Movie monsters have been with us almost as long as movies have. From the biggest and strongest monsters of the cinema to microscopic critters and even some that are literally inert, the silver screen has been home to just about every kind of monster imaginable. Many monster movies are classics, from James Whale's Frankenstein to Godzilla to The Fly and The Thing, from Alien to Gremlins to Creature from the Black Lagoon. These iconic creature features make up an important part of our cultural imagination.
But not all monster movies get the credit they deserve, and these underrated flicks are fun, fierce, and filled with weird creatures every bit as cool and creepy as their more famous brethren, all of them ripe for rediscovery. Vote up the ones you think deserve to be better known!
- 1662 VOTESPhoto: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
In Frank Darabont's 2007 adaptation of Stephen King's novella of the same name, a variety of townsfolk take refuge from the eponymous mist - or, more accurately, the creatures who dwell within said mist - in a grocery store, only to discover that their own fear and fanaticism may prove to be more dangerous than the monsters outside. Such a setup would have made it easy enough to make a movie without actually featuring many monsters - the mist keeps them pretty well hidden from view, after all, even while we know they're out there.
Darabont doesn't go that route, though. Instead, there are monsters left, right, and sideways, though they never detract from the human drama or the film's gut-punch of an ending.
- 2644 VOTESPhoto: Universal Pictures
As an affectionate ode to the monster movies of the 1950s, this 1990 horror-comedy hit all the right notes, spawning a half-dozen sequels that offered gradually diminishing returns, and even a short-lived TV series. The original is where it's at, though, thanks to winning characters, a pitch-perfect tone, a cast that includes Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire, and some of the best practical effects ever committed to film.
Even more than three decades later, the "graboids" still hold up - giant, subterranean worms with tentacle-like tongues that end in smaller mouths. They have to be seen to be believed.
- 3351 VOTESPhoto: SF Norge A/S
Since bursting onto the international horror scene with this 2010 Norwegian found-footage flick, Andre Ovredal has helmed a number of high-profile horror films, including the Guillermo del Toro-produced Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. While Trollhunter wasn't quite the first feature he worked on, it's his first solo directing credit, and where he really got his start. It's obvious to see why this picture was a festival favorite.
Mixing humor and social satire with a "mockumentary" horror flick that makes incredible use of its creatures, the story follows a group of documentarians who run into the country's only park ranger responsible for keeping tabs on the troll population, which are kept secret from the public. The mix of amazing monsters and a very blue-collar approach is absolutely fantastic, and some of the creature sequences have to be seen to be believed.
- 4250 VOTESPhoto: Buena Vista Pictures
Before he directed the 1999 remake of The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, Stephen Sommers helmed this cult hit horror flick about a luxury cruise liner being held up by mercenaries who discover they've been beaten to the punch by a giant aquatic monster. Those who enjoyed The Mummy's mix of adventure and horror, along with that film's lively banter, will be happy to know that Deep Rising contains plenty of both, alongside some very R-rated gore effects and one heck of a weird monster.
It doesn't hurt that it also boasts a heck of a B-list cast, including Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Sommers regular Kevin J. O'Connor, Silence of the Lambs's Anthony Heald, an early-career Djimon Hounsou, and others.