Halloween is less than a week away, and BBC America will be running a “Wholloween” marathon of the scariest episodes. In the meantime, here is a list of five of the scariest villains on the Doctor Who show and how the doctor has encountered in all his innumerable centuries of life.
Number 5: The Ood – The Satan Pit
A slave race that supposedly finds joy and are able to continue living themselves, by serving others. Peaceful by nature until the Beast gains psychic control of them and forces them to murder. Only the Doctor can hear their songs of pain and misery, and is unable to block it out. The Ood are a symbol of how terrifying it can be to realize that you may not be the one who’s really in control of your life, and to think that there may be no one out there who can help you.
Number 4: Midnight
Imagine having your voice taken from you, forced only to repeat what other people say. Imagine them so terrified of whatever is doing it that they decide to kill you off to stop it, and there’s nothing you can say or do to save yourself. Fear and paranoia of each other, of an unseeable and untouchable enemy, nearly drives a small group of innocent tourists to murder. Whatever entity attacked them is never revealed or even named. Even the viewer feels helpless without a target to focus on, and also because the Doctor, the one being in the universe who can save them, is rendered powerless and unable to even save himself.
Number 3: Vashta Nerada – Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead
The shadows that eat the flesh, leaving only the bones behind. It takes less than a second for these menacing creatures to completely devour their prey. Worse, they were able to gain control of the victims’ space suits and control them, a walking skeleton driven by insatiable hunger to consume everyone and everything living. The greatest moment in Forest of the Dead, for me, was when the man named Dave kept repeating the same line. I realized at the exact same moment as the Doctor that he’d been eaten alive and taken over by the shadows. The actors’ timing was spot-on perfect.
Number 2: The Silence – The Impossible Astronaut
Based on Edvard Munch’s The Scream, as well as Men in Black, the Silence was designed to be the scariest villains in the show. Look away from one of them, and you forget they were ever there. But any suggestion they give you remains as if you thought of it yourself. The viewer is driven near-crazy by their knowing things the characters desperately need to know but can never remember. These are the enemies that had been promised for an entire season without making an appearance. And when they finally do, only we the viewers know about it. A nightmarish helplessness is combined with intense dramatic irony makes the Silence one of the most potent villains in the show’s long and glorious history.
Number 1: Weeping Angels – Blink
The weeping angels have appeared in numerous episodes, and are always one of the deadliest adversaries on Doctor Who that the Doctor has ever encountered. Everyone’s first encounter with them, climaxing in a room with failing lights revealing the angels moving closer and closer, inch by inch, each time the light blinks off and on again, is a freeze-frame of claws, fangs, snarls, and eminent death. I was genuinely frightened of these monsters the first time I saw them, and still am. What happens when your eyes are red and bloodshot from going too long without blinking? Simple: you blink. And you die.
What are your scariest creatures from Doctor Who? Let us know in the comments below!