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Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

Carrion 37 Comments

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.
Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

Splinter, 2008.

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.
Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

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.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

Cloverfield, 2008.

This is another great installation in the “found footage” genre. I love how the narrative unfolds in this movie. We find out what is happening as the characters in the movie find out. It’s shot as a first person POV using a video camera. The story follows a group of friends who are enjoying a going away party, when everything goes sideways. A giant monster is attacking Manhattan, starting its rampage by decapitating the Statue of Liberty. It’s the monster’s way of giving the American public the finger. It’s a cool mixture of Godzilla and alien invasion. It’s simply awesome. Shaky camera work, much like in The Blair Witch Project, is used extensively. It takes some getting used to, but it’s effective.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

The Blob, 1988.

Hailing from outer space (again), the Blob crashes to earth in a meteor and sets about devouring the population of a small town in California. This is a great movie that still holds up well. The effects are really good, considering how long ago it was made. The sink scene is truly fantastic. The Blob suckers its hapless victim by clogging the drain. Trying to get it unblocked, the worker gets his hand in there. Surprisingly, he pulls his hand out unscathed. Then the Blob attacks – it leaps out and grabs him by the face and pulls him head first into the drain. Simple physics tells you it’s impossible to fit a grown man down a drain, but with brute force, the Blob makes it happen.
Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

The Fly, 1986.

Jeff Goldblum was cast perfectly in this role. A creepy oddball scientist attempts teleportation from one pod to another. The first baboon test has disastrous and disgusting results; it basically gets turned inside out. Once perfected, he moves onto the human trials. Unwittingly, he teleports himself along with a fly. The slow transformation from man to man-fly, much like the baboon, is pretty nauseating. The whole movie is pretty revolting; from the acidic puke to his teeth falling out. Great slimy special effects.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

The Descent, 2005.

A group of cave explorers end up lost in a series of tunnels. It was their own fault, really. They didn’t tell anyone where they were going. To compound the problem, they also chose to explore a cave system that is unmapped. AND it’s full of predatory humanoid creatures with really sharp teeth. This movie has terrific atmosphere; it feels frightfully moody and claustrophobic. The creatures are truly scary and add an element of terror to a movie that would have been decent, even without them.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

Lake Placid, 1999.

The same Director as Friday the 13th, Steve Miner brings us this gem. An oversized crocodile is terrorizing a lake in Maine. This is probably the best role I have seen for Betty White. Who would have guessed she had such a foul mouth? She swears like a trucker and looks quite at home doing it. She’s been feeding the crocodile for years, I suppose that’s why it’s grown to such huge proportions. Decent effects and good acting make this one for the DVD collection.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

Open Water, 2003.

Sharks get pretty bad PR. They really aren’t all murderous eating machines with an insatiable spirit for blood lust. Two scuba divers on vacation get left behind when their tour guide miscounts the people aboard his boat. Floating in the middle of the ocean with little to no chance of rescue really puts a strain on a relationship. Naturally, the sharks end up having their way with the couple.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

Creepshow, 1982.

The fourth short story in Creepshow may not be a feature length movie, but it warrants a mention on this list. The creature that lives in the crate has a voracious appetite. Rightly so. According to the label on the crate, it’s over 100 years old. The first victim is the janitor, who is pulled into the crate and eaten entirely. The creature looks a bit like a Sasquatch, only with a head full of incredibly long, pointy teeth. I really like the element of the supernatural here. The creature is impossibly old and it can apparently survive underwater. It’s got some of the un-killable characteristics that I love. Like Jason or Freddy.

Top 10 Creature Feature Movies

There are so many great creature movies out there that I don’t have room for all of them. I would like to give a nod to both the Predator and Alien series. They would be obvious choices, I just wanted to give some props to some other greats.

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37 Comments

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      1. Robb Sturtcman July 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm

        Not a bad list. Totally agree on: The Thing, Splinter, The Mist, Cloverfield, The Blob, The Fly, and maybe Lake Placid. However, NO creature movie list is complete without: Alien (1979), The Host (2006), The Relic (1997), Pumpkinhead (1988), and King Kong (2005).

        • Jak Forst February 22, 2013 at 1:36 am

          oooo king kong was ruff

      2. Robb Sturtcman July 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm

        Wow, never noticed how so many of the greats start  with “The” …

      3. Paul Geye September 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

        Umm…wow… this was a pretty awful list. No Alien, or Jaws, or Anaconda. I could understand not including Predator, or Species. Gremlins? The Cave? Don’t be Afraid of the Dark? Come on!

      4. Ancient One September 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        I have to take serious exception with the plot description of The Descent. “They” weren’t the ones who chose not to tell anyone which cave system they were caving in. “They” also weren’t the ones who chose an unmapped system. It’s a very significant plot element (especially at the end) that only *one* of the characters is responsible for the mess everyone gets into.

      5. Preston Orrick September 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        Those pink tentacle things in ‘King Kong’ that basically raped that one guy stuck in my mind days after watching it.

