Monstrous Humanoid

Monstrous Humanoids are beings that look (somewhat) human, but definitely aren't.

It can be their original form, but they may also be the result of a monster that starts undergoing transformations that make it more human instead of yet more monstrous, or a human transforming into a monster but only going there halfway, or doing so much evil that they gradually become monsters. This trope is not defined by the nature of the creature but by its form.

Expect the more "human" of them to show their true monstrous features at some point. While Lovecraftian Superpowers can act as a qualification, they aren't a requirement, and be careful the example doesn't qualify for Humanoid Abomination instead, as Eldritch Abominations in human form rarely qualify for this trope. See Red Right Hand for examples of monstrous features being used to indicate evilness.

Uncanny Valley is related, but distinct from this trope, as monstrous humanoids, while human-looking, are still recognizably monstrous, while Uncanny Valley creeps people out because the creature looks almost indistinguishable from humans except for the one thing that is "off" about them.

Many mythological beings take this form - as a physical manifestation of intelligence and civilization in the human form and assorted forces of wilderness in the monster, the result being a supernatural Liminal Being. That this form is so common is partly due to Most Writers Are Human, as the monsters become more comprehensible and identifiable as advanced and cunning beings as their anthropomorphism increases, but ceasing it before they become too human and progressing into Uncanny Valley.


More monstrous examples of Vampires may qualify as well. Many Spirits are often depicted this way.

Compare and contrast Humanoid Abomination, where the creature is not a humanoid, but just humanoid.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • After Aizen merges with the Hogyoku and undergoes four One-Winged Angel transformations, each more monstrous than the last until climaxing in a Hollow-like monster with three Milky White Eyes, six wings with Hollow masks and eyes with Hellish Pupils, three huge holes in his body. His facial skin splits apart to reveal a black skull, and his right hand is completely fused to his Zanpakuto.
    • Vasto Lordes are immensely powerful Hollows that have assumed a humanoid form after devouring thousands, if not millions, of other Hollows and Arrancar are hollows that have broken their White Mask of Doom to attain a humanoid form and Soul Reaper-like powers.
    • Ichigo's first hollow form is a powerful bipedal reptilian creature with a mane of hair, a long tail protruding from its back, three clawed toes, and spikes jutting from its shoulders. His second form is humanoid with retractable claws, tufts of red fur on its wrist and clavicles, and a horned mask that covers its entire head. It can No Sell everything Ulquiorra throws at it.
    • Aizen's experiment White is initially assumed in-universe to be a Vasto Lorde due to its great power and humanoid appearance. Its arms end in sword-like appendages instead of hands, and it's covered in a jet-black exoskeleton. It's actually a hollow's form with a hollowfied Shinigami soul. It's the hollow that forms the basis of Ichigo's hollow powers and is what takes control of Ichigo to defeat Ulquiorra.
  • Alucard from Hellsing. He was once a man, specifically Vlad III Tepes, aka Dracula, but over centuries of consuming people he acquired Lovecraftian Superpowers so far beyond what a normal vampire is capable of that he almost qualifies for Humanoid Abomination. In his 'normal' form he's not quite human - you can't fit that many pointy teeth in a human mouth - and he almost always manifests his "true form" as an extension of his human form.
  • InuYasha:
  • Claymore
    • The titular warriors are a squad of women who were infused with the flesh and blood of monsters called Yoma, giving them similar abilities at the cost of risking becoming a monster themselves.
    • The Yoma themselves qualify, being humans infected with a parasite that transforms them into flesh-eating humanoid monsters.
  • The Apostles of Berserk all used to be humans before offering up something they cherish the most - usually a loved one - to transform into man-eating, often-Lovecraftian abominations. The Godhand take that process a step further.
  • Naruto:
    • Orochimaru appears to be a tall, thin man with unnaturally pale skin and long black hair. However, he also has Hellish Pupils, fangs, insane regenerative capabilities, and a variety of snake-themed powers. His true form, after years of self-experimentation, is a giant snake-like monstrosity composed of hundreds of smaller snakes, and he can take over other peoples' bodies and use them as his own until his power burns them out.
    • Kabuto Yakushi, Orochimaru's right-hand man, becomes one after he infuses himself with Orochimaru's, Juugo's, Suigetsu's, Karin's, and the Sound Four's DNA, gaining Hellish Pupils, scales all over his body, all of Orochimaru's and the others' powers, a massive snake where his navel used to be, and the ability to turn himself into a humanoid dragon of sorts.
    • Any of the Jinchuriki, by virtue of being sealed evil in a human. When they get suffciently upset or angry the Tailed Beast they house starts to try to take over, in stages varying from a simple power up, a Battle Aura (with a mind of its own), becoming a feral miniture of the Beast until finally the Beast breaks free and rampages once more. Each new level starts doing more and more damage to the Jinchuriki though Killer B and later Naruto are able to use these states without dying/loosing control
  • In Spirited Away, the staff and guests of Yubaba's bathhouse are Youkai of various degrees of anthropomorphism, though they're all there to work or relax just as would be expected in any human tourist trap.
  • There are so many examples from the Digimon franchise that to list them all would require its own page.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellspawn in the Spawn comics, titular character included, are undead humans reanimated with necroplasm and bonded to a demonic symbiote, and possess a wide range of powers ranging from shapeshifting to limited reality warping.
  • ''Spider-Man:
  • Doomsday was a Kryptonian genetically modified as a fetus to become an eternally resurrecting, constantly mutating monster. He wiped out all the other monsters on Krypton and was sealed away, eventually making his way to earth... where he killed Superman.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth is a pale, skeletal, humanoid creature with eyes on the palms of its hands that usually sits at the head of a table laden with an enchanted feast. Anyone who eats the food wakes him up and, well...
  • The Immortals in 300 are visualized as some undefined race of humanoid monsters with killer teeth fighting for dark emperor Xerxes. They seem human at first because they're all wearing ominous masks, but when one of them has his mask blown off, the Spartan who did so shows visible dread when he sees that his opponent isn't even human.
  • Grendel in Beowulf (2007), he is depicted as a misshapen humanoid that is tall and lean and parts of him are inside out.
  • The Night Flier: Far from a handsome gentleman, the vampire Dwight Renfield will always appear as a barely-human bat-like monster to his victims.

