Saturday, August 24, 2013

Top 10 Monsters of the Movies: Not-Giant Edition

Well I had a lot of fun with the last update of Top 10 Giant Monsters of the Movies, and since the Scattergunner blasted away with a list of favorite not-giant movies, I was inspired to do likewise.

It can be a real head-scratching challenge to make such lists, but it's fun.
In fact, I have 2 other theme-lists that will see their place soon too.

So for this one, a list of monsters that are not giant..could range in size from less than human-sized to big but still fitting in your living room.  Like the Giant Monster list, I think I'll stipulate that they must be biological creatures, not mechanical.

Here we go:

#10: Gollum

More than capable of giving you the willies and when camping and traveling with him, you're going to be fearing falling asleep first, and that he might borrow your toothbrush.  Great monster, but with such a like-able streak he can't climb higher than 10, but he had to be on the list.

#9: Gremlins

The pet that goes from adorable friend to town-wrecking maniacs: just add water. Freaky, but also very fun.

#8: Werewolf / Wolfman

A great monster concept with a long history.  Has great potential for a monster, the problem he has is quality control: you never know what you're going to get.  The best have slow, painful transitions you can feel in your bones.  They lose control of their will and are a danger to those around them, even those they love. But you could get a lame monster that transforms in the blink of an eye and breaking all laws of physics: triples it's mass, being far larger than a man or a wolf.. combined. And really, they give wolves a bad name... if they're dangerous killers it's because of their man-half, not their wolf-half. But for all that, still pretty cool.

#7: Medusa

Combination monsters are a classic.  This one combines the scary nature of snakes with the terrifying threat of a woman upset she's having a bad hair day.  Just one look and you're a statue. Making you afraid to do the simplest things that are uncontrollable instincts is a very scary circumstance.  Clash of the Titan's Medusa also benefits from what is probably Ray Harryhausen's best work.

#6: Pale-Man

Damn but that thing is creepy.  Easily the stuff of nightmares. If he didn't come from your nightmare he'll sure find a home there.

#5: Nazgul

Chilling in the books, equally so in the films.  Nazgul, or Ringwraiths, benefit from over a millennium of iconic images of Death itself. When a Nazgul hunts you, it is death, but no easy release: it's looking to make Frodo a lesser version of itself. If that's not a fate to be feared I don't know what is.  The absence of substance, the shrieks, the haunted whispering voices.. yep:scary monster.

#4: Apes

"A Planet Where Apes Evolve From Men?" Payback's a bitch.
If you've followed this blog for awhile it's no surprise I love apes.  I've loved all the Planet of the Apes movies. This concept just captures me, pun intended.  A lot of monster movies hinge on turning the tables on humanity for the food chain.  This takes that one step further: we lose our place in the civilization chain.
It's our turn to be the captured and endangered species: hunted, caged, considered expendable animals.
The recent cgi apes were great, but Roddy McDowell was brilliant, and no less so was Tim Roth.

#3: The Thing

A nearly unkillable creature that could be anyone or any living thing around you... until it busts apart in a gut wrenching nauseating display and proceeds to eat you. Equal parts scary and disgusting.

#2: Xenomorph Aliens

The top of the Space-Monsters: Alien. The amazing vision of Giger in full life.  Maybe the scariest monster.
Knock us right off the top of the food-chain and back down to buffet bar. If that wasn't bad enough we're also it's preferred incubator for it's babies.  Great.  Bullet resistant, claws and teeth like titanium, shockingly fast and strong, oh, and acid for blood. Way to make a species feel like we're getting picked last for Galactic Dodgeball...thanks a lot.


Best of the classic, constantly being reinvented, and usually with good results (sparkling vamps need not apply).  From the nasty Nosferatu to the dashing Lugosi Dracula, the refined but don't-piss-me-off Lee, to the sexy Beckensale patent leather to even sexier Jessica. Vampires take the first place for several reasons:
1. Versatility: a wide variety of types to either scare or entice
2. Walking history: Old vampires have seen the past because they lived it.  Their knowledge and experience is greater than our own. They hold secrets, and we want to know them.
3. The double-edged sword of immortality. Vampires offer the chance to escape death, at a price. That exchange is interesting and fascinating. The question of what defines our humanity and how far are we willing to go in exchanging it for what we want?

What are your Top 10?



Simon Q said...

Thats a really cool run down. Gremlins should be number 1 though :P

Sean said...

Another great list, I can't keep up.

Clint said...

Interesting choices. "the Thing" Now that is one scary monster. I think for me it would be top 3 for sure. But as a personal list I can't and won't fault it.

Anne said...

I'd add Frankenstein's monster (Kenneth Branagh's version and original) and the Mummy.

Good list Ferret!

Michael Awdry said...

That is another fabulous list, but my what a big living room you have!

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks for the comments everyone :)

Gremlins was good 80's fun ;)

Branagh's Frankenstein is my favorite version. I love that movie .. seen it a number of times. Why he isn't on my list.. hard to say, maybe I just can't label him a monster, even for identifying how he is labeled.

Michael: a massive living room! well, not really, but torso & head she's not much bigger than a person, her head fits in a satchel bag after all.. she's mostly tail and it can coil up within a room fine I imagine.

I'll have a couple more lists to post later,maybe sunday night/ mon. day I'll do the next one.

Fiendil said...

Couple more I don't see:

Zombies. Done to death, but still, either fast or slow, dead or infected, a superb monster.

The Predator. The mix of tech and primitive culture warrior is very cool.

Pyramid Head from Silent Hill. Terrifying, unstoppable and brutal.

Sharktopus. Stupid plot, crappy cgi, but the idea of the creature itself is ridiculous enough to be awesome.

I want to say the Deep Ones, but the only film version of them I know, from Dagon, are all messed up mutants, rather than fully transformed versions.

(I would have questioned Vampires, but: Buffy, 30 Days of Night, Let the Right One In, Dead and Loving It, and Lost Boys, as well as those you mention, all say vampires are well deserving a high spot.)

Laughing Ferret said...

Zombies... I enjoy Walking Dead, but at the risk of heresy, Zombies don't really do much for me. There's a lot of monsters I like better. Zombies are a pretty lazy monster really: there's some dead people, but they walk around trying to eat people. OK, nasty & disturbing to be sure, and it's got that 'and they eat two friends, and they eat two friends' exponential threat going for it, but in the end it's just a bunch of corpses walking around and I like monsters that can think, something more creative, something that can have a motivation or that challenges us for our place.

Predator is fun.. watch this space ;)

Sharktopus makes me laugh

Yes.. if Deep Ones ever got some good treatment in a movie they'd probably make my top 10.. it's a cool concept.

I didn't seethe american Let the right one in yet, but I liked the swedish movie a lot.

Fiendil said...

A lot of zombie and particularly 'zombie' films are about humanity creating its own destruction. And I like the impending doom of the horde.

Never seen the remake of Let the Right One In. We just saw the original at the cinema.

J Womack, Esq. said...

I very nearly included the Thing in my list as well.

A good Deep One would get on my list as well.

I left Predator off because, without all his cool gadgets, he's not all that bad.

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