A Hierarchy of Monsters
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. I am going to explain the order that the monsters go in, so that it can be settled. In the future, if your children ask you, “Who would win in a fight? The Mummy or the Wolf-Man?” please refer them to this list, as it will save a lot of time.
Here is the order, from least dangerous to most dangerous.
1. Shambling ghoul zombie
2. Mr. Hyde / Creature from the Black Lagoon
3. Running angry zombie / Voodoo Zombie
4. Unclean spirits
5. Witches (conditional)
6. Regular vampires
7. The Mummy
9. Frankenstein’s Creature
11. Malphas, a Mighty President of Hell (& al.)
Monsters are rated according to how dangerous they are against each other, and then according to how dangerous they are to all the other monsters on the list (Unclean Spirits and Wolf-Man have little to fear from each other, for instance, but Wolf-Man is more dangerous to practically everything else). Only if all other metrics are equal is the relative danger to the average human considered–because, let’s face it, they’re all dangerous to the average human. They are monsters.
The first thing to understand is that this is partly a situational list. 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.
The second thing to understand is longevity. Yes, Shambling Ghoul Zombies (and sometimes Running Angry Zombies, unless it’s 28 Days Later) cause the recent dead to return to life, but it does NOT confer any long-term viability. The zombies still rot, and they will eventually rot away.
The third thing to understand is the nature of curses, which is going to be very important in sorting some of this out: by and large, an extant curse will trump the attempt infliction of a new curse. This will be addressed shortly.
So. The shambling ghoul zombie is at the bottom of the list, because its physical capabilities are not substantially greater than human peak. The zombie, with no neurological limits on its muscles, is able to exceed ordinary load requirements, thus ripping itself apart in its attempt to cause harm. This is a temporary condition of superiority, as the rot that infests the zombie’s muscles will eventually cause atrophy and immobility.
Yes, the zombie plague is dangerous to you, an individual who is not a monster, but it is largely irrelevant to virtually all of the other monsters on the list, with the exception of Mr. Hyde and Witches (and possible Creature from the Black Lagoon), both of whom have their own supernatural intellect or powers to compensate.
Now, Mr. Hyde’s primary ability is that he’s just a huge douchebag, with slightly-peak human physical and peak-human mental capabilities; this will serve him well if he was fighting a regular, Shambling Ghoul Zombie, but would be obviated by the manifestly supernatural strength and increased longevity of the Voodoo Zombie or the increased speed and ferocity of the Running Angry Zombie. Likewise, the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s primary ability is that it can breath underwater–this is highly limited in its utility.
Actually, Mr. Hyde versus the Voodoo Zombie is kind of a toss up. Yes, the Voodoo Zombie will not rot away, and thus destroy itself, the way a Shambling Ghoul Zombie will, and yes, it has human reasoning functions. However, it has below human intelligence–guided remotely by the intelligence of the Houngan–and therefore suffers diminished reasoning capabilities. It’s also likely to misunderstand or misinterpret (or, rather, interpret too literally) the instructions from its Houngan, meaning that Mr. Hyde’s intelligence may obviate this, too.
Unclean Spirits are essentially immune to anything that any kind of Zombie (Voodoo or otherwise) or Mr. Hyde could do to it. They can, however, by virtue of even minor telekinesis, hurl rocks or carving knives directly into the brain of an kind of Zombie, Fish-Man, or Mr. Hyde. They are only dispellable by virtue of magic, which is what makes them subject to Witches and the Mummy. They’re lower on the list than Regular Vampires, because Vampires have an increased capacity for physical harm and are themselves a kind of Unclean Spirit.
Witches are in a tricky position; ostensibly, they’re vulnerable to the basic physical attacks of the Shambling Ghoul Zombie, Mr. Hyde, or the Running Angry Zombie. They are unlikely to be in danger from the Voodoo Zombie or Unclean Spirits, as any Witch would know the necessary wards to protect herself from those situations. However, physically protecting oneself from a Shambling Ghoul Zombie isn’t actually all that difficult; moreover, Witches can create Voodoo Zombies to serve as physical protectors, or else otherwise charm or bewitch regular humans (even evil ones like Mr. Hyde) into protecting them. There are a lot of situational questions that would have to be answered, but generally speaking Witches fall at about #5.
