickety-Split: #93 Haunter, The Gas Pokémon; and #94 Gengar, The Shadow Pokémon

250px-093haunterGastly, Haunter, and Gengar are essentially legends in the Pokémon canon. They were the first and only Ghost-type Pokémon to be made available to us Gen 1 hipsters, so they hold a special place in many of our hearts. Yet, while Gastly is merely a ball of all-consuming noxious gas, his evolutionary forms are far more sinister.

Haunter is said to be from another dimension and has the capacity to pass through objects, but has a penchant for hiding in walls and jumping out at unsuspecting victims. It lurks in the darkest corners of rooms, waiting for children to pounce on and lick with its mighty tongue.

250px-094gengarIn fact, it’s considered such a threat that its Pokédex entry even comes with this warning: “Haunter is a dangerous Pokémon. If one beckons you while floating in darkness, you must never approach it. This Pokémon will try to lick you with its tongue and steal your life away”. Hey kids, have fun playing this children’s game, but just don’t approach this one Pokémon or it’ll straight up murder you.

Yet, not content with simply being another brick in the wall, Gengar opts for a different tact. It pretends to be your shadow and hides behind you, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. And, even if it doesn’t decide to kill you or if you manage to ward it off, it’s still capable of casting a curse on you. Because life just wouldn’t be worth living without the constant, impending threat of being hexed by a chubby demon.

  1. The Roofie Twins: #096 Drowzee; and #097 Hypno, The Hypnosis Pokémon

250px-096drowzeeLooking like a cuddly baby tapir and a piece of anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda, Drowzee and Hypno seem like an odd couple to have made it onto this list. Heck, they don’t even feast off the souls of the living. The only thing these cheeky chappies really like to eat are…our dreams.

Yep, these Pokémon use their hypnotic powers to lull people to sleep before gorging on their innermost fantasies. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, apparently Drowzee prefers to eat children’s dreams because they are “tastier” and, if you sleep next to a Drowzee for long enough, it will eventually show you some of the dreams that it has sampled. Kind of like wine-tasting, only with LSD.

250px-097hypnoAccording to the Pokédex, “if your nose becomes itchy while you are sleeping, it’s a sure sign that one of these Pokémon is standing above your pillow and trying to eat your dream through your nostrils”. I don’t know about you, but I’m really not okay with that.

And, while Drowzee’s just a fan of children’s dreams, there was supposedly an “incident” in which a Hypno actually hypnotised and kidnapped a child. Breaking-and-entering, stealing, and child abduction; all healthy ingredients for a successful children’s game.

  1. Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls: #355 Duskull, The Requiem Pokémon; #356 Dusclops, The Beckon Pokémon; and #477 Dusknoir, The Gripper Pokémon

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This is the second evolutionary trio to make it onto our list, and what a trinity of torment these guys are. With very little euphemism or sense of delicacy, it’s basically implied that these three Ghost-type Pokémon are essentially the Grim Reapers of the Poké-World. Duskull spends most of its time wandering around in darkness, using its one, beady red eye to strike fear into anyone who dares look at it. When it fixates on a target, it “will doggedly pursue the intended victim until the break of dawn” and it is rumoured that children who don’t listen to their parents will be spirited away by this skull-faced scamp. Oh, and let’s not forget that it “loves the crying of children”.

Dusclops, on the other hand, has a little less substance. Quite literally, since it’s effectively just a black hole with some bandages floating around it. As such, Dusclops is able to absorb anything into its body, but “nothing will ever come back out”. Its favourite pastime is to steal the soul of anyone who dares peer into its hollow body. Kind of a recurring pattern with these Ghost-types, don’t you think?

As the most powerful and most thinly-veiled euphemism of the three, Dusknoir has an “antenna on its head [that] captures radio waves from the world of spirits”, which it apparently uses to determine whose living soul it should harvest and drag back to the underworld. See what I meant about the whole “Grim Reaper” thing?

  1. All My Friends are Dead: #562 Yamask, The Spirit Pokémon; and #563 Cofagrigus, The Coffin Pokémon

250px-562yamaskIt would be almost pointless for me to try and explain why Yamask is so unbearably upsetting, since the Pokédex appears to have done the job perfectly already. This is the genuine, no word of a lie description of this “fun” friend and companion from a children’s game: “Each of them carries a mask that used to be its face when it was human. Sometimes they look at it and cry”.

These are the souls of dead people, who are doomed to wander the earth carrying a mask of their human face and serve any hapless child who happens to trap them inside of a Pokéball. Imagine spending the rest of eternity as a slave to some snot-nosed child, and you’ll understand why I find this particular Pokémon so horrifying.

