When You’re Sick of Slashers, We have the Best Monster Movie Marathon Ever Lined up.
With all these horror reboots, we’re getting a lot of good slashers back on the block, which is great if you ask us. But it’s about time we mixed it up with something a little different. Let’s leave the stabbings behind and watch something a little more supernatural (well, most slashers are supernatural, but we’re talking creature features here). We went out and dug up the best ghost, ghouls, and goblins to give you a scare for your next monster marathon. So grab the popcorn and get ready to scream!
The only Netflix movie to make our list, The Ritual ticks all the boxes for an excellent monster movie. The story follows friends hiking a trail in Sweden in honor of a brutally murdered comrade. His last wish was that they hike this particular trail together. But when one man hurts his leg, they are forced to take a shortcut through the nearby forest to get back to civilization faster. It’s a somewhat familiar story — they stray from their path into the woods and discover they have made a grave mistake. The recurring nightmares, disturbing imagery, and the constant feeling of being stalked leaves you sure of impending doom at any moment. We like this movie not because it was anything particularly groundbreaking in its plot — but because it offers us a truly unique monster that perfectly embodied the creeping fear that was building for the entire movie.
Gremlins isn’t entirely a horror film. It fits more into the horror comedy category than just plain horror. But that doesn’t stop us from putting it on our list — just like the rules didn’t stop Billy from feeding the Mogwai after midnight. The Mogwai have a powerful fairytale feeling with their rules (and their want to break said rules). When they transform into gremlins, the chaos that ensues is breathtaking. Gremlins does a great job of being unnerving and still getting us to laugh. We think Gremlins is a great break from the genuinely spooky and awesome at getting you ready for more terror.
The first ghost movie to make our list, and the first John Carpenter as well, The Fog follows vengeful spirits who make a modern town responsible for the sins of the past. While none alive have any direct responsibility for the tragedy that sunk the Elizabeth Dane in the bay, all of them profit from the town built on stolen gold. The spirits return in a supernatural fog to take six lives in payment for the six lost in the slaughter that sank their ship and stole their lives. You are left uncertain if past sins will come back to haunt you, or if the spirits will come back again in the future to wreak havoc on another six lives.
Child’s Play played on our fears of dolls. Most people find human-like dolls unsettling, and Chucky ramped that up to 11 and beyond. Sure this is halfway to a slasher movie, but because the slasher inhabits a doll, we think it counts as a monster. The movie captures the fear of people not believing you when something truly terrible happens. Child’s Play isn’t the first time a creepy doll with a murderous streak graced our screens (that’s been happening since 1945 and the movie Dead of Night), but he brought the concept into the modern world. Chucky went on to star in 8 films in his original run, and there are rumors of a tv show in the works. There is also an upcoming 2019 reboot we can’t wait to see. If a single monster can inspire this many movies, he is well worth adding to your list.
Very few things can top a good ghost story for a monster movie marathon. Ghosts are one of those things that are plausible enough to be real, and there are enough reports to make us a little uneasy, even if we are 90% sure they aren’t true (10% of us still hopes they are because how cool would that be?). Poltergeist took those stories of ghost encounters gone wrong and turned them into a truly terrifying movie. The clown scene still gives us nightmares (and might be why we’re afraid of clowns now). If you are into hauntings, this movie defined the genre for many years to come and belongs on your list. There are two pretty decent sequels, but the first one is by far the best of the bunch.
An American Werewolf in London
You can’t have a monster movie marathon without werewolves (sorry, we don’t make the rules). And no werewolf film is more deserving than An American Werewolf in London. This is the second horror comedy to make our list and one we absolutely adore. This movie also heavily features the undead — though not in the flesh-eating sort of way. The undead are more like ominous warning signs, which (as in all horror movies) are ignored. Even today, the costume for An American Werewolf in London is still considered one of the best werewolves out there. The laughs are great, and the horror is still biting (get it?). While there are quite a few good werewolf movies out there, An American Werewolf in London is the one that leaves us howling for more.
The Babadook is an interesting movie in that it relates more to fighting your own demons and accepting tragedy than it does monsters. Yes there is a monster, and yes it does terrible things, but in the end, you learn that you must live with your demon — you can’t kill it. You find ways to cope with it instead of fighting it. We love this film because it creeps us the heck out while still having a deeper meaning. The Babadook is unkillable, and not a monster you can destroy, and that strikes fear deep in us. The movie is delightfully creepy and sticks with you. We recommend it for any monster marathon.
Everything about caves is creepy. The intense quiet? Creepy. The feeling of so much earth above you? Creepy. And the way sound echoes? Very creepy. The Descent plays on that fear and throws in some horrifying monsters for good measure. Much like The Ritual, a group set out on a trip in an attempt to repair their friendship. The decision to take a different path leads them horribly astray, and they are beset by monsters which hunt them through the caves. The constant pursuit of the crawling monsters and their numbers make escape seem futile. It makes us never want to go into another cave, and for that reason, it belongs on your list.
Alien makes humans just an incubator, and everything about that makes our skin crawl. The Xenomorphs only need us as host to their parasitic offspring while they develop, and that makes humans incredibly expendable. Alien was delightfully original and groundbreaking. For the first time, a woman was given the role of the traditional action hero, and Sigourney Weaver knocked it out of the park. The movie is full of the creeping feeling of being watched and the terror of being hunted by some dark, unknowable thing. Not to mention the growing fear of AI and corporate greed. The whole situation leaves you feeling deeply unsettled, and leaves Ripley as the only line of defense against the creatures which could destroy the Earth, and all life for that matter. Alien defined sci-fi monster movies for years to come and still terrorizes us to this day. We highly recommend making this a double feature and following it up with Aliens.
Pan’s Labyrinth is as much a horror story as it is a fairytale. Despite the name Pan being used, the fawn is not Pan (Del Toro said as much). The hero, Ofelia, is the stepdaughter of a vicious Spanish commander who has been charged to hunt down rebels. She discovers an old stone labyrinth in his yard where she meets a fawn who sends her on three tasks to reclaim her place as the princess of the underworld. The story shows the brutality of adults and the innocence of children. The idea that Ofelia could escape the cruelty within the world she inhabits is hopeful. But the tasks she faces are horrific and as unsettling as the real world at times, and the fawn, though helpful, seems malevolent. The monsters are unsettlingly original, and the story uncomfortably beautiful. We highly recommend you put it on your list.
The second John Carpenter film to make our list. What can we say? The man has a thing for amazing monsters. The Thing is one of those monster movies that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. You never really find out what the thing is other than that it came from space. The fact it can perfectly impersonate anyone it takes over until it decides to strike is unnerving. The practical effects are still terrifyin years later (the dog scene still haunts our nightmares). Even if it takes place in Antarctica, far from civilization, it makes you wonder what would have happened if it ended up in a populated area. Let’s not even think about the fact that we don’t know whether or not it died at the end of the movie. The ambiguity leaves you wondering if that thing is still out there, biding its time. The Thing is a must have at any monster movie marathon.