Top 10 Sci-Fi Movie Monsters

 

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When it comes to monsters, the science fiction genre has many worthy contributions. Whether they’re from outer space, developed in a lab or a byproduct of our amok science, sci-fi monsters have thrilled audiences for decades and will continue to do so. Here’s the ten best sci-fi monsters on film.

10. Giant Ants (Them!): Sure they look hokey by anyone’s standards, but that spooky noise the behemoth ants created is memorable and the film (about efforts to destroy deadly gigantic ants created by nuclear radiation) is one of the best examples of giant animal monster movies from the ’50s.

9. The Judas Breed (Mimic): Guillermo del Toro directed this underrated monster movie about a genetically engineered insect (a cross of a praying mantis and termite) that evolves to feed on humans in subways and alleys. The creepy insects do this by appearing somewhat humanoid in the dark to lure their prey. Vicious, deadly and hard to kill, the Breed are a classic.

8. Ymir (20 Million Miles To Earth): An alien egg is brought back by a space expedition to Venus and hatches in Italy. The hatchling soon grows to humongous proportions and goes on a rampage in Rome in this Ray Harryhausen masterpiece.

7. The Creatures from The Mist (The Mist): Yeah the ending was too bleak but the film’s extra-dimensional creatures that plague the trapped shoppers in the supermarket are truly terrifying. An army experiment breaks the seal between dimensions unleashing a mist filled with assorted deadly carnivorous life forms that spit out corrosive webbing, lay eggs on human hosts and are just outright nightmare inducing.

6. Godzilla (Godzilla, King of the Monsters): The ultimate statement of nuclear radiation being bad for the environment as atomic bombs awaken and mutate a gargantuan dinosaur that destroys Tokyo with its atomic breath and destructive might. The original is still the best and most dire film of this genre. Let’s not talk about that abomination put out in 1998 which starred that Ferris Bueller guy.

5. Brundlefly (The Fly): David Cronenberg’s AIDS allegory cleverly updates and amps up the horror in this remake of the ’50s film. Jeff Goldblum’s scientist Seth Brundle has his genes accidently spliced with a fly when he teleports himself, and the result is a hideous amalgamation of the two.

4. T-Rex and Raptors (Jurassic Park trilogy): Let the extinct stay extinct! That message comes across in this Steven Spielberg classic about cloned dinosaurs that break loose and eat people in a soon-to-be-opened island theme park. The effects were groundbreaking then and are still impressive as the T-Rex is shown to be the badass that it was and the velociraptors nearly upstage the tyrant king with their cunning and agility.

3. Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein): Boris Karloff’s quiet and eerie portrayal of the creature created out of dead human body parts by Dr. Frankenstein is still unsettling. Some thanks should go to Jack Pierce’s makeup and the atmospheric directing by James Whale in this classic statement of humanity’s folly in trying to control nature through science.

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2. The Thing (The Thing): John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of Howard Harwks’ film from the ’50s set a standard in moody paranoia and gross creature makeup effects. Not having a defined shape, the chameleon-like alien found by a doomed Antarctic research teams mimicked any life form it encountered. Including humans. But when the movie shows the Thing in-between transformations as its body disgustingly twists and contorts, it strained any viewer’s fortitude.

1. Alien Xenomorph (Alien films): The uber-space monster. Designed by H.R. Giger, this creature truly looked alien with its elongated skull, double mouth, exoskeletal structure and acidic blood. It’s a unique iconic look that few monsters have been able to match. Add to the mix, the fact that it can blend into its surroundings and it’s just plaine frightening.  Of course, what brought the movie houses down was the bloody debut of the serpentine infant alien that literally burst out of poor John Hurt’s chest.

Honorable Mentions: The Cloverfield Monster (Cloverfield),  the alien Predator (the Predator films), Hulk (the Hulk films), the Mutant Bear (Prophecy), the Bugs (Starship Troopers), the Mutant Baby (It’s Alive), Rhedosaurus (The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms), and the Gill Man (Creature From The Black Lagoon).

José Soto

The Thing Continues To Chill Audiences

The cinemas may be flooded with prequels, sequels, remakes and reboots, but The Thing is a worthy companion to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic film of the same name. Both films follow the source material (John W. Campbells novella Who Goes There?) more closely than Howard Hawks’ film from the ’50s.

The storyline is fairly simple, American  paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins a Norwegian research team in Antarctica when the Norwegians uncover a crashed alien craft frozen in the ice. They excavate the ship and bring back the icy remains of an extra-terrestrial that thaws out and displays the ability to genetically mimic any life form, including humans. Much like Carpenter’s film, this one plays a suspenseful and paranoid case of cat and mouse as the humans are picked off one by one by the Thing.

It was a wise move to place the movie in the Norwegian station since it helps make this film a good companion piece to Carpenter’s version. And equally wise to hire Dutch film director Matthijs van Heijningen, since portions of the film were filmed in Norwegian, and someone with equal Proto-Germanic language and cultural background would understand Norwegian characters, the movie cast and culture.  There are some good nuances with the Norwegians by having them converse among themselves in their native language since it helps make this film different while adding to the paranoia that pervades the humans.

Both versions deal with two reactions to our human situation; 1) the group paranoia of who is the enemy and 2) infectious diseases. The paraonid theme from the ’82 version reflects aspects of the Cold War of not knowing who is the spy. With the 2011 version, today’s identity theft problem is similar to what the Thing does. The difference is the Thing is a biological ID thief. Regarding diseases, back in 1982, AIDS was just emerging and most of the world was uninformed about the disease. Today we know AIDS spreads through bodily fluid contact which is how the Thing replicates and takes over humans in the 2011 film version.

But the real highlight was Winstead’s performance who has the same inner strength that Sigourney Weaver had in Alien. Much like Ripley, Lloyd at first doesn’t seem like a natural leader, but over the course of the film, her expertise helps the team to survive and more and more the leadership role is entrusted upon her. Her cleverness helps her in determining who is human or not just by observation and her quick theories of what the Thing is doing, proven right during the course of the movie.. Lloyd is a driving force which illustrates how this film is character driven.

Other standouts are the gorgeous cinematography which makes the scenes look like a National Geographic IMAX film and the music by Marco Beltrami. His score perfectly replicates the ’82 soundtrack. We also get to see the inside of the ship, we see a detailed autopsy and how on a cellular level the Thing replicates, and the effects were a fine blend of practical effects and CG.

This version also helps fill in the blanks and show how the aftermath that Carpenter’s characters discovered came to be. Be sure to stick around during the end credits to see how this film leads to the ’82 version.

Overall, this movie is on par with Carpenter’s classic thanks to Winstead’s character and her performance.

GEO as interviewed and written by Jose Soto