In honor of Halloween, let’s ignite a little debate. What were Star Trek’s freakiest/scariest creatures or characters? We’re talking about everyone and everything across the entire franchise, from TOS to Star Trek (2009). Below are several of our favorites, in no particular order whatsoever. We’re just trying to get the party started.
So here goes:
The Salt Creature/The Salt Vampire/The M-113 Creature/Nancy Crater: Oh man, the old-timers out there can’t forget this one. And how could they? The salt-craving entity from “The Man Trap” – the very first Star Trek episode that aired on NBC – stands the test of time. It’s creepy and horrific and effective all these years later, even when seen on Blu-ray.
Zombie Vulcans: We can all debate the merits of the Enterprise episode “Impulse” and whether or not the zombie Vulcans were thoroughly scary or completely laughable, but come on, folks, you’ve got to appreciate the fact that the writers and producers went there. Zombie Vulcans, really? Yes, really.
The Doctor: Everyone’s favorite EMH was usually cranky and impatient and pretty much forever holier-than-thou. But in the “Darkling” episode of Voyager, Robert Picardo took his always-superb performance as the Doctor to a whole new level, adding a layer of genuine menace once the Doctor fiddles with his program and ends up becoming far more Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll. Bonus points for UPN’s teaser trailer, which promises “Diagnosis: Terror.”
Mr. Hengist/Redjac/Jack the Ripper: The TOS episode “Wolf in the Fold” remains one of the show’s finest hours, at once compelling and scary as hell. Of course, it helped to have a Robert Bloch teleplay, Joseph Pevney directing, James Doohan delivering one of his best-ever performances as Scotty, and a thoroughly engrossing guest-star turn from the late John Fiedler as Hengist/Redjack/Jack the Ripper. But here’s what’s scariest of all: Fielder was probably best known as the voice of… the adorable Piglet in many of Walt Disney’s Winnie the Pooh film and TV productions.
The Borg Queen: Though the Borg were eventually humanized, so to speak, by the end of Next Generation and certainly on Voyager, for a long time they served as TNG’s most fearsome enemy. Fans argue non-stop about which Borg induced the most goosebumps, and a case can definitely be made for the ones in “The Best of Both Worlds,” but we’ll go with the Borg Queen as portrayed by Alice Krige in First Contact. The actress made the character simultaneously creepy, sensual, repulsive and magnetic, and there was just no taking your eyes off her any time she was on screen.
The Ceti Eel: OK, we know that there are lots of other Trek aliens and creatures that gave us the heebie-jeebies, from Garak to the Vidiians and from the Gorn (some people scare easily; what can we say?) to Balok (and, come on, has Clint Howard ever not freaked you out?) And we know there are lots of other frightening Star Trek adventures, ranging from episodes like “The Lights of Zetar,” “Catspaw” and “Frame of Mind” to “Sub Rosa,” “Night Terrors” and “Schisms.” But, honestly, nothing can top the squirm-inducing, scream-worthy Ceti Eel as seen in The Wrath of Khan. It’s disturbing to watch them enter the ears of Chekov and Terrell, terrifying to hear Chekov's scream and then, later, just plain gross to look on as one, covered in blood, plops out of Chekov’s ear. Oh, and for the record, the similar creature that Nero trotted out in Star Trek (2009) was a Centaurian slug, not a Ceti eel.
OK, so what are YOUR favorite scary Trek creatures or characters?