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50 of the Best Creature Features Ever

May 28, 2018 By Nick

50 of the Best Creature Features Ever

If there’s one guilty pleasure that most men can agree on, it’s a good quality creature feature.

 

It’s a Hollywood formula that we’ll revisit from now until the end of time and it pits us against our greatest fears and a few things that could only come from our nightmares.

 

Creature features can be some of the best date films, because they have a few ‘grab the hand’ moments, they’re stupid enough to have fun with and pretty much everybody loves or is heinously afraid of the protagonist. Both can work.

 

Most of these creature features are available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. But if you’re struggling to find high quality movies online then try www.moviezion.com

 

It’s free, it’s easy to use and even the tricky films on this list are on there. It isn’t an affiliate link, it’s just an easy place to watch any film you want within seconds. Consider it a free gift!

 

Now, let’s get in to the best creature features of all time and let us know what you think in the comments. We know we’ve missed out some of the older films, but then special effects count with films like this and we had to make some tough calls..

 

Still, if we have missed an awesome film, let us know! Oh, unless it was Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. That really was a bad film…

 

 

1. Jaws

Year: 1975

Creature: Great White Shark

Cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gary

 

 

The original and arguably still the best blockbuster creature feature of all time. Jaws had everything, from the menacing apex predator as the anti-hero to an all-star line-up with near-perfect chemistry.

 

Loosely based on Peter Benchley’s book, it follows Roy Scheider as Police Chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as the ernest scientist and Robert Shaw as old grizzled shark hunter Quint. Martha’s Vineyard provides the fictional Amity Island that suffers the attentions of one of the biggest Great White Sharks on record.

 

The 25-foot beast goes to war with the crew on the high seas. Only Scheider and Dreyfuss survive, with Quint meeting a suitably grizzly end in one of the few truly gory moments in a film about Great White Shark attacks.

 

Jaws is still considered one of the finest films ever made and it changed the world of summer blockbuster movies forever. It also inspired a slew of films and is probably why sharks feature so heavily on this list. Well that and even in 2017, shark attacks are still world news every time they happen.

 

Yes, special effects have come a long way and any recent creature feature will leave Jaws in its wake in that department. But Steven Spielberg as a director, a great story, a cast that became icons off the back of this one role and that legendary music mean Jaws is still a cut above the rest and the greatest creature feature of all time.

 

“You’re going to need a bigger boat,” Police Chief Martin C Brody

 

 

 

 

 

2. Rogue

Year: 2007

Creature: Saltwater Crocodile

Cast; Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell, Sam Worthington

 

If Jaws is the seminal shark film and, well, it just is, then Rogue is simply the best crocodile film ever made.

 

Again, this is a big budget effort and the cast includes a pre-Avatar Sam Worthington and Alias star Michael Vartan. Radha Mitchell has been in some heavyweight Hollywood films, too, and they all got together for this epic film in the Australian outback.

 

It’s got a passable enough storyline where the group get trapped on an island in a tidal river, which is slowly disappearing, with a 6.5m crocodile hungry for their blood. It also has an incredible art director, a cinematic look and feel that shows this remote countryside at its best, and an awesome soundtrack based on orchestral interpretations of Aboriginal music.

 

The last few minutes get a bit daft, but the problem with building the crocodile up into this indefatigable monster is that you then have to find a way to finish it off. The wooden stake straight through the mouth and brain is a lucky shot, but then after this cruel nightmare in the outback it’s reasonable to throw the few remaining survivors a bone.

 

“I just saw a man get eaten by a fucking crocodile. This is not what I do, alright. I write stupid articles about hotels and resorts,” Pete McKell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Trollhunter

Year: 2010

Creature: Ummm, trolls

Cast: Otto Jespersen, Johanna Morch, Tomas Alf Larsen

 

 

This Norwegian film is a work of genius and it’s based on Blair Witch-style ‘found footage’, but it’s better.

 

This film was basically a student effort compared to the budgets of the first two films, but it captured the world’s imagination and you should really make the effort to watch it if you haven’t already.

 

It got an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s an intense caper as students who set out to film an illegal bear hunter get in way over their head as they end up hunting trolls with UV lights instead.

 

“Fairy tales are for kids. Trolls are animals. Predators. They eat, shit and mate. Eat anything they can,” Hans.

 

 

 

4. Predator

Year: 1987

Creature: Futuristic outdoorsy Aliens

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura

 

 

Most of the best films are big budget efforts and this is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most famous roles. He was surrounded by a killer cast, though, including Apollo Creed himself, Carl Weathers.

 

The crew find themselves at the mercy of an unseen predator who is hunting them for sport. They’re special forces and essentially off the grid on a black ops mission to rescue hostages in the Central American rainforest.

 

When they get there, there’s a whole lot more than they bargained for waiting on their arrival.

 

Predator was a groundbreaking film. We loved Aliens vs Predator Requiem, but these purist versions of the film inevitably deserve their place at the head of the pack.

 

There’s another film, The Predator, scheduled for 2018. Shane Black stars in that one and we’re a bit light on details. But we’re looking forward to the reboot.

 

“If it bleeds, we can kill it,” Dutch.

 

5. Alien

Year: 1979

Creature: Aliens

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Veronica Cartwright.