  • The Parshendi in The Stormlight Archive are of roughly human shape in their base forms, at any rate and can in fact speak Alethi (the language of the protagonists). However, they have red-and-black marbled skin, mysterious telepathic powers, and are actually limited shapeshifters. They can assume a number of different forms to suit the task at hand. The five known so far are warform (causes them to grow armor plate and become physically strong), workform (much like warform, but without the armor and with a block against violence), mateform (in which they are fertile and obsessed with sex), nimbleform(dexterous and careful), and dullform (their baseline form, has no special features or powers). They also may be able to turn into this world's version of demons. They also are noted for killing King Gavilar of Alethekar on the same night they signed a peace treaty with him, for no reason anyone's been able to figure out.
  • The Iron Teeth web serial’s forests are haunted by many different types of dangerous monsters. There are a bunch of guys in this story who do look human, more or less. For example ghouls and hobgoblins.
  • Trollocs from The Wheel of Time are bulky humanoids with a variety of bestial features mixed in (individual trollocs might have goat, wolf, eagle or some twisted combination thereof, and as such are wildly diverse, but always monstrous). They're magically-engineered footsoldiers for the Shadow, and have high aggression but subhuman intelligence. Their more intelligent and humanlike cousins/offshoots, the myrddraal, fall more into Uncanny Valley with a dash of Humanoid Abomination, though they share some of the trollocs' bestial habits, including cannibalism.
  • In Brennus this is known as the Chimaera trait, an expression of the Physique power. It normally ranges from minor traits to still-humanoid full-body makeovers, but extreme cases can be outright weird or abstract.
  • Eclipse really enjoys coming up with distinctly... well, inhuman humanoids. Most notably, we have Nyurei Arihiku, who has jet-black skin with a red outline that flares up whenever angry or excited, along with an elongated skull, skin-less lips, an Eyeless Face, and an ability to devour Hellhounds via absorption.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Some of the monsters in Supernatural fall into this category including ghosts, zombies, golems, rawheads, and wendigo.
  • The monster from the Upside Down in Stranger Things definitely qualifies — too tall and gauntly muscled to be human, with disturbingly long arms and hands, a mouth like a five-petalled carnivorous flower, and More Teeth than the Osmond Family.

    Myths & Religion 

  • The antagonist of Varkon, who has small fangs and a rounded, brutish face filled with wrinkles.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An actual creature type in Dungeons & Dragons, differentiated from normal humanoids by their monstrous or animalistic features. Examples include minotaurs, hags, centaurs, and yuan-ti.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation
    • SCP-974 ("Treehouse Predator"). SCP-974 is a meat-eating creature that looks like a young human child. It prefers to kill and eat prepubescent children (ages 6-12 years old).
    • SCP-1293 ("Squeedle Deedle Dee!"). They look like human beings wearing costumes, but the costumes are actually part of their bodies. The female versions bear their young live through their mouths, and the young are born fully mature in intelligence and size.
  • The Rake is a wiry human figure, pale and hairless with cavernous eyes. It is often depicted as an unnaturally vicious predator, whether of human intelligence or animal cunning; however, it is also related to the mara of folklore, as it is described as slipping into bedrooms at night and watching the sleepers or leaving inexplicable slashes on their arms.
  • The Creepypasta story "Genetic Memory" is based around the idea that there are a group of characteristics (namely elongated, pale faces, sunken eyes, and sharp teeth) that seem to inspire an instinctive fear in humanity all across the world. In this illustrated version a man out in the cold with a covered face comes up to another and talks about all this, and comparing it to Primal Fears that are similarly widespread, like fear of the dark and such. He ponders what could inspire such fear... and then he removes his scarf, snow goggles, and hat to show the other man exactly what scared ancient humans so much.

    Western Animation 
  • Marceline from Adventure Time is a vampiress who can transform into a variety of Eldritch Abomination-esque forms at will, usually for the sake of tormenting Finn and Jake. It's also worth noting that her father, Hunson Abadeer, is a blue-skinned soul-sucking humanoid demon with similar powers, which stem from the Nightosphere Amulet.