23 MONSTER MOVIES FOR HALLOWEEN
(Posted: 9 October 2012)

We usually don't do much for Halloween, but I wanted to make up for a lack of reviews while working on "Dust Box", Film Bizarro Releasing, screenwriting/reading books on screenwriting and being in school. So I thought - what's appropriate? Should I make the "Best Movies for Halloween"? No, because who could say? How about ghosts? Far from qualified. Monsters? Yes, monsters! Not that I am qualified, but it's a good change of pace for our typical arthouse / extreme-ish lists. Monsters come in all shapes and forms, so I have decided to include monsters, aliens, animals and demons to some degree. To spice it up, I decided to go with movies that entertain me - some of these are actually GREAT movies, but some of these are just GREAT entertainment. Be it for cheesiness or stupidity, it doesn't matter - they're fun. So I present... 23 Monster Movies for Halloween (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER - 23 because we're 23 days from Halloween counting today):


23. NEON MANIACS
 
 

1986
Director: Joseph Mangine

The cover for this haunted me for years before I actually decided to buy it - and boy am I happy I did! It's stupid, fun and oozing of the 80's. And it's absurd to boot! But if there is one thing that makes this a great watch on Halloween, it's the fact that you get 12 different fucking monsters for the price of one! Great and entertaining make-ups and a story that only aims at being fun makes this a solid watch. Forget about those cenobytes, the only creeps you want attacking you this coming Halloween are the Neon Maniacs!



 
22. REVENGE OF BILLY THE KID
 
 

1992
Director: Jim Groom

Take "Vase de noces", replace the lonely man with a gross farmer and the pig with a goat. And then make sure she gets pregnant - and Billy is born! This is a gross, fucked up, horror comedy with one of my favorite monsters of all time. Billy is actually quite a frightening beast, but put in a movie far from it (c'mon, they throw their dead grandpa on a pile on the farm). And that might be the greatest thing about it! Before we get Billy in the movie, we're entertained by bad taste comedy, and then slowly becomes a full-on monster movie.



 
21. ABERRATION

 

1997
Director: Tim Boxell

Me and Preston recorded a podcast a couple of years back, but never finished it because it was terrible. "Aberration" was one of the movies we discussed. Since the podcast never became reality, I haven't really talked about this one on here... Yeah, it's a crappy movie, but it's a joy! I think there is so much drivel out there that people have missed out on this one, and maybe rightfully so (most people might not have the appreciation for it that I have), but there's no escaping it anymore - I am forcing you to watch it this Halloween. And you will hate me for the rest of your life, but those lizard monsters are great crap!



 
20. CARNOSAUR

 

1993
Director: Adam Simon & Darren Moloney

Preston told me to buy this. And I did. And I can't help but love it! "Jurassic Park" was never enough for a horror fan like myself. Although the dinosaurs looked amazing and were addicted to a young dinosaur obsessed kid, I really wish I would've seen "Carnosaur" growing up. Again - bad movie, but this one is just perfect 90's trash! Fun effects, gore and dinosaurs. You know you want it!



 
19. PUMPKINHEAD

 

1988
Director: Stan Winston

One of my all-time favorite monster/demon movies. Lance Henriksen is terrific, the effects are amazing, Pumpkinhead is genuinely creepy, and it's packed with atmosphere. Personally I think this is the height of Stan Winston and Lance Henriksen's careers - it's just excellent. Odds are that you have seen this already, but if you haven't than there is no better movie for Halloween. I mean, you read the name, right? Definitely the creepiest movie on the list!



 
18. FROSTBITER: WRATH OF THE WENDIGO

 

1995
Director: Tom Chaney

You just need to see it to believe it. Whether it's for the chili monster or the Wendigo. See it, please! One of the most overlooked Troma titles, if you ask me. It's so fucking bad, but so fucking hilarious too. And the effects are breathtakingly awesome! I don't know how to describe it with human words...


 
17. THE ALIEN FACTOR

 

1978
Director: Don Dohler

Not to be confused with the awesome sci-fi movie from 1990 ("Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor") that I left out of the list so that I would be able to include this one without confusion. THIS "The Alien Factor" is made by the sci-fi cheesy master Don Dohler, and no matter how low it gets in quality I think this is everything that you need in a fun, independent 70's alien movie. Look at that monster and tell me it's not extraordinary!



