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Home > Blog > July 2013 > Friday Five: Monster Movies

This weekend, the sci-fi robots vs. colossal monsters of Pacific Rim will be stomping all over movie screens and battling at the box office. Director Guillermo del Toro, no stranger to fantastical cinematic creations (Cronos, Pan's Labyrinth, and the Hellboy movies), has gone back to the Saturday afternoon b-movies of his youth for inspiration for the film, and mixes in elements of Anime, Kaiju (monsters), and Mecha (robots) genres from the Japanese to create a world where monstrous creatures have risen from a mysterious portal in the sea and the world's scientists create giant robots named "Jaegers" to fight them off and save civilization.


Here is a "Friday Five" of some of coolest, weirdest, scariest, and scaliest monster movies to ever hatch, slither, crush, bite, and claw their way onto a matinee screen.

And hey, with the way the weather has been this summer, what better way to beat the heat (and rain) by having your own monster movie marathon (for FREE!)?

Godzilla Godzilla (Gojira) (1954)

The original kaiju monster movie, Gojira captures cold war paranoia and nuclear fear and puts it in a rubber monster suit that goes on a tank throwing, power station exploding, building smashing rampage of downtown Tokyo. Raymond Burr was added into the American version, renamed Godzilla, along with not-quite-synched-up English dubbing (which would later go on to be a silly staple of most Japanese monster movies). This Criterion Collection version of the film includes the uncut Japanese original, stunningly remastered with subtitles.

The Thing The Thing (1982)

One of the few remakes that improves on its original inspiration, The Thing (a remake of The Thing from Another World) is a moody and atmospheric exercise in paranoia as told through a scary monster movie. Cult director John Carpenter sets the scene with a group of scientists in the Antarctic who are confronted by a parasitic shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the humans (and other organisms) that it kills. A landmark film in the special fx department and truly one of the scariest "monsters" ever show on film.

Alien Alien (1979)

"In Space No One Can Hear You Scream." If that tagline doesn't let you know what you are in store for with Alien, then nothing will! After investigating an S.O.S. signal on a near-by world, the crew of an industrial spacecraft must fight for survival when an alien is born in the ship (in one of the most infamous scenes from the movie) and begins hunting the crew one by one. The fact that you hardly see the alien itself coupled with the claustrophobic nature of the spaceship makes the whole film even more frightening. Add in some groundbreaking set and creature design by artist H.R. Giger and you've got a truly monstrous movie!
The Mist The Mist (2007)

Adapted from the Stephen King novel, The Mist centers around a group of people holed up in a supermarket after a freak storm unleashes unknown creatures on their small town. Where did the monsters come from? Is it a top secret Army experiment gone awry or just Lovecraftian horror brought down from a vengeful God? There is a bonus black and white version of the film on dvd that really gives it that old 1950s monster movie feel.
Tremors Tremors (1990)

Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, country singer Reba McEntire, the dad from Family Ties, and giant worm-like monsters dubbed "Graboids" all add up to one of the weirdest and funniest cult western monster movies ever made. Imagine the movie version of Whac-A-Mole, but with ravenous monsters who hunt by sonar sensing ground-vibrations. Hey, it's a monster movie, shut your mind off : )

For more monstrous findings in our collections, check out our Horror and Science Fiction Online Exhibitions.

Leave a comment below and let us know some of your favorite monsters in film and literature?

Tags: Friday Five, film

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