Nothing beats a good monster movie for getting your heart pumping, a beautiful combination of adrenaline-fueled thrills and stomach-churning scares that always feels like the dramatic equivalent of a death-defying rollercoaster trip. At the same time, monster movies have always been the proud birthplace of allegorical storytelling; exquisitely designed stand-ins for the real-life fears that plague and govern us, and the films mentioned below are a particularly compelling assemblage of both modern panic and technology-age Monsters, born explicitly out of the era in which they were produced, and more universal, primal fears, timeless monster movies.
You’ll also see those downright hilarious monster movies.
Here are a few housekeeping notes: I’m throwing a broad net in terms of what qualifies as a beast, but I’m not considering ghosts, vampires, or werewolves for two reasons. For one thing, they are such well-established subgenres in their own right that they need their own lists (which you can find by clicking through the links.) Two, since they were so prevalent and popular at the turn of the millennium (particularly vampires and zombies), they would either dominate the lineup or push the roster to become unwieldy.
Suppose you’ve spent the last decade blowing red balloons, refusing scary children’s pop-up novels, and turning down invites to quaint cabins in the jungle. In that case, you must have seen as many monster movies as we have.
What is it about monster movies that makes you feel both exhilarated and afraid to sleep at night? Perhaps it’s due to the authenticity of the special effects. Perhaps it’s the filmmakers’ relentless inventiveness of coming up with innovative directions to render monsters frightening. Or maybe it’s more straightforward: the need to be terrified witless with no consequences.
Whatever it is, this genre isn’t going anywhere, and it seems that even more, scary stories have yet to be published.
This post contains a selection of the best monster movies. Are you about to go on a monster movies hunt?
Straight up, Gareth Edwards’ English-language studio take on Godzilla has a couple of shortcomings. Still, one of them is the monster action. Sadly, the human aspect of the plot is such a grind — Edwards either kills or sidelines his intriguing characters in the first act, leaving Aaron Taylor-Ford Johnson’s Brody, who’s basically a talking vanilla custard as the movie’s heart. Brody may be as bland as clear soup. Still, he serves as a cipher of heroism well enough, and we’re only pursuing him because he leads us right into the monster assault.
Godzilla wins his glowing stripes and a spot on this page here. Godzilla and the fabulously built MUTOs who awaken him from his ancient slumber are played coy by Edwards. He teases glimpses of the monsters, makes wonderful use of perspective with some of the most imaginative and effective set-pieces ever used in a monster movie, and in doing so, encourages what is all too much lacking in crasser Kaiju films: sheer awe. Godzilla has never appeared larger, or else we have never appeared so small and completely outmatched.
The “classic” age of Godzilla films, the Shwa era, includes most monster movies that people imagine when they think of our beloved atomic lizard. Strangely, although it opens with the decidedly grim and somber 1954 original, this period is better remembered for the franchise’s goofier moments, such as Godzilla’s ridiculous son Minilla and pretty much every pro-wrestling style GIF you’ve ever seen of the mighty kaiju.
Since then, it made the history of Monster Movies.
Pacific Rim Series
Guillermo Del Toro’s spectacular Kaiju vs. Mecha spectacle-fest, Pacific Rim, demonstrates his mastery of monsters once more. I am a staunch supporter of the Pacific Rim. Until the end of time, you can tell me that Raleigh Beckett is dull (I’m still a Charlie Hunnam believer). Still, no amount of subpar human drama can overshadow the sheer pleasure of watching Del Toro gleefully play with his cinematic toys. Big fucking monsters and big fucking robots are fighting it out worldwide, all with Del Toro’s trademark flourish of human resilience and emotional earnestness.
The earth is destroyed during a war between humanity and a hideous race from another dimension. The humans resort to outdated Jaeger technologies as a last line of protection after a foolishly built wall struggles completely to hold the enemy at bay. Pacific Rim has a few core elements that make it a charming and endlessly rewatchable movie, in addition to Guillermo’s infectious passion for the material and the beautiful fighting set-pieces. The Kaiju and Jaeger prototypes are fantastic, and each has its own appearance and personality.
