Mutation is a subject many are fond of. Whether it’s referencing the superheroes in comic books, or the new X-Men movies that have collected so many views, mutants are a very popular subject these days. But in the cinematic universe, behind all of the glitz and glamour, there exists a slew of mutants that are rarely talked about, even though they are considered some of the best and scariest mutants to date. One only needs to look back through the timeline of horror to visit these creatures once again.
But what makes a mutant worthy of cinematic display? Is it the creation of a character, or is it the time that’s put into making the mutant look so terrifying? Whatever the means, mutants have a strong effect on how cinema is being influenced. And if you’re looking for something freaky to watch, this list of movies is the place to find it. Here are fifteen of the freakiest mutants to ever grace us with their presence on the big screen. Some are so disturbing that you will find yourself looking away, while others seem a little ridiculous, but are still worth mentioning for horror fans.
15. The Mutant
As its simple title states, The Mutant is a mutant, featured in the 1955 movie This Island Earth. And while the creature in the film requires a bit of nostalgia and classic movie appreciation to enjoy, the mutant certainly does its part. The film was based on a novel, written by Raymond F. Jones, and produced by Universal Studios’ William Alland. At the time, Alland was a great producer and also produced films such as The Creature From The Black Lagoon and It Came From Outer Space. In each movie, the creatures were equally weird. But what all the creatures were known for, especially The Mutant, was the detail and the time it took to create these creatures and make sure they looked terrifying, and at the time of production, they did. These days we can look at these creatures and easily be amused, but at the time, The Mutant was considered a very strange and freaky creature that struck fear in audiences.
14. The Hulk
Even though the Hulk is part of Marvel, this little fact doesn’t take away from the freaky factor that comes with being a giant green man full of anger. If you are unaware, or have been living under a rock for awhile, the Hulk is a character from the comic book universe. Through failed experimentation, a man by the name of Bruce Banner develops powers that allow him to transform into a stronger, green version of himself. This mutation provides Bruce with super strength along with major jumping abilities. There have been many different films and series over the years, displaying the intense impact the Hulk has had on cinema, but one of the best so far, has been his role in the 2012 movie The Avengers. In the movie, he has a large role as a main character and pushes past certain boundaries that once held the character back.
13. The Killer Shrews
While the movie didn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of all audiences in the 50s, the idea of shrews becoming mutated and rising up to kill those who occupy houses was still rather weird and disturbing. The film was released in 1959, and at the time, it was considered a strange yet huge hit. Many would consider it a B movie, but compared to others, it’s quite the movie to watch. It caused such a stir that a second movie was put into play called Return of the Killer Shrews. What made the shrews so creepy was their super long hair, their abnormally large bodies, along with very long and sharp teeth that looked like they could tear through skin. The second installment was actually released in 2012, quite a distance from the original’s air date. The Return of the Killer Shrews didn’t do as well, but there was not a great storyline.
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Believe it or not, these beloved mutant turtles were once considered very creepy by audiences. And for those who do not know, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles saw its first on-screen appearance on TV in the 90s. In this popular television series, the major theme revolves around four sewer turtles who were sadly flushed down the pipes, finding their way into a strange radioactive ooze, which transforms them into what the famous title suggests; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Their master, Splinter, a rat, transformed by the same, strange, radioactive ooze, teaches them to hone their skills and become the best fighting turtles they can be. The show itself never breached any strange boundaries, but a little fact makes this show rather freaky. In its comic book roots, the turtles were originally supposed to be hitmen. Obviously, this never would have made a very popular kid’s show, or eventual films. The idea of evil mutated turtles running around and killing people is downright weird.
Possibly one of the freakiest mutants to ever come across the Marvel universe, Mystique is a character highly shrouded in mystery. She presents herself however she sees fit, and moves through life assuming various identities, never settling in one place. If you are not familiar with this strange and blue character, let’s catch you up. Mystique is a mutant who possesses the ability to look like anyone she desires. All she needs is the memory of what someone looks like and she can assume their figure. This ability has made her a very formidable and undefeatable adversary in the Marvel world. No one is entirely sure how old she is, but some comics suggest she has been around for hundreds of years. Another factor playing into Mystique’s creepiness, is her constant habit of only looking out for herself, which has led her to do some pretty scary things in her life.
The monster itself was scary enough without the epic and disastrous storyline to go along with it. But despite what critics have said about the agonizingly long franchise that seems to never die, Godzilla struck terror in audiences as far back as the 1950s. Since then there have been so many movies made about the giant beast, and with each one, his look becomes more detailed. One of the biggest attributes Godzilla has going for him is his size and destructive force. Through each movie, Godzilla proves to be a formidable opponent to the people of a city. He causes chaos wherever he goes, killing thousands of people in the process, but somehow, people find a way to bring him down. I don’t know of many people who were absolutely terrified of Godzilla, but he was certainly one of the freakiest mutants to ever show up on screens around the world.
9. Big Brain
The Hills Have Eyes exists as one of those movies you will never forget. It hits too close to home on so many parts and makes sure to bust apart the concept of disturbing and terrifying. One of the characters from the movie does just this, simply by the way he looks and talks. Big Brain is his name and when the characters find themselves trapped in this crazy home of deformed freaks and mutants, they run into him by mistake. He seems to be the leader of the terrible mutants inside the home, and of all the mutants in horror films, Big Brain is truly one of the most terrifying. He possesses a terribly enlarged head with veins popping out on the sides. His skinny and deformed body, along with his groggy voice make for an eerie being who seems tortured. Certainly not a mutant you would want to run into.
