Whether you like the Twilight series or not, it’s hard to argue that it’s doing much for the vampire genre. Take, for example, Robert Pattinson, the brooding blood-sucker at the center of New Moon. He may be undead, but he’s really anything but scary: A teen heartthrob with fangs does not a monster make. And he’s not alone! Since the ’50s, supposedly-scary beings have been eliciting snickers instead of fear at theaters. Come with me on a journey back in time through unscary monsters past…
The Aliens in Signs (2002)
M. Night Shyamalan no doubt thought he was heightening tension by barely showing his aliens on screen. Nope: All fear evaporates when you realize that the aliens find it impossible to break down a door separating them from Mel Gibson and his family. Imagine having the technology to get to earth from who knows how many light years away, only to be stymied by a wooden door. Fail!
Leprechaun in Leprechaun (1993)
Let’s see: He’s about two feet tall, meaning you could probably hit him with a stick from a safe distance if attacked, and four-leaf clovers render his powers useless. Really, the only reason he’s able to pull off any of his whimsical murders, including death by pogo stick, is that nobody believes a tiny leprechaun could be real, let alone harm them. Once society becomes vigilant, it’s doubtful this diminutive monster would cause any trouble at all.
Teen Wolf (Michael J. Fox) in Teen Wolf (1985)
Michael J. Fox just isn’t scary. Ever. End of story. Granted, he’s not necessarily supposed to be terrifying in the traditional werewolf sense here, but you’d think he’d have at least a little of that good old-fashioned monster gravitas going for him. In fact, the most frightening detail in the entire movie is probably the Teen Wolf‘s dearth of even the most rudimentary basketball skills.
Gremlins in Gremlins (1984)
Yes, they cause a little bit of havoc, but the bad gremlins are more annoying than anything else. Case in point: People often describe their mischievous children as “little gremlins.” You’ll never hear anyone describe their ill-behaved child as a “little vampire.” Need more proof? Consider Gizmo. How could any creature originating from that adorable ball of fluff be all that scary?
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters (1984)
This supernatural giant looks delicious, but it would probably take all of New York City to eat him in one sitting. That’s pretty much the worst thing you could say about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The Ghostbusters kill him pretty easily, proving that humanity needn’t fear similar attacks in the future. Not that they would have… because he’s made of marshmallow and would be delicious slightly toasted.
The Killer Tomatoes in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
Run for your lives! It’s another group of edible monsters, this particular breed of which stood a good chance of shriveling up on the vine anyway. In the movie’s plot, a song called “Puberty Love” is the tomato’s fatal weakness. In real life, they can be made into a tasty gazpacho. Throw in the comically asinine B-Movie plot and you have a recipe for whatever the opposite of sheer terror is.
The Blob in The Blob (1958)
Sure, it was the 1950’s and everyone was a little less jaded. But seriously — is this really what was scaring the heck out of the masses in 1958? A slow-moving amorphous blob that only Steve McQueen seems remotely concerned about? The Blob, like many of the monsters on this list, has a ludicrously lame weakness: The cold. In the absolute worst case scenario, everyone just has to move north and buy a fire extinguisher. Case closed.