Skip to navigationSkip to content
a quiet place creature
Paramount Pictures
That’s no way to greet someone.
MONSTARS

Weird Oscars: The best TV and movie monsters of 2018

Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

This is the sixth entry in Quartz’s Weird Oscars series, honoring the moments, characters, and performances of this year’s film and television that the actual Oscars (and Emmys) are not cool enough to award. Check back later for many more categories, including “Best Movie Dog,” “Best Jump Scare,” and “Best Dance Sequence.” (For a full list of upcoming categories, scroll to the bottom of this post.) All the Weird Oscars announced so far can be found here.

This was a great year for horror, which means it was also a great year for monsters. But it wasn’t just in horror films and TV shows that some truly grotesque, memorable monsters were found—they were also hiding in some unexpected places. It only feels right to honor the ones that made us cower in fear the most in a year filled with creepy crawlies and eerie terrors.

We’re using the word “monster” broadly: This category includes human, non-human, and semi-human creatures. Any film or TV character that grossed us out or sent shivers down our spine was deemed eligible. Some were played by actual human actors, others created by savvy visual effects artists.

The nominees are…

Donald Glover as Teddy Perkins, Atlanta

FX

Mutated bear, Annihilation

Paramount Pictures

Josh Brolin as Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War

Disney

Tilda Swinton as Mother Markos, Suspiria

Amazon Studios

Blind creatures, A Quiet Place

Paramount Pictures

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Vice

Annapurna Pictures

Paimon, Hereditary

A24

Tuunbaq, The Terror

YouTube screenshot/AMC

And the winner is…

Mutated bear, Annihilation

Not only was screaming-undead-skull-bear-thing in Annihilation the most terrifying creature of 2018, but it was one of the most disturbing things ever put on film, period. Based on the book by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation follows a group of scientists trekking into a pristine, uninhabited wasteland that’s been taken over by some sort of unexplained phenomenon (in the film, it’s dubbed the “Shimmer” and is clearly alien in nature, although in the book its origins are more vague). This phenomenon scrambles the DNA of all living things that enter it.

The result is some creepy hybrid creatures, but none creepier than the bear that shrieks in the voice of one of its human victims. That’s right, the bear mimics the awful cries of one of the people it devoured. The film’s DVD release included a feature about the making of the bear that showed the creature in even greater detail, revealing that in addition to having a layer of human teeth behind its bear teeth, it appears to have the remnants of a human skull baked into the side of its face. It is heinous. It is sickening. It is almost unspeakably scary, and it’s the kind of monster that only the movies can make.

Upcoming categories:

Best Stunt | Best Hair | Best Trailers | Best Assassin | Busiest Actor | Best Dog | Best Line Reading | Best Dance Sequence | Best Jump Scare | Best Rich Asshole | Best Speaking Voice | Best Use of Song | Best Montage

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.