Happy Friday Every-bloody, we made it through another week. Glad to have y’all tuning in as the bulk of my reading audience is undoubtedly at Burning Man. Saucy Josh got nothing against Burning Man and even went once, but it’s just not my scene. I’m a Burner of a different type if you catch my drift (wink, wink, puff, puff, pass). Anyway, I was very pleased with last Friday’s release of Don’t be Afraid of the Dark (read the review at FilmSponge.com) and I’m giddy as a school-girl about seeing Apollo 18 this weekend. Apollo 18 looks like a conspiracy theorist’s wet-dream! (update: not that great!)
You guys seem to like Top 10 Lists, so I’ll keep making them for as long as I can think of ‘em.
Anyway, I already made a list of 10 movie maniacs where I set specific parameters: They had to be human (or have been human at one time). Well this week, I’m back to villains, but this time it’s creatures only. To make this list, you must never have been a human, so Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, and The Fly are all ineligible. Also, in order to make this list, you must be a monster that does not exist in our current known reality (no sharks or alligators). In a lot of ways, this list should honor the creative minds who thought-up these amazing beasts. So without further delay please enjoy…
10 Incredibly Terrifying Horror Movie Monsters
Check out the entire list after the jump!
The Homunculi from Don’t be Afraid of the Dark (2011): This one is at the top of my list because I’m trying to be super-current. Even so, these whispering creepies deserve some recognition. I was, in fact, considering the Gremlins for this list, and honestly, the Homunculi could kick their mischievous little asses! Homunculi is Latin for “little people” and even though I can’t remember them ever being referred to as such, this is the name I found on Wikipedia. In the film they’re described as “evil gnomes” or “evil fairies” (which is probably a hard sell for Americans) so Homunculi makes a superior moniker. Most scary attributes are their whispering voices and their insatiable appetite for teeth—children’s teeth!
The Bugs from Starship Troopers: It still amazes me how many people don’t realize that Starship Troopers is razor sharp satire and, when viewed as such, this movie is entertaining and hilarious. Taken seriously (which I’m certain was not the intension) this film is a celebration of fascism. Political debates aside, the warrior bugs in Starship Troopers kick some serious ass! In addition to the giant mantis-like warriors (pictured), we’ve got huge stink bugs that can shoot fiery plasma streams into space, and a disgusting Brain Bug that looks like a giant swollen larva with an anus for a mouth. Good stuff! Just remember: “The only good bug is a dead bug!”
The Graboids from Tremors: These gargantuan subterranean leviathans knocked the Spice Worms from Dune right off this list. While both species are probably equally lethal, Graboids are uglier than Spice Worms. They’re the stars of Tremors whereas Spice Worms are just supporting characters in Dune. And whereas Spice Worms seem kind of a-moral and emotionless, Graboids are mean, evil creatures. A Graboid is like a three headed hydra from hell! Most importantly, Tremors is a much more entertaining film than Dune, so if you’re down to see slithering burrowing beasts of epic proportions, see the first and skip the latter (no offence to sci-fi fiends who may disagree with this opinion). Tremors is also another film to keep in mind when playing 6-Degrees of Kevin Bacon. And yes, these creatures really are referred to as Graboids in the film. Stupid name, I agree.
The Bizarre Ghouls from Feast: Nameless and almost faceless, the frantic monsters from Feast are never identified, or even explained (fitting for a movie where the characters don’t even have real names: Bozo, Hero, Tuffy, Coach, etc.). Dressed in road-kill from head to toe, these meanies chew through flesh and bone like an industrial garbage disposal. They are known to vomit mass amounts of a neon green, corrosive, maggot-infested slime. Most insane, these creatures are lightning-fast procreators that go from mating to delivery almost instantaneously (so depleting their numbers is no easy task). We don’t know where they came from, how many more are out there—nothing. Better just hope you never come across one in a lonely highway dive-bar.
The Flying Aliens from Pitch Black: Imagine a hammerhead shark had a baby with a pterodactyl, and then that baby was put in a radiation chamber until it grew massive. That’s how I like to describe the aliens from Pitch Black. While never named, this species survives in darkness and can emerge from their planet’s underground only once every twenty-two years during a one-month eclipse. Completely blind, these ravenous creatures communicate with sonar, making a sound akin to a humpback whale’s song. They are extremely adept hunters who can zero in on wounded prey by following the scent of blood. So unquenchable is their hunger that they quickly turn into cannibals when other food becomes scarce.
The Judas Beetle from Mimic: More giant bugs to make your skin crawl! Mimic was the first Guillermo del Toro directed film I even saw. And even though I’ve heard that he was unhappy with the finished product, the insect imagery is solid del Toro. Created in a lab to combat plague-carrying cockroaches, the Judas Beetle’s very existence was meant to be brief, as they’re all female. But like Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park likes to say: “Life… uh… uh… finds a way…” Abandoned and forgotten, the Judas Beetle thrived in the dark labyrinth of New York’s subway system where they grew exponentially and learned to disguise themselves as shadowy humans. Sounds ridiculous, I agree, but they really are cool as hell! Definitely a must-watch for avid del Toro fans.
