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Scott Sigler – The Sweet 16 of Monster Hunters: Let the Tournament Begin

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Whoa. When we posted open nominations for the Master Monster Hunter Tourney, we weren’t expecting that kind of response. Here are your contenders, from the lowest seed to highest. Where did your fighter land? Feel free to argue with me and amongst yourself in the comments section — Let the smack-talk begin!

No. 16: River Tam ( Serenity )
River Tam is
a bad motor scooter, no question, but her seeding is impacted by a lack
of versatility — the girl kills Reavers and drunken bar patrons. We
may never know how she fares against more resilient opponents, such as
vampires, ghosts, or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. She’s got
killer moves that allow her to slay well beyond what’s reasonable for a
90-pound girl, granted, but a proton accelerator pack might actually
knock her over. And I have a feeling that when it comes to the
supernatural, she couldn’t even manage a win against Slimer. As the No. 16
seed, she faces the No. 1 seed, so it seems River Tam is not long for this
tournament.

No. 15: The Frog Brothers ( Lost Boys )
In the pantheon of legendary vampire hunters, these guys rank fairly low — but they still rank. The Frog Bros. made Lost Boys really pop. Who would suspect two comic book store workers to be seasoned vampire-killing machines? Edgar Frog also lets fly with the line “Try holy water, Death-breath!” Come on, after a century of the entertainment industry feeding us vampires (again… and again… and again …) the Frog Bros. were a breath of fresh air in hunter-land. But, as the No. 15 seed, they have to square off against No. 2. Nice knowing you, guys!

No. 14: Alice ( Resident Evil )
Just how many mega-hot chicks
in catsuits can one tournament hold? Well, it would have held sixteen
if y’all had been smart enough to vote for sixteen of them. Short
answer? You can’t keep Alice out of this donnybrook. I know we’re not
supposed to talk about the actress behind the part — we’re supposed to
focus on the character’s ability to slay — but Milla Jovovich has kicked
ass in three Resident Evils, Ultraviolet, and The Fifth Element .
That’s a lot of slaying. Alice goes through zombies like Pez. She’s got
skillz with weapons and hand-to-hand fu that will drop even the most
genetically-engineered monster on his mutated keister. A No. 14 seed?
Really? Let’s see what you can do, Alice.

No. 13: Nada ( They Live )
The fight scene between Roddy Piper and Keith David in
They Live is enough to qualify Nada in this tournament. Add on cool
sunglasses that let him see nasty aliens, add in the line “I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum… and I’m all out of bubble gum,”
and you have one of the greatest cult monster hunters of all time.
Granted, he had just the one movie, no sequels, cartoons, TV or comics. And he only fought aliens — but only because that’s all he chose
to fight. Nada would eat werewolves for breakfast and crap vampire
nuggets at night. You want to root for an upset? Keep an eye on this
guy.

No. 12: Blade ( Blade )
How
did this happen? How did a half-vampire, half-human, sword-wielding,
gun-toting bad-ass like Blade fall all the way to a No. 12 seed? Was it
the Lionel Richie mustache? Maybe, because that sure doesn’t
help the effort. There is no question
that Blade has Trump-quantities of badass factor, and he makes an
entrance like nobody’s business. He’s got tons of toys, a killer
support team backing his play, and a lip sneer that beats everything
this side of a Sheryl Crow video. Bottom line? Blade finds monsters.
Blade fights monsters. Blade kills monsters.

No. 11: Mulder and Sculley ( The X-Files )
While they are exceptional at immersing
themselves in the private business of murderous monsters everywhere,
there is one small hitch to  Mulder and Sculley’s abilities: They really suck at the
“slaying” part. It’s like Seinfeld says about car reservations:
“Anyone can just take a reservation, the key is to hold a
reservation.” If you are a monster slayer, you sort of need to slay
monsters. That being said, they have the resources of the U.S. Government at their
beck and call. Sort of. Can they just kill Cigarette Man, then? Please?

