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Monsters Through The Ages

  • Sep 15, 2010
Here's a list of films featuring some great (and not so great) monsters from cinema history.
Dracula (1931 movie)
Based on a stage play that's based on the classic Bram Stoker novel, "Dracula" found Bela Lugosi as one of the most popular and instantly recognizable bad guys on the planet. While this film isn't my personal favorite of the Universal Monster offerings, it's still a great film to watch.

Wolf Man (1941) (1941)
My all-time favorite screen monster, Lon Chaney, Jr.'s portrayal of "The Wolf Man" sparked an interest in horror and science fiction that has only gotten stronger with time. This is one of my favorite films and it holds a special place in my heart.

Frankenstein (1931 movie)
Other than Dracula and King Kong, Frankenstein's monster is quite possibly the most popular monster in all of cinematic history. While he doesn't get nearly as much respect in film today as many of his counterparts, this monster set the tone for things to come thanks to Boris Karloff's wonderful portrayal.

The Mummy
Boris Karloff makes this list again as "The Mummy." Also a part of Universal's Monsters, this particular version of the Mummy might not be as popular as the 1999 version that hit screens. Still, it's a very important film that has inspired a number of similar films throughout cinematic history.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
While he isn't as popular as his contemporaries of the mid-1900's, the Creature (also called Gill-man) managed to make two sequels and a number of later films inspired by the original (including a rumored remake in the near future). The creature's actions were split between Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning in the film. Chapman played the creature on land and Browning in underwater scenes.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925 movie)
Released in 1925, this silent classic featuring Lon Chaney, Sr. is a visual feast thanks to the wonderful makeup of Chaney. He did it himself, just as he did when he portrayed Quasimodo in 1923's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition) (2004)
Partly as a celebration of three of Universal's most popular monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolfman) and partly a vehicle riding on the popularity of Hugh Jackman at the time, 2004's "Van Helsing" is a hit-and-miss film that plays for both horror and humor. Richard Roxburgh hams it up as Dracula, but actually comes off as one of my favorite characters in the film.

See the full review, "Breakneck Pace For A Neck-Sucking Villain".
Brendan Fraser fights off Arnold Vosloo's Imhotep in the loose remake of "The Mummy." I'm particularly fond of this film due to the fact that not only is it action-packed, it's hilarious as well.

Bram Stoker's Dracula
In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola breathed "life" into the vampire scene with "Bram Stoker's Dracula." Gary Oldman slips on the fangs and does a grand job of making Dracula a tortured romantic willing to do anything to find his true love and save her soul from eternal damnation.
See the full review, "Still One Of My Favorites".
Teen Wolf
Yes, I put "Teen Wolf" on this list. Why? Because this film is genuinely funny and does a pretty good job of taking a nobody like Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) and hurtling him to the top of the high school food chain. It's a look at how teens handle being different, peer pressure, and the need to be accepted. A cool film.

The Wolfman
Benicio del Toro wolf's out as Lawrence Talbot in this 2010 remake of the Lon Chaney, Jr. classic. While it's not nearly as good as the 1941 film, I love the fact that Rick Baker kept the Wolfman's makeup true to the 1941 version.

See the full review, "The Big Bad Wolf's Return".
Godzilla (Gojira)
Whether you saw the original 1954 Japanese version or the update with Raymond Burr, Godzilla is the star of both. He's definitely one of the best creatures to ever stomp the screen.

Godzilla (1998)
While I myself enjoyed this American revisioning of the Japanese monster, I have to admit that overall, it's a cheesy flick. Matthew Broderick stars as Nick Tatopoulos, a scientist assigned to figure what Godzilla is and what it really wants. The film also features Jean Reno and Hank Azaria.

See the full review, "Super-sized Monster Movie".
Poster of the film.
I know I'll probably get slammed for this, but Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of this 1933 classic can't hold a candle to the original. King Kong is THE movie monster that all movie monsters wish they could be.

King Kong
A visual masterpiece and chock full of monsters, Peter Jackson's remake of 1933's "King Kong" is definitely a good film, but suffers from being to long, and quite a bit boring at times.

Another film I'm sure to get slammed on, "Alien" introduced the world to H.R. Giger's vile Alien creature. While the creature itself is wonderful, I personally thought the film was just slightly above average.

See the full review, "I Hate To Be The Bad Guy, But.....".
Clash of the Titans
Why is this film on the list and not the remake? For three simple reasons: Ray Harryhausen's creations 1) Medusa, 2) the Kraken, and 3) Dioskilos. While it might look silly now, stop-motion animation was a triumph in its heyday.

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
I'm a huge Ray Harryhausen fan, so it should come as no surprise that I feature another of his films here. The Troglodyte and smilodon alone are worth watching this film. Oh, and "Doctor Who" fans can look for Patrick Troughton as Melanthius.

See the full review, "A Fun Adventure Romp".
Return of the Jedi
So why did this film make this list? Phil Tippett's Jabba the Hutt and the Rancor monster. It should be noted that Tippett was inspired to work with special effects by his viewing of Ray Harryhausen's work in "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad."

Even though he looks a bit like Jack Elam on steroids, the Bigfoot creature in "Abominable" is a pretty cool B-cinema creation. This film is a huge guilty pleasure for me. It features Matt McCoy, Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace Stone, and scream queen Tiffany Shepis.

See the full review, "A Better Bigfoot".

What did you think of this list?

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December 24, 2010
I too love Ray Harryhause--although I would have chose 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS as my favorites. I thought the best effect in EYE OF THE TIGER was the Prince/babboon. There were a lot of people who thought the babbon was real, and making something with fur appear like-like is very difficult!
October 11, 2010
Hah, great list! I've actually seen only a handful of these movies (don't hate me), but they're definitely on my to-watch list, ^_^. Thanks for putting this together!
September 15, 2010
Very very impressed with this list! I am also pleased to see ABOMINABLE make this list since I liked that one quite a bit for a B-movie. So how was the KISS concert?
September 15, 2010
I'll let you know this weekend. It's this Friday!
September 15, 2010
ha-hah. I am getting way ahead of myself.
About the list creator
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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