20 Best Movie Monsters and Aliens

Monday, September 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm
By Shane Rivers

With Monsters vs. Aliens doing big business at the box office, I figured it was time to pay tribute to some of the greatest monstrosities to ever grace the big screen. Therefore, I proudly present the 20 best movie monsters and aliens.

Some were chosen for their status as pop culture icons, while others were picked for their sheer coolness or ability to be remembered decades later. Slashers such as Jason and Freddy were not included, as that’s another list for another time.

There should be a little something here for everyone, so enjoy. If you’ve really got a problem with a selection or exclusion, be sure and drop me an email. There’s nothing I love more than people berating me with misspelled words and poor grammar.

Instantly watch unlimited TV episodes & movies over the Internet right on your TV, computer and various mobile devices. Watch instantly on your TV via your Wii™ console, PS3™ system, Xbox 360, network connected Blu-ray players, HDTVs and more. Watch as much as you want, as often as you want for only $7.99 a month. Start your free trial today!

Winged MonkeysWinged Monkeys (1939’s The Wizard of Oz) – We all know monkeys are crazy as f*ck, so what could be worse than a monkey with wings? Not only do they serve witches and try to drown cute dogs, but that creepy blue-tinted skin makes them all the more terrifying. For over 70 years, these hairy demons with opposable thumbs have been haunting the dreams of any child (or adult) who happens to see The Wizard of Oz for the first time.

Giant Mutant Rabbits (1972’s Night of the Lepus) – When harmless bunnies get transformed into meat-eating menaces, it’s up to men like DeForest Kelley (aka Dr. McCoy from Star Trek) to save the day. You haven’t seen terror until you’ve seen cuddly rabbits placed on a model town and then filmed in slow motion. Janet Leigh (mother of hot tranny, Jamie Lee Curtis) somehow got sucked into this schlock fest.

Zombies (1985’s Return of the Living Dead) – Even the combined awesomeness of Linnea Quigley and Clu Gulager couldn’t stop these undead bastards. Chop off their heads, and the bodies will still keep coming; incinerate them, and the smoke will just cause zombie-inducing rain. These guys would eat Romero’s dead for lunch and say, “Send more zombies.”

Medusa - Clash of the TitansMedusa (1981’s Clash of the Titans) – Shortly before monster guru Ray Harryhausen retired, he created this not-at-all-hot female baddie. Medusa has a whole quiver of poisoned arrows, but her main weapon is her petrifying gaze. If that snake-hair doesn’t creep you out, her serpentine body and that crazy rattling tail are sure to do the trick. And the blood from her severed head can apparently make scorpions grow big…really big.

The Anti-God (1987’s Prince of Darkness) – The father of Satan doesn’t have much of a part in this John Carpenter classic, but it’s still enough to make you crap your pants. Shown only as a giant red hand being pulled through a mirror, the Anti-God attempts to enter our world and bring a little Old Testament nastiness with him. Luckily, A.J. from Simon and Simon is there to save the day (but where the hell was Gerald McRaney?!).

Jan Valek (1998’s Vampires) – Yeah, he inexplicably lost a one-on-one showdown with vampire hunter Jack Crow (James Woods), but Jan Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith) did something that Bela Lugosi could only dream of: kick the snot out of a roomful of vampire killers. After his followers are wiped out by Crow and friends, Valek pays them a visit while the slayers are celebrating with hookers and beer. The resulting ass-kicking has to be seen to be believed.

Durin’s Bane the Balrog (2001’s Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) – At least 10 feet tall and covered with flames, the Balrog from The Fellowship of the Rings is enough to send an army of orcs scurrying for cover. His showdown with Gandalf at the bridge was one of the coolest moments in the first film, and I was legitimately pissed at the thought of two sequels without the great Ian McKellen.

Eddie Quist - The HowlingEddie Quist (1981’s The Howling) – A brutal werewolf who’s also a serial killer, Quist’s transformation (courtesy of effects master Rob Bottin) is the highlight of the film. Too bad he was such a cocky S.O.B., as Quist eventually taunts the wrong person and gets a silver bullet in the throat for his troubles.