 

 

Ridley Scott’s iconic franchise all started with this film. Sigourney Weaver enjoys her finest moment as Ripley. John Hurt, Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton and Veronica Cartwright all play their respective parts to perfection in this claustrophobic thriller as well.

 

In 2002, Aliens was deemed culturally significant and taken in to the National Film Registry and  the  American Film Institute voted  it  the  seventh best science fiction movie of all time. So this is much more than a simple creature feature.

 

The crew answer a distress call that turns out to be a warning and walk straight into an Alien nest. They didn’t have today’s special effects on their side, but Scott and co manage to create suspense and murderous tension anyway.

 

It’s almost an ordeal to watch Alien and there are some serious heart in mouth moments in this film. But it is one of the greatest creature features of all time and if you haven’t seen it in a while then you should take a look and remember what you’re missing.

 

“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage,” Ripley.

 

 

 

 

6. Kong: Skull Island

Year: 2017

Creature: Giant Ape

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, Samuel L Jackson.

 

Peter Jackson’s King Kong reboot wasn’t a massive success, but it was only a matter of time before it got the proper treatment and Skull Island is a proper film.

 

Now there were elements of the last film that were arguably better. They included Kong’s fights with a T-Rex and the early part of the first film is pretty great.

 

But, we can’t  mix and match. We have to choose  one film and this one is just better.

 

Tom Hiddleston is basically awesome in every film he ever does. Sam L Jackson is, well Sam L Jackson and Kong himself is a special  effects masterpiece.

 

The Skullcrushers are a little bit lame and we’re looking forward to seeing Kong vs Godzilla next time around.

 

For now, though, we’re happy to have a proper Kong film that doesn’t annoy us. How the character develops is anybody’s guess, because this one hasn’t climbed up any skyscrapers, although he did snatch choppers out the sky in the film’s finest scene.

 

 

“You don’t go into somebody’s house and start dropping bombs unless you’re picking a fight,” Hank Marlow.

 

 

7. The Reef

Year: 2010

Creature: Great White Shark

Cast: Damian Walshe-Howling, Adrienne Pickering, Zoe Naylor, Gyton Granley, Kieran Darcy-Smith.

 

 

This low-budget effort goes with a brilliant premise. If the boat is going down and land is 12 miles away, would you go for a dip in shark-infested waters?

 

Yacht delivery ace Luke takes a few friends on what he assumes will be a routine delivery to Indonesia. But after the group stop off, the tide catches them, they hit the reef and rip a big hole in the bottom of the boat.

 

They swim for it, across a fair old tract of open ocean, and a Great White Shark joins them in short order. It’s just them, the open ocean and a shark.

 

This film does a great job of conveying the sheer isolation of being out in the water with a killing machine. It didn’t have the budget of The Shallows, or even Open Water, but that just doesn’t seem to matter. It’s well acted, the story is tense as Hell and the ending is brutal.

 

The worst part? It’s based on a true story. Ray Boundy was the sole survivor in 1983, when he faced the agonizing choice to swim for real.

 

“Mate, I’ve fished these waters. I know what’s out there. I’m not getting in,” Warren.

 

 

8. The Grey

Year: 2011

Creature: A pack of wolves

Cast: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, James Badge

 

 

A plane crash in the frozen wilderness somewhere near Alaska pits the eight survivors against the elements and the pack of wolves that is watching their every move.

 

Not everybody loved The Grey, but it’s atmospheric, cold and nihilistic. It doesn’t go for the typical happy ending, either. Liam Neeson prepares for war with the Alpha wolf in the final scene and the film ends with them launching at each other.

 

The wolf seems to afford him a sporting chance to fight for his freedom, but it’s a freedom that the wolves have literally hounded off the ice for the previous hour of the film.

 

Anyway, Neeson is in spectacular form, the film is pretty dark and the ending is just magnificent.

 

“Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day,” Ottway.

 

 

9. Jurassic Park

Year: 1993

Creature: Lots of dinosaurs

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Ariana Richards.

 

 

Based on the book by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park was a signature moment in the history of cinema. It was kid and merchandise friendly, it was a massive concept and the world loved it. The dinosaur safari park was born and it’s still churning out smash hits today.

 

It is Steven Spielberg’s most successful film ever and grossed more than $914 million. Perhaps more important for the people at home, it set new standards for special effects and was also an epic story that built in a moral conundrum too.

 

Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern lead an all-star cast and create some of cinema’s most famous moments, including that trembling cup of water as the Tyrannosaurus Rex closes in.

 

It’s a fun-filled romp of Rexes, Velociraptors and other, lethal, dinosaurs. It also laid the foundations for one of the biggest franchises in cinema history.

 

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should,” Ian Malcolm.

 

 

 

 

10. The Fly

Year: 1986

Creature: Fly

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg, Geena Davis, John Getz

 

We’ve gone for the remake of this incredible story, starring Jeff Goldblum. After an experiment went awry, he is left to slowly evolve into a half man/half insect.

 

He gains so much in terms of strength, stamina and skills. But the metamorphosis slowly robs him of his physical appearance, his humanity and his sanity.

 

It’s very different to the other films on the list and maybe isn’t a true creature feature. But it is one of the most famous science fiction/horror films of all time and it does have a creature in it. That’s good enough for us.

 

David Cronenberg wrote and directed the film, which was a massive hit at the box office with more than $40 million in takings.