No. 10: Dr. Who

How do
you want your poison? In the form of longevity? The Doc has got that; he’s
been killing Daleks and other nasties since 1963. You want resilience?
The Doc has been regenerated ten times. Ten. That puts Buffy’s two
“oops! I’m not really dead!” bits to shame. You want foes? How about Daleks,
Cybermen and the Master? Well, truth be told, this is one of the Doc’s
weak spots — how would he fare against forest gods or demons like
Azazel? We may never know, and that uncertainty could spell an early
exit for the great Doctor.

No. 9: Angel (Angel)
When it comes to pure body count, there is Angel, Buffy and Genghis Khan. Seriously. Is there anything Angel didn’t kill? First a lifetime as a bloodthirsty vamp, then a second lifetime as a premier monster hunter: Demons, mummies, ghouls, zombies and, yes, even the vamp-on-vamp murder of killing his own kind. Angel seems proficient at every weapon in the universe, either this one or alternate planes of existence. He knows how monsters think, because he is one. This is a very low seed for a monster slayer of Angel’s track record — he’s got “Upset King” written all over him.

No. 8: Sam and Dean Winchester (Supernatural
Sam and Dean continue to pound evil in their
shoot ’em up monster hunter series. Very much an under-the-radar show,
Supernatural chugs along racking up body counts and flaunting testosterone
eye candy like the ’67 Impala and chromed handguns. They have the
pedigree, with a monster-fighting father, and they have the street
cred, going toe-to-toe with a serious case of bad demonic news named
Azazel. A No. 8 seed seems like a good fit for these cats — they could go
down swinging early, or they could soldier on to the Round of Eight and
possibly even the Final Four.

No. 7: Selene ( Underworld )

Come
on, let’s be honest — it’s the leather cat-suit, isn’t it? Sure,
popping silver caps on werewolf armies, Nadia Comaneci-esqe gymnastics
combined with Jet Li kicks, and two-fisted gunplay worthy of Chow Yun-
Fat in Hard Boiled are all solid resume stuffers, but,
seriously, it’s Kate Beckinsale’s painted-on leather that brought the
votes, right? This is a high seed for a newcomer with no TV series
and no comic book to bolster the monster body count. The third movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
isn’t out yet, but we can expect to see more tightly-clad killing blows.
Like Hellboy, Selene benefits from being a major franchise that’s still
in theaters, but I think her rank as No. 7 seed is too generous and she could be trounced
out early.

No. 6 – The Ghostbusters ( Ghostbusters )

Witches,
demons, ghosts, Babylonian gods, library ghouls or Class Five
Full-Roaming Vapors, the Ghostbusters are happy to crack you open a frothy can
of paranormal ass-whippin’. What? You think Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston can’t man-up?
Dude, they took a 100-foot-tall monster and turned it into the world’s biggest s’more! When’s the last time Buffy
did the do on anything taller than eight feet? And please, my friends,
do not forget The Ghostbusters animated series. Experience, teamwork,
technology and the firemen’s pole — the ‘Bustas are here for the win.

No. 5 – Ellen Ripley ( Aliens )

Some
of you might think Ripley is a “survivor,” not a “hunter,” but you’d be
so wrong you would embarrass your family for generations to come. Ripley “survived” in Alien, but in Aliens, she actually traveled to
the critters. She also marched into the alien lair to save
Newt (and were it me, I would have poured some on the curb for
Newtster, then gotten the hell off the planet). Ripley is now a clone
of herself,
and despite this being one of the most scientifically
stupid plot elements in the history of movies, it does give her a
dollop of alien blood that will help her fight on. And lets be honest

no one rocks a wife-beater/flame-thrower combo like Ripley. Go on girl,
go ‘head, get down.

