Star Trek’s Golden Anniversary: 5 Fave Monsters

We’re continuing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek all month at Lofty Ambitions. In response to last week’s post of 5 fave episodes, it came through loud-and-clear on social media that a number of folks disagreed with Doug’s list—which is absolutely fine. We weren’t arguing that these were the best Star Trek episodes, simply that they were Doug’s childhood favorites.

There are many greatest Star Trek episodes lists making the rounds right now: HERE is one, HERE is another one, and HERE is still another. Like many passionate Star Trek fans, Doug disagrees with some of the choices and nods his head in complete agreement with others.

Really, though, the Lofty Duo is taking a casual stroll down memory lane, trying to reconnect with our ten-year-old selves, popping in the DVD and beaming up in the evenings this month.

Inspired by the Monster of the Week trope for which the X-Files became famous/infamous, we’ve wandered through some long-buried pathways of memory to come up with a list of the Star Trek monsters that made the greatest impression on us. Your fave monsters from the series may be different—and we’d like to hear why.

Some of our selections are campy beyond belief, but that’s one of the things we’ve always loved about Star Trek. And on the other hand, some of these creatures genuinely freaked out ten-year-old Doug. We’re looking at you, Horta, you skittering, silicon-based, egg-laying, lump of acid-spewing horrors. We ordered our list in accordance with Doug’s childhood fear scale, all the way from: not-too-scary to where’s-my-blanky to I’m-not-shutting-my-eyes-tonight.

The Mugatu

This bit of silliness—the original Star Trek had a limited budget—appeared in the episode “A Private Little War.” We have a good friend who has a gorilla suit. With a quick bleach job, some faux spines, and a unicorn horn, he could be rocking a brand-new Star Trek inspired Halloween outfit. It looks that simple.


The Gorn made its appearance in “Arena.” Stripped of all technology and weaponry, Kirk and a slow-moving but nearly indestructible alien lizard-thing engage in hand-to-hand combat.

Excalbian/Rock Monster

Among the many characters in “The Savage Curtain” is Abraham Lincoln in space. What could be better for a couple of kids growing up in Illinois? The almost-rock Excalbian appears at 1:23 in the clip.

M-113 creature/Salt Vampire

First episode. First monster.


The Horta appeared in the episode “The Devil in the Dark.” Doug still won’t watch this one in the dark.

BONUS: For our money, the cheesiest Star Trek monster of all time was that damned, alien dog-thing from “The Enemy Within.” It’s sometimes referred to as the Alfa 177 canine.

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