Monster movies they are a sub-genre of film horror and sort of science fiction movies which have always fascinated the public, which has always had a morbid curiosity for fantastic and frightening creatures. The monster movie sub-genre has been very productive over the years, with many works going on to become classics and inspiring many more.
Monster movies have been broadcast all over the world and have caused a lot of emotions, both good and bad. Some evoked fear and horror, while others evoked laughter and surprise. In any case, monster movies have left a lasting impression on the minds of viewers and have been a major factor in popular culture.
The most common side of a monster movie is the struggle between a human group of protagonists and one or more monsters, which often play the role of an opposing force. In Japanese cinema, giant monsters known as kaiju often fill this role. The monster is often created by a mistake of mankind – a failed experiment, the effects of a radiation or habitat destruction. Either the monster is from outer space, has been on Earth for a long time without anyone ever seeing it, or is being released (or awakened) from some sort of prison it was being held in.
The monster is usually a villain, but can be a metaphor for humanity’s continued destruction; giant monsters since the introduction of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) have for a time been considered a symbol of atomic warfare, for example. In contrast, Godzilla started out this way, but over time his reputation has grown to become a cultural icon to the Japanese, much like Superman is a cultural symbol to Americans, with a series of films featuring Godzilla as a sort of protagonist who helps protect humans from other more evil monsters.
The humans’ attempts to destroy the monster would initially be the use of an opposing military force – an attempt that would antagonize the monster even more and prove futile (a cliché associated with the genre). The Godzilla series used the concept of a superweapon built by Japanese scientists to suppress him or any of the monsters he battles. Historically, monsters have been represented using stop motion animation, puppets, or creature suits. Nowadays, many monster movies have used CGI monsters.
The commercial success of monster movies has been a constant phenomenon. In 2006, the South Korean film The Host involved more political overtones than most of its genre. 2008’s Cloverfield, a story in keeping with classic monster movies, focuses entirely on the perspective and reactions of the human cast and is considered by some to be a metaphorical analysis of terrorism and the 9/11 attacks. The following year, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was released, in which the legendary Loch Ness monster is depicted as a playful creature threatened by the excessive aggressiveness of humans. The British Independent Film Award-winning Monsters presented the story of an outbreak of monsters from the perspective of the affected humans, similar to Cloverfield.
In this article, we will explore the monster movie sub-genre and look at some of the most famous and influential films of this type. Here is a list of monster movies sorted by year of release:
King Kong (1933)
King Kong is an adventure movie and science fiction from 1933, directed by Merian C. Cooper e Ernest B. Schoedsack. It is considered a cinematic classic and one of the most iconic films in the history of cinema.
The plot of the film follows a documentary filmmaker, Carl Denham, who embarks on a ship with his crew and actress Ann Darrow to travel to the mysterious island of Skull Island, where he tries to film a legendary creature: a giant gorilla called Kong. After capturing Kong, the troupe returns to New York to perform him in a show, but the gorilla breaks free and wreaks havoc in the city, before being killed by the police.
King Kong was a cutting-edge film for its time, thanks to the stop-motion technique used to animate the gorilla and other creatures on the island. The film was also notable for its spectacular action scenes, including Kong’s attack on New York City.
The film became an instant box office hit, and has influenced numerous other films and works of popular culture over the years. It has also inspired several remakes and sequels, with the most recent being the 2017 film ‘Kong: Skull Island’. However, the original 1933 film remains a timeless classic of cinema.
The 1931 film Frankenstein is a classic of the horror genre and one of the first monster movies to be produced by Universal Studios. Directed by James Whale, the film is inspired by the famous novel by Mary Shelley “Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus”, published in 1818.
The plot of the film follows Dr. Henry Frankenstein (played by Colin Clive), a scientist who is obsessed with creating artificial life. After collecting human corpse parts, Frankenstein builds an artificial body and brings it to life with an electric shock. But the monster he created (played by Boris Karloff) is deformed and evil, terrorizing the local community.
