The Best Monster Flicks of All Time

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What is it about monster movies that audiences love so much? This specific brand of horror brings the unknown straight to the forefront, whether dealing with Loch Ness, Godzilla, or Frankenstein. Some simply like to be confronted with a scary and emotive situation, while others seem to enjoy the very human plotlines at play in these imaginative new worlds.

Regardless of why audiences enjoy monster movies, it’s clear that there’s still a huge appetite for modern retellings and totally new scenarios. Starting with 1915’s ‘The Golem’ to 2023’s ‘Unwelcome’, we simply can’t get enough of strange things that go bump in the night—and possibly even knock on our doors.

And this obsession with monsters isn’t unique to cinema. In fact, plenty of games zero in on monster themes and narratives—even digital favorites like slots. For example, Reactoonz slot is a title that challenges players to spin the wheel and match up multiple types of geometrical monsters in a high-tech laboratory. The game touches on an interest in science and mutations. It even includes a Quantum-themed bonus round.

Looking back, what sorts of monsters have left their mark on cinema and horror? Let’s take a look at some of the most unique and memorable monster flicks of all time. To keep things monster-centric, we’re avoiding titles like ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Jaws’, and ‘King Kong’, which feature familiar monsters.

Let The Right One In (2008)

Vampires are one of our world’s most enduring monsters in terms of myths and legends. But vampire horror hasn’t quite staked its claim (pun intended) on the film industry. However, this coming-of-age horror flick hits all the right notes. It recounts the tale of a Swedish boy and a vampire girl who aren’t just contending with their own differences, but must also wade through very dark human trials. It’s spooky, it’s familiar, and it has no qualms about revealing some of the bloodiest aspects of vampirism.

Nosferatu (1922)

‘Let The Right One In’ offers a modern spin on horror which focuses more on humanity than the monster it focuses on. A century earlier, audiences were terrified of Nosferatu, a character based on Count Dracula. This early project took all the weight and horror of the Dracula books (penned by Bram Stoker) and immortalized them into a skin-crawling exploration of Count Orlok’s hellish existence. To this day, it’s hailed as the height of vampire horror

Photo by Pixabay:
Photo by Pixabay

Alien (1979)

As outlined by both of our vampire examples, many cinematic monsters are part of long standing myths and folktales. Even ‘Godzilla’ (1954), a ‘new’ monster, was born from social upheaval in Japan, highlighting the deeply human nature of horror and monsters. But it’s Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ (based on a novel by Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon) that offered a totally new terror. Combining elements of body horror with the ongoing Space Race contributed to an entirely new sub-genre within the budding sci-fi movement. 

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Above, we outlined how human nature is often at the core of horror films. Viewed in this way, monsters are reflections of our own unfiltered inner trials. This is most clearly evident in ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, which takes audiences into the half-real and half-mythic world of Ofelia’s troubled life. Using Spain’s Francoist period as a backdrop, the main character ventures into a world filled with monsters like the Faun and the Pale Man, who serve as parables.

The Thing (1982)

Not all monsters have to be fleshed out. In fact, modern film has led to dozens of titles that prevent audiences from knowing or understanding what lurks beyond. This is highlighted in ‘The Thing’, a film that covers a doomed research trip to Antarctica that leads to the discovery of a spider-like alien that’s capable of adapting to life on earth. Though it was originally hated by most critics, the film has since become a cult hit—one that was recognized as leaving its mark on the horror and monster genres.

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