 

There was a sequel, but it was nowhere near as good as this remake of the 1950s original.

 

 

 

 

11. Gremlins

Year: 1984

Creature: Gremlins

Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton

 

 

Gremlins might have been a family movie, but that doesn’t dent its creature feature credentials. Making the creatures even slightly scary when the basic premise is so absurd and it has to be suitable for kids is a towering achievement in itself.

 

The creators of Gremlins went one better. They created a film full of suspense, cuteness, shocks and flat out weirdness. It’s in a niche all of its own and it’s simply the best ever at whatever it is that it does.

 

Gizmo the Mogwai is by far the cutest creation to grace the silver screen and it’s not really his fault that new owner Billy feeds him after midnight and gets him wet. That’s enough to unleash an arsenal of Gremlins on the small town of Kingston Falls. Actually it’s the same set that Back to the Future used and it’s basically the junk room at Universal Studios.

 

Gremlins was a landmark film and it changed creature features forever. It was also one of the best family films of all time and at the same time it was too rude for kids. Genius…

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Tarantula

Year: 1955

Creature: Tarantula

Cast: John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G Carroll

 

 

This film is more than 60 years old, so we’re going to have to look past some pretty shitty special effects and just accept that this is one of the founding fathers of the creature feature genre and it deserves our respect and eternal thanks for that fact.

 

They did the best they could, using models only for the close-up shots and relying on shooting an actual spider for the wide shoots.

 

In a world obsessed with nuclear power and its potential side effects, as well as the cutting edge field of genetic engineering, Tarantula is actually a deeper film than it first appears. The mutant spider is the result of a well-intentioned scientist trying to create a super food.

 

At its core, though, it’s a creature feature with a spider the size of a house killing everything in its path.

 

It takes a Napalm drop by the US Air Force to drop this monstrous beast, but before then it provides a solid 81 minutes of black and white entertainment.

 

 

 

13. The Incredible Hulk

Year: 2008

Creature: The Hulk

Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt

 

 

Does The Incredible Hulk count as a creature feature? We think it does, but it’s a story told from the creature’s perspective.

 

It all changes when The Hulk joins The Avengers, where he’s finally recognized as a just about controllable ally rather than a threat, but he doesn’t really count as a superhero in the angst-ridden film starring Edward Norton.

 

It wasn’t quite as weird as Ang Lee’s interpretation, so it is the best of a relatively bad bunch, and we’re still waiting for a great Hulk film, but it still tells the tale of a rage-fuelled monster that destroys everything in his path.

 

The military is afraid of The Hulk, but wants to harness his powers to create super soldiers. So while they try to take him alive, it doesn’t work out well for them.

 

Of course, we know about the mild-mannered Dr Banner, desperately searching for a cure for his alter-ego. But, if we didn’t have that, then we would be looking at a by the numbers monster movie and the Hulk would be the villain of the piece.

 

It’s interesting on those grounds alone and Norton gives a typically powerful performance. There were rumors of behind the scenes friction that cost Norton a role in The Avengers, but the film did win critical acclaim and is a pretty decent effort.

 

The Hulk had previously been low budget and awesome with Lou Ferrigno, or high budget and terrible with the first reboot. This film gave The Hulk a fighting chance, but we think it needs another reboot with the green wrecking machine from The Avengers.

 

 

 

 

14. Cloverfield

Year: 2008

Creature: Alien

Cast: Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan.

 

 

This found footage documentary-style film used social media to spread a vague message long before the alien landed to demolish Manhattan.

 

J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burke worked with Director Matt Reeves to produce a high-energy monster fest that includes POV footage shot from a camcorder that eventually forms a large part of the film.

 

By their own admission, the film is heavily influenced by Godzilla. But it’s better than any of the Godzilla films that have actually made it on to the big screen.

 

If Cloverfield actually had been the new Godzilla film, and it was fighting through the streets with an enemy, then this would have been an absolutely incredible film.

 

As it is, Cloverfield was still a brilliant creature feature that got even darker and more intense when they hit the subways and run into the second wave of aliens that hitched a ride with the big guy.

 

It takes a nuclear assault to take the creature out and a large section of New York is sacrificed to this monster. Give it another watch, it’s one of the best.

 

 

 

15. In the Deep/47 Meters Down

Year: 2016

Creature: Great White Sharks

Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine

 

 

The Shallows wasn’t even the best Great White Shark film of 2016. That honor goes to the lower budget, less publicized In the Deep.

 

Most of the film takes place in and around a shark cage that breaks free of its mounts and plummets 47m to the ocean floor. Two sisters are caught down there, with the full knowledge that they’re running out of air and 20-foot Great White Sharks are circling above.

 

It’s a claustrophobic, horrifying film at times. There isn’t much gore, but it comes from nowhere and the ferocious Great White Sharks attack from all angles. It’s exactly like you’d imaging it happening, which is the really frightening part, and the girls’ courage is tested to the limit.

 

Could you swim out of a shark cage and up 10 meters to talk on the radio? One of these girls does and it is tense as hell..

 

The sisters have to leave the cage to collect air tanks, as well as communicate with the boat above, which puts them in harm’s way. The ending is a fantastic piece of cinema, too, with the one surviving sister in Narcoleptic shock, imagining a happy ending that really isn’t true.

