Found this menacing looking bug at our front door in southern Vermont. The head was turning side to side, with the pinchers (?) open. It was about 1 1/2″ long. Attached are a few pictures.
You have some good reason to call the Oil Beetle spooky. Another common name is Short Winged Blister Beetle, Meloe angusticollis. I believe you may have exaggerated the size, but the beetle is found in Southern Canada and the Northern United States. It is usually found in crop fields and meadows where it eats herbaceous foliage being particularly fond of potatoes. If disturbed, the beetle feigns death by falling on its side. The leg joints exude droplets of liquid that cause blisters.