Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of braving through research trying to dig up a bunch of information on some underreported but still very terrifying Pokémon. You thought it would stop at ten? In reality, there are enough interesting Pokédex entries, you could write about them until the end of the world. Going by recent events, that could be any day now.
For the frightening fun to really settle in, though, I’ll ask what I have for the previous two articles – to get the full effect of the horror, you have to put yourself in the world of Pokémon. A place where sometimes things can tear you to shreds if you emote wrong and full of so much other terror, you push them out just to cope. Like being reminded cockroaches can also fly.
Kicking off with a creature straight out of the Black Lagoon, Dragalge looks like some kind of mutated seahorse that wouldn’t be out of place in a Fallout game. A six, nearly seven foot tall seahorse with haunting red eyes you will regret ever coming across because the Pokémon world has no Plasma Rifles.
This regret is supported by its Pokémon X entry, stating that it will spit corrosive venom indiscriminately at anything that enters its territory. How do you know you’re in its territory? Probably only by the time your skin is melting off. The same entry also states that the venom is strong enough to eat through the hulls of even the strongest ships, so yeah, good luck surviving that when you probably just wanted a casual swim.
Oh, but – as is the common theme across all these Pokédex entries – it gets worse. Its Pokémon Ultra Sun entry mentions that it gets along really well with another Pokémon I previously spoke about, Dhelmise. How would this seaweed monster and a haunted anchor buddy-cop movie work? Simple.
Dragalge hides in seaweed (per its Ultra Moon entry) and loves to sink ships – and seaweed meeting sunken seacraft is exactly the combination Dhelmise is born from. It isn’t hard to piece together the true horror here – Dragalge directly contributes to the population of Dhelmise and probably helps feed it, too. After all, ships need a crew. It’s like a kelp dragon hitman for haunts.
Some of the most common fears and phobias people have are caused by bugs, specifically spiders, and being trapped in tight or dark spaces, particularly drowning. So what if I told you there was a nearly six foot long spider Pokémon that loves to eat things it has trapped in a tight bubble?
Meet Araquanid, a cumbersomely named monster that wouldn’t look out of place in outer space. Preferably, it should also live there, then we wouldn’t encounter it, but lo, it can live in most bodies of water or on land. Last time I checked, that combination covers 100% of the Earth. Lucky us.
Other than being a nearly six foot long eight-legged freak, Araquanid’s real terror comes in with that giant bubble helmet over its head. According to Pokémon Sun, it likes to trap its food in there, wait for it to drown, and then eat it. That’s metal as hell, but also obviously frightening. The dex lists that “small” creatures usually get trapped in there, but considering the size of this thing, I wouldn’t put it past it to consider something like a human child in that category.
Just the amount of horror this thing is capable of by existing is terrifying in and of itself. It is a physical manifestation of several of humanity’s biggest fears. It is a pity, then, that this Pokémon’s appearance makes it severely misunderstood. Several Pokédex entries mention it as a guardian, as it will place weak or lost Pokémon in its bubble for safety. Ultra Moon even says it will store things in bubbles it finds special or valuable, including its Trainer, as a sign of affection.
In a strange roundabout way, the true horror of Araquanid is that they might get treated like sharks, where their appearance leads to irrational fear or hysteria, which may lead to overhunting. A scary creature in concept, yes, but sometimes people can be scarier than what we fear most.
Hope you don’t get whiplash from the brief humanitarian effort, because here we meet an alien monster that looks and acts like something straight off of Lovecraft’s cutting room floor, then subsequently ate every other creature on that floor, and, if I’m being honest, deserves no amount of human pity.
Once again, this is slightly cheating because this one is an Ultra Beast, creatures that come to the Pokémon world by way of wormholes and are clearly from another dimension/planet. But considering that the Ultra Beasts as a whole were not and still aren’t particularly popular (other than the memetic Buzzswole), they fill my criteria and people need to know how terrifying these things are.
Guzzlord, as it’s incredibly creative name implies, is an enormous eating machine, standing at 18 feet tall. I know Pokédex entries can sometimes seem like they exaggerate, but at that size, I believe when Pokémon Sun says it has swallowed both buildings and mountains. A more horrific point is brought up by its Pokémon Moon information, saying that this thing constantly eats, but doesn’t poop.