 

We see the sharks, close up, and the thing that makes this a better film than The Shallows is that they’re just being sharks. They don’t display any human like hatred for their victims, they don’t rip steel platforms apart to get at them. They’re just opportunistic feeders that know there is a meal in the water.

 

It’s even funnier that Matthew Modine is up top in charge of all this. He was always a hapless comedy sidekick at the best of times, apart from one epic performance in Full Metal Jacket, and you wouldn’t want him on the winch that’s pulling you out of a potentially fatal shark encounter.

 

The film didn’t get a general release, thanks largely to The Shallows marketing efforts, but it’s worth rooting out and it’s on www.moviezion.com

 

 

 

16. The Thing

Year: 1982

Creature: Alien

Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David.

 

 

Now this one is dangerously close to all-out horror, but the alien creature that kills the crew of an Antarctic exploration crew and then takes their shape just about fits the creature feature genre.

 

There was a remake in 2011, but the original is the one you want. Kurt Russell leads an all-star cast and you will just have to live with old-school special effects. It’s an epic tale and a great film that is now considered one of the finest horror/thrillers of all time.

 

 

 

 

17. In the Heart of the Sea

Year: 2016

Creature: Whale

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Cillian Murphy, Benjamin Walker, Brendan Gleeson

 

Moby Dick was one of the first creature features and the story goes that the tale was a true story based on the fate of the whaling ship Essex of Nantucket in 1820.

 

It’s a sprawling tale of the infamous albino sperm whale with a violent temper and an eventual ceasefire between two sworn enemies.

 

The film could be better and with this cast and Ron Howard at the helm it should have been. But it’s the most cinematic portrayal of one of the most famous creature feature stories of all time.

 

 

 

 

18. Black Water

Year: 2007

Creature: Crocodile

Cast: Maeve Dermody, Dianna Glenn, Andy Rodoreda

 

 

A much lower budget film than Rogue, it made up for that fact with a macabre turn of events, a pretty grim ending and the endless isolation in the North Australian mangrove swamps.

 

The group head out on a boat trip, to a part of the river where crocodiles simply didn’t hang around. But one did, it upturned their flimsy boat and then proceeded to munch through them, one by one. Before long, two sisters are left to fend for themselves.

 

The ending is brilliantly tense and actually believable. The tour guide took a pistol with him and firing it inside the crocodile’s mouth with her mangled fingers could have actually brought down a monster like this.

 

It’s hard to judge the crocodile’s actual size, because the team used real crocs where possible for the filming and that means they are varying sizes. Scale seems to be a real issue and at one point a near baby croc is chasing the group. So, to clear it up, it’s a big croc, is basically all you need to know.

 

This film was never going to get the limelight because it came out in the same year as Rogue and there’s just no comparison. Taken on its own merit, though, it’s a good monster flick.

 

 

19. The Shallows

Year: 2016

Creature: Great White Shark

Cast: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge.

 

 

First, the good news. The Shallows is a beautifully cinematic film with a gorgeous look and feel. It’s hard not to love this Mexican paradise beach and the turquoise waters, you could even forgive the odd Great White Shark attack.

 

The shark attacks flow thick and fast and you can’t doubt the film’s energy. The film also does an exceptional job of isolating Blake Lively, just a few hundred meters from shore, but with a determined killer in the water.

 

It also gives hope then cruelly takes it away on several occasions, first when her fellow surfers stop on the beach to fix a loose rope on the jeep and another when a drunk passed out on the beach takes all her stuff instead of calling the proper authorities.

 

Up until the last 10-15 minutes, The Shallows is an awesome Great White Shark movie. Then it all starts to get a bit daft. The problem is the shark stops behaving like a shark and turns into some hate-fueled wrecking ball.

 

There is a dead whale to munch on 200 meters away and yet the shark chases this woman down, eats through a metal buoy to get at her and charges to the ocean floor after her. It’s so angry it doesn’t see the metal spikes coming its way and effectively spears itself through the head at least 10 times.

 

Conversely, she can stay underwater for minutes at a time, through a jellyfish sting, like some kind of mermaid.

 

The ending lets it down, although that’s the beauty and the curse with a lot of creature features. Still, it’s a good film and one of the best visual creature features for a long, long time.

 

 

 

20. Godzilla

Year: 2014

Creature: Prehistoric dinosaur type thing and giant power sucking moths.

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche.

 

 

Godzilla didn’t really live up to the potential, but it’s still a good hour and a half of mindless entertainment.

 

It had all the ingredients, including Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, who will always be the dad n Malcolm in the Middle to me, except maybe a killer nemesis. The energy sucking moth beasts aren’t quite the arch rival that Godzilla deserves.

 

So we’d have liked a different monster, but the basic recipe is there and another Godzilla film with the same budget and similar cast could smash it out the park. I hope it does, I grew up with Godzilla cartoons and am at a loss to explain why the cinema just can’t get it right with the big green lizard.

 

 

 

21. Lake Placid

Year: 1999

Creature: Saltwater crocodiles

Cast: Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White, Meredith Salanger, Mariska Hargitay.

 

 

This horror comedy was the best crocodile film out there for a good long while. Essentially a 9 meter crocodile is stalking Lake Placid, a beautiful and friendly place where deaths just don’t happen.

 

Bridget Fonda is the mosquito hating scientist sent from her New York lab to the great outdoors with a motley collection of backwater Fish and Game wardens for company. Then mad explorer Hector arrives with his helicopter and things get really weird.