Now, here’s the thing about regular vampires: they’re fucking lame. They sneak around in the dark and drain blood from people. They talk a big game, sure, and everyone thinks they’re sexy. But is sexy going to protect you from the Wolf-Man? No. The Wolf-Man is going to tear your god-damn head off. Ordinary vampires are equally vulnerable to sorcerous power, which is why the Mummy, whose physical capabilities are on par with a vampire’s, anyway, would still kick the crap out of a vampire.
Do you understand this, Twilight fans? 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.
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. Not only that, he can go out during the day, separate his spirit from his body to put some curses and shit on you, and has access to secret Egyptian wealth. Do not fuck around with the Mummy, even if you are Brendan Frasier. Because if you are Brendan Frasier, then you need to remember that YOU DIDN’T DO SHIT TO BEAT THE MUMMY. The Mummy was defeated with BLACK MAGIC. Unless you are an expert in black magic, you probably cannot beat the Mummy.
Unless you are the Wolf-Man, or Frankenstein’s Creature. The Wolf-Man is generally immune to curses, because he is already under one of the most powerful curses of all–the Curse of the Wolf-Man. This provides him no freedom from his nightly murdering activities unless he is killed by a silver bullet. This INCLUDES FREEDOM BY WAY OF OTHER CURSES. Witches and the Mummy cannot hurt the Wolf-Man using magic, and his horrible teeth and claws will destroy them pretty thoroughly.
The same is generally true for Frankenstein’s Creature, who was actually extremely intelligent. The Creature is a product of a science that defies the natural order of the world, and so curses–which are a kind of attempt to pervert the natural order–cannot hurt him. This means that the Mummy cannot hurt him with magic (additionally: the Creature has no True Name, and this makes him very difficult to target with deadly spells). Meanwhile, the Creature’s physical and intellectual capabilities are very, very high. He will figure out that he needs a silver bullet to kill the Wolf-Man, and will figure out how to make one. He is also functionally immortal, immune to disease, does not age, and possibly invulnerable to fire and cold.
The Creature is like the Batman of the monster world. Do not mess with the Creature.
Dracula is at the top of the list of the classical monsters. Why? In addition to having the standard powers of the vampire, and the ability to be resurrected from apparent death by all manner of weird accidents, Dracula is also an accomplished necromancer. Do you know why he is a vampire? It is because he made himself into a vampire using black magic. Even the Mummy did not succeed at doing that. His physical capabilities and intelligence are on a par with any of the monsters lower on the list, and his sorcerous powers equal to the Mummy or Witches, as well as giving him power over the Unclean Spirits. Plus, he’s really wealthy, so could easily afford the silver bullets needed to kill the Wolf-Man.
Malphas (& al), Mighty President of Hell, is one of the 72 demons named in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Demons, unlike Unclean Spirits, cannot be effectively destroyed. They are physically dangerous when manifest and are able to make plans that span centuries. They know most of the things that occur within the temporal realm. Yes, these demons can be bound, but what a terrible fucking idea that is. How long do you think the demon can stay locked up? What is your plan for when he gets loose? He can wait an eternity for you to fuck up, which you eventually will, EVEN IF YOU’RE DRACULA.
The order of ranks of demons, from lowest to highest, goes like this: President, Count, Marquis, Duke, Prince, King. This is because demons use the English rank Marquis, rather than the French Marquis.
Cthulhu’s superiority to the other monsters on the list should be fairly obvious. The question of whether or not Cthulhu could beat the assorted Presidents and Dukes of Hell is largely moot, as the consequences of their manifestation are mostly the same, but remember that the demons are a function of externalized human evil. They are immensely powerful over things that relate to human beings. Cthulhu represents demonic monster-gods that are older than the existence of human civilization. His power is limited only in comparison to the deity that he serves, which is Azathoth, whose avatar is Nyarlathotep.
Nyarlathotep IS the end of all things, so it’s pretty reasonable that there isn’t anything that can survive his passage.
Okay, that’s it. I’ll entertain questions on the subject, briefly, but there shouldn’t be any serious argument as the reasons for my rankings are PLAINLY OBVIOUS.