The staple of the flag and sail story, pirates have missing limbs, disregard for social niceties, drink rum, wench without remorse, bury treasure, turn on each other, and have haunting stories of death and battle, lost treasure and monsters of the deep.
Either the black clad shinobi or the professional thief/assassin/saboteur, the ninja is the consumate badass. They have cool costumes, wicked weapons like nunchucks and throwing stars, and in addition to knowing martial arts, they are sneaky, and use gadgets and surprises like smoke filled bombs to escape dangerous situations. There are also lady ninjas who do all of the same things while displaying a stunning amount of skin.
The integration of man and machine, the cyborg is a badass that is struggling with lost humanity. Darth Vader, cyborg. Robocop, cyborg. Cyborgs are bigger, badder, and tougher than a professional wrester hopped up on PCP. They also tend to have inhuman voices, and shoot really really well.
Before Twilight ruined them, vampires were sexy fiends stalking the night, and before Stoker ruined them, they were unholy undead abominations that fed on the blood of the living to sustain their eternal torment.
The werewolf used to be a bad guy. An uncontrolled rampaging killing and eating machine that existed for the pursuit of blood and the glory of the human hunt. They in the back of our minds still are, and that is why werewolves are still cool.
Technically vampires AND strippers, but we arent quibblers here.
The badass stripper drops her top and picks up a zombie killin ax, the sad stripper dies a little bit each time she performs, adding pathos and gravity to a sad story. In the background, they provide counterpoints to often male heavy action movies, or demonstrate the degradation of women by modern society, or how a woman can take a system and make it her bitch. Nudity can be used to imply either strength, or demonstrate vulnerability.
The endless horde of shuffling corpses, all hungry for human flesh. It doesn't matter if they are an allegory for consumerism, communism, the mindlessness of the masses, they are a fantastic antagonist, and without zombies the entire FPS and survival horror genres of video games would be completely unrecognizable.
The relentless perfect killing machine of the ocean. Sharks have existed largely unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs and they have captured the grace and absolute brutality of the perfect predator. They are genetically experimented on, flown in tornados, invaded many coastal cities, and closed many beaches against the will of the tourism minded mayor.
The dinosaur lives on as a childhood fascination than the lucky ones don't grow out of. Dinosaurs are like dragons, massive and powerful reptiles, without the negative associations of dragons (chinese good luck dragons, fairie dragons, Dragonlance, etc) and they did exist. Larger than life, with giant claws, giant teeth, dinosaurs are awesome.
10. Slasher movie villains
11. Kung Fu
12. Oversized swords
14. Car Chases
16. Time Travel plots that make sense
17. Big ass spaceships
19. Giant stompy robots
21. Rambo (big ass action hero)
22. Buffy (hot girls who kick ass)
23. Putting wings on things that dont have wings
24. Mad scientists
25. Gritty reboots of G rated things
26. Big ass battles
27. One Liners
28. Die Hard (big action in confined space)
29. Scary face eating aliens
30. Stories that end with fantastic mind screws (Gainax, 6th Sense)