 

The crocodile taking the bear is one of the best creature feature moments that we can remember and Betty White feeding cows to a croc is pretty awesome too.

 

22. Pacific Rim

Year: 2013

Creature: Alien sea creatures

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi

 

 

Alien life emerges from deep in the Pacific Ocean and lays waste to the world, but we have the answer. Nations unite and create monsters of our own to take the fight to the alien invaders.

 

This is a colorful sci-fi fest as much as a monster movie and purists simple might not love it. But that doesn’t matter. It’s fun, it’s a solid story and the cast do a great job of telling this epic story.

 

Watch giant robots square off with monsters and pray that the human race comes out intact…

 

 

 

 

23. Deep Blue Sea

Year: 1999

Creature: Mako sharks with super brains

Cast: Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Samuel L Jackson

 

 

Scientists are working on a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and the genetically modified Mako Sharks are  just  a part  of the research program.

 

But they want a starring role and they find a way to flood the underwater facility, which means they’re in charge. With intelligence that is basically off the scale they can hunt the crew and work their way towards freedom and the deep blue sea.

 

It’s pretty camp and plays to the B-Movie audience, but it has some exceptional moments too. Samuel L Jackson’s speech, just before a shark pops up and drags him into the water, is arguably the highlight of the whole film.

 

 

24. The Edge

Year: 1997

Creature: Bear

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin

 

 

Anthony Hopkins is so good, he can even carry Alec Baldwin through an epic adventure. Especially with the help of the legendary Bart the Kodiak Bear who appeared in as many big movies as Baldwin.

 

When their plane crashes in remote Alaskan back country, billionaire Charles, played by Hoskins, and photographer Bob find themselves on the menu for Bart. The two have their own tension to deal with, as Bob is planning to murder Charles to run off with his wife.

 

The two form an uneasy pact and finally defeat the violent bear, before they settle their own score and Bob dies after a heavy fall.

 

 

 

 

25. Arachnophobia

Year: 1990

Creature: Spiders, lots of spiders…

Cast: Jeff Daniels, John Goodman, Julian Sands, Harley Jane Kozak, Stuart Pankin.

 

 

Pretty much everybody has an issue with spiders, which means the lack of truly great spider films is a bit of a mystery.

 

Eight-legged freaks went for the full comedy-horror angle and did an admirable job. But Arachnophobia is still probably the best spider film out there.

 

Jeff Daniels, John Goodman and Julian Sands keep the action moving as they seek out and destroy a new strain of super spider that has emerged from a late-night tryst between a South American spider that found its way into the country and a local girl.

 

It’s scary, the spiders are suitably horrible and it’s a good way to kill 90 minutes even now.

 

 

 

 

26. Congo

Year: 1995

Creature: Angry ape guardians

Cast: Laura Linney, Tim Curry, Dylan Walsh, Ernie Hudson, Joe Don Baker.

 

 

A mining company and a talking gorilla going back to the wild are unlikely bedfellows, but that’s the way it shakes out in this loose adaptation of another Michael Crichton book.

 

Amy is the sign-language speaking gorilla that the zoo has decided to take back and reintroduce to the wild. The mining company has lost contact with its crew during an expedition deep in the Congo.

 

The mining company has an ulterior motive, of course, it’s looking for an ancient city that will yield unimaginable treasures in terms of mineral resources. Amy just wants to find some nice gorillas, but they run into a murderous band of grey gorillas that are intent on caving in their skulls with rocks.

 

It’s more of a science fiction and moral story then an out and out creature feature, but Congo is still pretty entertaining and you should check it out.

 

27. Starship Troopers

Year: 1997

Creature: Alien bugs

Cast: Casper van Dien, Denise Richards, Neil Patrick Harris, Dina Meyers, Jake Busey, Michael Ironside.

 

 

The is a fun, visceral film that sends humans into battle with giant bug-like creatures that seem to enjoy ripping people open for fun. A war is on, the government wants high school kids to go through the ‘Citizen’ program and sign-up to go to war. When they get there, they realize just what they signed up for.

 

The film is actually a perfect caricature of the world we live in, where perfect, soap opera-style beautiful people are shipped off to a pointless war to be carved into constituent components.

 

Denise Richards and Neil Patrick Harris pop up alongside Casper van Dien, Jake Busey, Seth Gilliam and V’s Michael Ironside. So it’s an all-star cast, with a solid budget, which turned into a box office smash hit.

 

It’s always worth another watch.

 

 

 

28. Bait 3D

Year: 2012

Creature: Great White Sharks

Cast: Sharni Vinson, Phoebe Tonkin, Xavier Samuel, Julian McMahon.

 

 

A tsunami hits the Australian coast and floods a supermarket that is being robbed at the time. The massive wave brings some unwanted guests along for the ride, too, and they find themselves wandering the aisles of the submerged store.

 

3D technology never really took hold, so this might be the last modern creature feature shot in 3D. It’s a gimmick, more than anything, but the film is solid and watchable.

 

The two sharks tear through criminals and store workers alike, one valiantly attempts  to protect himself with shopping trolley armor and things get weird.

 

 

 

29. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Year: 2011

Creature: Apes

Cast: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow

What happens if all the monkeys in the world decided, as one, they’d had enough of our shit? It’s an interesting concept and it has spawned a killer franchise after some terrible, low budget early offerings.

