You don’t go 25 years with a name like Resident Evil without introducing a good mix of macabre monsters primed to haunt the nightmares of players everywhere. At their best, these frightening beasties make you want to run away and hide, challenging you to use your limited resources wisely while trying to survive the night. Even at their worst, any Resident Evil monster worth its weight in viscera will still have you gawping at just how disgusting it appears. Eugh!
With the release of Resident Evil Village and the arrival of nine-foot-tall vampire Lady Dimitrescu, we thought it worth ranking the 15 scariest monsters in Resident Evil history. That’s right – not even a top 10 would be good enough to do the creatures of Capcom’s iconic survival horror franchise justice.
15. Ustanak – Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil’s much maligned sixth entry has a lot of problems, we’ll admit, but one area where it does succeed is in its litany of boss fights. While the game features four interconnected campaigns with plenty of unique enemies, Ustanak breaks away from the crowded roster of other monsters thanks to his relentless pursuing of Jake Muller and appearance (however brief) in almost all of the featured storylines. As far as bioweapons go, he’s also one of the most mean-looking, boasting a tank-like physique and threatening mechanical claw.
You’ll fight Ustanak multiple times as part of Jake’s Resident Evil 6 campaign, first within a wintery Eastern European town as he clambers from chopper to chopper to get to you, then as part of a team-up with Leon in a shipment yard, before eventually finishing him off in a fist fight as boiling lava bubbles below you. Very much following the Nemesis template of growing persistently stronger, Ustanak is easily one of the redeeming elements of Resident Evil 6’s overt bloat.
14. Comms Officer/Scaghead – Resident Evil: Revelations
The mutated Comms Officer in spin-off title Revelations is one of the first major hurdles you come across. After learning that Chris isn’t aboard the Queen Zenobia, Jill is forced to venture into the bowels of the cruise ship, and this oversized piece of sludge is the only thing standing in your way. Taking down this two-headed behemoth involves getting him close to the various gas cylinders littered around and firing, all while keeping his many ghoulish minions at bay.
The comms officer’s human half is where the monster is at its weakest, so by placing a few well-timed sniper shots in this area players shouldn’t have too much trouble. Even still, only having a limited number of windows to jump through and tight passages to go down makes him a real problem early on. That’s why it pays to be patient (as well as smart) with this lumbering mass of goo.
13. Regenerador – Resident Evil 4
Capable of regrowing any limbs you shoot off with relative ease, the first time you encounter a regenerador in Resident Evil 4 is easily one of the adventure’s scariest moments. Though Leon is by this point well-equipped, and without Ashley as his tag-a-long helper, these sludgy beings are still quite the challenge, as they continue chasing you unless you equip your thermal vision and target their specific weakness points.
An enhanced version of the Regenerador greets you a little later in the form of an Iron Maiden. This hellish creature would enjoy nothing more than to hug Leon and impale him on the long nails that protrude from its flesh. You have to be sure to not get to close and maintain your distance, all while targeting the leech-like Las Plagas cells scattered all over its body to make it out safely.
12. Executioner – Resident Evil 5
It may have been the entry that saw the series swerve fully into action blockbuster territory, yet Resident Evil 5 also features some extremely unsettling monsters that still haunt us to this day. One of the first you come across are the handful of executioners who look and act exactly as their name would suggest. These immense figures have pins sticking out of their arms and wield a deadly axe, one swing of which is enough to turn Chris and Sheva into nothing but jam.
The executioners pose a real problem early on in Resident Evil 5’s campaign, as your weapons are severely underpowered, and you’re only given limited space in which to lead them around. Hold out for long enough, though, and you’ll manage to avoid the edge of their blade, only to encounter a more imposing version of them later on in the Desperate Escape DLC. It’s here where their axe is now laden in flames and primed to roast your skin.
11. Licker – Resident Evil 2
Arguably not just one of the scariest but also one of the most iconic monster designs to come out of Resident Evil, lickers are known for their ability to move fast, climb walls, and trip players up using their incredibly far-reaching tongue. The lickers’ one weakness is lack of sight, which Leon and Claire are wise to take advantage of when exploring the zombie-infested R.P.D building. Sometimes, however, these brain-exposed mutants are simply impossible to avoid, forcing you to outwit them and stay at a distance.