250px-563cofagrigusAnd, when it comes to its evolutionary form, things only go from dark to darker. To be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s appropriate to have a coffin-themed anything in a children’s game, but I guess that’s why I’m not the one with the billion dollar game franchise.

Cofagrigus is an animated coffin that loves nothing more than to “swallow those who get too close and turn them into mummies”. That’s right kids. If you’re lucky enough to capture the wandering soul of someone doomed to weep at their lost humanity, be sure to train it up and you’ll be treated to a man-eating casket!

  1. It’s More Than Just Child’s Play: #353 Shuppet, The Puppet Pokémon; and #354 Banette, The Marionette Pokémon

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When it comes to the stuff of Poké-Nightmares, this dastardly duo has pulled the strings and scraped their way to the top of our list. They’re an unholy combination of perhaps the two most terrifying types in the Pokémon Universe, Ghost and Dark, so it comes as no surprise that they’d have a befittingly unsettling backstory. Shuppet is basically just an animated puppet who feeds off dark emotions, such as jealousy or vindictiveness. Like a murder of crows, gatherings of Shuppets can supposedly be seen under the eaves of houses where people harbour these ill-feelings. So if you thought that was just mould under your gutters, think again.

Banette, on the other hand, is a whole other kettle of rotten fish. According to its origin story, it was supposedly a child’s doll that was abandoned and thrown in the trash. Its desire for vengeance was so strong that it eventually came to life and it is fuelled by an unquenchable hatred. It can be found roaming dark alleys and garbage dumps, searching for the child that threw it away so that it can finally exact its revenge. It generates powerful dark energy by sticking pins into its own body and it can never open its mouth, otherwise its soul would escape. In short, maybe next time you should consider putting your children’s old toys into the garage, and hope they don’t achieve sentience.

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I’m coming for your soul, kids

Honourable Mentions

When compiling this list, there were so many worthy Pokémon who just didn’t make the cut, so here are a few of our honourable mentions: Cubone, the Pokémon who wears the skull of its dead mother and perpetually cries over her loss; Cacturne, known as the Scarecrow Pokémon because it stays perfectly still during the day and only moves at night, chasing its victims down until they can no longer move; Phantump, a rotten tree stump that was possessed by the spirit of a child who got lost in the forest and died; Gourgeist, a gigantic pumpkin-like Pokémon that sings joyfully when it observes the suffering of its prey; and last but not least Yveltal, a legendary Pokémon that has the power to absorb the life force of all living creatures and essentially summon the apocalypse.

What did you think of our list? And which Pokémon do you think deserved a place on it? Please let us know in the comments!

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Gotta Fear ‘Em All: Our Top 10 Creepiest Pokémon

It’s Child’s Play: My Top 10 Creepiest Sequences in Childhood Movies (Part I)

Children’s films are designed to be entertaining, funny, comforting; safe, in a manner of speaking. Heck, the odd sex joke or naughty reference might get thrown in for the parents as they endure the screeching laughter of their children and wonder where it all went wrong, but for the most part it’s just good ol’ fashioned family fun. Perhaps that’s why it’s so traumatising, so pants-shittingly memorable, when a children’s film diverges from this pre-destined path and decides instead to scare the butterscotch pudding out of any unwitting child foolish enough to watch it. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 creepiest film moments that left me crippled with PTSD at the tender age of 7.

  1. The Halloween Tree: Chew and Swallow, Swallow and Chew

Cartoon Network’s short film The Halloween Tree, based on Ray Bradbury’s short story of the same name, holds a particularly special place in my heart. I remember spending every Halloween sat in front of the television, waiting for the soothing voice of Ray Bradbury himself as he narrated the opening sequence with finesse. The cartoon follows the story of five best friends on Halloween as they prepare to go Trick-or-Treating. Yet as dusk looms over their sleepy town, they notice that their ringleader, Pipkin, is not among them.

They rush to his house, only to find he is being wheeled into an ambulance. In their grief and confusion, they travel deep into the nearby forest and come upon that obligatorily haunted house. You know the one, with an exterior that looks like an angry face and the weathervane that’s inexplicably shaped like a witch. To cut a short story even shorter, the quartet meet Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, voiced masterfully by Leonard Nimoy, who takes them on a journey across the world and teaches them the meaning of Halloween. Kind of like Santa Claus, but with actual claws.

