I like monsters. The bigger the better. Put a monster in your movie and I'll go see it. Serve me a Monster Energy Drink and a Monster Cookie and I'll have a perfect evening's entertainment. Anyway, just for fun, I'm going to count down my top ten favorite movie monsters. Why not?
And keep in mind this isn't meant to be any kind of historical write up on the film industry's most memorable, important, or influential monsters. These are just the ten that I like the best, either because they scare me the most or just look the coolest. Also, I'm excluding dragons from this list, because dragons aren't really monsters, they're dragons. That's a whole 'nother list all together, and one I'm sure I'll get to sooner or later.
Gamera is a giant turtle who walks on two legs, has giant fangs, can breathe fire, and flies. He's also totally awesome. He's the star of about a dozen movies, although he's far better known in Japan than he is over here. Gamera is the friend of children everywhere.
Shelob is a giant spider who lives in the mountains that border the land of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings novels and films. She is a being of pure evil who has lived for thousands of years feasting on those foolish enough to enter into her cave. She's disgusting, terrifying, and absolutely awful. There isn't nearly enough of her in Peter Jackson's third Lord of the Rings film Return of the King, but maybe that's for the best because what little of here we do see is horrifying.
8. The Alien
The Alien (or xenomorph as it has come to be called) from the Alien film series is a masterwork of design. The look was created by H. R. Giger, and it is absolutely outstanding and incredibly scary. In fact, the alien would've scored a lot higher on this list, if only it had been giant-sized. It is very scary, however, and much of the success of the film, as well as the indelible impression the character has made on popular culture, is because of Giger's amazing visual design.
7. Giant Squid
The Giant Squid from 20000 Leagues Under the Sea was totally awesome, but I think I maybe remember the one from the ride at Disney Land better than I do the one from the movie. Both are very good, however, even if the Squid effects haven't really help up so well over the years. As great as that film is, somebody should remake it already, so the story is more faithful to the original novel by Jules Verne, and so the Squid looks even more bad ass.
I don't care who you are or where you're from, The Medusa from the original Clash of the Titans scared the crap out of you the first time you saw it. This was some of the best work by Ray Harryhausen, the greatest stop motion animator in the history of film. This entire film was filled with his amazing work (including the Kraken, Pegasus, Bubo the Owl, and many more), but Medusa is my favorite because she's totally awesome.
Back before everything went CG, the Star Wars films used to have lots of stop motion effects and puppets, the best of which was the Rancor from Return of the Jedi. No matter how old I get or how many times I watch this scene, it never stops being cool.
4. Dinosaurs from Jurassic Park
Is this cheating? I just can't pick a favorite! Anyway, everybody knows there's nothing in the world cooler than a dinosaur. The only reason the amazing dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park movies (that's right... of them from all three movies. The sequels may have been awful, but the dinosaurs were still awesome) didn't make the top spot was because, cool as they are, dinosaurs are real. Well, they used to be, anyway.
Another awesome stop motion monster by Ray Harryhausen. Talos was the giant bronze colossus that came to life and attacked the heroes in the film Jason and the Argonauts. If you've never seen this movie, go rent it as soon as possible because it's amazing and full of Harryhausen's best work, including Talso himself and the army of skeleton warriors that attack the Argonauts.
2. King Kong
Now we're getting to the real classics. All those other monsters are awesome, but King Kong is bad ass. Everybody knows and loves King Kong, including all of the people who haven't seen any of the movies. Though, to be sure, there's only one King Kong movie, and it came out in 1933, was in black and white, and was filmed with stop motion animation (mostly!). The Peter Jackson version is very nice looking and well animated in full CG, but the movie is terrible, and the character is lacking in charm. King Kong is without a doubt the greatest American movie monster of all time...
Who'd you think was going to win this thing? Charlize Theron? Godzilla is the king of all monsters, and with good reason. Godzilla has starred in about 30 films spanning almost sixty years, making him perhaps the most popular film character of all time, monster or not. By comparison, James Bond has only appeared in about 22 films spanning about fifty years. Oh, and Godzilla could eat all six James Bond actors and still have room for everybody who's ever appeared as Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet, or Orson Welles. Godzilla is just the greatest movie monster of all time.
And, yes, he did fight King Kong.