Since way back before films even existed, people have been obsessed with the idea of superstitious beasts that may or may not exist out there. Whether they’re mythical creatures of lore, aliens, or anything in between, there have been some hair-raising movies made about terrifying monsters – and while there’s a lot of bad ones out there, we’re going to take a look at a few of the best!
The 2014 reboot featuring the king of monsters himself was rather divisive among audiences, but that may have been due to general audience expectations of modern cinema, rather than due to the quality of the movie. Director Gareth Edwards takes a leaf out of Steven Spielberg’s book when he approached Jaws: you don’t always have to see the monster for it to have an impact – even the less-is-more marketing material was on point (see above). So rather than blowing hundreds of millions of dollars on a CGI budget to cram Godzilla into every frame, Edwards was very careful about where (and when) the iconic Kaiju appeared. For those who prefer their monster movies full of tension instead of littered with CGI-bashing fights, Godzilla is a great option.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Comic-book fans will likely be familiar with the adventures of Hellboy and his team of misfits who investigate and deal with all matters involving evil and the occult. Where the first movie served as a good introduction to the universe, the second offered an extensive and immersive trip into New York City’s paranormal underworld. The underground market scene has so many bizarre and puzzling monsters, from vicious little tooth fairies and a forest deity to the mechanised golden army itself, all of which could’ve probably justified a movie for themselves. Guillermo Del Toro wasn’t able to continue with the franchise, but luckily he stuffed this film with enough intriguing monstrosities for two movies.
This 1979 sci-fi horror was so well executed that it would capture audience imaginations sufficiently to create an entire franchise still producing movies as recently as 2017’s Alien: Covenant. The fear-factor in this movie is a perfect storm of ingredients: our latent fear of whatever extraterrestrial life might be out there, Sigourney Weaver’s fantastic performance as Ripley, a crew member of a space ship who is stalked by a menacing alien, and the brutally painful way that these aliens multiply in number. In case you’d never pulled up this classic, here’s a hint: they’re affectionately referred to as ‘facehuggers’ before they’re born. This movie and its titular villains are enough to convince anyone that potential space travel is something to stay far, far away from.
M. Night Shyamalan’s well known for having an inconsistent career, making hits like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense as well as clangers like The Happening. In The Village, although equally loved and hated depending on who ask, he does an amazing job of creating terror and dread in what seems like a quaint little settlement in the woods. Now, the ending is usually what either makes someone love or hate this film, but whether it succeeds or fails doesn’t change the fact that the strange, wolf-like monsters are terrifying both before and after you know their true nature.
When it comes to monsters and effectively using them to scare people senseless, it’s pretty safe to say Stephen King is an expert. The premise to this story is simple: a group of citizens is trapped in a super market when the power goes out when a sinister mist enveloped the whole town. This mist is inhabited by several species of bizarre, murderous creatures that nab civilians if they dare set foot outside. As frightening as the massive spiders with razor-wire webs or strange, dinosaur-like monsters are, the fear experienced by the group when the panic sets in, and how sometimes the worst monsters aren’t necessarily the ones that look terrifying, are the real highlights of this film. This one of those rare cases where a movie is just as effective and enjoyable as the book was.