The film is known for its frightening scenes of tension and violence, but also for the way it explores profound themes such as human nature, moral responsibility and loneliness. Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the monster was particularly acclaimed, and his costume and facial makeup became iconic.
Frankenstein has had a great impact on popular culture, and the character of the monster has become an archetype of the horror genre. The film also spawned numerous sequences and remakes, but the 1931 original remains one of the masterpieces of horror cinema.
Island of the Fishmen (1942)
Fishman Island is a 1942 Italian monster movie directed by Roberto Bianchi Montero. The plot of the film follows the story of a group of shipwrecked people who end up on a tropical island inhabited by a tribe of fishmen, a legendary creature that lives in the waters around the island.
The film was one of the first to depict this type of fantastic creature in cinema, and it had a significant impact on the popular culture of the time. The director used a number of innovative techniques to create the effect of the fishmen, including the use of special costumes and visual effects.
The film was met with great acclaim in its time, but also attracted some criticism for its portrayal of indigenous peoples and its romantic take on colonialism. Nonetheless, it remains an important film in the history of Italian cinema, as well as a reference work for the adventure and fantasy genre.
It was also the subject of a remake in 1979, directed by Sergio Martino, with the title “The island of fish men” which also achieved some commercial success.
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
It is a 1953 monster movie directed by Eugene Lourie. The film tells the story of a prehistoric creature who awakens following a nuclear explosion and begins to destroy the city of New York. The film is considered to be one of the first monster movies of the kaiju genre and has inspired many other similar films since. It was also the first film to use Ray Harryhausen’s special effects, which were very influential to science fiction and monster cinema.
The plot of ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ follows a paleontologist who discovers a prehistoric creature still alive after being awakened by a nuclear explosion. The creature, a giant lizard known as Rhedosaurus, begins to destroy the city of New York and the population tries to find a way to stop it. The protagonist works with his former mentor, a nuclear weapons expert, to find a way to kill the creature before it causes any further damage.
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
It is a 1954 monster movie directed by Jack Arnold and produced by Universal Pictures. The film tells the story of a group of scientists who discover a monster in the Amazon jungle: an amphibious humanoid creature that lives in the waters of the black lagoon.
The creature, who falls in love with a woman from the scouting party, is captured and taken to a scientific facility for further study. However, the creature manages to escape and seek vengeance against those who captured it.
The film became a classic of Universal’s monster genre, and was one of the first films to be shot in 3D. The creature, played by actor Ben Chapman, has become a cinematic icon, with its distinctive design and monstrous yet vulnerable nature.
The film also had a lasting cultural impact, influencing many other films, books, and even popular culture. The creature has appeared in numerous sequences and remakes, such as 1955’s “Revenge of the Creature” and 1956’s “The Creature Walks Among Us”.
In summary, “Creature from the Black Lagoon” is a classic film of the monster genre that has influenced many other films and popular culture. With its iconic creature and intriguing story, the film has become a milestone in the history of cinema.
The film “Godzilla” is a classic of Japanese cinematography and was directed by Ishirō Honda and manufactured by the Toho Company. The film was released in 1954 in Japan and was the first in the Godzilla film franchise, which would go on to become one of the most popular and longest-running monster movies franchises in cinematic history.
The plot of the film revolves around the appearance of a giant creature which is called “Godzilla”. The creature is awakened by man’s nuclear activity and begins to destroy Tokyo. A group of scientists tries to find a way to stop Godzilla from destroying the entire city.
The film was shot in black and white and is known for its dark and dramatic atmosphere. The monster Godzilla was portrayed by a costume worn by an actor in a miniature set, and has become an icon of Japanese monster cinema.
The film was a huge box office success and prompted the Toho Company to produce a series of Godzilla films. The film also had a significant cultural impact, both in Japan and internationally, becoming a symbol of nuclear horror and man-made destruction.
