We all grew up with some pretty frightening monsters waiting in the netherworld to haunt our dreams. But if you think our definition of football is the only thing that makes the USA the best place to be, you haven't seen the terrifying foreign versions of the famous monsters you grew up to love and fear.
At least our monsters left some wiggle room in the "chances of getting to sleep later" department. That's more than we can say for these terrifying foreign versions of famous monsters ...
#5. The Draugr
Most of us picture a sheet with eyeholes when we think of a ghost. But as with pretty much every other aspect of life, Norse mythology handles the topic of "ghosts" in a far more terrifying manner than the average American is used to. Draugar basically consist of the souls of angry Vikings haunting their own corpses.
Their posthumous infusion of unbridled evil left these reanimated corpses free to go on raping and pillaging with a whole Justice League of superpowers at their disposal. A draugr could control the weather, grow to any size, burrow at high speeds, raise undead minions and transform into animals such as a giant, skinless bull or even a cute cat, because apparently it also realized even back then that it was going to need an icebreaker with the Internet crowd.
#4. The Nuckelavee
These days, we think of "fairies" as cute little winged people who buy teeth and do Timmy Turner's homework, but in traditional Orcadian lore, the term was extended to include even the hideous, indescribably evil, almighty Nuckelavee.
Invisible in water, it emerges from the sea in the form of a humongous, completely skinless "horse" and "rider" fused into a single body, spreading famine and pestilence out of sheer hate for all mankind. Its only weakness is an aversion to fresh water, but that's not very comforting when the same is true of most sharks -- and at least a shark doesn't follow you onto land by shitting an inside-out horse.
They're tiny, fragile and just want to eat cockroaches in peace, but spiders are regarded by millions of people as monsters in their own right, and according to Japanese folklore, spiders just might be giant, demonic entities with shape-changing powers, like the Tsuchigumo.
While the legendary samurai Raikou was bedridden with fever, Tsuchigumo passed itself off as a nurse merely by putting on a dress, then slowly poisoned the hero as he lay helpless, in a bid to eliminate the one person capable of seeing through the flesh-eating monster's Bugs Bunny routine. Raikou won in the end, but living with a dress-wearing spider in your memory bank is probably a fate worse than death anyway.
We all thought Tim Burton made the headless horseman as badass as we could ever hope for, but he should have just taken a cue from Irish legend and its Ichabod-Crane-times-ten terror, the Dullahan.
The Dullahan is not just a decapitated horseman, but a decapitated horseman who carries around his impossibly huge, rotten, murderous monster-head under one arm as he lashes at human eyes and souls with a human-spinal-column "whip," and whose horse's head is often bigger than its entire body. That is, for all intents and purposes, the headless-monster equivalent of spinning rims.
Michael DeFreitas, Getty
Still feared in its homeland, the Encantado is sort of like a Brazilian werewolf, only instead of a man that transforms into a wolf, it's one of these creepy Amazon river dolphins that transforms into a man and sneaks into parties to impregnate or even kidnap (and impregnate) human women.
Terrifying? Yes. Potentially the greatest Liam Neeson kidnapping-movie villain of all time? Hell yes.
More Halloween Horror by Jonathan Wojcik all year round at bogleech.com