They’ve all been assigned trading card names like Knifehead and Leatherback, Gipsy Danger, and Striker Eureka because they’re all too well-considered on an individual basis, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. There are colorful side characters, especially Charlie Day and GDT regular Ron Perlman. Finally, there’s Ramin Djawadi’s awesome, exciting goal, which makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the championship game, and you just have to stand up and cheer. That sensation, the moment on the bleachers where you shoot out of your seat and root, root, root for the home team — that’s what watching Pacific Rim looks like.
It’s an affirmation of the human spirit, the strength of teamwork, and the importance of giving something your best. It’s also a damn good sporting event in which giant co-piloted robots wield barges like baseball bats in combat against giant, glowing creatures.
Splinter is a proud descendant of John Carpenter’s paranoid creature element stripped down to its bare basics, The Thing through highway terrors and gas-station siege. Director Toby Wilkins’ low-budget directorial debut has a technical edge thanks to the filmmakers’ expertise in visual effects and a scene-stealing performance from Shea Whigham, who often elevates his content. Splinter is almost entirely set in a gas station and follows Polly and Seth (Jill Wagner and Paulo Costanzo), a realistically worn-in-but-still-in-love couple kidnapped by a pair of dangerous fugitives (Whigham and Rachel Kerbs).
When the party stops at a gas station, they are attacked by an amorphous, parasitic parasite that inhabits and reconfigures the bodies of its victims into hideous malformations.
The storyline is thin, but the atmosphere is dense. Aside from the budget-defying creature effects, the movie’s biggest asset is its confidence in its protagonists, who are offered the chance to exceed expectations and rise above cliches. Splinter gleefully defies gender stereotypes by adding Polly as the rugged, outdoorsy kind compared to Seth’s reticent intellectualism. She embraces the individual qualities that come with those characteristics.
Meanwhile, Whigham’s Dennis Farrell, introduced as a brutal adversary, eventually emerges as a monster movies the standout star. It’s the sort of movie that constantly appears on “Best Movies You Haven’t Seen” and “Best Monster Movies you have to watch” lists, and it’s the kind of directorial debut that makes you regret Wilkins hasn’t made another original movie yet.
All it took for the production staff of this new horror classic mixed with monster movies to striking terror into the hearts of moviegoers was a slew of strategically positioned red balloons. Andrés Muschietti’s fearsome 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel was realized in two parts, the first of which was one of the best monster movies of the decade, with both critical and box office success.
Some would still associate Tim Curry with Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a representation of fear itself. But it’s Bill Skarsgard who scares you to death in this 2017 version of Stephen King’s classic book, set in the 1980s rather than the 1950s. As Pennywise, Skarsgard’s eyes dart in opposite directions, giving the character a genuinely monstrous and deranged appearance. He drools while he engages with the girls as if starving, ravenous to eat them and their terror.
Although the movie is about more than just a creepy clown and delves further into adolescent fears, the clown will really torment you. Bill Skarsgard, who has been perfecting that messed-up grin since he was a kid, genuinely spins an unforgettable Pennywise. If he’s not onscreen, you’re wondering when he’ll be. While IT: Chapter Two provides a satisfying conclusion and features an undeniably outstanding performance by Bill Hader, it is the first chapter that truly stands out. Or, more accurately, floats.
Also Read about the craziest clash of the Century, Godzilla vs Kong! An iconic end or a new beginning?
A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place, John Krasinki’s tense directorial debut, weaponized sound to the point that viewers were too terrified to eat crunchy snacks throughout the movie. This suspenseful horror movie follows a young family led by Krasinski and Emily Blunt. They try to live unnoticed in a world where monsters prey by sound.
A Quiet Place is a crowd-pleaser that channels a Spielbergian approach to monster horror, offering a constant stream of exciting, action-packed set-pieces amid the character drama. Still, it’s the touching beats amongst the family that really bring it home.
A Quiet Place is a 90-minute movie that follows the Abbott family in a post-apocalyptic world where armored monsters prey by sound. That means no conversation, no abrupt motions, and an entirely new way of life in which the fear of death looms at all times.
Krasinksi’s horror is rooted in the terrors of parenting and the innate fear of protecting what you love, meaning that you constantly cheer for the family, weep for their injuries, and rejoice in their worries in every piano-wire close moment of suspense.