Additionally, the film has been considered a metaphor for the destructive effects of nuclear weapons, and has been interpreted as a critique of US nuclear activities in Japan during World War II.
It is a 1961 science fiction film directed by Eugene Lourie. The plot follows a group of sailors who discover a giant, dinosaur-like monster in the waters of Ireland. The creature is captured and taken to London, where it is put on public display as a curiosity. However, the monster’s mother emerges from the depths of the ocean to try and retrieve her baby, wreaking havoc on the city.
The film was made in the Kaiju style, the Japanese genre of giant monsters, which was popular at the time. The creature, Gorgo, was created through the use of special effects that mix an actor’s costume with animatronics and stop-motion.
“Eddy” was a commercial success, particularly in the UK where it was filmed. It received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the special effects and action, while others criticized it for its lack of originality and predictable storyline.
Despite this, the film remained popular with Kaiju fans and influenced subsequent similar films such as ‘Godzilla’ and ‘King Kong’. It has also become a cult film among science fiction fans and lovers of period films.
It is a 1961 Japanese monster movie, directed by Ishirō Honda and manufactured by the Toho Company. The film is part of the kaiju genre, which focuses on giant monsters fighting each other.
The plot of the film follows a group of explorers who travel to a remote island to search for two women kidnapped by an indigenous tribe. Here they discover the existence of a giant mutant butterfly called Mothra, revered by the tribe as a goddess. However, when the scouts attempt to take the women away, they are ambushed by soldiers from the country of Mothra, the kingdom of Infant Island, who have declared Mothra their property.
Mothra is then sent to Tokyo as a medium of exchange for the abducted women, but when scientists discover that the butterfly is actually the last survivor of its kind, they attempt to take it for study. This leads to a series of confrontations between Mothra and the Japanese military, before the butterfly returns home safely.
The film is known for its gripping script and innovative special effects for its time. In particular, Mothra’s portrayal was praised for her beauty and unusual texture compared to other monsters in the genre. The film was followed by numerous other films starring the giant butterfly, such as “Mothra vs. Godzilla” and “Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth”.
It is a 1963 Japanese monster movie directed by Ishirō Honda, famous director of kaiju films such as Godzilla. The film is based on the short story “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hodgson.
The plot of the film follows a group of seven people who are shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they discover a giant mushroom that devours everything in its way. The survivors try to survive among the island’s vegetation, but soon discover that the mushrooms growing on the island have a strange effect on their minds and bodies.
The film is a work of science fiction horror which explores the themes of survival, isolation and despair. Matango was an innovative film for its time, thanks to the use of advanced special effects and make-up that allowed the creation of fantastic and monstrous creatures.
The film received a mixed critical reception upon its release, but over the years has become a cult film enjoyed by fans of the genre. The film’s soundtrack, composed by Sadao Bekku, is considered one of the best in Honda’s filmography.
Matango is an interesting film for fans of science fiction and horror cinema of the 60s, which offers an original vision on the survival themes and human isolation.
Curse of the Fly (1965)
It is a 1965 British monster movie, directed by Don Sharp and produced by Hammer Film Productions. It is the third and final film in Hammer’s fly film series, but unlike the first two films which focused on the dangers of teleportation, this film features a new storyline and characters.
The plot of the film follows the story of the Delambre family, a clan that has inherited the task of carrying out the teleportation experiments of their father André. In this third film, Dr. Delambre’s nephew Martin discovers that his father Henri has developed a human teleportation device that turns people into giant flies and mutants. Martin and his new wife Patricia try to help Henri find a cure for his genetic disease, but things escalate when the unstable Henri begins teleporting everyone he meets in an attempt to save himself.
The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but has gained a cult following among aficionados of the horror genre. Curse of the Fly is known for its extravagant storyline, the gothic atmosphere typical of the Hammer films and the special effects of the giant fly. The film is known for its extravagant storyline and distinctive special effects.
King Kong (1967)
It is a remake of the famous 1933 film, directed by John Guillermin and produced by Dino De Laurentiis in 1967.
