Shape shifters are beings with the ability to reshape their form. Be they monsters, ghouls, or aliens, shape shifters have unlimited potential to wreak havoc. They can be anywhere, anything….and ANYONE! Celebrate this Halloween with some of my favorite horror-themed books and movies that feature these transforming creatures. They are guaranteed to play on your paranoia.
This atmospheric horror movie follows a young woman that is cursed after her first sexual encounter. The specter that stalks her changes its form seemingly at random, making her attempts to stay out of its clutches particularly harrowing.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a dark fantasy novel set in a fictionalized pre-colonial Africa. It features several monsters based on African history and mythology. The book contains multiple shape shifters. One character is a Were-Panther (a being that shifts back and forth from panther to human). There are also a group of creatures that resemble a Qori Ismaris from Somalian folklore (a human that can transform into a hyena, or Werehyena).
The Thing is a sci-fi horror movie in which an alien organism terrorizes a group of researchers in a remote Antarctic station. The titular “Thing” seems to be a parasitic entity that assimilates and imitates other organic beings. After The Thing absorbs an organism, it is capable of imitating it exactly down to its mannerisms, memories, and all of its characteristics.
This Stephen King adaptation centers on a group of children in a small town being preyed upon by a monster called Pennywise. Pennywise has the frightening ability to transform into a literal manifestation of its victim’s fears. (Hence why its default form is a circus clown. *Shudder*)
Indra Das’ debut horror fantasy novel tells a story within a story about a defiant woman in seventeenth-century Mughal India who runs afoul of a group of mysterious marauders. The travelers are shape shifting Rakshasa (a man-eating demon from Indian mythology). Not only do these beasts eat their victim’s bodies, they also consume their souls.
Director Alex Garland’s sci-fi horror movie follows a group of soldiers and scientists as they explore the extraterrestrially affected area known as The Shimmer. Once inside, the laws of time, physics and nature cease to make sense. The mysterious entity that causes the anomaly has the ability to randomly make copies of biological life which incorporate various aspects of the other kinds of life around it. The results range from ethereal and beautiful to grotesque and deadly.
Miyoung appears to be an unassuming young woman living in modern day Seoul. She is secretly a Kumiho (or Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox that appears in Korean legends that can transform into a beautiful woman to seduce men). Miyoung kills and drains the life essence of humans. Though she confines her victims to men she determines as “evil”, the act still weighs heavily upon her conscious.
-Blog post by Trae Middlebrooks, Late Night Librarian