Supernatural has a wide roster of monsters of the week, and some of them weren’t good enough to come back over the course of the show’s 15 season run.
- Dragons were a disappointing addition to Supernatural, appearing only in humanoid forms due to budget constraints, and their presence was underwhelming.
- The portrayal of Nachzehrers as “Ghoul-pires” was difficult to take seriously, and their difficult-to-pronounce name didn’t justify their limited appearance.
- The ghost truck possessed by Cyrus Dorian had potential, but its inclusion alongside clumsy social commentary made for an awkward and unsatisfying episode.
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As a “Monster of the Week” series, Supernatural has pitted Sam and Dean Winchester up against a staggering variety of monsters, ghouls, and evil spirits, some of them being simply terrible at being paranormal threats. Much of the series focuses on the brothers getting tangled in the mythological battles of angels and demons, heavily serializing long-running arcs that have the brothers take on biblical threats. But the series will always have its roots as an episodic mystery thriller, Sam and Dean arriving at a new location and taking on a new threat every week.
With 15 seasons of monster hunting to fill out, it’s no wonder that a few of the mythical creatures the series brought to life were duds. Whether they were meant to be taken seriously or played for laughs, the series simply missed the mark on a lot of their episodic antagonists, leaving a lot of wasted potential on the table. By the time Supernatural ended after 15 seasons, it’s no wonder some of these monsters never made it back for a second appearance.
There might not be a more ubiquitous mythical creature than dragons. Making some kind of appearance in many cultures across the world, the idea of the Winchesters taking down a fiery beast with nothing more than their beat-up Impala and some ingenuity raises a lot of questions. At first glance, dragons may seem a step too far into the world of fantasy for the relatively grounded stakes of Supernatural, most hunters in the setting not believing they exist.
Unfortunately, dragons are real in the Supernatural universe, and due to the constrained budget of season 6, their appearance was nothing short of a disappointment. Conveniently only appearing on-screen in their humanoid forms, the flying lizards of legend are only heard and reacted to just off-screen. Instead, Sam and Dean get the pleasure of throwing down with some normal-looking people with hot hands. Add in the dragons’ pastime of kidnapping virgins, and it’s no wonder they’re only ever mentioned in passing after their first and only appearance.
A lesser-known species of undead, Nachzehrers are evil spirits of German origin. Sort of a triple-hybrid of vampires, zombies and werewolves, Nachzehrers are cursed humans who travel in packs, feeding on the flesh of men. Similar to many other species of the Winchesters’ rogues gallery, Nachzehrers can infect others with their curse, creating loyal armies out of their victims by biting them with pointy teeth straight out of a cheap Halloween costume. Even Dean puts together the obvious similarities to the creatures and other, more famous curses, affectionately nick-naming them “Ghoul-pires”.
The Nachzehrers are particularly hard to kill, with a unique weakness that Castiel identifies to the Winchesters; Placing a copper coin in their mouths before decapitating them puts the undead menaces down for good. As cool as this sounds, Dean wrestling a grown man to put coins in his mouth shouldn’t be more funny than it is suspenseful. After Dean conveniently cures all affected individuals by taking out their Alpha, these redundant monsters don’t stick around long enough to justify their difficult-to-pronounce name.
8 The Ghost Truck
When anticipating a supernatural threat, the image of a 1962 Dodge Power Wagon probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But the self-driving vessel of ghostly vehicular manslaughter is exactly what the Winchesters had to face early in their hunting career way back in season 1. The villainous vehicle turned out to be possessed by one Cyrus Dorian, whose restless spirit was reawakened for vengeance after his family home is bulldozed.
The history of the ghost behind the truck led to some awkwardly-handled social commentary, as the possessed truck’s featured episode dives into Cyrus’ history as a racist in a small town in Missouri. The social commentary was handled quite clumsily, and the inherent silliness of the phantom pickup being paired alongside such serious subject matter didn’t help. The truck is more notable for being the first of many instances in which Dean’s beloved Impala is wrecked, being exorcised for good shortly after.
A widely known forest god in European folklore, the prospect of the Winchesters going up against the ancient nature spirit was an exciting one. Yet the show’s handling of Leshi’s inclusion made some baffling choices, leaving the being unrecognizable to anyone remotely farmiliar with the spirit’s origins. Starved for followers and his forests cut down, Leshi chooses a more modern form of idolatry in order to gain the sustenance he needed to survive.
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Leshi appears in the form of various famous figures throughout history in Supernatural, assuming the disguises of Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and, bafflingly enough, Paris Hilton. Through these disguises, the Leshi lures in worshipers to turn into victims, before the Winchesters catch wind of his schemes and hunt him down. It goes without saying that the image of Gandhi choking out Sam made Leshi’s portrayal in the show nothing short of groan-worthy.