 
16. MONSTER DOG

 

1984
Director: Claudio Fragasso

Alice Cooper playing a dubbed rocker, fighting werewolves in a huge mansion/castle? Yes, yes, yes! This movie is so awesome that it even features unreleased songs by Alice Cooper that his character is making music videos for! Oh and the werewolf effects are not too bad either (although we barely see anything), but mostly watch this for the awesomeness of having Alice Cooper in a role. Obviously!



 
15. RAZORBACK

 

1984
Director: Russell Mulcahy

There are not a lot of movies about this kind of animal. And I doubt there would be a point to make more: this is the "Jaws" of razorbacks and swine. This is quite a fantastic movie overall, actually, and a very weird and trippy experience. There's an almost post-apocalyptic feel to it at times as it's set in the steaming outbacks. The razorback itself looks just a great as it should, and I can't imagine people being disappointed by this amazing animal horror that borders on the surreal.


 
14. ERNEST SCARED STUPID

 

1991
Director: John R. Cherry III

The only Ernest flick I watched as a kid would come to be of great help in the future of Halloween 2012. Because you know what? It's a Halloween flick, with a badass ugly troll! Stupid as heck, mind-bogglingly odd at times, and fairly kids friendly movie, and one that I personally wouldn't mind revisiting this Halloween for obvious reasons. And the make-up is still pretty solid when you compare to some of the bullshit out there! Ernest fighting an evil troll shall be viewed by you upon Halloween night. Deal?


 
13. THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS

 

1953
Director: Eugène Lourié

One of the earliest, if not THE earliest, films featuing a nuclear-bomb-mutated-giant-monster. And the look of this one is awe-worthy. I keep coming back to this movie with the sole purpose of seeing the fantastic Rhedosaurus in action! And the movie is actually GREAT too! That's right, so why the fuck haven't you purchased this one yet? Get with the program, fool - Halloween is close! All kidding aside, this is a great experience and the effects are astounding. You'll be happy you watched it.


 
12. THERE'S NOTHING OUT THERE

 

1991
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky

What the fuck is that thing? A toad-lawnmower-ray-fish? Fuck it, it's perfect! The movie is a rather great independent comedy that does the self-aware stuff way before "Scream" did, and quite often does it better. It went past me for many years, and I had barely heard of it when I saw it, so maybe this will raise some awareness for a very forgotten and entertaining-to-the-max monster movie. Oh, and Boobies!


 
11. RAWHEAD REX

 

1986
Director: George Pavlou

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWHEEEAAAAAD!!"
Sorry, I can't help myself but say that every time I think about this movie. I love this crapfest, and it might be one of the monster movies I most often mention as a suggestion because it's so much fun. I don't care that Clive Barker's original vision was something creepy and scary, I want this big buffalo of a monster-suit. It won't scare you, but you'll be amazed at how awesome Rawhead is. He'll piss on a priest if he wants to!


 
10. THE DEADLY SPAWN

 

1983
Director: Douglas McKeown

One of my favorite alien movies because it's the epitomy of 80's horror, but also because I love penis-looking aliens with million of teeth! This one doesn't mess around - it gets down to business, and it keeps the pace steady through-out. Gore and stunning effects, that's a guarantee. There's something special and inspirational about this movie, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, but I can't recommend this fun alien movie enough.


 
9. GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS

 

1973
Director: Fredric Hobbs

I wasn't sure if this one belonged here or not. But of course the best sheep monster of all time deserves your time on Halloween, right? This is the ugliest fucking monster that I have seen (next to "The Giant Claw") and it makes the movie so much more fun than a good-looking monster would have. It's not really a good movie, yeah, but I laugh every time that sheep is on screen. Especially the scenes where it's just casually approaching from the background! This belongs here more than "Black Sheep", that much is a promise.


 
8. CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

 

1954
Director: Jack Arnold

"Oh, how original to include a Universal monster on such a list!" I know, I know. But you'd be surprised how many I stumble upon who have yet to watch this fantastic monster movie. This should be required viewing if you have an interest in monsters, for fuck's sake! Gillman is badass, and the effects are impressive. There are so many movies out there that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for this one. And any Universal monster classic is appropriate for Halloween. You know it's true, and you should feel stupid for not having seen "Creature from the Black Lagoon" yet.


