When you think of monster movies, you may think of the classics like Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein or any of the other Universal classics. Although nowadays, you may think of the Alien or Predator movies. Or perhaps anything produced by Roger Corman in the 70’s and 80’s. A lot of the monster flicks today, are usually remakes of older films or they don’t really stick out and feel dull, uninspired and quite frankly… stupid (looking at you Syfy). So in spirit of the Halloween season, I wanted to share with you some of my personal favorite monster movies that may not be well known.
The Being (1983)
Take one good look at the movie poster for this film… remind of you anything? Yeah, John Carpenter’s The Thing! The font, the overall look of the poster and hell, read the tagline! Rip offs aside, the plot of this movie is some small town in Idaho is dumping toxic waste to, one can only assume, grow bigger potatoes. Actually it’s never said exactly why. Maybe because polluting is fun. Anyhow, it ends up turning a young boy into a creature rather than giving him awesome super powers. Naturally he runs amok, killing people, spilling some sweet gore along the way, as the sheriff who dresses in flannels and jeans (seriously, what town doesn’t have a sheriff’s uniform for their law enforcement?) teams up with the mayor to stop it! Look out Batman and Robin… you’re about to be out dynamic duo-ed!
Night Beast (1982)
Strangely enough, this film is an update of director Don Dohler’s earlier film, The Alien Factor. The plot is simple enough; an alien crash lands its spaceship onto earth, but right away it’s confronted by rednecks that want to shoot what they don’t understand on sight. Nightbeast isn’t having any of that shit and starts blasting everything with his laser gun! Not even women and children are safe, as he blasts them to hell too! But don’t think that a laser gun is his only weapon… Nightbeast is viscous and he rips out people’s guts, tears their arms off and even their heads. On a final note, J.J. Abrams composed the music for this flick, so yeah… let that blow your mind.
The Deadly Spawn (1983)
This one is a personal favorite of mine. The acting is hokey, the blood and gore is off the charts and the creature effects are stellar. It’s a perfect recipe for monster movie. How does the story go? Well you’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you… a spaceship crash lands on Earth (did you get that I was being sarcastic?)! Sure enough, these invaders eat the first people they encounter and take refuge in the basement of a nearby home, continuing to eat anyone and anything that comes near, starting with young Charlie’s mom and dad. He and a group of other teens battle the aliens with sounds and other tricks and it’s pretty run of the mill from there. What really steals the show is the special effects, like I said earlier. The creatures look amazing, especially when devouring the face of Charlie’s mother. Underrated classic, for sure.
This is gonna be a hard one to explain. It’s better that you see it for yourself, but let me tell you a little about it. A young boy’s father is abducted by aliens one day (hey, a change from them crash landing) and returns three years later, and how he comes back is the kicker… a woman is attacked by an alien in the woods and later gives birth to the full grown man! They do not shy away from this effect either. It is some of the sickest shit you will ever see and it’s fantastic. Anyway now that he’s back, he has supernatural powers and passes them on to his son (also in a weird way) and this is where the story gets really discombobulated. You have your main story arch with the father and son, then there is the son abusing the powers, meanwhile the mother is trying to save her relationship and then the son put likes alien eggs in the fridge with a midget… I have no idea what the fuck is going on, but like I said, you really need to see this one for yourself.
Brain Damage (1988)
If there is anything to be said about the dangers of using addictive substances, Brain Damage would be the PSA for it. With no explanation how it came to be, young Brian finds this creature, named Aylmer, one day and rather than hissing or snarling like most creatures, this one speaks very sophisticated and is well educated (and just so happens to be voiced by creature feature host John Zacherle). Whenever Brian attaches Aylmer onto his neck, he’s injected with a blue liquid and trips his balls off. He runs around laughing and screaming like a goddamn goofball, while Aylmer eats the brains of a victim. Brian starts to figure out that Aylmer is using him for grotesque reasons and tries to quit the drug cold turkey. We all know how that works out, so check this one out. You could say this movie is a ‘trip’.
Humanoids From the Deep (1980)
Finally a Roger Corman flick on the list! This plot is back to the basic idea of a scientific experiment backfiring and creating monsters that we can’t control. These freaks are like half man and half fish as they wreak havoc on a small island city, just in time for their summer festival and the mayor doesn’t want to spread panic. Yeah, it shares a similar theme to Jaws, but one thing Jaws didn’t do was running around raping women and getting them pregnant! These beasts roll on land trying to breed with the ladies when they aren’t ripping people’s guts out. The humanoids themselves look pretty decent (they easily could’ve look goofy) and the film does set up some good atmosphere. The film was remade in 1996, but it’s like RC Cola of remakes. Nobody likes it.
From the director of Pieces comes a slimy, icky picture about killer slugs. Oh and guess how they became killer? If you said toxic waste, no fucking shit. What other option would there be? And in generic plot format, they begin to devour a small rural town, while a health worker is trying to save them from doom with the help of his friend. What separates Slugs from others like it, is the gore. It’s over the top, violently ridiculous! Half the time, I don’t know if I should be laughing or grossed out. Best part is when a guy is eating a salad and his face explodes from little tiny slugs! You’ll be simultaneously disgusted and delighted as people are eaten alive and falling apart. Definitely one for the kids.
There’s no easy way to start this, so let’s dive right in: A woman is raped at a cocktail party and later gives birth to a deformed child, who grows up alone in a house on a secluded island, devouring what he finds. Well, well, well, it just so happens a group of teens crash their boat on said island and die one by one. This isn’t the goriest flick out there (or even on this list), but there’s something different about it. You don’t see the monster for almost the entire movie and when you finally do, he’s so shrouded in darkness, you can’t even see him anyway! It actually keeps it pretty mysterious and leaves more to your imagination, which can be more terrifying.
I’m sure there are more I am missing, probably some obvious ones, but you get the idea. They may not be as characteristic as some of the classical monsters, but they hold up on their own merit and definitely give you entertainment. If you could add any to the list, what would you put on here?