Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Top 5 Movie Monsters

I find that some of my favorite movies are the really great monster movies. In general I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre, but there's something about a meticulously constructed, high-budget, well-written monster movie that makes me smile. I grew up watching and enjoying the Star Wars movies and Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad, so I've grown to have an appreciation for aliens, bizarre creatures, and the unknown.

I like coming up with Top 5s, but I always have trouble ranking them after I come up with them. I toyed with the idea of going the High Fidelity route, where you name a Top 5, but there's no order.
  1. Tyrannosaurus Rex - There's no beast in movies that makes me as excited as the T-Rex. While dinosaurs from subsequent Jurassic Park movies were plenty frightening, the Tyrannosaurus was always the dinosaur growing up. And even though I've read articles that suggest that its roars are almost certainly a figment of Hollywood's imagination, the roar from Jurassic Park is what movie monsters are all about. He's truly the king of the monsters.
  2. Jaws - Jaws is one of my favorite movies, despite the fact that seeing it makes me never want to go in the ocean again. The actual shark is perfectly created in the movie. It's not a "villain" per se, though obviously the body count makes you see it as such. The truth is that Jaws is simply a force of nature, which makes it delightfully unpredictable and unforgiving.
  3. Alien - Growing up, I was always more of a Predator fan than an Alien fan. And if I ever see any of the Alien vs. Predator movies, I imagine I'll still root for Predator. And maybe that's further evidence of how Aliens are such a perfect monster. They can be silent, but they're massive and powerful and ruthless. I didn't actually watch Alien or Aliens until I was 30 years old, but even at that age, I could appreciate the elegant terror of the Alien.
  4. King Kong - The giant ape is one of the original movie monsters, maybe the original. I've caught parts of the original version, but the truth is it's very difficult to buy in to those older films with their technologically inferior effects. The newer one, while excruciatingly long, had high-level effects that helped to convey the awesome size and power of Kong. My favorite scene (naturally) was when he battled the Tyrannosaurs.
  5. Velociraptor - While the general public is aware of plenty of different dinosaurs, the velociraptor was one that Jurassic Park brought to the forefront of American culture. An expansion NBA team was even named the Toronto Raptors. While the actual science of the raptor is decidedly less frightening (new information says they had feathers, and the movie versions were more modeled after the larger deinonychus than velociraptor), the movie version is plenty scary. The one thing I'd say is a little less appealing for me personally is that the movies made raptors out to be as smart as humans; I want my monsters illogical and uncontrollable. Still, terrifying.

The Predator was an awesome creature, but it was humanoid and relied on technology, and generally doesn't strike me as a "monster" any more than do Klingons or Hutts. I liked the variety of monsters in The Mist, but we didn't really get to live with any of them individually, and they were all pretty different (tentacles, mantises, weird bat things, etc). I generally prefer individual monsters over groups, so things like zombies (Zombieland), infected humans (28 Days Later), and giant spiders (Eight-Legged Freaks) don't make my list. I liked the Rancor and the Sarlacc, but they weren't relevant enough to the story of Star Wars to really warrant inclusion.

1 comment:

Mike Mattingly said...

What about Ravenwood? I mean sure you said you prefer individuals to groups and they are from a show and not a movie but those guys were monsters!

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