Monster Movies

Monster movies have always captured my imagination. When I was a kid, a Sunday afternoon wouldn’t be the same without watching Godzilla and all the other Japanese monsters wreaking havoc on Tokyo. Back then, it was the thing to do. We had those twenty-four-inch TVs with mono sound and low-res images that sparked our interest and carried us through the weekend.

Godzilla

Godzilla

For today’s Monday Mayhem, I would like to delve into my liking of monster movies, why I like certain ones and the impact they have made on my life.

Godzilla—As I stated in the intro, Godzilla was the movie series my friends and I loved and would gather after school to talk about. Yeah, you could have considered me a nerd. In the earlier movies, which were films filmed in Japanese, brought overseas and translated for the English-speaking audience, Godzilla was anything but pleasant. In the earlier incarnations, he was the bad guy. Born from a radioactive mess, he stomped his way through Tokyo causing authorities to use deadly force on the giant creature. In later films, he became the hero, also destroying cities, but taking down other monsters in the process. I loved the series because it had a ominous, end-of-the-world feel I couldn’t shake.

Cloverfield

Cloverfield

Cloverfield—No monster movie discussion would be complete without the addition of the film Cloverfield. Directed by J.J. Abrams, Manhattan once again becomes the playing ground to an alien invasion. Similar to other alien invasion movies, other than War of the Worlds, a creature sets foot in New York City and rips apart the downtown core. The premise is not a unique one, yet the story flow and action progressively escalates to hypertension as the shrieks and destruction the beast yields causes the masses to stampede from the scene. Filmed from a first-person perspective, the story merits attention due to its unyielding build throughout the story. I also love the fact that the plot encompasses older themes of the earlier Godzilla movies, complete with military intervention and wanton devastation.

Jaws—By far, many wouldn’t consider Jaws a monster movie. If anything, Jaws is about a biological anomaly that should have never happened. But happen, it did. The story about a shark laying waste the shores of Amity Island became an instant success in the movie industry and introduced the world to the summer blockbuster flick. I would consider it a monster movie because the shark was beyond imagination. The great white spanned longer than the length of a fishing trolley and its jaws could swallow a person whole. The shark also had no redeeming qualities to catch the audience’s will to sympathize with the creature. It wanted to kill and nothing more. For this, the crew made up of a sheriff, an oceanographer and a fisherman needed to get rid of the beast before it hurt anyone else. It was, by all accounts and definition, a monster that had to die.

There you have it folks, my picks for admirable monster movies that would make a Sunday afternoon great again. By no means is the list complete, but I think you get the point of where I was going with it. I hope it spurs you to seek those often-neglected titles and admire the work involved with making such films.

Quite frankly, monster movies are awesome—but that’s my opinion.

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What monster movies do you like? What attracts you to the genre?

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25 Comments

  1. I really like monster based movies and shows in my childhood but now I have shifted to pure thrillers and horrors, however I still watch some of them which are a mix of subjects, including the latest, Jurassic World. I agree, Cloverfield is more than a worthy film, and the first-person view of it connects it really well with the viewers, it gives a feeling that you are a part of it, and its screenplay is good and brings engagement.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing, Jack. Broadly considered, I enjoy monster movies, too. I think I probably interpret monster wider than most people, encompassing things like the “Alien” creature and “The Thing” to the liquid terminator in Terminator II (albeit a passionless monster) to Nosferatu to Star Trek’s Borg to the body snatchers (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) to the werewolf in “Silver Bullet” and, finally, to turning the speculative genre on its ear with human beings or the convoluted stories our brains tell us as the sometimes-monsters (I’m thinking of the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” and any number of Twilight Zone episodes, zombie movies/books, or other stories or books).

    Reply
  3. If you’re not opposed to movies with subtitles, The Host is a GREAT, monster-running-around-destroying-Seoul movie. They make a pass at trying to explain the evolution of the monster, but it doesn’t really matter. Rampaging, vaguely-explained sewer-dwelling monster for the win!

    Reply
  4. I liked the Pacific Rim movie…not the plot, exactly, but the monsters…they could have been scarier if the human characters had been different, but the giantness of them was still pretty terrifying.

    Reply
    • I love Pacific Rim! All of it. The monsters, the giant battle bot suits. The plot…meh. I don’t watch movies like this for the plot. I watch movies like this so I can see giant battlebots fight giant interdimensional monsters and so I can see things blow up. Good times!

