Monster movies are often dismissed as cornball nonsense for children, but, as anyone who's scratched the surface knows, the best creature features reveal the greatest fears and purest malevolence of the society that produces them. Great monster flicks are some of the best movies on Netflix.
Before you roll your eyes and try to run as far away from The Thing as possible, it's important to know monster movies have come a really long way since their rise to popularity in the 1950s. Gone are the days of men in homemade monster suits and campy hand-held puppets playing not-so-terrifying creatures from Hollywood's past.
The '50s delivered a bevy of pretty good monster movies, starting with The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and moving onto classics like Godzilla. Most streaming monster movies are similar to the original gangsters, but only in premise. The best monster movies on Netflix pay homage to classic tropes but give it a fresh twist and ditch the dumb costumes.
Modern technology and CGI has led the monster flick in two different directions. There's the campy, low-budget creature feature that errs to comedy. These films are usually based around some kind of ludicrous, outlandish monster (think: giant wasps or shark tornados) and a classic horror film tropes (think: reckless college students, ancient evil curses). Then, there's serious psychological thrillers that focus on abstract monsters and don't rely on cheap gore. Some films do a little of both.
If you're wondering what to watch on Netflix, don't leave it up to chance. Here are the best streaming monster movies (and if you like this, check out the best streaming ghost movies for a weekend full of binging). When you're done, be sure to checkout these sea creature movies.
After a seismologist gets unusual readings on her equipment, handymen discover 30-foot-long carnivorous worms that suck their prey underground.
170Is this one of the better ones?
- Actors: Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire, Fred Ward, Ariana Richards, Michael Gross
- Released: 1990
- Directed by: Ron Underwood
A troubled mother-daughter relationship faces the ultimate test when the duo's broken-down car leaves them trapped within reach of a vicious creature.
121Is this one of the better ones?
- Actors: Zoe Kazan, Ella Ballentine, Aaron Douglas, Scott Speedman
- Released: 2016
- Directed by: Bryan Bertino
A going-away party in Manhattan is interrupted when a mysterous monster of epic proportions launches an attack on New York City.
1210Is this one of the better ones?
- Actors: Odette Annable, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, Mike Vogel, T. J. Miller
- Released: 2008
- Directed by: Matt Reeves
A team of experts -- including a biologist and two scientists -- must stop an oversized lizard from destroying all of Manhatan.
711Is this one of the better ones?
- Actors: Matthew Broderick, Hank Azaria, Jean Reno, Harry Shearer, Lance Reddick
- Released: 1998
- Directed by: Roland Emmerich