So long as there are people, there’ll be monsters…
Why are we so obsessed with monsters? Why am I so obsessed with monsters, to the point of writing books about them, when I could be doing something much more useful, like finding out what mortgages are? Is it their thematic agility, the way that these creatures can represent our fears, our flaws, our sins, our subconscious desires? Is it the guilty thrill of seeing normality upended, the natural order of things horrifyingly skewed? Is it compensation for the fact that our planet was once home to actual giant monsters, but that we popped up a few million years too late to hang out with them?
Whatever the reason, big old beasties are still clearly as fascinating to us as ever – after all, we’ve got a new King Kong film on the way, followed by a new Godzilla film, followed by a film in which the two battle it out, which should be interesting. And I’m pretty sure that so long as there’s stuff in the world for us to worry about, monsters will be sticking around.
So below, in no particular order, are ten of my favourite monster movies, running the gamut from acknowledged film classics to glorious B-movie shlock. I could write an article about each: the different ways in which they appeal as films, as funhouse experiences, as thematic exercises; the different criteria under which I would judge each; how I would justify calling them ‘monster movies’, as that definition could mean many things to many people. But I’m just going to present them here, without waffle, and strongly suggest that you check them out. ‘Cos monsters are great!
Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird used to be a fairly typical teenager (apart from the fact that his best friend was a talking beagle named Daryl). Then came the superpowers. And the superpowered allies. And the mysterious enemies. And the terrifying monsters. And the stunning revelations. And the apocalypse. Now he’s not sure what he is. Or where he is. Or how exactly one is supposed to proceed after – hopefully – saving the world.
All he knows is that his story isn’t finished.
Not quite yet…