The plot of the film follows the story of a scientific expedition that sets off in search of a legendary giant creature on the mysterious island of Mondo. The expedition is led by Dr. Carl Denham (played by John Guillermin) and also includes anthropologist Donna (played by Ingrid Pitt) and photographer Jack (played by Jeff Bridges). Once they arrive on the island, the team discovers that the gigantic Kong is real and that he lives among the caves of the island.
Kong is a gigantic creature, a sort of monkey of enormous size, who falls in love with Donna and kidnaps her, taking her with him to his home in the caves. Jack and the rest of the team try to save her, but are thwarted by the dangerous creatures that inhabit the island, including a giant snake.
The film was acclaimed for its innovative special effects for its time, which created a convincing image of the giant Kong. The film’s score, composed by John Barry, has also been lauded as one of the best of its time.
Overall, the film was a commercial success, although it did not achieve the same fame as its 1933 predecessor. Despite this, the film had a lasting impact on popular culture and inspired numerous remakes and spin-offs over the years. years.
The House That Dripped Blood (1971)
It is a 1971 British monster movie directed by Peter Duffell and written by Robert Bloch. It is an anthological horror made up of four segments, each of which tells a different story, all set in the same house.
The first segment, titled “Method for Murder”, follows a mystery author who moves into the house to find inspiration for his next novel. However, the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur when the character he’s writing seems to take on a life of its own.
The second segment, titled “Waxworks”, follows a man who visits a wax museum and falls in love with a wax figure of a woman. However, when he meets the real woman, he discovers that she is the daughter of the museum owner and that she has a terrible family secret.
The third segment, titled “Sweets to the Sweet,” follows a concerned father for his daughter who seems to have an uncanny attraction to the macabre and supernatural. While trying to protect her daughter, she discovers that she may have been influenced by their housekeeper, a suspicious and disreputable woman.
Finally, the fourth segment, titled “The Cloak”, follows an actor who plays a vampire in a film and who purchases a cloak to enhance his performance. However, he discovers that the cloak is actually enchanted and that it has real powers of vampirism.
It is a well-crafted and scary film that has gained a cult following among horror lovers. The combination of different stories set in the same house creates a feeling of continuity that makes the film even more disturbing. Furthermore, the stellar cast, which includes actors such as Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Denholm Elliott, help elevate the film to the next level.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1972)
It is a 1972 British monster movie, directed by Terence Fisher and produced by Hammer Film Productions. The film is the third in the series of Frankenstein films produced by Hammer and stars Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein.
The plot follows the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientific genius who created a monster through the reanimation of dead tissue. After the monster escapes, Frankenstein is forced into hiding, but is later framed for the murder of a young girl. Meanwhile, Frankenstein tries to reproduce the experiment, this time with a human brain, but his assistant, a young doctor, rebels against his inhumane practices.
The film is known for its gothic style and dark atmosphere, which have become a hallmark of Hammer films. Peter Cushing’s acting as a cold and calculating Victor Frankenstein was lauded by critics.
Overall, Curse of Frankenstein is considered one of the best Frankenstein films produced by Hammer, thanks to its gripping storyline, solid direction by Terence Fisher, and acting by Peter Cushing. The film was a major commercial success upon its release and helped solidify Hammer’s reputation as a producer of high quality horror films.
“Alligator” is a 1980 monster movie, directed by Lewis Teague and written by John Sayles. The film follows the story of a young alligator who is released into the Chicago sewer system and grows into a huge, aggressive animal after being exposed to illegal chemicals.
The film begins with a scene where a man flushes a baby alligator down the toilet in his bathroom after illegally bringing it to America as a pet. The puppy survives being flushed down the toilet and grows up in the Chicago sewer system, feeding on dead animals and chemicals that contain illegal radioactive substances.