Believe it or not, lickers are thought to be an advanced form of zombie. These particular subjects were designed to be even deadlier bioweapons. We’d say they succeeded. While lickers are easily dealt with in most of the games (provided you know what you’re doing), their arrival is always unsettling since you need to remain quiet, often while trying to contend with other undead threats.
10. Lisa Trevor – Resident Evil
Altering an existing game’s story or structure is always a tricky prospect. On the one hand, you want to be true to what fans know, yet at the same time sprinkle in a few surprises. This was the case with Lisa Trevor’s debut appearance in the 2002 remake of the first Resident Evil game. She isn’t just a ho-hum boss fight, but rather a fully formed character with a surprisingly sad back story that involves her being experimented on by Umbrella for at least 20 years.
Lisa Trevor’s animal-like posture and distorted appearance is a result of this constant testing, which makes having to slay her alongside a true series villain (Albert Wesker) all the more heart breaking. The encounter itself may be relatively straightforward, but hearing Lisa wail and cry out as you’re forced to pump rounds into her is genuinely unsettling. Lisa Trevor is a welcome addition to the original Resident Evil’s canon, not least due to how terrifying her circumstances are.
9. Dr. Salvador – Resident Evil 4
What makes Dr. Salvador from Resident Evil 4 even scarier than he looks is the fact he’s not even a boss. No, all this relentless, bag-wearing maniac needs to try and keep Leon Kennedy at bay is a thirst for blood and a ripping chainsaw primed to rip our protagonist to shreds. He’s surprisingly fast and nimble in spite of his wide-set frame, which makes for a deadly combination when you’ve just heard the rumble of his tool-turned-weapon from a distance and are trying to get an accurate lock on him.
Typical handgun bullets will do very little to stop the swing of Dr. Salvador’s chainsaw. Instead, your best bet is to barrage him with shotgun shells or attempt a stun with a flash grenade. Either way, every die-hard Resident Evil fan remembers where they were the first time they heard the grinding of a metal chain so soon after entering Resident Evil 4’s Spanish village.
8. Cerberus – Resident Evil
Dogs have always played a huge role in Resident Evil, but most players will never forget the first time they smashed onto the screen. Slowly traversing down an innocent hallway of the Spencer Mansion in the original Resident Evil, the unsettling silence is suddenly disrupted by the sound of windows shattering and what appears to be two undead Dobermans. They are, in fact, four-legged monsters known in canon as Cerberuses – bio-organic weapons infected by the T-virus strain.
These doggos are far from the good boys you first expect them to be, leaving a mark on your mind as well as the hallway floor thanks to the amount of blood they drip. Their introduction kicked off the classic Resident Evil tradition of having to take down zombie canines quickly. If you don’t, they’ll continue to pursue you around most corridors or until you can bide your time in the nearest safe room. Cerberus dogs are living proof that no mammal is safe from Umbrella’s experiments.
7. Nosferatu – Resident Evil Code: Veronica
Code: Veronica often gets forgotten about as far as Resident Evil games go. This is a shame considering its host to two of the most merciless franchise villains in siblings Alexander and Alexia Ashford. What makes them so monstrous? Possibly their willingness to experiment on their own father, eventually transforming him into the near unkillable monster known as Nosferatu. Strung up, blinded, and suffering from a gaping hole in the chest, he serves as one of Code: Veronica’s most nightmarish monsters and boss fights.
Nosferatu is another Resident Evil monster with a deep and disturbing back story, which makes fighting him even creepier. After whipping Claire whips her partner Steve Burnside away to one side, she faces Nosferatu on a wintery helipad without much visibility. It may be fairly obvious where his weak spot is, but you’ll quite literally need to play it cool to pump enough rounds in.
6. Deborah Harper – Resident Evil 6
Bombing it through the underground cavern in a minecart while trying to avoid the clutches of Helena’s gloopy sister is one of Resident Evil 6’s best sequences. At first it seems like you may have rescued Deborah in time, but it isn’t long until Leon and his partner discover she’s already been subjected to the C-virus, causing her to catch alight before birthing a more monstrous version of herself from out of her own back.
