Is there anything scarier than a garbage monster? If you even survived a trash-monster attack, you'd have to take one continuous shower for a week to feel clean afterwards. Plus some garbage monsters contain a lot of rusty metal.
The only way to protect yourself from a garbage monster attack is to know how to recognize them before they come after you. So let's talk some trash — here's our complete list of every garbage monster in science fiction and fantasy!
Note: This list doesn't include creatures that live in garbage, like the Dionoga, the trash-compactor monster in Star Wars. Nor does it include sludge monsters, ooze monsters or swamp monsters — just monsters made out of garbage of various types.
Hedorah, from Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster
Kind of an obvious one — but still definitely worth mentioning. Formed out of pollution, this extraterrestrial life form can feed off our Earthly pollution — but as he becomes more powerful, he grows in size gains the ability to reduce Earth to a wasteland.
The Filth from The Tick, "The Tick Vs. The Filth."
Their rallying cry pretty much says it all: "We're filth, we're filth! We come from filth, we're going to filth! We're filth!" They go forth from the sewers to besmirch the world, but the Tick and Arthur stop them, with the help of the Sewer Urchin.
Trubbish and Garbodor in Pokemon.
These are two new Pokemon, based on exploding garbage bags. Trubbish is the best name for a garbage monster ever. You're in trubbish now! There's also a trash-themed Pokemon named Muk. Gotta catch 'em all! Yes, even the rubbish ones.
The Garbage Monster from The Garbage Monster by Tom Knight
In this children's song, singer/songwriter and puppeteer Tom Knight sings about a monster made out of garbage who menaces a group of kids — until they stop it by recycling. Really. Want more kid-friendly trash monsters? Check out this guy.
The Milpitas Monster from The Milpitas Monster
In 1974, high-school art teacher Bob Burrill rallied hundreds of people in Milpitas, including teenagers and their families, to make a zero-budget monster movie. According to Bleeding Skull:
The Milpitas Monster, a 50-foot winged behemoth comprised entirely of polluted trash, is sneaking around in the middle of the night and throwing garbage on people's driveways.
Apparently this DIY masterpiece is on Netflix.
Muckman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
He was a garbage man named Garson Grunge (more great names!) until Bebop and Rocksteady poured mutagen on him — then he mutated into a pile of walking garbage. Serves him right for not being a pizza delivery guy — then at least he could have been a pizza monster. Best action figure ever. TMNT also gave us another garbage-monster, Mutagen Man.
Junkbots, Incredible Crash Dummies
The Incredible Crash Test Dummies were a line of action figures of, well, crash-test dummies. And in the fourth and final year of their existence, they were given a new adversary, the Junkbots. They were supposed to look like they'd been thrown together from "scraps of junkyard garbage." Their leader was Junkman, and his minions included Piston Head and Sideswipe. These toys look like you could have minutes of fun with them.
At least four different Digimon have a garbage theme: Numemon, Sukamon, Raremon and Garbagemon. I'm kind of obsessed with Garbagemon, who started out as the trash bin on a computer desktop — but evolved sentience and became a digital trash monster. Its garbage can acts as a black hole, sucking items out of the Digimon universe forever. Says Digimon Wiki:
Until now garbage Digimon were said to be the absolute weakest, but with the arrival of Garbagemon that conventional wisdom will probably be reversed.
I'm certainly rethinking my views on garbage Digimon already.
Stink Spirit, Spirited Away
Debatably a monster — this customer of the bathhouse in Spirited Away turns out to be a river spirit. Plants die from his stench, and he leaves dirt wherever he goes.
The Trash Monster, Attack of the Atomic Trash Monster's Bride
Not much is known about this stage play — but presumably the Atomic Trash Monster is both formidable and also reasonably cute, given that he's already found a wife. And there is tons of "trash monster merch" for sale at the link.
Hexxus from FernGully
Actually I'm not sure if Hexxus is made out of garbage, or just symbolically trashy. He's a sort of noxious spirit of pollution, played by the one and only Tim Curry. Most notably, he sings the song "Toxic Love."
Garbage Monster from The Garbage Monster by Joni Sensel.
In this kids' book, Jo is slow to take out the trash — so it comes to life and chases her around the neighborhood. And eventually a lesson of some sort is learned, one presumes.
Marjory, the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock
Not actually an evil monster — although apparently a lot of people grew up being terrified of this psychotic creature. She dispenses wisdom and matronly guidance to the Fraggles, and generally serves as their oracle. As she puts it, "I'm orange peels, I'm coffee grounds, I'm wisdom!"
Junk Man from Mega Man 7.
Created by Dr. Albert Wily, Junk Man is made out of old robot parts and metallic pieces of garbage, held together with electromagnetism. He can concentrate his electromagnetic forces to draw junk near him and use it to attack.