This is so terrifying because that seems to bring up the idea that his thing is essentially a living, breathing, eating black hole. Its enormous dark body consumes everything in sight, it never stops, and it has an absurd amount of health. Also just look at the thing. Something about it seems so unnatural, like a genuine eldritch abomination. Maybe it’s the size or maybe that not only does its stomach have a mouth, but its two tongues also have mouths.
If not stopped at the point in the game when you do, this thing could very well have eaten the entire planet and everyone on it without once ever stopping because it knows nothing except its own hunger. We’re pretty damn lucky only one of these things shows up in-game.
In keeping with the theme of the heels of the Pokémon locker room, we shift from something that seems like the cosmos-threatening final boss of a Kirby game to a creature who looks like it would be Kirby’s friend before eating him.
Shiinotic, a mushroom that looks like it has never slept a day in its life, is among the second wave of Fairy-type Pokémon and helped re-established that the Pokémon world’s Fairies are not of your Disney variety, but more like the vengeful, tricky ones from fae folklore. That doesn’t make it any less horrifying; in fact, it might make it magnified because we were all unfamiliar with this.
While Shiinotic isn’t so vengeful, it does apparently like to snatch people. Pokémon Sun’s dex entry states that people who wander into the forests populated by these bioluminescent fungi never come out again. This goes hand-in-hand with its Moon entry, it emits flickering spores that cause drowsiness and when its victims go to sleep, it sucks the life out of them. While of course it is all meant for prey, humans undoubtedly fall to them as well.
In the Pokémon world, forests and grassland are everywhere and at any given point in time, it can become a breeding ground for Shiinotic, attracting people with their lights, and then having them disappear.
This becomes even more horrific when you pair it up with the lore of Ghost-types like Phantump, who are apparently made of the souls of children who got lost in the woods. And being a Fairy-type gives the implication that it all may be coincidental, but considering fae folk’s love of snatching children, certainly not accidental.
Who knows how many kids go wandering around and then presumed missing in a universe where 10-year olds are seen as responsible enough to tame superpowered pets and see the world? With creatures like this thing living in that space, just being outside has the potential to become a horror movie. Also just look at it. Anything with those eyes, that hollow smile, and those fingers sure as hell ain’t your friend.
Ah, just what I want. A second helping of Pokémon fit for Lovecraft, this one even comes complete with tentacles and a squid motif. It is Malamar, the final evolution of the first ever Dark/Psychic line. The type combination is pretty apt foreshadowing to how savage this Pokémon is when it comes to violating the mind.
Pokémon X’s dex entry is very curt, bluntly stating that this Pokémon has the most powerful hypnotic powers of all Pokémon and forces others to do whatever it wants. While Pokémon Ultra Sun’s entry doubles down on this, it also states that an “endless number of people utilize Malamar for their nefarious deeds.”
So point blank, the Pokédex informs us of the grander scale horror of Malamar’s hypnotic powers. The wording here is key, however, as it uses the word “utilize” and not “use,” as if Malamar itself is also in on the deal. As always, things get worse. According to Pokémon Shield, Malamar’s hypnotic powers have already been used extensively throughout time, especially during history changing or shaping events.
In most Pokémon media, Pokémon are not so often portrayed as going out of their way to do straight up evil (even if the Dark-type in Japan literally translates to ‘Evil-type’). At worst, they are portrayed as mischievous or just creatures doing things according to their nature with humans kind of getting caught in the crossfire. Even Shiinotic listed above isn’t intentionally killing people, just whatever wanders into their forest.
If Pokémon do willingly perform wicked deeds, humans are usually the instigators, whether that is being commanded by their Trainer and the Pokémon responds out of loyalty or by pushing a wild creature to some form of retaliation (see: literally every single Pokémon movie).
But Malamar crushes all of that, seemingly going out of its way to be a complete monster and using humans for its own desires. Sure, the word “utilizes” is in play, but I’d bet every Pokécent I don’t have that Malamar is the brains behind the nefarious operations it plays a part in. When it comes to how literally the history of the world has played out, its tentacles are all over everything as if it were an entire species of the Templar Order.
It can control anyone around it, which to me is one of the worst kinds of horror anything can inflict on you. History has gone the way it has and the world shaped as it is because a five-foot tall will-bending evil squid has commanded as such from the shadows.
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