This ICHF was written by Dinosaurana, who you can find at http://dinosaurana.tumblr.com/. I may have made a few touch ups and notes here and there, but the bulk of this entry is their work!
Image borrowed from https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/kgms/
Ah, Doctor Who. Your aliens never cease to amaze and diversify. Given the concept and the long running length of the show, one would expect that sometimes their aliens reach from the usual halls of science fiction. Sometimes you have cutesy creatures as the Adipose. Sometimes you get scaly humanoids like the Silurians, or ones that present harrowing messages of humanity’s future such as Daleks, Cyber Men, and many more. We also see the beginnings of the horror genre slowly creep into the series more and more with it’s reboot, from them infiltrating the highest echelons on mankind with the Slitheen in the ninth incarnation of the titular Doctor.
And then there’s the Weeping Angels.
By far one of the most terrifying creatures to emerge out from the newer series of Doctor Who, and giving a good run for the title of most horrifying of the series, the Weeping Angels always don’t seem to be much at first. Statues are a common part of man’s creative processes, so why should you worry? But then, then you blink. And that statue that was so far away is now closer. You blink, rubbing your eyes a minute. That’s not possible, statues don’t move at you. And then it’s there in front of you. Gone is the weeping gesture, replaced with a set of fangs in stone and clawed hands reaching towards you. Panicking, you fall down and back pedal, looking back for safety, but it’s too late.
You shouldn’t have blinked.
Their first appearance back in that 2007 Doctor Who episode was something that was nearly a complete tonal change for the series. We were with the David Tennant stretch of the show, where the Doctor was fun and whimisical, but could go and tackle some serious points of emotional importance. And then this episode hit like a brick out of nowhere. Gone was the playfully excited adventurer we knew. Our enemies were statues that were quantum locked, statues that moved only when you didn’t see them. They fed off of time that could have been spent better, sending people back in time at best. For the first time, here was a group of monsters that he couldn’t conquer. They desired his TARDIS because they fed on the energies of time. We watched in horror as several of the supporting cast get sent back in time forever by the angels, leaving a sense of dread that you never quite were sure how to properly stop them, or if there was even a way to. The Doctor and one of the cast make it out because of little more than basic trickery. If the things that cover their faces must do so because they could lock each other forever, the result would be to go and force them to look at each other.
And one could suppose that in the end, maybe that one episode would have been it. That after Blink, there wouldn’t have been able to recreate that same feeling of dread, or that they would be a one off. But when the Doctor soon reincarnated afterwords, one of the first that we re-encounter is that of the Weeping Angels. We see them crop up again and again, each time only building up the terror rather than toning it down. Sometimes they can turn you to dust with a single kiss. They roam in packs of up to the hundreds in nests, able to swarm over the most fortuitous of soldiers. They attempt to create paradoxes to feed off the energy of time produced by it, meddling with the lives of mankind. In truth, they seem to be the closest that the franchise touches at a reoccurring villain that fits the suit of cosmic horror. They don’t fit the rules of man. Hell, even for the Time Lord, who can travel through space in and out with ease, they are something that don’t fit into the normal spectrum. The Angels are things to be feared, and can be anywhere at any given time.
For Doctor Who, it was almost a gateway for the things that go bump in the middle of the night to have free reign. From these statues, we see some of the most terrifying aliens from Doctor Who emerge. From the Silence that make you forget they exist when you don’t look at them, to the return of the Great Intelligence as faceless boogeymen with sharp teeth to render their victims apart, it allowed a tv series to explore dark places of space that most wouldn’t venture to go into. It allowed for the sides that we wouldn’t expect from Star Trek or Star Wars, establishing itself and the Doctor Who series as a show that wasn’t afraid to tap into the annals of horror to scare the viewers away.
As a finishing note, I just want to give props to the costume designers. On my first viewing of them, I thought that they had gone and simply made like six statues in their time and had them movable for scenes. What I have since found out is that they were a mixture of the base weeping statues and a team of set designers, suit actors, physical makeup affects and just a dash of CGI to touch up those small little bits. The actors would have to stand stock still for hours for shoots, and that kind of dedication is not something to simply just laugh at. In an era full of computer made monsters, the Weeping Angels remind us that sometimes that all you need is a little bit of makeup and good costuming to make you truly afraid.
Editor’s Note: This marks the second time Doctor Who’s monsters have made it into ICHF, and I doubt it will be the last. And while I’m sure some people may still doubt the daleks’ horror cred, I doubt anyone can deny that “Blink” is a scary as fuck episode of television.