 

Caesar is pretty much as cute as it gets, until he decides not to be, and the idea of a brilliantly intelligent monkey is one that Hollywood has toyed with in a variety of ways. Now, finally, it has settled on the ultimate formula and the Planet of the Apes films are, frankly, amazing.

 

Again it’s a case of man meddling with nature that gives Caesar the intelligence to realise what utter pricks we are. He rallies an army, makes them all smart and leads an epic monkey charge across the Golden Gate Bridge that remains one of the finest pieces of digital effects work in recent times.

 

We’re waiting for the next chapter now. It’s going to be immense.

 

 

30. Them!

Year: 1954

Creature: Ants

Cast: James Whitmore, James Arness, Joan Weldon.

 

 

Ants are pretty much hard as hell and if they were the size of people then they would squish us like, well, ants.

 

In 1954, Them! shocked the world. It was another film that was made in the shadow of the nuclear blast at Hiroshima and the growing hysteria about the side effects of nuclear fallout.

 

A swarm descends on Los Angeles and its down to the police, the FBI and a kindly entomologist to go to war with the army of 20-foot ants that is heading their way.

 

The special effects aren’t great and some of the animatronics are bordering on ridiculous in the modern age, but it’s still a surprisingly cool film and it’s one of the original creature features.

 

 

31. The Birds

Year: 1963

Cast: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright

 

 

Alfred Hitchcock can create suspense from almost anything. I mean, birds aren’t scary, but the way Hitchcock has them all working as one to bring chaos to smalltown, USA, makes the simple bird seem like an insidious foe.

 

This film is so old that it won’t win any special effects awards. But this is Hitchcock at his finest and it’s more about the build-up and suspense than the actual explosive scenes themselves.

 

The way he makes films means that this one is for the ages.

 

 

 

32. Pandorum

Year: 2009

Creature: Alien

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet

 

 

Two crew members wake up in what they think is an abandoned ship with absolutely no memory of where they have been or why they are here.

 

Soon they find out some pretty awful truths. First, the world has ended. Second, they’re not alone on this ship.

 

The creatures, human-like creatures that have evolved into something else entirely, are the result of a cruel, psychotic game played early in the mission that has gone on for 100 years before they are dragged out of their slumber.

 

What follows is an intense battle for survival and the final, screwed up twist. The ship reached its destination hundreds of years previously and is underwater, not in deep space. So all they had to do the whole time was head for the surface.

 

It’s messed up, it’s weird and not everybody gets it. But still, it’s a solid creature feature with some thought behind it.

 

 

 

33. Piranha

Year: 1978

Creature: Piranhas

Cast: Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy.

 

 

We know that Piranhas can  strip a carcass in seconds. Even though they’re small, they work in huge numbers and can strip your bones clean. but, unless you’re swimming in the Amazon, chances are that you’re not going to meet them. This film challenged that premise when piranhas are released into the rivers near a holiday resort and, predictably, chaos ensues.

 

It’s a solid movie, even though it does revel in its B-movie status. James Cameron directed the sequel and it spawned a franchise, but none of the follow-ups are a patch on this original film.

 

 

 

34. Eight-legged freaks

Year: 2002

Creature: Spiders

Cast: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson

 

 

A chemical spill causes spiders to mutate and invade the small Arizona mining town of Prosperity.

 

It’s a comedy horror and there are some great moments, including then unknown Scarlett Johansson being pinned to a wall and covered in a spider’s white sticky mess.

 

There’s another awesome sequence where a cat goes to war with a spider inside the drywall of a house and the both the cat and spider smash near perfect impressions of each other into the plaster in front of the horrified family.

 

The special effects are pretty amazing, spiders are just disgusting things to look at and the comic angle combine to make this a spectacular film. The end scene, where the town takes a stand at the Prosperity Mall and the spiders come for them, is actually amazing.

 

 

 

35. Snakes on a Plane

Year: 2006

Creature: Snakes

Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips

 

 

There are about a million more reliable ways to kill a witness than to load up a plane with venomous snakes. But then if the mob had opted for a more conventional sniper, then we just wouldn’t have had this quite brilliant film.

 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s retarded in its own way. But it’s an awesome film, too, with heart in mouth moments, some grizzly deaths and the legendary moment where a man gets bit in the dick while on the toilet.

 

It’s so beyond stupid that it’s good.

 

“Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane!”

 

 

 

36. The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Year: 1954

Creature: Humanoid

Cast: Richard Carlson, Julia Adams

 

 

The monster is half man, half fish,, apparently, and the film just doesn’t really stand up by today’s standards. At the time, though, The Creature from the Black Lagoon was a revelation.

 

Set in the exotic Brazilian rainforest, the film follows a research team that are following up a fossil that shows a link between land and sea animals. The only problem is that the fossil is just the start, there’s a living and sort of breathing example waiting for them.

 

Monsters can’t seem to get enough of leading ladies and the Gill Man, as he is known, kidnaps Adams to set up a final showdown with the crew. It ends badly for him, with the monster sinking into the black lagoon, riddled with bullets.

 

 

 

37. Primeval

Year: 2007

Creature: Saltwater Crocodile

Cast: Dominic Purcell, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton.