Animals being exposed to chemicals from a factory is something we are all aware of, but in the movie Prophecy, a certain bear finds his way into a few chemicals, resulting in Katahdin, a large monster bear, out for blood. The movie was released in 1979 and nothing could look creepier than a mutated bear out to kill anyone in its path. In the movie, people are on the run from the bear, which the natives believe to be a mythical beast. Katahdin rips through villages, causing chaos and destruction, but not without picking up her deformed and mutated baby cub, and returning to what she considers home. Most of the time, mutants are human, but this bear is an entirely different form of creepy.
In 1996, a film was released that gave a new twist to the definition of weird. The movie is known as Head of the Family, and it’s as much a classic as it is cheesy. But what it lacks in cinematic appeal, it makes up for with the storyline, along with the main villain of the film, Myron, a giant-headed telepathic being who sits in a wheelchair. Myron is the head of the household and controls the other members of the family. Along with this creepy fact, Myron also does brain experiments on people to pass the time, keeping himself entertained by his sick and estranged endeavors. In the movie, a couple find themselves taking a detour down a road that just happens to lead to Myron’s house. The film blends horror and comedy all in one freaky story.
A character that has been exposed a lot over the years, Pluto is one of the most well-known faces of horror. He is also one of the main villains in The Hills Have Eyes. Wes Craven first introduced this movie in 1977, showing us another side of horror that we never thought was possible. The movies mainly revolve around cannibalistic and homicidal families who are out for blood, along with the innocents who become caught in the middle of it all. The character Pluto, evolves greatly, as many could tell when the 2006 remake was released. Pluto has a terribly deformed face, thrashed looking gums, with a very misshapen head. While there are other members of the estranged and evil family, the main focus seems to be placed on Pluto, probably due to the fact that in 1977, his face was on posters for the movie.
How is a good horror movie measured? Is it by the many facets it takes in order to form an environment of terror, or the storyline that keeps you gripping at your seat? Whatever means you use to deem a movie worthy, certainly the last thing on anyone’s mind is putting a man who mutates into a fly into the mix. However, in 1986, that is exactly what director David Cronenberg had in mind when he directed the movie The Fly. The movie broke the boundaries of weird with its storyline, as well as effects and structure. The movie follows Seth Bundle (Jeff Goldblum), a scientist who finalizes his work on a teleportation device. However, Bundle is unaware of the fly that has also made its way into the machine, and when Bundle decides to use it on himself, the fly’s DNA merges with his own. The side effects are terrible, as Bundle starts to take on the qualities and nature of a fly, until finally he is completely consumed by it.
If you have ever watched the movie Total Recall, you are undoubtedly aware of the mutant, Kuato. He is a rather deformed and putrid mutated being, the size of an infant, who has taken control of a host. Its sole purpose in the movie seems to be the preservation of Mars. He is also thought to be the leader of the resistance on the red planet. The film itself was released in 1990 and considered a real twist on horror. Often considered a rather graphic movie, the film was definitely not for kids. The story follows a man who decides to take a virtual vacation to Mars, only to be transported to the planet for real. However, throughout the movie, the question is begged: is he really on Mars? The film did rather well, leading to many ticket sales at the box office.
3. Emil Antonowsky
In 1987, the movie RoboCop was released, offering a new variety of science fiction and criminal justice in the cinematic experience. The movie follows a cop in a crime filled Detroit, who due to unfortunate events, has been killed while on duty. The deceased police officer is brought to a large company who turns his body into what they call RoboCop. In the movie, RoboCop develops quite a few enemies along the way, but one of the strangest and most hideous of them is Emil Antonowsky, a criminal with a smoking problem, and part of a gang who is constantly trying to find ways to kill RoboCop. He often drives the getaway car in the film, but his appearance leaves something to be desired. His face is completely contorted to the side, along with an ugly lip that hangs from his face. Altogether, he is one of the freakiest and ugliest mutants in cinema history.
2. Toxic Avenger
Just as the slogan for the movie suggests, “He was 98 pounds of solid nerd until he became… The Toxic Avenger.” This comical movie with various horror tendencies, was released in 1984 and follows a boy by the name of Melvin, who is very naïve and way too trusting. His title is ‘mop boy’ and because of his actions, he ends up falling into a vat of toxic waste. This waste turns him into a terrible looking mutant, his face and body completely changed. His eyes are misshapen, along with bumpy and grotesque skin and enlarged limbs. However, instead of causing chaos and destruction, he decides to become a hero for his town. Melvin becomes a toxic avenger, saving the day wherever he can. It’s certainly a weird turn of events.
The freakiest and weirdest mutant to make it on our list is Belial. Many of you may not remember the movie, released in 1982, titled Basket Case. An appealing young man by the name of Duane Bradley, rents a motel room in New York, bringing in only a basket and a backpack. Eventually, you find out that within the basket is Daune’s twin brother, Belial. They were separated by doctors involuntarily, and while the doctors hesitated to consider Belial human, they removed him nonetheless. Duane and Belial decide they want to get back at the doctors by killing them, however, when Duane gets to the office, he falls in love with a receptionist, and things take a turn for the worst. Belial escapes from his basket and decides to take matters into his own hands. Belial is a very terrible looking mutant, with a misshapen body and terrible looking skin. His face is enough to terrify anyone.