Now That’s What I Call Kino #11 – Who is the Greatest Universal Monster?

To carry on Spooktober, following on from The Twilight Zone last week, I thought I may as well talk about another horror favourite of mine – which is the Universal Monster Movies. Although I wouldn’t class myself as ‘obsessed,’ my monster pillow, Bela Lugosi pin and various small posters in my room is still more than most when it comes to this era of horror. Defining itself as gothic horror, finding the scares in its production design and mise-en-scene, the 30s and 40s done as much as they could to scare audiences. So, for this week, rather than analysing a specific movie or character, I’ve decided to look at all the main monsters of Universal’s Classic Horror and try to rank them via a Top Trumps system.

The five categories are as follows and have all been used to decide who should wear the crown down at Universal.

  • Physical Strength
  • Mental Intelligence
  • Supernatural Abilities
  • Fear Factor
  • Killing Power

8. Erique (The Phantom of the Opera)

Close Up of The Phantom of the Opera
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 4
  • Mental Intelligence – 8
  • Supernatural Abilities – 5
  • Fear Factor – 7
  • Killing Power –5
  • Total: 29

Although it achieved more success with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lon Chaney, Universal’s Phantom has little to make him an esteemed monster. His intelligence is clear and his highest trait on the board, as well as his fear factor that is evident by the fear that strikes through the opera house. But his strength is lacking and his downfall.

7. The Bride (The Bride of Frankenstein)

Elsa Lancaster as The Bride
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 6
  • Mental Intelligence –6
  • Supernatural Abilities – 4
  • Fear Factor – 7
  • Killing Power –7
  • Total: 30

Whilst only appearing at the ending, Elsa Lancaster made The Bride one of the most memorable monsters there is (and a great choice for a Halloween outfit). We have to assume that her strength is stronger than the average human but still lacking due to her height and size. She still produces fear and has the power to kill but is lacking an overall distinction to make her a top contender.

6. Dr. Jack Griffin (The Invisible Man)

Claude Rains as The Invisible Man, wrapped in bandages and sitting down.
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 5
  • Mental Intelligence –10 
  • Supernatural Abilities – 6
  • Fear Factor – 7
  • Killing Power –5
  • Total: 33

The Invisible Man is by far the smartest monster here, after all, he’s a doctor that provided ground-breaking research in optics to change his appearance. Although he has this one defining factor, he’s lacking in real strength or killing power to do anything about it. He causes fear within the town but is no match for an angry mob.

5. Imhotep (The Mummy)

Imhotep staring into the camera with sullen eyes.
  • Physical Strength – 6
  • Mental Intelligence –7
  • Supernatural Abilities – 8
  • Fear Factor – 7
  • Killing Power –6
  • Total: 34

Remade time and time again, The Mummy has gained greater powers and greater CGI over the years, but Boris Karloff’s portrayal is no slouch. Their supernatural abilities lead the way, being able to control people and have them do as he wishes, but being wrapped up in cloth is gonna do a lot to your strength and killing power. He’s a lot smarter than the average monster, which has caused him to be ranked around the middle of these contenders.

4. Larry Talbot (The Wolf Man)

The Wolf Man, watching his prey from a tree.
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 9
  • Mental Intelligence – 5
  • Supernatural Abilities – 6
  • Fear Factor – 7
  • Killing Power – 8
  • Total: 35

No one’s gonna mess with a werewolf, especially a half were, half wolf, half man. The Wolf Man’s sheer strength and killing power is evident as they murk the foggy woods each night finding prey to devour and kill. They strike fear in the local townsfolk, but this town has seen a lot go down, so no one is really trembling in their boots. Also, the intelligence of a rabid dog is gonna be your downfall.

3. Gil-man (Creature from the Black Lagoon)

The Creature lurking in the water
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 8
  • Mental Intelligence –4
  • Supernatural Abilities – 7
  • Fear Factor – 8
  • Killing Power – 9
  • Total: 36

Call them Gil, call them the creature, call them what you want because they sure aren’t saying anything. This mute amphibious figure was a latecomer to Universal, but their look is classic with some phenomenal underwater effects from the 1950s. Being a predator both on land and underwater allows killing power to be their greatest trait, also they’re carrying Julia Adams for the majority of the movie, so I’m allowing a high strength factor too. They strike fear throughout the Amazon – being one of the greatest monsters around despite their lack of intelligence.

2. Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein)

Portrait photo of Frankenstein.
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 10
  • Mental Intelligence – 4
  • Supernatural Abilities – 5
  • Fear Factor – 9
  • Killing Power – 10
  • Total: 38

Speaking of intelligence, in second place we have the monster himself that is often spoofed for his lack of a real brain. Although the book has The Monster as a literature and well-spoken man, Karloff’s Monster is a ginormous brute that is not to be truffled with. Their strength and killing power are as high as can be, don’t forget he yeeted a small child to their death and survived a burning windmill. Their fear factor is no question, causing everyone in town to be fearful and repulsed by The Monster’s appearance.

1. Count Dracula (Dracula)

Dracula stares in the shadows.
Image Courtesy of Universal Studios.
  • Physical Strength – 8
  • Mental Intelligence – 7
  • Supernatural Abilities – 9
  • Fear Factor – 7
  • Killing Power – 8
  • Total: 39

At number one, we have the king of the monsters and usually the ring leader (look at Hotel Transylvania and The Monster Squad), Count Dracula. Bela Lugosi made Dracula what he is today, the gothic and pure sexuality that Dracula exudes is from the Hungarian hunk himself (sidebar – Lugosi is my favourite actor of all time so I may be throwing my unconscious bias here). Dracula has got as many abilities as an RPG character and his ability to kill is shown repeatedly throughout. He causes fear with Transylvania locals, although wishes it would be higher with the civilians of England. Dracula is intelligent but no match for a professor, and although he’s on top of this list – these monsters are still no match for the humankind that’s thrown against them.