10. Hawg, by Stephen Shrewsbury
This is the only book I have read from Shrewsbury, but I was delighted to have turned its pages. Hawg is a giant pig-like monster that has been kept captive on a farm. When the oversized, over-sexed beast gets free all sorts of chaos ensues in a fun, thrill-soaked ride.
Hawg is a memorable monster because he is not intrinsically evil; he is just a wild, confused animal on the loose. And he's horny!
9. IT, by Stephen King
Despite the iconic image of Tim Curry as Pennywise, the murderous clown, King fleshed out the character far more in his fat novel. The character has undertones far darker and ancient than it first appears on the surface, and this is what creates a constant sense of dread as the children of the book go up against a seemingly unstoppable foe. The world was scared of clowns before this book, but afterwards we became terrified of them.
8. Ghost Monster, by Simon Clark
Judge Marrain is the ghost in question, and is as malevolent and bloodthirsty than any spectre I've read about. His obsession with taking over the body of his descendants is what drives the story and creates constant peril for the protagonists. His army of lunatic spirits makes him seem even more insurmountable.
7. The Rats Trilogy, by James Herbert
Some people are scared of rats, despite the fact they are very intelligent and friendly when tamed, so imagine what those people would make of giant, bloodthirsty rodents. The rats in Herbert's trilogy are a terrifying menace that work together in great, roving packs to overcome their flailing victims. What I really like about this trilogy is how it gets more epic with each novel; beginnning with a London Borough, moving on to Epping Forest, and then London (and the country) as a whole. The monsters in these books play off a common fear and by the end of the trilogy we can vividly imagine the agony of having dozens of sharp incisors ripping us to shreds.
6. Conqueror Worms, by Brian Keene
This book is chock-full of monsters, from the Kraken-like beast, Leviathon, to the giant mouth of Behomoth, but the main premise of the book is based around worms. That's right, worms! But these are giant annelids the size of cars, and they're snacking on anything in sight. What makes life worse for the victims is that a biblical flood has forced them into small plots of land on mountaintops, leaving very little room for maneuvre, or escape. Worms may not seem scary to most, but by the end of this novel you will never look at the slithery little things in the same way again.
5. Slugs, by Shaun Hutson
An older entry and another one that features creepy crawlies. Hutson is an established writer, but Slugs is a slight deviation from his normal themes and, as such, is a rare gem. The slimly little beasts in this story are frightening for the fact that the can hide so easily and kill so quickly. Their oily skin is toxic and their speed is unnatural. If they get you, you're gonna die painfully!
4. Breeding Ground, by Sarah Pinborough
I hated the sequel, Feeding Ground, but loved the original. It features a multi-faceted monster that starts with a bunch of immaculate conceptions by pretty much all the women in the world. The men are worried but have no idea what is happening. As the woman get heavier, they start to control the men telepathically and things seem pretty bleak. Then they hatch...
The spider-like monsters ensnare their prey in silky webs before devouring them slowly in what has to be everyone's vision of hell. A group of trapped survivors desperately seek a solution as their time runs out, but when the spiders later give way to something else, all hope seems lost.
3. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
A short novel that features some of the most enduring monsters. Essentially a vampire tale with a science-fiction background, the story follows the last man on earth, Neville, as he tries to reverse the disease that turned the human population into blood-crazed animals. His task is made more difficult by the constant sieges that the monster lay at his door everynight.
2. Monster Planet, by David Wellington
The Lich, russian prince of the dead is scary because of the power he wields. With literally a worldwide army of zombies at his disposal, how can he ever be stopped from seazing ultimate power? The fact that he is a callous individual, forever trapped in the body of a young boy makes him eaven more sinister. What he does to a main character later in the story is despicable and makes the reader want him to fall on his ass so badly that they can't help but turn the page. The only problem: how do you kill something that is already dead?
1. Beast House Trilogy, by Richard Laymon
The beast! A mysterious, animalistic animal from exotic reaches, brought to America and locked inside a Cellar. What could go wrong? Well throughout the trilogy they keep letting people into the house, for a start, or they break in. One thing for sure though, is that once you go in, you don't get back out. The beast will get you. One of the best works from one of the best writers. Laymon will be sorely missed, because there is no one else that can write a story quite like him. Check it out.
As always, I want to hear what your top 10 lists would be.