No. 4 – Van Helsing (Van Helsing and The Golden Vampire series)

This vamp-slayer drew equal votes for the Hugh Jackman version, and
the Peter Cushing version. That is a tough one-two combo, and one-two
combos are a good thing to have in tournaments to the death. I’m
thinking the Peter Cushing backbone reinforced Hugh Jackman, who was
hindered by some horrible special effects in his 2004 turn as the legendary vampire
hunter. With two actors, courting votes from both the Buffy set and the
Geritol set and everything in between, ol’ VH could make a run.

No. 3 – Hellboy ( Hellboy )

Weighing in
at 350 red-brick pounds, this newcomer stands tall as the current
heavyweight champ of monster franchises. Hellboy II recently slayed
in theaters, so he’s fresh in everyone’s mind. He’s also quick with a
one-liner, pounds beers like a frat boy, and has a big fist that can
unlock the gates to hell. He kills trolls, forest gods, bad people,
tooth fairies, and wild-ass Cthulhu rip-offs. No question, Hellboy has a
real shot at the title.

No. 2 – Ash ( The Evil Dead )

If
anyone can knock off Buffy, it’s the chainsaw-handed madman from Evil
Dead
, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. Possibly the greatest horror
icon of all time, Bruce Campbell’s portrayal of Ash is the stuff of
legend. He’s killed skeletons, zombies, witches, tiny versions of
himself, and his own friggin’ hand.
How can you get more mean than
killing your own hand? Ash has moves, weapons and the technological
know-how to turn spare metal into a cybernetic prosthesis of doom. Even
odds at taking the title.

No. 1 – Buffy ( Buffy the Vampire Slayer )
Once word got out on the Buffy websites that this tourney was afoot,
the Whedonites and Sarah Michelle Gellar fans came out in force. In
fact, based on the initial reaction (and the bold trash-talk of Buffy
fans),
I would say that this petite little slayer is a lock to win the whole
thing. She’s got the body count, she’s killed almost every monster you
can think of, and she acutally sleeps with vampires.
How badass do you have to be to sleep with a vampire, and not only
survive, but break their little hearts? That’s badass, people, that’s
badass.

Close, but No Cigar
Several hunters were right at the bottom of the nomination count: John
Constantine apparently couldn’t weather “the Keanu Reeves”
effect. Rick O’Connell from The Mummy
franchise only got a few votes,
and there was a big log-jam tie between Scooby Doo, Vampire Hunter D,
and the Monster Squad. Just a few more votes for any of these hunters
would have put them in competition.

Survivors, Not Hunters

Some top vote-getters didn’t make it in for one simple fact — they don’t hunt.
Had they finished in the top four, maybe that might have let them sneak
in, but near the bottom some hard choices had to be made.

  • Seth Gecko: George Clooney in Dusk Till Dawn .
    Badass? No question. Style points? He tops the chart with the suit,
    the neck tat, and the dialogue, but Seth survives just one vampire encounter
    and that’s it.
  • Shaun and Ed: Shaun of the Dead .
    No one is better at surviving a zombie attack, and I deeply appreciate
    locking yourself in a pub to weather the holocaust, but those guys
    didn’t do any hunting.
  • Riddick: Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick.
    Very hard choice here, but the bottom line is the guy just doesn’t hunt
    monsters. Even in Chronicles, he has a chance to kill that big spiky cat thing, and he winds up petting it, for crying out loud.

Let the Games Begin
Come
back to this blog tomorrow, November 7 for the first fight, when the
top seed, Buffy Summers, takes on the No. 16 seed River Tam. Two small
chicks with big moves, ready to prove their monster-hunting prowess.
Who is the better Monster Hunter? That, dear reader, is up to you. Go
to the tournament!

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scott75.jpgScott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at www.scottsigler.com. His new novel, Contagious,
hits bookstores on December 30 and is currently available for
pre-order. If you don’t agree with what Scott says in this blog, please
email him scott@scottsigler.com. Please include all relevant personal
information, such as your address and what times you are not home, so
Scott can come visit and show you his world famous “Chicken Scissors.”

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