The Scary Movies List! Part 2: Monsters, Zombies & Critters

by | Oct 29th, 2010 | 4:41PM | Filed under: Movie Lists, Movies

This Halloween I’m churning out my Scariest Movies of All Time lists. There’s Spooky Spirits (Haunted Houses, Ghosts, Demons, Witches, and Curses), and Psycho Killers (serial killers and torturers–both supernatural and human) and now it’s time for Monsters–including aliens, mutants, animals, critters, werewolves and vampires, and yes, zombies (both fast and slow moving).

Why are monsters scary? Because they’re mean, ugly, and often mindless–you can’t reason with them. All they want to do is eat you! (Or drain your blood. Or lay their eggs in your brain.)

In no particular order:

The Mist (2007, Frank Darabont) — We have a small-but-devoted gang of Mist-loving readers here at redblog, and for good reason–one of the most overlooked Stephen King adaptations, it features vicious monsters galore, but even more terrifying human behavior. And that ending… my god. The director of such uplifting King films as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile got real, real dark.

Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg) — One of my favorites of all time, horror or otherwise. Maybe it doesn’t scare me like it did when I was a kid, but still dang near a perfect movie (rubber shark aside). Launched a million cheap imitations and a certain young director’s career.

Alien (1979, Ridley Scott) — Some argue it’s a haunted-house in space, but Scott and H.R. Giger’s ground-breaking creature design still freaks you out to this day.

Open Water (2003, Chris Kentis) — Rather than cheap scares, it builds a slow, despairing sense of hopelessness and goes out on a deeply chilling image.

Cloverfield (2008, Matt Reeves) — As time goes by, this once-maligned resurrection of the “Giant Monster” genre gets better and better, thanks to the clever slow-reveal of the creature–and that terrifying train-tunnel nightmare. (Available from redbox on Blu-ray.)

Let the Right One In/Let Me In (2008, Tomas Alfredson; 2010, Matt Reeves) — Both the original Swedish version and the Hollywood remake are darkly stunning. They’re not really about love and friendship, but about continuing a very disturbing pattern of co-dependent enslavement.

The Thing (1982, John Carpenter) — Sure the crazy gore is a riot, but it’s the chilly Arctic dread that gets to you. And that test with the hot copper wire in the blood.

An American Werewolf in London (1981, John Landis) — A landmark in mixing bloody horror and gallows humor (and make-up)–any time I’m in an underground train-station hallway at night, I remember the Tube scene.

Dawn of the Dead (2004, Zack Snyder) — Romero’s 1978 original is a classic of the genre–as is Night of the Living Dead, of course–but Snyder’s remake is an exhilaratingly scary (and gory) ride.

28 Days Later (2002, Danny Boyle) — Based on fears of pandemic viruses, most zombie movies deal in pervasive despair, but Boyle really lets that moody dread soak in.

Dead Alive (1992, Peter Jackson) — When people scratched their heads over Peter Jackson doing The Lord of the Rings it was because he was best known for gleefully funny gore-fests like this zombie romp. Lawnmower!

[REC]/Quarantine (2007, Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza; 2008, John Erick Dowdle) — Both the original Spanish version and the American remake give zombies the “hand-held video” treatment to great creepy and claustrophobic effect.

Jeepers Creepers 1 & 2 (2001, 2003, Victor Salva) — The ’00s brought a return to ’70s-style “no happy endings” horror. Movies like this where it becomes clear you can’t stop the relentless monster, let alone defeat it. It just keeps coming until it gets what it wants.

Young Frankenstein (1974, Mel Brooks) — No, not scary but one of my favorite comedies of all time. “Sed-a-GIVE?!”

Okay, let’s hear it in the comments! What’s your pick for scariest “Monster” movie? What’d I criminally overlook?

And don’t miss the other Scary Movie lists:

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We’ve covered a lot of Halloween ground at redblog this year:


10 Responses to “The Scary Movies List! Part 2: Monsters, Zombies & Critters”

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Jeremy F.
    Posted on October 29, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Phantoms…had a great weirdness factor as well

  1. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on October 29, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    “Affleck! You the BOMB in Phantoms, yo!”

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Jeremy F.
    Posted on October 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    ROFL!!! i was hoping someone would say that!!!

  2. Trevor L
    Posted on October 31, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I’m glad The Mist is on here. It ticked everybody I know off, the ending that is, but I just loved the heartrending irony. Not many movies ever left me so shocked in my life, and the movie will always stick in my memory for that.

  3. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on October 31, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    It fascinates me that as dark and horrifying as Stephen King once was, even HE wouldn’t go there in the original Mist novella — and yet Darabont, who made his name adapting the “uplifting, hopeful” King films DID.

    Sometimes truly powerful horror just has to drag you kicking and screaming exactly where you DON’T want to go.

    By the way, don’t forget, Darabont’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s brilliant THE WALKING DEAD premieres tonight on A&E!

  4. Matthew S. aka Matthew the Movie Geek
    Posted on October 31, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    YAY THE MIST!!!! *One of those devoted gang*

    And I can’t believe I missed it! I need to get Cable so I can watch The Walking Dead!

  5. matphoto
    Posted on November 1, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I finally saw Alien a few weeks ago and that’s how to mesh suspense and gore, and not to mention how to make a well-composed shot. And Sigourney Weaver was smokin!

    I also enjoyed Cloverfield a lot – there need to be more camcorder movies.

    I’m still behind on some of the zombie classics though, and I kind of want to see The Mist now.

  6. Jody
    Posted on November 2, 2010 at 11:47 am

    The Mist was a great movie with a good plot. Jaws was the best. I saw it in the theatre front rowe when I was 14 and was headed to the beach for the first time; BIG MISTAKE. It made me afraid of the ocean and I still am but I still love the movie and it’s one I can watch over and over. The other parts aren’t bad either.

  7. Jody
    Posted on November 2, 2010 at 11:50 am

    BTW I thought Cloverfield was horrible. It was boring and just like Blair Witch which was horrible. I would throw this off of your list.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    Tonya
    Posted on July 19, 2011 at 3:37 am

    As a kid, yes Jaws was one of my favorites. Can watch it over and over. Also, I loved The Mist and I also love a lot of other Stephen King movies. I consider him to be one of the best at scary and suspenseful authors out there, and he is great at taking his classic novels and adapting them onto the big screen. But since this is the monster selection and everyone keeps talking about how they love Stephen King’s movies, why hasn’t anyone brought up one of my favs by Stephen King, which is Silver Bullet. How can you forget a movie about a werewolf who is being hunted down by a 13 year old kid in a wheelchair played by Corey Haim???