These days monster movie sub-genre is mostly made up of bad CGI sharks attacking pretty young things in ever more unrealistic locations or a group of tourists wandering into the path of a seriously angry crocodile, but this wasn’t always the case, be it the Universal Monster films that ran from the ’20s till the late ’50s, or the rebirth of the sub-genre following the enormous success of Jaws in the mid-’70s, there are still a good number of decent/scary/interesting man vs. monster movies out there and below are my top 5.
When a giant killer shark chomps his way through holidaymakers in a New England resort town, it comes down to a local sheriff, shark hunter and scientist to stop not only the shark but also the town mayor who values profits over human lives, Jaws may not have been the first film about a killer sea creature, but it took a pretty simple plot and produced the best.
You can’t create a list of creature features without including the classic masterpiece that is Jaws, as mentioned above, this is the film that revitalised a stagnating horror genre, but also became the biggest film of all time when it came out way back in 1975 and launching the career of one of the greatest ever film directors, Stephen Speilberg. The only downside to Jaws near perfection means we are unlikely to ever see a better shark-centred horror movie.
2. Jurassic Park
Dinosaurs have always been a popular staple of the cinema monster flick, from Godzilla to Gorgo, One Million Years B.C to The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, there have always been films about massive prehistoric creatures eating humans and leaving a path of destruction in their wake, Jurassic Park was no different in that respect, but this time not making the creatures the bad guys that they are usually portrayed as, instead they are just part of nature and as the film so elegantly states ‘nature always finds a way’
Way back in the summer of 1993, all I wanted to be was a dinosaur, this was primarily down to the fact that I had just seen the hugely impressive Jurassic Park. Sure, the CGI might be starting to look a bit naff, but the practical effects have stood the test of time and I firmly believe that you can never get too old to find dinosaurs cool.
Both the newest and also the only foreign language film on the list, Trollhunter follows two student filmmakers who stumble onto the secret that the Norwegian government is hiding the fact that Trolls exist and there are people in charge of hunting them.
Coming out of nowhere, Trollhunter borrows elements from Norwegian folklore and American found footage cinema such as Cloverfield to produce a horror mockumentary that despite its low-budget and lack of big names is in my mind the best found-footage monster movie around.
The very definition of a cult classic, a flop during its initial release, but finding success in later life with home media sales during the time of ‘video nasties’, it has since spawned multiple sequels and a short-lived TV show.
The fear of the unknown is what drives this plot along, a creature that lives bellow the ground, terrorising a small desert town by coming through the floor and eating everything in its path, whats not to love about this cheesy and tongue-in-cheek action horror
5. Deep Rising
Everyone has a guilty pleasure or two, mine is Deep Rising, a 1998 B-movie about a group of criminals who decide to rob a cruise liner on its maiden voyage, only for worm-line creatures to show up and start killing people, think Alien on a ship.
Sometimes you want a film that you don’t have to pay too much attention to, just switch your brain off and marvel at the cliché-filled action, Deep Rising is just that, a movie that you’ll never need to invest a second thought into and that’s part of the fun.