The story takes off when a mangled body is found in one of the city’s sewers, piquing the interest of detective David Madison (played by Robert Forster), who begins to investigate what happened. Together with biologist Marisa Kendall (played by Robin Riker), Madison discovers that a huge alligator, which has grown to gigantic size, is responsible for the deadly attacks.
The film is known for its bizarre plot and graphic violence, but also for black humour that permeates many of his scenes. The film was received positively by critics and audiences, becoming a cult movie over the years.
It’s a funny and scary film about giant monsters, which has successfully combined horror with black humor.
The Howling (1981)
It is a 1981 horror film directed by Joe Dante and produced by Roger Corman. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Gary Brandner.
The plot follows television reporter Karen White (played by Dee Wallace), who, after being attacked by a serial killer, is sent to a psychiatric clinic to recover from the traumatic event. Here he meets Dr. George Waggner (played by Patrick Macnee), who runs an isolated community of werewolves. As Karen begins to investigate the community, she uncovers a dark secret that leads her into a fight for survival against werewolves.
The film was a commercial success and received positive reviews from critics. He is known for his innovations in Rick Baker’s special effects makeup, which created believable transformations of characters into werewolves. Furthermore, the film was one of the first to portray werewolves as creatures with a more human and less beastly side.
The film has become a cult film and has given rise to numerous sequences and adaptations in other media.
The Thing (1982)
It is a 1982 horror/sci-fi film directed by John Carpenter. The film is a remake of the 1951 film of the same name ‘The Thing from Another World’, but unlike its predecessor, the remake was very well received by critics and audiences.
The film follows a group of researchers in Antarctica who discover an alien creature that can take the form of any living thing. As the creature begins killing the party members one by one, paranoia and mistrust begin to spread among the survivors.
The film is known for its innovative and terrifying special effects, created by special effects master Rob Bottin, which included deformed creatures and mutants that mutated before the eyes of the spectators. The cast is made up of actors like Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley and Keith David, all good at bringing their tormented and paranoid characters to life.
The film was criticized upon its release for its violence and nasty nature, but became acult movie in subsequent years. The film was praised for its claustrophobic atmosphere and for its depiction of alienation and distrust between humans in extreme situations.
The Return of Godzilla (1984)
It is a 1984 Japanese monster movie directed by Koji Hashimoto and manufactured by Toho. The film marks the return of the Godzilla character after a nine-year hiatus since the 1975 film ‘Terror of Mechagodzilla’.
The plot of the film begins with the discovery of a wrecked Japanese boat near Ogasawara Island. The authorities discover that the island has been hit by an earthquake and when they send a helicopter to survey the area, Godzilla rises from the depths of the sea and begins to destroy Tokyo.
The Japanese government tries to find a way to defeat the creature and tries to cooperate with the United States, but in the end it is a journalist, Goro Maki, who discovers the key to stopping Godzilla. Maki reveals that Godzilla feeds on nuclear energy, so the Japanese government hatches a plan to lure the creature into a nuclear trap.
It was the first Godzilla film to be produced after a nine-year absence. The film reintroduced Godzilla as a destructive threat, rather than a hero who battles other monsters as in the previous films. The film was also notable for its use of advanced special effects for its time, such as the use of miniatures and animatronics.
The film received an American release with some changes in the soundtrack and the addition of some scenes and dialogues shot with American actors. Despite the film’s critical success in Japan, the US version received negative reviews from critics.
“Gremlins” is a 1984 monster movie directed by Joe Dante and produced by Steven Spielberg. The plot of the film follows a young man named Billy Peltzer (played by Zach Galligan) who receives a mysterious pet named Gizmo as a Christmas present. Little does Billy know, however, that Gizmo has some strict rules that must be obeyed to prevent him from multiplying into evil creatures called Gremlins.
When the rules are broken, the Gremlins take over the city and wreak havoc and destruction. Billy and his girlfriend Kate (played by Phoebe Cates) team up with Gizmo to defeat the Gremlins and save the city.