If this imagery alone isn’t enough to make you fear Deborah, just wait until she comes at you with her four whip-like tentacles. First you face her head-on while trying not to get repeatedly lashed as the caverns crumble around you, before gunning at her from the back of a racing minecart as mentioned. The fight culminates once you hit a ridge and squeaky Deborah is forced to fall to her death. For a short while there, though, this gruesome bioweapon gets close to giving Leon and Helena the kiss of death.
5. Queen Leech – Resident Evil 0
Don’t be fooled by how regal the monster known as Queen Leech looks in human form. By the time Billy and Sherry come across her in Resident Evil Zero, she’s increased in height, gained multiple flaps, and sports a face full of enough teeth to finish you in one bite. This boss fight serves as the climax of this prequel adventure, and as such she chases you throughout multiple areas.
She’s one of the scariest Resident Evil monsters due to her disgusting final form, coupled with her ability to control loads of smaller leeches, too. Players with a hatred of slithery creatures are sure to find her disgusting.
4. Marguerite Baker – Resident Evil 7
Almost any member of Resident Evil 7’s Baker family would have been a good choice for this list, but we had to pick Marguerite due to how distinctly spooky your boss encounter with her is. Not only has she grown abnormally long limbs by the time you take her on in an abandoned outhouse but the majority of the fight also takes place in the dark. This makes your attempt to burn her all the more unnerving since she’s prone to sneak up on you and strike.
Players will likely have already developed a deep hatred for Marguerite even before this fight, though, due to the handful Metal Gear Solid-esque missions where you’re forced to sneak past her as Mia. However, all bets are off by the time you face her as Ethan. It’s just a simple case of knowing where to look and what nooks she may pop out of. Sending both Marguerite and her army of insects to Hell is satisfyingly tense and a good showcase of Resident Evil 7’s more claustrophobic first-person perspective.
3. G-virus William Birkin – Resident Evil 2 Remake
The mutated version of William Birkin already looked grotesque in Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation One, but Capcom outdid itself when returning to the character for the 2019 remake. Transformed into a ghoulish monstrosity as a result of injecting himself with the G-Virus strain, Birkin constantly cries out in pain to his wife and daughter as players concentrate fire on the gaping eye bulging out of his right-side shoulder. This final hint of humanity makes fighting him feel devastating.
Dr. Birkin loses more control of himself as the Resident Evil 2 campaign barrels towards its end, eventually transforming into a wall-crawling mass of daggers that tries to tear your head off. His pursuit of Leon and Claire eventually leads to his downfall, however, after his attempt to derail the train escaping Raccoon City is thwarted by a few pokes. Still, Birkin goes down as one of the gooiest monsters in Resident Evil history.
2. Nemesis – Resident Evil 3
Resident Evil’s original hulking stalker is still one of the scariest. First appearing in the original PS One version of Resident Evil 3 before being slightly modernized for last year’s remake, Nemesis is a massive pain the ass for ex-S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine because he just doesn’t stop and can appear unannounced at almost any time. His Terminator-like determination to pursue means that you’re never safe when exploring the streets of Racoon City.
Nemesis is easily recognisable by his missing lips and stitched-together skull, both of which result in a face that only a mother could love. He becomes more deformed the longer Resident Evil 3’s campaign progresses, too, making each fight feel scarier than the last. Nemesis has only ever returned in spin-offs, but you never know when he’ll pop around the corner next.
1. Mr. X – Resident Evil 2 Remake
Mr. X is the reason many players start panicking whenever they hear the sound of approaching footsteps in Resident Evil 2 Remake. Don’t be fooled by his bowler hat and trench coat, this Tyrant model T-103 looks like a wardrobe but moves at a brisk pace. As such, facing him head-on is always a bad idea, especially since he won’t stay down for long, even after pumping him full of explosive rounds. The opposite direction is always your best bet whenever Mr. X unexpectedly shows up.
While he gradually evolves into something more monstrous and unsightly towards the end of Leon and Claire’s adventure, even Mr. X’s initially plain appearance is unsettling. You simply have no way of defeating or halting this 7-foot-tall stalker, and you’re instead forced to navigate R.P.D headquarters using an entirely different route than you first intended. This endless game of cat and mouse never fails to get the heart pumping, especially since he follows you in real time.