“In this movie, sound also plays a role. This family’s enemy is sound,”
Trick ‘r Treat
Michael Dougherty’s love letter to Halloween is filled with monsters, creatures, murders, and the enigmatic spirits that make All Hallow’s Eve such a beautiful, eerie night. There are werewolves, zombie ghouls, and would-be vampires haunting the night in the intertwined sequences of Dougherty’s carefully orchestrated anthology movie. Still, Dougherty’s apparent appreciation and professional knowledge of the holiday’s mythology, culture, and superstition, which saturates every moment of the movie, is the movie’s greatest power.
In contrast, the movie’s most memorable monster is an original creation: Sam, a pint-sized horror with a burlap sack mask and a deadly sharp loli representing the Halloween spirit and appearing throughout the movie’s segments revenge from those who break his laws. He’s an incredibly unique creature development that stands out from his contemporaries with his diminutive size and cheeky disposition, which he reveals by his bloody misdeeds. With an iconography that is so easily available and embedded in the spirit of Halloween, you feel as though you grew up with the legend of Sam, although he is a new creation.
King Kong Series
The sad and exciting story of King Kong made its appearance in Hollywood in 1933. Since then, the confused ape has appeared in several films.
There was King Kong before Godzilla and Gamera. Merian C. Cooper, a movie director, produced the world’s favorite giant, rampaging ape, which debuted on the big screen in 1933. King Kong, dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” has inspired countless films, video games, and even amusement park rides.
King Kong portrays humanity’s tense relationship with the natural world and its mysterious marvels, at times as a misguided antihero and at other times as a vicious beast.
Tonight would be a night of burning and looting.
The Predator is a no-brainer for lists of the coolest movie monsters, but have you ever considered that, far from the meat-and-potatoes jungle-bound blast-em-up that we are happy to accept this movie as there is maybe a more subtle subtext about US military imperialism (members of a cut-off unit in the dense jungle are picked off by an unseen enemy) and racial anxiety? (a quaint suggestion that dreadlocks are both cool and alien). However, Arnie goes up against the beast alongside an ethnically mixed crew of sweating grunts, which certainly lends credence to the theory.
And suppose anyone can find evidence that the dreadlocks mentioned above are really Na’vi-style love tentacles. In that case, you can pretty much dismiss the notion entirely.
The phallus of malice
It says much about Hollywood’s confidence in the future of the human race that they allowed us a 4-0 run of victories over perhaps the most malicious horde of graphite-domed killing machines ever to grace the outer reaches of the cosmos. The fact that the Alien was built from a large array of pulleys, levers, and even the cooling tubes from a Rolls Royce doesn’t make it feel any less repellent and genuine.
H.R. Giger created the xenomorph in its adult form, which is all teeth and spikes. Its larval shape resembles a very disgusting crab-octopus thing that sticks itself to the victim’s face to impregnate them before killing them. No, no.
The ultimate excuse to avoid going to space. Alien, directed by Ridley Scott, is more a thriller than science fiction when the wretched crew of the Nostromo encounters the lethal alien race and is slaughtered one by one. Nothing has ever seemed more like a vision than the xenomorph.
There are also parallels between children and movie monsters. They are self-conscious. They are noticeable in a crowd. They can’t strike up a conversation with adults. They are always walking on and smashing stuff. Anything that goes bad is attributed to them. It turns out they have much else in common.
Remember when you were a kid, and you were afraid of the creature under the bed or in the closet, and your parents would order you to go to sleep because it wasn’t real? Monsters, Inc. reveals what every kid really knows: the things that go bump in the night are more real than silly grown-ups realize.
Monstropolis is home to two monsters: James P. “Sulley” Sullivan and Michael “Mike” Wazowski. They work for Monsters, Inc., a corporation that uses children’s cries to fuel their planet. Sulley must return a human child to her home without anybody discovering she was, after that unintentionally allowing a human child into the monster realm. When Mike and Sulley discover a sinister scheme to kidnap little children into Monsters, Inc., they are forced to rescue the human child Boo and the children in the human world.