      6. Blue Panther October 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm

        Three movies I do not agree with The Fly, The Descent and Lake Placid

      7. TB_HAT October 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

        How old is the person who wrote this list? Many of these movies are from the 90′s and 00′s with nothing going back further than 1982. The sharks in Open Water make it in over the shark from Jaws? No Alien? No demonically possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist? Even Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein was scarier than some of the creatures on this list.

      8. Glenn Griffith January 5, 2013 at 6:51 am

        This author has a short memory. Either that or he/she is 15-20

        • Emancipator January 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

          Glenn I am lost on the intent of your insult. Please elaborate.

        • Yanksfan2010 January 15, 2013 at 3:47 am

          The fact is this list only goes back to the 80′s. It makes it look like the person who made it either young or has never seen a movie before 1982.

      9. Yanksfan2010 January 15, 2013 at 3:49 am

        Aliens?, Pennywise?, etc….How old was the person who made this list? Cause call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure movies were made before the 1980′s.

      10. Aldwich February 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        No mention of Pazuzu? which continues to be used as an internet screamer long into 2013…

      11. Buckaroo Baznai March 3, 2013 at 6:31 am

        How do you not have The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers? That thing was freaking terrifying.

      12. bon scott March 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        The Thing with Kurt Russel, should be in top 3.

        • Dennis Francis March 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm

          IF not #1. Minimal CGI and some of the best practical effects that still hold true to this day. The Thing and Alien are my favorie Sci-Fi/Horrors of all time. And deserve to be up here.

      13. wood chopper March 7, 2013 at 7:52 am

        Did you forget the Howling movies?

      14. Dennis Francis March 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

        Dog Soldiers! Campy as hell, entertaining, scary, and laughable. Arguably one of the most underrated films ever.

        Def should be on this list.

        • penguinmama July 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

          Totally agree! My whole family loves Dog Soldiers!

      15. Cameron March 14, 2013 at 7:16 am

        ALIEN?

      16. Dan March 17, 2013 at 6:34 am

        Tremors? H.A.L.? An American Werewolf in London? Creature From the Black Lagoon? How can you have a creature list and not have the Black Lagoon? But this is your own opinion…

      17. Nate March 26, 2013 at 2:56 am

        I’m with Dan, no list is complete without American Werewolf in London.

      18. Germy March 27, 2013 at 4:14 am

        How do you not have *(insert creature movie here)* on this list?

        Come on people. You can’t have it all. If you don’t like the opinions, make your own fucking blog.

      19. Ryan D. Jacque March 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

        I think the creature in Cloverfield was the most creative.. without question.. but it will take a back seat to the newest creature from ‘Pacific Rim’ when that comes out…. If the topic was about the scariest real-live subject.. Jaws.. nothing will ever come as close unless it bit you

      20. filmbuffer April 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        Top 10 ways to waste your time …

        • Herner Klenthur
          Herner Klenthur April 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

          Lets hear your top 10.

        • Buckaroo Baznai April 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm

          Top 10 Ways To Waste Your Time:

          10- Reply to posts by ‘filmbuffer’

          9-

          8-

          7-

          6-

          5-

          4-

          3-

          2-

          And the number 1 way to waste your time:

          1-

      21. brokedogBrokeDog May 23, 2013 at 2:04 am

        Open Water? LoL … “Jaws” pretty much “stunted” beach tourism when it came out! And, everyone knows “Alien” HAS to be on this list! But, probably one glaring omission was the “diseased” vampires from “Blade II” … wicked mouths … UGH !!! Plus … not a “zombie” on the list, at all (especially those “fast” ones)?
        But … we ALL have our own picks … and THIS particular list is just an opinion to get the debate going! I love seeing what everyone else considers scary!

      22. David June 15, 2013 at 9:28 pm

        Not sure how Mr Barlow could be left out of this.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcHmWLYmwgo

        This scene scarred me for generations.

      23. Fergo June 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm

        Sauron’s mouth was pretty nifty

      24. SecGuard5 July 10, 2013 at 5:45 am

        The Gargantuas! Eating a Japanese Maid and spitting out her clothes one of the classics…

      25. glenn July 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm

        I was distressed by the serious lack of perhaps cinema’s definitive mutant salmon men, from Humanoids from the Deep.

      26. Mike October 17, 2013 at 3:47 am

        If Im remembering correctly, the thing in the crate from Creepshow was supposed to be an Abominable Snowman. At least that was my assumption by the ‘North Pole’ stenciled on the lid. Brrr! Ya, that one has stuck with me for 30 years!

      27. markee March 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        Don’t forget Meg Knucklebones from Legend!!! I cringed as a kid and still do just seeing that monster!!!

      28. Chuva June 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

        Wow… so much hate. You can disagree without being a hateful douche about.

        Only movie I disagree with is The Mist. I just do not get the love for this movie.

      29. Fido June 5, 2014 at 6:28 am

        ‘The Crate’ story in Creepshow is a favourite of mine and still freaks the hell out of me. I’m pleased to see it’s not just me. :)

      30. James Daniel Massey June 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        The creature from Creepshow was called Fluffy.