The Daleks have been scary and ridiculous in equal measure. With their pepperpot shells and monotone robotic voice (and modern squiddy form) it’s easy to forget that they are the product of the most extreme form of transhumanist experiments.
The Daleks were born for a single purpose, to ensure the Kaled race survived beyond a brutal 1000 year war that poisoned their planet. Along the way, their creator Davros went to extremes using genetic manipulation, convinced the only way to ensure the Kaled race survived was to be the top species in the Universe.
If only their schemes weren’t so comical.
This story is how I like to remember the Daleks. Mutated lumps of flesh, devoid of any of the positive characteristics we associate as being human. They aren’t alien, they are simply what we could become if you take away all the things that make us – us.
The borg are us co-opted for a different species, to act as zombie workers in a giant hive. The Daleks are us, the mutated, concentrated essence of all the worst parts that make us human. The reality is, the right technology in the right hands could see such a being coming into existence.
That is what makes them scary to me.