 
7. CUJO

 

1983
Director: Lewis Teague

It's just a little dog, but this is one of the scariest monsters on this list! This highly claustrophobic horror is like a baseball bat of fright. Yeah, this is one of the movies I can genuinely call scary. And it has nothing to do with having watched it as a kid. I didn't even appreciate the greatness when I was a kid, as I went into it with some kind of killing-spree-expectations. This is one I re-watched in my late teens and realized it's damn scary. I think this is quite underrated, really.


 
6. GODZILLA 2000

 

1999
Director: Takao Okawara

Including the original "Godzilla" would have been too easy, so I decided to go with one of the solid sequels. And this is one of the newer ones, actually! When "Godzilla" got an American remake, the Japanese were making their own, and it's easy to understand which one was better (if you're not sure, you can watch the two Godzillas fight in "Godzilla: Final Wars" which was Japan's answer to the remake). The reason I went with "Godzilla 2000" is because I think the design and the suit is superb in this one, and he is fighting the awesome Orga! But most of the runtime, Orga is an annoying flying saucer. But that's besides the point... Oh and don't hesitate to watch the US version of this, as you'll laugh your face off when you hear their translation at the end, "Why does he keep protecting us?" followed by the answer "Maybe it is because Godzilla is in each and every one of us", which is followed by Godzilla going BERSERK on the city. Perfect!!


 
5. THE BEAST

 

1996
Director: Jeff Bleckner

I could've gone with Borowczyk's movie of the same name, but I'm not sure it truly fits. So I went with this one! I think this is as close as I'll get to the full "Jaws" experience without watching "Jaws". I loved this from the moment I first saw it on TV, and I think it still holds up very well. This time the monster is a giant squid (or rather, two). Being a made-for-TV movie allows it to have a much longer runtime (shown in two parts), making it a much more epic experience. And the squids are actually terrifying - huge as fuck and well-made makes that possible, I suppose. If you've been looking for another great shark movie but seem to find crap everywhere, change species and go for this one.


 
4. HIRUKO THE GOBLIN

 

1991
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

This is probably the oddball of this list, as it's made by a very unique Japanese director, and my favorite of all time - Shinya Tsukamoto. This is far from your typical monster movie, but at the same time... it is a typical monster movie. The gates of Hell are open, and the demons that are unleashed will have you shake your head in disbelief. And while it's not Tsukamoto's strongest effort ever, this is a fun and interesting monster movie that shouldn't be missed. I mean, it has human heads running around with spider legs!


 
3. MONSTER IN THE CLOSET

 

1986
Director: Bob Dahlin

"Jeepers Creepers" isn't the only gay monster in town - I will always prefer the goatse-faced, 6-fingered, superbeast that is the monster in the closet! Okay, he doesn't have 6 fingers, it's just the cover, but it made for a good sentence. This is another one of those 80's flicks that just hit the spot for what I think defines that decade in horror. This is intentionally stupid, and just as entertaining. Being a spoof it's pretty clever at times (and when it's not, it's still a joy), but most of all it's just a damn entertaining monster crap-o-rama.


 
2. THE BEAST WITHIN

 

1982
Director: Philippe Mora

Strangely enough, this is probably the only movie that my oldest sister has ever gotten me into. She told me about having watched this when she was younger, without remembering the title, and asked me to find it for her. Once I did, I had grown a personal interest in watching it. And because I bought it without Swedish subtitles, she had no interest in watching it. But I gained a fun little transformation-monster flick in my collection. It's not an excellent movie, but it's a cool enough addition to the monster genre, and I'm a fan of transformation scenes!


 
1. BLACK WATER

 

2007
Director: David Nerlich & Andrew Traucki

Another animal for the list is the fairly new crocodile movie "Black Water". This is one that caught me off guard and actually managed to be a chilling and intense experience, feeling like a mix of "Open Water" and typical animal horror. It's one of the most solid crocodile/alligator movies I have ever seen, and might only be challenged by "Alligator". The effects were also a nice surprise, as it's a modern animal horror that won't have you screaming because of bad CGI. A great movie to watch, and a nice title to end this list with in case you're a modern man looking for newer movies.


 

 




 

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