The Amazons were a supposed race of warrior women who have made a vast multitude of appearances in pop culture, most famous among them being DC’s Wonder Woman origins as an Amazon warrior. But while they’re usually represented as heroic, Supernatural had a darker take on the Amazons. Instead of being a hidden matriarchal culture of peerless fighters, the Amazons encountered by the Winchesters are feral, demi-human creatures.
The Amazons appear to be normal humans at first glance, all of them being female. They sought human men as mates, rapidly giving birth in accelerated aging cycles that end with the induction of their daughters into their cult-like society, ending with the ritual murder of the father. This spin on Amazonian culture is certainly unique, but a normally celebrated women-led culture being twisted into something so dark was perhaps a little tone-deaf. Not only that, but the episode ending with Sam slaying Dean’s half-Amazon daughter left enough of a bad taste in audience’s mouths that the dark-eyed she-demons didn’t make a followup appearance.
Originating from what is widely considered to be one of the worst episodes in the entire series, the infamous bugs are a blemish on the series that appear early in season 1. Simply manifesting as a cursed swarm of insects, the bugs claim victims by burrowing into their body, ravaging them from the inside out. While this is a cool and scary premise for the Winchesters to face off against, the result is a poorly done CGI plague that ended up being more gross than terrifying.
The creatures’ titular episode, “Bugs,” is widely considered one of the worst in the series’ history for good reason. Between the squeamish visuals, poor editing choices, and source of the curse being the tired trope of a Native American burial ground, the ghostly swarm was simply not set up for success. The episode they feature in is even referenced multiple times as being bad within the show itself. It’s no surprise the bugs never returned, as they went down in history as one of the worst monsters ever featured in Supernatural.
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4 The Living Teddy Bear
Occasionally, Supernatural would take a swing at a more original monster for Sam and Dean to encounter. Season 4’s “Wishful Thinking” swung and missed with the inclusion of Teddy, a living stuffed animal with a death wish. Not only being completely harmless as a threat, Teddy is up there as one of the most downright sad creatures the Winchesters have ever encountered. After the Winchesters arrive in a town with a working wishing well, they encounter a girl named Audrey who used the well to wish for a bear that was “big, real, and talked.“
Unfortunately for her, the cursed Tiamat coin that gave the well its powers put a dark twist on all wishes, creating the depressed Teddy. Teddy was an alcoholic, addicted to pornography, and viewed the life he was given as a curse, even attempting to shoot himself only for the gunshot to harmlessly displace some stuffing. Thankfully, the strange being was put out of his misery once the Tiamat coin was removed from the well, leaving the case of the living teddy bear open and shut.
As Supernatural progressed, it became less of a tale of two brothers hunting paranormal threats across the country, and more of an epic saga spanning the mythos of Abrahamic religions. Through many encounters with different types of Angels in Supernatural, Sam and Dean encountered no creature more cringe worthy than Cupid himself. Taking the form of a chubby man in white briefs, the angelic matchmaker the Winchesters encounter is actually only a Cupid, the name being more of a classification than an individual in-universe.
Following popular mythology, the Cupid Sam, Dean and Castiel encounter is hard at work using his powers to make certain people fall in love, apparently under the orders of heaven. Something of a man-child, the Cupid is extremely sensitive, frequently being moved to tears and fond of giving group hugs, much to the chagrin of Dean. Though only making a brief appearance, the comedic style of the Cupid’s inclusion wasn’t strong enough to warrant another performance.
A well-known evil spirit in Native American folklore, the Wendigo is a being of greed and hunger. A normal human can be transformed into a Wendigo upon committing an act of cannibalism, and the terrifying creature is one of the first to be encountered by Sam and Dean as early as Supernatural season 1, episode 2 “Wendigo.” The series takes a few liberties with the portrayal of the monster, giving it the ability to mimic human voices and a weakness for protective circles.
The Wendigo was perhaps too iconic of a monster for the Winchesters to face so early on, as the low-budget CGI of the early season struggled to keep up with the monster’s supposedly fearsome appearance. The primary focus of the episode is Sam and Dean’s hunt for their father, with the Wendigo itself only showing up in the final third of the episode, only to be anticlimactically defeated with a simple flare gun. While the Wendigo species make a few brief appearances in season 7, the wasted potential of the creature is felt throughout the series.
Another iconic mythical creature, the Golem is a magical automaton hailing from Jewish folklore. A being created of clay by a Rabbi, a Golem is said to be brought to life via a scroll stored within it, following directives molded by its creator. Sam and Dean encounter a Golem while investigating a case of spontaneous combustion. The “owner” of the Golem in the series, interestingly enough, inherited the beast from his Grandfather, a Rabbi who created it to fight Nazis in World War 2.
Despite it’s interesting origins as a weapon, the Golem’s status as a hand-me-down complete with an “owner’s manual” makes it feel like almost a nuisance to its owner. Combined with the simple appearance of a slightly taller-than-average man, and the Golem’s appearance is a bit of a letdown. Another Golem makes an appearance in 2022’s The Winchesters, which gets to see more action. As far as Supernatural is concerned, however, the monster is a bit of a letdown.