      Reply
  5. I like this site. I have been a fan of monster movies since childhood. I’m 62, and the time period I am referring to spans at least half a century, so you could say I’ve got some skin in the game.

    Reply
    • Right, then you know what I mean by the old Godzilla movies from the fifties and sixties. Love those on a Sunday afternoon! 🙂

      Reply
  6. There was a scene in the underground during Cloverfield where I covered my eyes, and I hadn’t done that during a film for possibly thirty years. I thought revealing the monster at the end slightly took the edge off it, but prior to that it was extraordinary.

    Seeing King Kong for the first time when I was a kid was spectacular. Horribly outdated now, of course, but forty years ago it had the power to shock and scare.

    Reply
    • Yep! I liked Cloverfield, but I thought the little monsters that fell off the big one was the most horrifying thing in the movie. Now if they’d made a movie about those….

      Reply
      • zathra

         /  August 10, 2015

        Gremlins Meets Aliens : The New Breed.

      • It was the little monsters – the lice – that made me cover my eyes when the people were in the tube tunnel in the dark and someone suspected the place was crawling with them. Absolutely grotesque!

  7. zathra

     /  August 10, 2015

    I consider the movie ” The Deep Blue ” a monster movie, because the sharks were being genetically – engineered to learn ( ? ) & they ate Samuel L. Jackson ! How dare they ! Oh, the chutzpah. I
    What about Fritz Lang’s silent movie ” Metropolis ” ( 1923 ) ? The humanoid robot gets turned into a desirable woman who incites a workers’ revolt.Then there’s the Golem, about a man made out of clay who runs berserk. It predates Frankenstein IIRC.

    Reply
    • Deep Blue is an interesting movie at face value. But looking deeper–no pun intended–there are surprises I didn’t even expect (eg. SLJ’s fate). Yes, I’d consider it also a monster movie.

      Reply
      • zathra

         /  August 11, 2015

        ‘Twas good, but I thought it had Jessica Alba in it. I was misinformed.
        Those sharks got theirs !
        & I LOVED ” Sharknado “. The sheer strangeness of tornadoes picking up sharks then dropping the beasts on LA, NYC, then Washington, DC. There will be a ” Sharknado # 4 “, the viewers get to decide whether a character lives or dies.

  8. I saw Jaws when it opened. It opened prior to July 4. That day a helicopter flew over the beaches and no one was in the water. The movie scared the hell out of the public. There was something out there and it was not ET. It had rows of teeth, bad breathe, and an appetite for flesh. Many did not even enter their pools at night. Bathtubs were unused. Later the paranoid public bottled water for in plastic the beast could be kept at bay. Ahab had his whale, but Amity had the great white demon. And Shaw, emoted with the best. His scratching on the chalk board was a classic.
    Godzilla was also a favorite of mine. Their on the island standing in the pool of water the people getting radiated and thinking they were protected shows how we thought radiation was not as evasive as it is. We were dumb.
    Cloverfield annoyed me. To much jerky reactions. I got tired of trying to glimpse the monster. I thought the original Thing was better.

    Reply
  9. kingsboro2008

     /  August 10, 2015

    Reblogged this on matthewRstitt.

    Reply
  10. kingsboro2008

     /  August 10, 2015

    Jack, have you seen the Monster movies. They are excellent monster movies. I just watched the second yesterday Monsters, The Dark Continent.
    I enjoy it because these movies are about so much more than the monsters

    Reply
    • I’ve watched both of those. I enjoyed them a lot, especially the first one. Dark Continent I have to watch again as I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been and didn’t get the point. (But I know it’s in there.)

      Reply
    • I have yet to see these. I’ll make sure to pick them up the next time I’m on Amazon!

      Reply
      • kingsboro2008

         /  August 12, 2015

        The director Garth Edwards also commanded the new Godzilla movie, which was a lot better than the other remakes. I am a big fan of this director.

  11. Godzilla and King Kong were my favorites. I didn’t really like Cloverfield because of the camera style and the monster seeming to have a different size throughout the movie. The thing I like about these types of movies is how the humans are, and rightly should be, outgunned. So the highlight is the monster, but you don’t have to focus on it all the time. It’s very much about how to survive a force of nature as much as it is about stopping it.

    Reply

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