Vampires have well and truly been done. They’ve been done so much that they have glittery skin and drive sports cars and I hate it when vampires drive sports cars. Zombies are feeling pretty passé, especially when every zombie-apocalypse narrative turns into a weird voyeuristic rapey survivalist drama. Werewolves are like the beta-vamps no one really likes that much and don’t look very cool even with the wonders of CGI—that said, I haven’t seen Wolfman yet so maybe Benicio made it hot. The following are my half-serious top five picks for the next Big Bad in the world of supernatural trends.
It’s in your house, it’s in your local café, it’s in your library. Evil WiFi knows everything about you and wants to make your life a living hell. It knows what kind of porn you like and all your credit card information so you’re pretty much screwed. It’s sort of like Carrie but less tangible. Evil WiFi waits as you stream your favourite BBC comedy, and just as the climax is about to occur, BAM! It Rickrolls you to the end of Ready Steady Cook. It’s that evil. It takes your log-in details and creates a fake Fairfax account to frame you as a serial commenter of articles about things you hate. There is nowhere to hide from Evil WiFi except offline. And who would want to live there?
Sticky stuff. Gross. What is a blob? I don’t know! The blob could potentially be a shapeshifter as much as it remains shapeless, it could be the T-1000 from The Terminator, an Alex Mack-esque puddle or it could roll around without awareness like a rogue ball of Playdough. Blobs consume all they blob over, and I imagine being inside a blob is like being digested by the sarlacc from Star Wars, which is to say very unpleasant. Sure, Flubber was cute and fun loving but imagine it shaking its booty maliciously, only to draw you in to consume you. The blobs greatest strength is its apparent harmlessness and its ability to move unnoticed at small sizes.
Literal cat ladies
Taking the tired stereotype and making it grotesque, the literal cat lady is so enamoured with her pet cats that she has become one (or is in the process of becoming one). This is no sexy Cat Woman situation—the literal cat lady has cat-food breath and cat-food-tin-sharp claws. She’s probably pretty misandrist too, and wants to get back at everyone who ever used ‘cat lady’ in the pejorative sense. With all the cunning and dexterity of human brains and thumbs, and the balance, agility and ferociousness of a cat, the literal cat lady could be a relative of the werewolf. But instead of representing the repressed carnal drives of man, the literal cat lady is decidedly out for revenge on a sexist world that undervalues ladies’ love for their cats.
Robot vacuum cleaners
As someone who has been chased by a duck many times, the scare-factor of a robot vacuum cleaner appeals to me. Vacuum cleaners, like ducks, are not inherently scary, but when they chase after you at a walking-pace and nip at your heels for a prolonged period of time things can get a bit intense. The robot vacuum cleaner is so scary because of its familiarity in our homes. We put our cats on them! It’s so funny! Makes life so easy! Wrong. Once the robot vacuum cleaner becomes self-aware you had better watch out—it knows your house inside and out and can hide under the bed. It also probably has lasers.
Anything out of Goosebumps
Dummies, mummies and masks have all been done before, but to be honest I don’t know why an originality-bereft Hollywood movie industry and major publishers aren’t just ripping off every scary thing that ever appeared in R.L. Stine’s beloved series. What about those huge blue Koala beasts? Instant classic. Oh, and there was a blob in Goosebumps, too. And what about bugs—it’s been so long since The Fly and lately all the insect movies are cutesy allegories for complex sociopolitical issues. Cuddle bears, lawn gnomes and CHOCOLATE CAKE have all been monsters in Goosebumps for goodness sake. Why on earth are we still bothering with zombies?
Jessica Alice is the Online Editorial Assistant for Kill Your Darlings and the Literature and Books Editor for Lip magazine. She is Radio Adelaide Breakfast’s Feminist Insider and produces Women On The Line for 3CR radio in Melbourne. She tweets @jessica_alice_.