It’s still October, which means I’m still talking about creepy monsters. Eventually doing this segment is gonna give me some kind of panic disorder, but hey, I guess you readers are worth it.
I’ve been playing Legend of Zelda since I was a young boy, and many of the fears I developed during those early years still affect how I play the game now. There are lots of Zelda games over a number of consoles with a huge selection of monsters to choose from – so naturally, all of my monsters are from the same two games. Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are the games I played most as a kid, and so those are the ones where I was young enough to actually be susceptible to the nightmarish creatures of the night. Skyward Sword had some creepers to be sure, but now I’m emotionally prepared to deal with it.
So which five monsters made me the most uncomfortable of all? Let’s talk about that.
“A what? How can something with the word like in it twice be scary?”
Imagine that you’re walking through a hallway or a field, just minding your own business. Suddenly, you come across a giant pile of slime. Dripping, oozing, throbbing, slurping, it begins to move towards you. You yank out your sword and jab at it, but the ball of sludge is now opening its giant maw and its suck you in. Trapped inside that gooey beast, it continues sucking on you, your shield and even your clothes getting stuck in its disgusting flesh. It spits you out, leaving you unarmed, slimy, and wounded. Then it starts coming at you again for a second bite.
These things are creepy looking, their attacks are annoying, and the sound they make…blech. The only reason they’re this low on the list is because they are actually easy to kill as soon as you learn how to do it. You just stab, jump back, and stab again. Easy mode.
Another innocuous name for a creature much scarier than it sounds. So here I am, seven or eight years old, running through Hyrule Field exploring. I see something that looks like a giant pineapple. Not knowing what it is but thinking “hey, it’s daytime, there’s no monsters in this field during the daytime,” I run up to this pineapple-seeming thing. I watch with growing curiosity as it begins to rise out of the ground. My curiosity turns to dread when a series of sharp blades emerge from the creature’s base and begin spinning like a saw. I run in fear as the thing flies through the air to chase me down, spinning blades throwing dirt and debris in all directions. It chases me long enough that I decide to fight it. Within seconds, my tiny body is a pile of mangled flesh on the ground.
I approached a peahat one or two more times to see if I could discover the secret to killing it. I never did. Supposedly there is a way, but that initial childhood encounter disturbed me so much that I’ve not tried to face one since. Could I probably kill it now? Sure. Do I want to try? Heck no!
If you’ve ever played a Zelda game, you’ll know these dastards well. You’ll be walking around a dungeon trying to do something important and suddenly you hear an ominous noise, like something falling down towards you from high above. As the noise grows louder, a shadow begins to build under you. You move to get out of the way – the shadow follows. You run, trying to get this shadow to stop being directly under you. At the last second, you roll forward and watch as a massive, leathery hand lands on the ground just behind you. You turn to try and fight it but the hand has already retreated to the ceiling above.
Wallmasters are the perfect storm of creepy and frustrating. As soon as you hear the disturbing sound and see the shadow growing beneath you, you have to stop whatever you’re doing and just run. Fighting a monster? Solving a puzzle? Not anymore. If you make the mistake of trying to finish whatever you have started, the Wallmaster grabs you and carries you off with it above. But what happens once a Wallmaster has you? Well, it carries you out the front door and throws you outside the dungeon, of course! Now you have to make it all the way back to where you were before, and hope that the Wallmaster doesn’t manage to snatch you up a second time.
#2: Dead Hand
Finally, something that actually sounds creepy! Dead hands still make me a little uncomfortable now, so imagine how much worse they were as a kid. You walk into a large room where there’s nothing except for a series of tall, bony arms sticking up out of the ground. Their long red claws certainly don’t make you comfortable about approaching them, but you draw your sword and walk carefully towards them regardless. The hand you approach suddenly whips down and grabs your head, holding you in place as you desperately struggle to break free. Behind you, a column of earth suddenly explodes into the air as something has risen from underground.
A thick, pale torso, long skinny neck, and gaping maw are all you see. Those massive teeth are moving closer, the hand still holding you still as you try desperately to break free. The monster comes right next to you and opens that massive jaw still wider, ready to snap your head off whole. Just as it rears back to take a bite out of you, you manage to break free. You swing your sword like a crazy man, jabbing every which way in desperate hope that you manage to hit the thing before it turns you into lunch. You score one good hit and the monster disappears beneath the earth, waiting.
The next hand you get close to, you stab. It to retreats underground, but the monster does not come up. You stab another hand to check, a horrifying realization setting in but your mind refusing to accept it. As you “kill” the third hand and the first one you stabbed rises out of the ground again with no monster in sight, you know that there’s only one option. You have to let it grab you again if you ever hope to kill this thing.
Any monster where you have to let it almost eat you in order to kill it is the kind of monster I’d just as soon avoid.
#1: Majora’s Mask
This creepy thing is the stuff of nightmares. The mask has massive orange eyes with tiny pupils that seem to stare into your soul. The evil power within it is overwhelming. It turns the harmless prankster Skull Kid into a wizard capable of transforming Link into a deku scrub and calling the moon down to crush the entire planet. And then when it is done with Skull Kid, it lets his body hang limply from its face before shucking it like a puppet that is no longer useful. Which is exactly what Skull Kid was to this creepy mask.
And let’s no forget that this thing can transform into a crazy-fast monster that runs circles around you before pummeling you with bullets of magical power, or a whip-wielding monstrosity capable of flinging spinning blades at you from a vast distance. Add all that to the power to control other masks as they float unblinking through the air, and you’ve got a recipe for disturbing that still makes me uncomfortable as an adult.
The combination of the mask’s music, its look, and its portrayal and level of power in the story makes this easily the creepiest monster in Zelda, and the creepiest final boss in the series.
But hey, that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Is there a creepy Zelda monster that I didn’t put on this list? Be sure to let me know in the comments so we can all freak out together as an Adventure Rules family.