Halloween is over, but we can still talk about spooky things, right? No? Well, I’m going to anyway. Everyone’s got that one Zelda enemy (or maybe even an ally) that scares the living daylights out of them. No matter how old we get or how many times we play those games, there’s always that one thing that we always steer clear of. For me, it was Redeads– specifically Wind Waker’s Redeads. I still can’t get over that scream and those beady, red eyes.
The Wind Waker was my first Legend of Zelda game, you know, after my childhood trauma with the Stalchildren in Ocarina of Time — it’s a long story that I’m sure I’ve told before — and everything in this game appeared to be cartoonish and even a little bit goofy looking, so I was not expecting the horrors that waited for me in the Earth Temple.
Now the temple seemed more eerie than any of the previous locations in Wind Waker, having more of a grim and gray pallet as well as ominous music and scenery, but that wasn’t enough to spook me. In fact, the Earth Temple was (and still is) one of my favorite Zelda dungeons. However, even though I got over my fear of skeleton-type creatures, I wasn’t expecting what lied ahead. It was my first scare of the dungeon, and I hadn’t even reached the Redeads yet.
I was just finishing up a puzzle, and I had left Medli by that bizarre, blue fog. I had just stepped on the switch that activated the thing (cut me some slack, it’s been a while since I’ve played) when suddenly I heard a scream and the game cut to Medli being dragged into a pitch black hole by a Floormaster. I jumped when this happened. I’m more easily spooked by sounds than visuals, and when that twisted sound that’s emitted by these monsters reached my ears, it made my skin crawl. It didn’t help when afterward I myself was also taken prisoner by the Floormaster. I quickly learned how to dispatch these fiends and I got used to their ghastly shrieks after a while. It was still rather unnerving, but not as much as before. Of course, nothing compared to what was to come.
I remember stepping into the room that had the monster sealed away. Like a fool, I jumped right into the pit that contained five coffins. I learned that they opened when you walked passed them by getting smacked in the face by one, but it was okay because that one had a rupee in it. The next one had a less pleasant surprise. I walked passed the next one, rolling so I didn’t get hit this time, and there it was. I wasn’t that close to it yet having just somersaulted away. It kept staring at me with those black, soulless eyes. It was super creepy, and I didn’t want to fight it, but the game required me to, so I approached it with my sword drawn when — SCREEEEEEEEEEECH!!!
Holy Lon Lon cow! What did I just witness? I literally threw my controller up in the air as it happened. Its eyes began to glow red and its jaws extended wide, hobbling over to Link as he froze in fear. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, the Redead jumps on top of Link, latching onto him with his long, decrepit hands, and starts biting his brains out! Now there were horrifying visuals accompanying a wretched sound, and that’s when I said: “I’m out of here!” But there was no ladder to escape! I had to kill it (either that or get the key, which I was way too frazzled to figure that out at this point). I ran to the opposite end of the room and chucked bombs galore at the beast. Even after it died, it’s body still lingered, and I continued to throw bombs just to make sure it stayed dead. Several more times I had to encounter this atrocity, and every time I just threw a hoard of bombs. I wasn’t getting anything near those things!
I first encountered these Redeads when I was just eleven years old, and it’s been eleven years since then, but every time, no matter how many times I see it, when the Redeads let loose that ear-piercing cry and their eyes glow red, I lose it. Even finding pictures for this article sent shivers up my spine! In all honesty, though, I wouldn’t change them if I had the option. They’re supposed to be creepy. They add that overall chilling tone to the Earth Temple. I may not like them, but they’re not necessarily supposed to be liked. I have to give credit when credit is due, Nintendo, you sure made one unforgettable monster! Seriously, I still have nightmares.