This is in no way an exhaustive list, or a Best Of list. These are 11 solid monster riddled horror films if you're looking for some watch inspiration as we get closer to Halloween.
Dracula (1931) There are almost too many Dracula movies to count, at least on one hand. I am a big fan of the 1931 original, and honestly it's horror history required viewing. Being scared by a 1931 film is a difficult thing to do. But if you watch with an open mind, it’s a fun hour and twenty-five minutes. The film follows the journey of Renfield, who is traveling to Dracula’s castle in Transylvania. Though the locals warn him not to go, Renfield pushes on...Listen to the history of the vampire monster trope on Lunatics Radio Hour.
Frankenstein (1931) Another classic from 1931. Before you do anything else, go read the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley. And then watch this version. It’s arguably the best of the Universal Monster originals (don't come for me0. Very different from the plot of the novel, this version turns Shelley’s story into a horrifying film about murder and power. Listen to the history of Frankenstein's Monster here.
Creature from The Black Lagoon (1954) Originally shot and released in 3D (yes! In 1954!). This film is amazing. Scientific explorers uncover fossils and evidence of a strange historical creature. As the researchers explore the cove in question they realize their discovery might not be extinct...This may be one of my favorite monster movies of all time. I had the privilege of seeing a screening of it in 35mm and the original 3D a few years ago. The effects are just as impressive as the plot. Classic acting and classic horror. Listen to our Creature episode on Lunatics Radio Hour.
The Wolfman (1941) Lon Chaney Jr. plays an iconic role in this classic monster film. And yes, it does hold up in it’s own way. In this film werewolfism is passed around in the form of a curse. If you’re into cursed silver walking sticks, this movie is for you. On top of some solid mystery and suspense, the film includes a love story for your viewing pleasure. Listen to the history of Werewolves in cinema on Lunatics Radio Hour.
The Invisible Man (1933) This film is very different than you might think. Or maybe not. Who is to say? It focuses on an obsessed scientist who takes his experiments too far. He scorns his future wife and becomes (forgive my language) a huge dick. Can they stop him and save the world from his madness? Only one way to find out. Listen to our Invisible Man episode on Lunatics Radio Hour.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) The first thing you might be thinking is that Leatherface is a human. You’re right! However, I’m personally of the opinion that mankind can create the worst kinds of monsters. Watch at your own risk, this is a hard one for me.
Child’s Play (1988) Chucky is a pretty pinnacle horror monster. Child’s Play has even made a comeback with a 2019 remake. But this film has some strong acting and some shitty acting. Beyond that, the only interesting thing about Chucky is that he’s a doll. Once the intrigue of that has worn off there is little else left besides some plot holes and gore. But listen, it's a cult classic for a reason. If you're into annoying dolls.
Hellraiser (1987) Clive Barker’s original horror film is an interesting mix of terror and human flaw. I do have some criticism, for example the film only starts to focus on the main character in the last third - which is baffling…but the freaky cenobites led by Pinhead are a fresh take on horror villains.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) This film by Wes Craven tells the story of child murderer Freddy Krueger who finds a new way to terrorize the town...through the dreams of teenagers. Despite being from the 80s, it’s got a few good jump scares. And a few cringey moments. You know how it goes. Listen to our episode on ANOES on Lunatics Radio Hour.
Friday the 13th (1980) This iconic horror film tells the story of one terrible night at Camp Crystal Lake. Some teenage counselors come early to set up for the season, only to be murdered by a psycho killer. Believe me, I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know.
The Thing (1982) For me, The Thing from John Carpenter flirts with the line between Science Fiction and Horror. A group of scientists who are researching in Antarctica come across a crazy killer….thing. It feels like an extended episode of the X-Files - which isn’t a bad a thing at all. If you’re into truly bizarre creatures, this film is for you.