I believe that a really excellent monster – that is to say, a creature that excels in the category of “monster,” in the quality of “monstrousness” – must have characteristics that are horrifying even to itself. What I’m thinking of here is the storyline of the Marvel Zombies: heroes transformed by a virus into creatures of a terrible hunger, who hate themselves even as they fight one another to consume more of the earth.

Otherwise, why bother being a monster at all? A vampire? Please. A dragon? Better, but only if it has powers unforeseen and unforetold. Go big or go home, monsters. Go big or go home.

*In other news: happy birthday to my friend Angie, who is one of the best small monsters I know.