Generating this top 10 list of creature feature movies was not easy. The first stumbling block was the definition of the term “Creature”. What defines a creature? Can it be something ordinary like a crocodile or a shark, or does is it need to live in a black lagoon? I turned to dictionary.com for some advice and this is what they told me:
- 1. “an animal, especially a nonhuman: the creatures of the woodsand fields; a creature from outer space.
- 2. anything created, whether animate or inanimate.
I’m not sure if this really helps me. So, I’m just going to go ahead with what I think fits. Feel free to let me know if it’s out to lunch.
Here we go.
The Thing, 1982.
A group of scientists in Antarctica find an alien life form that turns out to be a shapeshifter that assimilates whatever host it has just killed. This creature from outer space is certainly one of my favorites. As a shapeshifter, it continually re-invents itself from whatever it can get – dogs to humans. Each version it assimilates is pretty nasty lookin’. And generally slimy. Not to be missed is the epic beard on Kurt Russell.
Four people wind up in a gas station, fighting off a creature that infects the living and re-animates the dead. It has spines and parts that have been removed can attack all on their own. This is a great creature movie that was shot on a shoestring budget. The acting is believable and the special effects are great, considering the budget. The arm amputation is . . .inventive. I never would have guessed that a boxcutter and a concrete block would have been used for surgery.
The Mist, 2007.
A group of people are trapped in a supermarket when a thick mist rolls in, cutting them off from the outside world. Hellish and impossibly large creatures live in the mist and snap up anybody who gets caught outside. The great thing about this movie is the fear and tension. We rely on the fear of the unknown; we rarely see much of the creatures, letting our imaginations do the work. The ending is utterly depressing and completely appropriate for a Stephen King adaptation.