The creature Armus appeared in the Season one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Skin of Evil.”
Whatcuture recently posted its list of the Ten Creepiest Star Trek Aliens “guaranteed to make your skin crawl.” And coming in at number ten was Armus, the oil-slickened creature that was essentially made up of negative emotions. The thing had some impressive abilities like being able to block technology and teleport people. And, of course, we all know him as the murderer of Lt. Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
As much as I usually enjoy the lists Whatculture posts, I have to wholeheartedly disagree with including essentially a big puddle of ooze as a creepy alien. Even the writer’s description of the creature doesn’t elicit a feeling of fear.
"It could also take a vaguely humanoid form. In this form, it looked like a colonial mob was interrupted in the middle of tarring and feathering a tax collector."
Star Trek didn’t succeed with creating Armus as a scary villain
And that pretty much describes Armus. Much like an oil tanker had tipped over and left him behind. Sure, he had some powers, but I wouldn’t consider him to be even in the top twenty-five of the creepiest aliens. Even reviewers of the episode didn’t see Armus as a threatening villain, with the A.V. Club saying “Murdering Yar should make Armus seem much more dangerous, but he’s just so whiny and petulant and bland that he could’ve killed half a dozen cast members without leaving an impression.” And Tor.com said that Armus “fails in every possible way as a villain…”
Star Trek: The Next Generation was just getting started in season one so of course they would have some blunderous episodes. Yar’s death came as a shock to fans so, in that essence, this episode was a success as it really tugged at the heartstrings. But having an oil monster with a voice that sounded like the audio filter had been distorted be her killer actually diminished what should have been a more impactful moment
Armus was smug, irritating, and melodramatic, but I wouldn’t classify him as creepy. Would you?