Junkzilla from Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles
In the ninth episode of this 1960s cartoon, "The Colossal Junk Monster," one of Frankenstein Jr.'s enemies sends a massive robot made out of garbage after him. The two robots have a huge fight, but Frankenstein Jr. prevails.
The Junk Monster in Superfriends, "The Creature from the Dump"
A toxic spill in a junk yard creates a deadly monster, which attacks Batman and infects him, turning him into another Junk Monster. As Bogleech puts it: "Junkmonster turns Batman into tentacle-faced garbage Batman and the other heroes rush to find a cure and destroy the monster." And yes, Batman looks sort of Lovecraftian here.
Chemo, DC Comics
This one is sort of debatable — but it's true that Chemo started life as a plastic container full of chemicals that his scientist creator, Ramsey Norton, was throwing away. Until he came to life and started spewing toxic chemicals everywhere, eventually destroying the town of Bludhaven.
Gomi-Man from Kaiju Big Battel
Gomi-Man isn't just trash brought to life — he's New Jersey trash brought to life. His attacks include dousing his opponents with toxic sludge.
The Junk Monster, Adventure Comics #272
Superboy's super-dog Krypto becomes a big Hollywood star, causing his canine ego to swell. But also at some point, they apparently face some kind of garbage monster. Only in L.A.
The Nameless from Shade the Changing Man
The Nameless are some kind of zeitgeisty manifestation of collective angst, or something. But they're also sort of a garbage heap, hence the "Wretched Refuse" tagline on the cover. I have this issue someplace in my piles of comics, but the details are a bit hazy.
Sly Sludge's Garbage Monster from Captain Planet, "The Garbage Strikes"
There's a garbage-collector strike, so Sly Sludge decides to make a quick buck by stealing an experimental microbe that will dispose of garbage — but instead, the microbe absorbs all the trash in landfills, to become a massive garbage monster that threatens to destroy the whole city.
Garbage Mouth from The Power Rangers
Created by Finster to capture Kat in the episode "A Different Shade of Pink," Garbage Mouth could project exploding energy blobs at you. Later, the Power Rangers also faced a villain called the Polluticorn, which was some kind of flying rubbish unicorn.
Giant Metal-Eating Radioactive Junk Monster from Monster Warriors
In this Canadian series, teenagers fought various random monsters — including this radioactive creature which came to life in a junkyard in the episode, "Attack of the Junk Monster."
The Junkions from Transformers
They're literally Transformers made out of scrap metal, occupying a whole planet full of scrap, the planet Junk. They're also known as some of the best scrap-metal merchants around — which means they're basically selling bits of their own bodies. Their sometime leader is Wreck-Gar, who's been known to say, "I am Wreck-Gar! I am only good for one thing... GARBAGE!"
Horrible Hordes from Magic: The Gathering
Collectible card game Magic: The Gathering is full of junkyard creatures and living collections of trash. But this is probably the best of the bunch.
The Monster in TerrorVision
Aliens decide to beam their garbage into space as pure energy — but then this signal is unfortunately picked up by the Putterman family's home satellite dish. The signal materializes as a horrible mess — including a hungry trash monster that starts eating the members of the Putterman family, one by one. Only young Sherman Putterman realizes what's going on.
The Golem from Iron Invader
God bless Syfy Original Movies. In this one, a satellite crashes to Earth, and a duo decides to sell it to a scrap merchant. Little do they realize that the satellite is infected with alien bacteria that can bring anything made of metal to life. And the scrapyard they sell the satellite to contains an 18-foot statue made out of scrap, called the Golem. Mayhem, as you can probably guess, ensues.
The M.A.R.K. 13 from Hardware
A guy finds a robot head out in the middle of the post-apocalyptic landscape, and instead of leaving well enough alone, he brings it back home for his girlfriend to use in her sculptures. Instead, the robot head gathers the random bits of junk the girlfriend was using to create her sculptures and builds itself a new, murderous body.
"The Rubbish Monster", from Ademe's recycling PSA
Created for a British television commercial, this trash monster looks sort of like Optimus Prime if you squint a bit.
Terror Trash from The Real Ghostbusters
This action figure is a garbage collector — who turns into a trash ghost thingy. Because people are their jobs.
The Tulpa from The X-Files, "Arcadia"
We've pretty much saved the best for last. In this episode, Mulder and Scully go undercover as a married couple to investigate a gated community to investigate the disappearance of neighbors who failed to follow the Home Owners Association rules. It turns out the HOA has created this Tulpa, a "thoughtform," out of landfill to kill anyone who doesn't follow the community rules — so they're using a garbage monster to force people to keep their homes perfectly clean and tidy. There's probably some irony there somewhere.
Additional reporting by Gordon Jackson, John R. Porter, Daniel Ritter, Natalie Silverman, Michael Matsey, Josh Wilson and Emerald Du.