 

 

Notice what happened here, it’s another crocodile film in 2007 and that explains why this one disappeared without a trace. It simply isn’t as good as Rogue or Black Water.

 

Essentially the team are on the hunt for Gustave, who is a real-life mass murderer who lives in the Congo and Burundi. It’s impossible to put an accurate tally together, but estimates reckon that Gustave has taken more than 300 people in deepest, darkest Africa.

 

So it’s a nice backstory, but the film trips over itself a little by getting involved with politics. The team has a death warrant put out on it by a local warlord and it’s a layer of complication the film could have done without.

 

It got 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, so don’t hold out any great hopes for awesome acting or life-changing moments in cinema. But it isn’t a bad film if you love croc flicks and want to veg out for a while.

 

 

 

38. Sharknado

Year: 2013

Creatures: All kinds of sharks

Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard.

 

 

Everybody loves this film but it’s pure B-movie fodder that just doesn’t try and be anything else. It features the total train wreck that is Tara Reid, Beverly Hills 90210 cast-off Ian Ziering, John Heard and nobody else you’ve ever heard of.

 

This film was made for television, which is normally the start of a savage beating of a review. But this 2013 disaster romp was made for just $2 million. Of course, it shows but I have a hard time ragging on such a popular film that was made for less than a co-star’s paycheck on a big budget offering.

 

The film got a one-off screening at cinemas, where it made a whopping $200,000 in limited box office takings. The premise is simple, if mind-blowingly dumb. A tornado basically scoops sharks out of the sea and fires them towards Los Angeles, where they wreak all kinds of havoc.

 

Sharks are grabbing helicopters out the sky, they’re taking people in mid-air and a man cuts his way out of a shark with a chainsaw. Apart from that, it’s pretty standard stuff.

 

Sharknado is worth a watch, but it’s so incredibly camp that it can’t feature higher up this list.

 

 

 

39. Aliens Vs Predator

Year: 2004

Creature: Aliens and, well, predators

Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Raoul Bova.

 

 

Aliens vs Predator as a concept was teased, suggested and insinuated for years. This is basically the only film that made it work, the Requiem follow up was just dire, but it was worth the wait.

 

A billionaire puts together an expert team to investigate a heat signal in Antarctica and they soon uncover an alien craft. The rest is a mystery until they find themselves in a perfectly constructed war game between the Predators and the Aliens, hundreds of feet beneath the ice.

 

It’s a brutal film and the special effects finally caught up to give us two of the finest alien creatures of all time going at it and killing each other in all kinds of imaginative ways.

 

The franchise fell apart after this one film. But this one alone was worth all the hype.

 

 

 

 

 

40. Open Water

Year: 2003

Creature: Reef sharks

Cast: Daniel Travis, Blanchard Ryan

 

 

Open Water really didn’t live up to the hype, which was massive, but it’s still a cool film and an almighty premise. The boat simply leaves without scuba diving couple Daniel and Susan, which is something that happens all too often.

 

In fact, the film is based on the true story of a couple, Tom and Eileen Lonergan, that were abandoned on the Great Barrier Reef.

 

It isn’t the best film in the world. The couple are annoying and it’s hard to bond with them. So we really don’t mind as much as we should when the sharks start to circle and bite. But it is one of those horrifying circumstances we’ve all considered and that makes the film special.

 

The ending is haunting, too. Surrounded by large sharks that are literally fighting each other for the right to eat her, Susan takes of her tank and buoyancy aids and takes control of her circumstances the only way she can. Instead of being ripped apart by sharks, she chooses to drown.

 

 

It’s also one of the rare shark films without a Great White Shark leading the pack. These are black tip reef sharks, which are just as deadly when they’re in the mood.

 

 

 

41. Jeepers Creepers

Year: 2001

Creature: Winged carnivorous beast

Cast: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck.

 

 

Now this one is straying so close to a simple horror flick that we thought about excluding it altogether. But then we convinced ourselves that it was worthy of inclusion for reasons we can’t quite recall.

 

The story centers around a mythical beast that feeds for 23 days, every 23rd spring. It feasts on human body parts that form part of its own body and it’s attracted by the smell off fear.

 

It’s a film that starts well, with a Duel-style car chase, but then actually gets less scary when the monster arrives. Still, it spawned several sequels and it’s solid entertainment if you like a little shock and gore on your dates.

 

 

 

 

 

42. The Blob

Year: 1958

Creature: Blob

Cast: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corseaut, Earl Rowe

 

 

The Blob is a comical film when we look back on it now, the villain of the piece is basically jello in a plastic bag, but it laid the foundations for the blockbusters that followed.

 

It also has a young Steve McQueen in the lead role about the alien amoeba that consumed everything it touched and fed on the local township. It grows and grows and the only way to stop this monster is to pick it up and drop it in the Arctic.

 

This film still gets a lot of love on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 66% rating despite its dated special effects and unpretentious B-Movie status.

 

 

 

43. Into the Grizzly Maze

Year: 2015

Creature: Bear

Cast: James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Billy Bob Thornton, Piper Perabo

 

 

Two brothers reunite to hunt a killer bear in the Alaskan wilderness. This bear isn’t killing for food and it isn’t territorial. It’s angry, it’s seriously big and it wants to kill people.

 

That’s pretty much the simple lead-in to a breathtaking film. Yes The Revenant has a more spectacular attack sequence, but that’s just one part of a film and this is a real, traditional creature feature.