Swiggity Swouly, I’m comin’ for that Souly

Together they follow what appears to be a spectral version of Pipkin, clutching a pumpkin that he has stolen from the Halloween Tree. Yet the story takes an unexpectedly dark turn when the viewer realises that this pumpkin is Pipkin’s soul and that, as the candle slowly sputters out, so too does his preciously short life. Unlike most children’s films, Carapace doesn’t just bring the freckly little fella back to life. In an act worthy of the devil himself, he demands that Pipkin’s four friends give up a quarter of their own lifespan to pay Pipkin’s debt. Selling your soul before you’ve even gone through puberty; kids these days.

  1. Digimon The Movie: It’s Going Viral
Creepy, creepy Keramon

The children’s anime Digimon was hardly the most hardcore series on television. It was all about making friends, discovering your inner beauty, and saving an imaginary world from destruction at the hands of the most ridiculous villain known to man. In short, it was all just love and sparkles and rainbows and nowadays it’d probably make you want to throw up. This is why the opening sequence of the movie and the introduction of a horrifying antagonist known as Diaboromon are all the more shocking.

It begins innocuously enough. The main characters open their computer only to find that it is overrun by a “virus” Digimon called Keramon (bear in mind Digimon exist solely in a Digital World). Innocence swiftly switches to vomit-inducing horror when Keramon starts replicating himself all over the screen, infecting the world’s computers and evolving into the near invincible hellspawn that is Diaboromon. As if Keramon wasn’t freaky looking enough, Diaboromon is just plain terrifying and proceeds to hack the Pentagon’s computers in order to launch two nuclear missiles, aimed for Colorado and Tokyo respectively. So yeah, this children’s film about friendship and believing yourself is actually about cyber-terrorism. And, well, just regular terrorism.

The stuff of nightmares
  1. Men in Black: Sugar Water

After watching Men in Black as a child, whenever I hear the terms “sugar” and “water” in the same sentence, I inwardly shudder. I can still hear Edgar the Bug’s guttural voice, see his unnaturally sloping mouth, and feel the same sense of terror I felt when he first shuffles towards the house, bounces off of the screen door, and asks his “wife” for…sugar water. Yet not only is his appearance incredibly creepy, but the implications of his presence are truly horrifying.

What a…lovely smile…

Though it is never shown onscreen, the Bug brutally murders Edgar, peels the warm skin from his corpse, and drapes it over his own twisted body, before approaching his widow and demanding a glass of…sugar water. Doesn’t sound so innocent now, does it? Let’s just say, if there was ever any sympathy left in my body for cockroaches, that film firmly squished it out of me.

  1. Hook: The Boo Box
Oh Glenn Close, you done fucked up now

Hook is a delightful romp about a grown-up Peter Pan returning to Neverland, confronting his old arch nemesis, and rediscovering his sense of childhood wonder. It even has the late Robin Williams in it for goodness sake, what could be more wholesome than that? Yet wholesome the Boo Box certainly was not. In a scene where Dustin Hoffman pushes the mincing creepiness of his Captain Hook to the extreme, our favourite differently-abled villain describes how he lost his hand to the croc. In the process, he reveals the identity of a pirate named Gutless, played by none other than Glenn Close, who was unfortunate enough to bet against Hook surviving his encounter with the croc.

As the ultimate form of twisted punishment, this he-she pirate is then thrust into the Boo Box. So, what is the Boo Box, I hear you cry. Well it’s nothing really. Just a sealed chest filled with scorpions. Yep, this “wholesome” children’s film involves trapping cuddly ol’ Glenn Close in a small trunk and then pouring buckets and buckets of lethally poisonous scorpions in there to join her. Evidently they left out the part about brutal claustrophobic death in the song “A Pirate’s Life for Me”.

Alternatively known as “The Nope Box”
  1. Labyrinth: Don’t Lose Your Head
Where’s your head at?

Like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth is one of those all-round creepy children’s films. It follows the story of teenager Sarah, who must travel deep into the Labyrinth in order to save her baby stepbrother from the bulgelicious Goblin King, played by the ever enigmatic David Bowie. As if looming shots of Bowie’s pendulous crotch weren’t enough to terrify you, the scene involving a group of creature known as the Fireys is sure to leave you feeling a little spineless…and headless…and all around limbless.

Although the Fireys pose no actual threat to Sarah, these furry little freaks enjoy themselves primarily by removing their body parts and then swapping them with one another. After all, nothing says “winding down” like pulling your arm out of its socket and hurling it at your best friend. The image of one firey swallowing a pair of eyes, only to have them reappear in his previously empty sockets, is still indelibly etched into my memory. He can unsee, but I cannot.

So what do you think of the list so far? What children’s films helped scar you for life? And what do you think will make it into our top 5?

It’s Child’s Play: My Top 10 Creepiest Sequences in Childhood Movies (Part I)