Spooky Scary Stalfos Knights: Looking at Horror in The Legend of Zelda

Last year I wrote about Spooky Things in Non-Horror Games, and I wanted to give one of those, The Legend of Zelda its own expanded post this year (especially since I’m doing my Year of Zelda series). One of my favorite things about the Zelda series is that many of the games contain horror elements. From the very first game, there are skeleton-like stalfos, mummy-like gibdos, and ghost-like ghinis. In many games, there are entire terrifying sections, in dungeons and the overworld, that are more than enough to give people nightmares. So for today’s Spooky Friday, I wanted to look at several of these elements, starting with some enemies.

Redeads and Gibdos

A creepy set of enemies regardless of what game you see them, Gibdos and Redeads are often able to stun you with their terrifying screams. Once you were frozen, it would slowly approach you, helpless as you hoped you would snap out of it and get away before it grabbed you and attempt to strangle you. The ones in Wind Waker pop out of upright coffins, giving you a good scare before they even scream.

Wall/Floormasters

If an enemy can grab you, it’s usually pretty scary (as you can see by my last and next enemy choices). The wallmasters are especially nerve-wracking to me, as you can see their shadow and you can hear them as they descend. They’re not harmful, they only drag you back to the dungeon entrance, but they’re still pretty terrifying. And floormasters split into three smaller versions of themselves when you attack them, which kinda remind me of facehuggers from Alien…*shivers*

Dead Hand

There’s a good chance if you ask someone what the scariest Zelda enemy is, they’ll mention Dead Hand. Before the main body appears, you have to let it grab you. Then it will pop out of the ground as you struggle to get out of its grip before it bites you. And the guy’s just scary looking.

Forest Temple

The Haunting of Forest Temple, the follow up to The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, coming to Netflix October 2022. Haha but seriously, Forest Temple is like the haunted mansion of Zelda. It’s filled with spiders, skeletons and skulls, and ghosts (skulltulas, stalfos, bubbles, and poes). And it’s got those creepy wallmasters and floormasters I was just talking about. This is probably the haunted place that all the cool Hylian teenagers sneak out to go see.

Bottom of the Well and Shadow Temple

These are just straight up death dungeons. Both of them feature Dead Hands which is already enough to warrant talking about them. The Bottom of the Well seems like a place where people were dragged down and tortured. Both the Bottom the Well and Shadow Temple are full of the enemies mentioned in this post, as well as invisible traps only revealed by the Lens of Truth, obtained in the well after defeating Dead Hand. Shadow Temple features a whole guillotine room. Towards the end of the dungeon, you get to take the ferry to hell, where two stalfos will ambush you. If you don’t defeat them in time and hop off the boat, the boat will sink with you on it.

Ikana

Once home to Ikana Kingdom, Ikana Canyon is now a cursed area filled with spirits of the dead. I half expected Dead Hand to show up underneath Ikana’s well. Parts of this area are actually kind of humorous – you can talk to gibdos and make redeads dance if you’re wearing certain masks. And several of the enemies are actually nice to you after you defeat them. But the whole area has this unnerving vibe to it, as almost everything here, is dead.

Ancient Cistern Basement

This part of Skyward Sword has always stuck out in my brain. It’s always one of the first things that comes to mind when I’m thinking of horror in Zelda. It’s filled with cursed (zombie) bokoblins and a lake that looks like blood. The scariest part comes as you’re leaving, or rather, escaping the basement. You arrive at a pile of bones that crunch as you walk over them. There’s a rope in the center for you to climb out of the basement. But once you’re part way up, cursed bokoblins start climbing after you, trying to pull you back into the depths of Hell! Yes, this part definitely scares me every time I play this game.

That Twilight Princess Cutscene

If you’ve seen this cutscene…nuff said. I mean, just this screenshot is plenty enough to give me the creeps.

Breath of the Wild 2?

The Breath of the Wild sequel trailer gave some major spooky vibes, and I’m hoping it has some darker elements akin to Majora’s Mask. I’ll definitely be updating this article if it turns out the sequel does end up having some spooky/scary elements. I would absolutely love that.

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