 

There are more bear films out there, but this might be the perfect recipe

 

Dig it out, you’ll love it.

 

 

 

44. Anaconda

Year: 1997

Creature: Giant anaconda

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson.

 

 

Anaconda is another one of those Sharknado-type films. It’s so terrible it’s actually quite good.

 

It is actually in the Golden Raspberry Award’s Top 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever made collection and it’s definitely aiming for that old-school B-Movie feel. So we’ll cut them some slack and say that it is entertaining in its own way.

 

The basic plot is that Voight is obsessed with finding the killer snake that he has been tracking and he enlists an unwilling team of film-makers to help him. They find the snake, but probably wish they hadn’t.

 

The CGI is abysmal, the combined acting talent of Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson and more simply isn’t enough to hide the ridiculousness of it all. And yet this film proved a smash hit that spawned its own franchise.

 

 

 

 

 

45. Willard

Year: 2003

Creature: Rats

Cast: Crispin Glover, Laura Elena Harring

 

 

Willard Stiles is a social misfit, there isn’t really a nice way of putting that one. His best friend is a rat, his mother is abusive and he is pretty much the archetypal overtight spring.

 

When his best friend, a rat, natch, is killed, Willard uses his rat army to wreak terrible revenge. It’s as weird as it sounds. He ends up in a mental institution, hallucinating more crazy rat friends, and it’s about as dark as films get on a mental level.

 

It’s offbeat and it’s just about a creature feature. It’s also hella weird.

 

 

46. Prey

Year: 2007

Creature: Lions

Cast: Bridget Moynahan, Peter Weller, Carly Shroeder.

 

 

There is a distinct lack of big cat films on this list, because most of them are terrible. This is one of the rare exceptions.

 

A bunch of Americans head out into the big game reserve and naturally have to stop to take a shit. That’s when it all goes wrong, two lionesses attack, kill the warden and put the keys to the jeep tantalizingly out of reach.

 

What follows is a game of cat and mouse as hunters kill lions, lions kill hunters and the film ends with a giant explosion that takes out the last of the lions and leaves the family a car to drive back to base with.

 

The African plains are the definition of epic, lions have a majestic, elegant quality that could make for a compelling Jaws-style story and there is a better movie just waiting to be made.

 

 

 

47. Razorback

Year: 1984

Creature: Giant boar

Cast: Gregory  Harrison, Arkie  Whiteley,  Chris Kerr, Judy Morris, Chris Hayward, David Argue.

 

 

A giant boar kills people left, right and center before an American lands in this Australian Outback town to find out what happened to his reporter wife.

 

He ends up facing off with the local hoods, an army of smaller wild boar that almost kill him. Then he gets the big prize, where he goes head-to-head with the Razorback in a pet food factory.

 

It’s over the top, a bit daft and the special effects just don’t cut it. It’s pretty much B-movie fodder if we’re being honest. But it’s a different kind of creature feature and it is enjoyable in its own messed up way.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvdoIls9iFk

 

 

 

 

 

48. Orca the Killer Whale

Year: 1977

Creature: Killer Whale

Cast: Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson

 

This film feels like a killer whale response to Jaws and it just wasn’t as good.

 

It’s a solid concept for a film, with the Orca seeking revenge on Harris for killing its mate and unborn calf. In fact, the Orca had just saved a crew member from a Great White Shark and could really have expected thanks, rather than persecution.

 

The Orca sinks boats and carries out a reign of terror against the village as it tries to draw Harris into battle.

 

Eventually they head out on to the ice and the whale gets its bloody revenge, leaving just one member of the crew alive after picking Harris up with his tail and slamming him into the ice. If animals had WWE finishing moves, this would be right up there…

 

The special effects just aren’t that great and Orca couldn’t match up to Jaws. Nothing could. But although it didn’t get that much love at the time, Orca is now a cult classic among creature feature fans.

 

Highlights from Orca the Killer Whale:

 

 

 

 

49. Ragnarok

Year: 2013

Cast: Pal Sverre Hagan, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Sofia Helin.

 

A Norwegian archaeologists awakens a terrifying monster than is entwined with the Norse mythology about the end of the world.

 

The icy Fjords of Norway and the no-man’s land between there and Russia provide a powerful and different cinematic backdrop for an unusual film that comes with subtitles.

 

A team of scientists head out to analyze a series of runes and awaken an ancient monster in the process.

 

 

50. Cujo

Year: 1981

Creature: Dog

Cast: Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly

 

 

Cujo is actually one of the saddest films on the list because you get to see the creation of a monster. Cujo is a big, bouncing, happy St Bernard who gets bitten by a bat and slowly descends into madness after contracting rabies.

 

The movie is adapted from a Stephen King novel and as you’d expect there are some incredible moments of suspense. It’s artfully done and even though this film is 35 years old, it still holds up  thanks the fact that the build-up and the tension are as integral to the film as the vicious attacks.

 

This friendly family dog turns into a crazed, dangerous monster in front of our eyes. He takes the neighbours hostage in their car and we watch the slow agonizing death of a child due to dehydration and exposure.

 

It’s a brutal film and there’s sympathy on all sides, as the dog really lost his mind too. It’s also a chilling reminder of what a big dog can really do when he gets tired of your shit.

 

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