“Gremlins” has become famous for its blend of horror elements andcomedyas well as the appearance and behavior of the Gremlins themselves, which were created using a combination of animatronics and special effects. The film also had a huge cultural impact, leading to the creation of a toy line, a cartoon, a sequel, and a television series.
In summary, “Gremlins” is a 80’s movie classic which has had a lasting impact on popular culture. Its combination of horror, comedy and unforgettable characters made it a beloved film for many generations of moviegoers.
The Abyss (1989)
It is a 1989 monsters from the deep movie directed by James Cameron and starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn.
The plot of the film follows a team of offshore oil drillers who, following an accident, find themselves involved in a mysterious underwater event. The team is hired to recover a crashed submarine in the depths of the ocean. During the mission, the team discovers an unknown and highly advanced, but also dangerous life form that will force them to fight for survival.
It is an innovative film for its time, as it uses state-of-the-art special effects to create the underwater environments and alien creatures. In particular, the film is known for the creation of the character “Bud”, a sophisticated underwater robot capable of interacting with humans. The film received numerous accolades for special effects, including an Academy Award.
The film has also been the subject of controversy for its length, as the original version is approximately 171 minutes long, while the theatrically released version had been shortened to 140 minutes. Later, an extended version of the film called “The Abyss Special Edition” was released, which includes several minutes of never-before-seen scenes.
The film is considered a science fiction classic and has influenced many subsequent films in the genre. The film also helped bring attention to environmental issues related to ocean pollution.
Tremors is a 1990 film directed by Ron Underwood and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and Finn Carter.
The plot of the film follows two workers, Valentine McKee (Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Ward), who live in a small Nevada desert town called Perfection. Their daily routine is interrupted when strange phenomena begin to occur, such as the disappearance of some people and the presence of underground creatures that attack the villagers.
The two protagonists soon discover that these creatures are giant worms, known as Graboids, which move under the surface of the ground and are able to locate their prey thanks to the vibrations they emit. McKee and Bassett then try to find a way to defeat these monsters and save the community of Perfection.
The film has achieved moderate success with critics and audiences, thanks above all to its original plot and good dose of humor and action. Over the years it has become a cult movie, so much so that it has given rise to a series of sequels and prequels, as well as a television series.
Cloverfield is a 2008 monster movie directed by Matt Reeves and produced by J.J. abrams. The film was billed as a fake documentary showing an alien attack on New York City from the perspective of a group of friends.
The plot of the film follows a young man named Rob who, during a bachelor party, is suddenly attacked by a huge monster that emerges from the ocean. Along with a group of friends, including his ex-girlfriend Beth, Rob tries to survive as the city is destroyed by the monster and its parasitic creatures.
The film was shot with a handheld camera to create an effect of realism and immediate proximity to the action. The fact that a large part of the film is shot with this technique makes for a very immersive and intense viewing experience.
Cloverfield was a critical and commercial success, and launched the careers of some of its stars. The film was also appreciated for its ability to create an atmosphere of suspense and tension, keeping the viewer on the edge of his seat until the very end.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Pacific Rim is a 2013 monster movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. The film’s plot takes place in a near future where the world is threatened by giant creatures called Kaiju, who emerge from the Pacific Ocean through an interdimensional portal. To combat these creatures, the nations of the world unite to create Jaegers, large robots controlled by two neurally connected pilots.
The protagonist of the film is Raleigh Becket, a Jaeger pilot who gave up his career after the death of his co-pilot and brother, during a battle against a Kaiju. However, Raleigh is called back to service when the situation becomes critical and the Jaeger program is on the verge of closure.
Raleigh teams up with pilot Mako Mori and her mentor, the mysterious Stacker Pentecost, to battle the growing number of Kaiju that threaten the world. Over the course of the film, the protagonists discover that the threat of the Kaiju is much greater than they thought, and must face ever greater challenges to save humanity.
Pacific Rim was praised by critics for its impressive special effects, immersive action scenes and epic soundtrack. It also received a sequel in 2018, titled Pacific Rim: Uprising.