The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers: I was very tempted to include the Creeper on my original list of Horror Movie maniacs, as he certainly appeared human until the end of the first movie when his wings pop out. We know little of his origins, but “The Creeper” is an ancient demon who rises every twenty-third spring for twenty-three days to feast on human body parts which, upon consumption, form part of its own body. The Creeper makes his lair in an abandoned rural cathedral where the mummified bodies of his victims literally line the walls, lying in heaps and piles. In addition to the wings, the Creeper has scaly lizard skin and insidious yellow eyes. Hopes are high for a third film in the Jeepers Creepers franchise, but as the years tick by, it seems less and less likely.
The Impossibly Tall Monster from The Mist: Plenty of fantastic creatures descend upon a small New England community when a government experiment inadvertently opens an inter-dimensional portal. Hidden in a thick, impenetrable mist, monsters of all sizes wreak havoc on a group of survivors who hole up in a supermarket. While some of these creatures look vaguely familiar (like prehistoric relatives of spiders and mosquitoes) most are utterly alien and are only seen in bits and pieces (like the things with huge tentacles that reaches under the loading dock). The big money shot comes at the end of the film when a small band of survivors take their chances by driving through the mist (in search of safety and other survivors). As hope fades, we behold a monster so massive, it defies the very laws of physics (hence, Stephen King himself dubbed this being: The Impossibly Tall Monster). The Mist is actually one of my favorite movies adapted from a Stephen King novel and packs a might nihilistic punch. The ending is so unbelievably sad, I can hardly believe that an American production company agreed to release it. No happy endings here.
The Morphing Alien from John Carpenter’s The Thing: It’s huge, terrifying, dangerous, and not of this world. Unfortunately, it’s also a master of disguise. The alien in The Thing can look and sound like anything it touches. When threatened, no holds are barred. Decapitate its human looking head and watch it turn into a spider-like monster. Watch in horror as an infected sled dog’s face peels away from its jaw like a banana peel. Behold the gag-inducing mass of charred bone and viscous tissue that is a victim killed in transition. In addition to creating paranoia akin to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing is a truly disgusting spectacle to behold. There are some scenes where John Carpenter clearly sacrificed authenticity in favor of grossness. A bold decision which I greatly appreciate. The trailer and clips for the upcoming prequel (also called The Thing) are intriguing to the extreme, but so far, all promotional shots are very light on gore. I hope, I pray that the filmmakers continue in the gross-out spirit that Carpenter established. A sleek, cool looking Thing would be much less disturbing and freaky.
The Xenomorph from Alien/Aliens: What makes this creature so incredibly unique is the fact that Hollywood thought way outside the box for this creation. Instead of using an established special effects studio or designer, Ridley Scott enlisted the help of Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger. Giger’s work is truly nightmarish, incorporating themes of sexuality and bio-mechanics. While Giger offered to create Scott’s aliens from the ground-up, the director was already influenced by an existing piece: Necronom IV (below).
The final product stands alone in terms of its hideousness. With an eyeless, phallic head, and insect-like body with barbed tail, a more terrifying creation may never exist. The gobs of ooze they secrete, there inner mouths, and acid blood only add intensity to this dreaded beast. The Xenomorph is as complex as the artist himself and develops through several terrifying stages. First comes the egg. Then it’s a “face-hugger”, a crab-like creature that forces an embryo down a host’s throat (an obvious metaphor for face-rape). Next comes the “chest-buster”, a gestated embryo who crawls out of a host’s body—killing them in the process. After a few quick molts, we’ve got the full-on, 8’ tall, bad ass of all bad asses. The scariest movie creature of all time, the Xenomorph seems just as likely to fuck you as it is to kill you.
(These days, everyone is all abuzz about Prometheus, Ridley Scotts’ Alien prequel scheduled for release in Summer 2012. I’m not sure what to think about the fact that it’s seeking a PG-13 rating—and it’s shot in 3D. I’m scared… but not for the right reasons).
My first honorable mention goes to the Predators of Predator. Many may say this Top 10 list is remiss for their exclusion. I’m a big fan of the Predators, but they always struck me as too intelligent, too capable of reasoning to be truly terrifying. Other honorable mentions go out to the Gremlins from Gremlins, The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth, the monster from Cloverfield, and the Spice Worms from Dune.
Let me know if you think I’ve forgotten any crucial creatures.
Well, that’s it for this week’s addition of Blood and Guts for Grown Ups. See you soon my sweeties.