The Beasts (2006’s Feast) – Most movie monsters will just kill you, but the beasts from Feast will probably hump you for a few minutes before finally ripping your head off. In fact, they’ll do the nasty with almost anything, as a stuffed deer head and an unlucky cat eventually find out during this gross-out film trilogy.

Sil (1995’s Species) – Natasha Henstridge gets naked a whole bunch as this horny and lethal alien/human hybrid. That’s all the reason I need to include her on this list.

Clover (2008’s Cloverfield) – Standing 30 stories tall, the monster from Cloverfield was more than capable of delivering a king-sized beatdown to the citizens of New York. It seemed especially fond of terrorizing hip twenty-somethings, and the parasites it carried on its body could make a person explode with just one bite. Is he/she/it the new American Godzilla? Only time will tell.

Gill Man - Creature from the Black LagoonGill-Man (1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon) – The Gill-Man loved the ladies; so much so, in fact, that he kidnapped them every chance he got. Who knows what he planned to do with them, as pesky scientists would always show up at the last minute and fill his amphibious butt with hot lead. He would later show up on television’s Munsters as Uncle Gilbert (probably to check out that foxy Marilyn).

The Shark (1975’s Jaws) – Not only did this great white shark and Steven Spielberg combine to scare moviegoers out of the water, but Jaws was the movie which launched the concept of the summer blockbuster. Who can forget his appearance as Sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) unsuspectingly throws chum into the water? Yeah, they’re definitely gonna need a bigger boat.

Cthulhu ( 2005’s The Call of Cthulhu) – An unspeakable alien entity, Cthulhu was created by H.P. Lovecraft to be from a race known as The Great Old Ones. The author would describe his abominable creation as “a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.” Cthulhu lies sleeping beneath the ocean waves; if he should ever wake, you can kiss mankind goodbye.

The Thing (1982)The Thing (1982’s The Thing) – Dug from its frozen slumber in Antarctica by a Norwegian research team, this shape-shifting alien promptly goes on a killing spree in an effort to reach civilization. It’s most famous moment involves a heart attack, a doctor minus two arms, and a spider-headed abomination that’s freaky enough to give even Kurt Russell pause.

Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster (1931’s Frankenstein) – The epitome of the sympathetic monster, Boris Karloff played the creature with heart-rending effectiveness. Even when he was tossing little girls into ponds, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the big lug. The unquestionable king of the Universal Monsters.

King Kong (1933’s King Kong) – Over the years, the giant gorilla has had an obsession with Fay Wray, Jessica Lange and Naomi Watts–pretty good taste, if you ask me. And while he’s more than capable of defeating the prehistoric creatures of Skull Island, the U.S. Air Force kicks his hairy butt every time. Not only is Kong a visual feast for moviegoers, but he also makes the audience care about his plight: a rarity for movie monsters.

The Predator (1987)The Predator (1987’s Predator) – Armed with alien kung-fu, shoulder-mounted lasers, and a self-destruct system that could level a city, the Predator is one of the baddest muthas to ever come from the stars. Sure, he eventually lost to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that’s not something to be ashamed of.

The Alien or Xenomorph (1979’s Alien) – There’s nothing creepier than watching these acid-blooded creatures silently scurry down an air vent: just ask all of its unlucky victims. And don’t forget about their ability to lay chest-bursting eggs inside a human host or shoot a second set of teeth through a person’s skull. It’s downright alarming how many ways these alien suckers can kill you.

Godzilla (1954)Godzilla (1954’s Godzilla) – Not only did he become a cultural icon for the Japanese, but he also inspired Blue Oyster Cult to record one of the all-time great songs about a gigantic lizard. Of course, I’m talking about Godzilla aka King of the Monsters. For over 50 years, Godzilla has been stomping on miniature tanks and shooting atomic fire from his mouth, and the character has spawned comic books, cartoons, novels, video games and over two dozen films. Oh no, there goes Tokyo!