RR Films: Monsters

A man often labelled a monster has just died. It’s hard to disagree with the label here: a creature who seemed to lack empathy and to enjoy cruelty.

Or is perhaps just big and scaly, or hairy and colossal, or blue and furry. Monsters come in many forms, human, animal and even alien. They also come in many films, so let’s hear about them.

I’ll kick off with the most powerful examination of a human monster I’ve ever seen, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act Of Killing.

What films about monsters would you recommend?

20 thoughts on “RR Films: Monsters

  1. I’ll kick off with an obvious one, Alien. I think that we have become jaded now, but back then, the first sighting of the monster, bursting out of John Hurt’s chest was truly shocking.

  2. For human monster I’d go with “M” the 1931 Fritz Lang thriller starring Peter Lorre as Hans Beckert a children’s serial killer. It was Lorre’s first major role and he is brilliant as the evil yet vulnerable killer who even manages, towards the finale, to evoke some sympathy in the viewer. It must be said that he has the perfect face for a disturbed killer.
    For the more traditional monster film I’d recommend “The Thing”, the 1982 John Carpenter movie that has more jump out of your skin moments than any I can think of ! Great fun !

    • The Thing is a remarkable film. The special effects were well ahead of their time, I reckon. I was about 19 when I first saw it, and me and my mates were typical cocky teenagers, ready to mock the “supposedly scary video” we’d rented. That attitude disappeared once the husky bit got going, let me tell you.

  3. I’ve just thought of an interesting piece of cinematic metafiction. The film is Shadow Of The Vampire, about the filming of the F.W Murnau classic Nosferatu, starring Max Schreck as the vampire, Count Orlok. Max Schreck’s vampire is a creepy, monstrous nightmare creation. In Shadow Of The Vampire itself, the metafictional concept is that the actor, Max Schreck, who plays the vampire is himself a real vampire, and Murnau has promised him the actress Greta Schröder, who is playing the female lead Ellen Hutter in Nosferatu as his payment for appearing in the film.

    I shall leave it to others to decide who is the truly monstrous person in this film.

  4. Spoiled for choice actually. There’s one about human monsters, Hostel, which has a very real feel considering the surfeit of related news. But I will suggest last year’s 10 Cloverfield Lane with John Goodman doing an outstanding role.

  5. If you prefer your monster movies to have occasional and unexpected lighter moments, while still creating the necessary tension and providing the gore, then An American Werewolf in London is worth a try.

    A long, long time favourite of mine.

  6. Cheating slightly with this one as it’s not really about the monsters at all. It’s about the declining years of the director James Whale who made his name directing monster movies.

    Monsters and mad scientists from his films are featured in flashbacks and visions/fantasies but the two main themes of the film are his anxieties about his life and career and his interest in the new gardener.
    A lovely film which I had forgotten about until the name of the topic reminded me.

    Gods and Monsters

  7. For me it has to be the giant beachball in “Dark Star” that attacks its keeper (Pinback) and traps him in a lift. Very funny at the time, perhaps you had to be there.

  8. Chris; Are you watching season 3 of Fargo? It’s the best yet. David Thewlis is a new addition and he’s great, the first time I recall seeing him was in Naked back in the early 90’s, he was awful but he was supposed to be. His awfulness has softened over the years, but he’s still rivetingly awful.
    I’m on a Coen bros binge just now.

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