The 31 Days of Hallowe'en - Attack of the Movie Monsters
ATTACK OF THE MOVIE MONSTERS
*Look out! They're coming your way! And they're hungry!!
Whether they're spawned from radiation, spurt acid
blood, or have simply come from outer space to eat
your brains and take over you body, we can't get
enough of these science fiction film monsters. Here
are some of our favorites - and what makes us love to
hate (and fear) them.
JAWS SO NICE, THEY HAVE THEM TWICE
*Monsters*: The Aliens
*From*: 'Alien', 1979, and three additional sequels
*Description*: Toothy, reptilian chewing factories with
two sets of jaws and acidic blood.
*Hobbies*: Lurking in shadows, capturing humans to use
as incubators, gestating in your chest.
*What's their story?* They were discovered by a group of
space truckers, one of whom had a larval version slither
down his throat and then pop out of his chest a few days
later. These aliens grow quickly, are always hungry, and
like nothing better than to slither up to a human skull
and use their second set of jaws like a bottle opener to
get at the good stuff inside. In later films we learn that
the aliens are part of a hive society, with a big, very
nasty queen at the top. Individual aliens aren't
particularly smart, but they sure are mean, so often the
humans have to get rid of them by detonating entire ships
or human colonies. This makes the battle not very cost-
effective for the humans.
*Can they be killed?* Sure, just don't get any of their
blood on you, or it'll eat right through you arm.
*From*: 'Starship Troopers', 1997
*Description*: Think of a 12-foot-high cross between a
crab and a spider with razor blade legs and you're in the
*Hobbies*: Going to war with humans, impaling humans
on their legs like screaming cocktail weenies on a
toothpick, and picking said humans' brains (literally).
*What's their story?* Think of it as a real estate
squabble. Humans want more planets to live on, and so
do the arachnids, but both groups have apparently
forgotten everything learned in kindergarten about the
concept of "sharing." Arachnids are mean and tough and
sport cool racing stripes, but more importantly there
are more of them than there are of us. One memorable
scene in the movie has an incredible panoramic view of
thousands of them descending on a couple of dozen
humans like hungry conventioneers stampeding toward
the hotel breakfast buffet.
*Can they be killed?* Yes, they can, but can you kill
all of them before they put you on the skewer?
OOEY, GOOEY, AND YOU'RE WHAT'S CHEWY!
*Monster*: The Blob
*From*: 'The Blob', 1958, and a 1988 remake
*Description*: Gelatinous, amoeba-like, sticky.
*Hobbies*: Extending pseudopods, capturing
unsuspecting creatures, surrounding and ingesting said
creatures, terrorizing sleepy mountain towns.
*What's its story?* It was just your average smear of
space goo hitching a ride on a meteor, when that meteor
crashed into Earth. The blob looked out (so to speak),
adjudged our planet to be a really nice smorgasbord,
and started snacking. Tried the humans, found them to
be magically delicious. The humans didn't like this, of
course, but, look, everyone needs to spend a little time
on a middle rung of the food chain. Fortunately for the
Blob, it was discovered first by moody teenagers (in
both the 1958 and 1988 versions) whose warnings
were ignored by adults, thereby giving the blob plenty
of time to snack before it had to go away.
*Can it be killed?* Well, it can be frozen into
immobility, which was good enough for the original
movie; they froze the Blob and dropped it off at the
North Pole. In the 1950s, apparently, no one worried
at all about the possibility of global warming.
HONEY WHAT'S THAT POD THING IN THE BASEMENT?
*Monsters*: The Body Snatchers
*From*: 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers,' 1956, and a
*Description*: Before: Large, podlike things. After:
Look in mirror.
*Hobbies*: Refining, to the nth degree, the idea that
"imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
*What's their story?* Here's what these invaders
would say: We're just humble podlike entities, trying
to make our way in the world like so many others.
We're really more interested in your story. You seem so
interesting. And you have such nice things! We wish we
could be just like you. No, we don't know why everyone
else in town is acting kind of funny. You're just
imagining things. You know, you look tired. Why don't
you take a nap? Here, we fixed you a nice, warm glass
of milk. With some Xanax.
*Can they be killed?* Not all of them. Stay awake, pal.
FATAL ATTRACTION - A WHOLE NEW MEANING
*Monster*: The Chick from 'Species'
*From*: 'Species,' 1995, and 'Species II,' 1998
*Description*: Totally hot babe, except when she's
showing her alien side, in which case she's a totally
hot babe with sharp spikes.
*Hobbies*:Going to clubs, meeting guys, and killing
them after she's, um, "retrieved their genetic
*What's her story?* Human scientists get a message
from space that says, more or less, "Hi there! Here's
the DNA recipe for one of our kind. Combine it with
your own DNA for extra fun! It's just like making sea
monkeys!" But of course, the end result wasn't like
sea monkeys at all. It was like a super-hot babe with
an insane biological urge to procreate, who was not
above killing a few measly humans who got in the way
of her breeding program. Maternal instinct? She's got
it, man. The moral: The next time aliens come to your
door selling DNA, just say no!
*Can she be killed?* Sure; the question is whether
you killed her before she spawned.
GODZILLA MEETS EVERYBODY
*From*: 'Godzilla,' 1956, plus too many sequels to
count, including a 1998 American remake
*Description*: Huge, radioactivley mutated lizard
with fire breath.
*Hobbies*: Stomping on Tokyo, screeching, belching
fire, and battling other large, mutated creatures,
preferably near a major population center.
*What's its story?* In the original 1956 version,
Godzilla was a Jurassic-era dinosaur, mutated by nuclear
bomb tests carried out by the American military.
Godzilla then goes on to wreak havoc on Japan despite
the furious opposition of the Japanese military. Really,
you don't need a road map to figure out the symbolism
there. In innumerable sequels, Godzilla would return,
sometimes to wreak havoc, but sometimes to save
Japan from some other hideous mutated creature. Hey,
Japan is Godzilla's territory, you lousy monsters! Go
over there and wreck Hong Kong! In 1998, a souped-up
version of Godzilla rampaged through New York and
terrorized Matthew Broderick, but it wasn't the same.
*Can if be killed?* In the original movie, Godzilla was
defeated by a scientist who unleashes a machine called
the Oxygen Destroyer. Two dozen sequels make it clear
that while you can knock Godzilla down, you can't ever
really knock him out.
C'MON! SHOW A LITTLE SPINE!
*Monster*: The Predator
*From*: 'Predator,' 1987, and 'Predator 2,' 1990
*Description*: Humanoid, technologically advanced, in
serious need of first-rate orthodontic work.
*Hobbies*: Exploring strange new worlds, seeking out
new life and new civilizations, and then hunting down
members of those civilizations and ripping out their
spines as trophies.
*What's its story?* On a hunting trip to the planet
Earth, the Predator comes across a band of U.S.
commandos, looks at their weaponry, figures it's not
a totally unfair fight, and then wipes out all of them
except the one guy who is contractually guaranteed to
make it through the film alive (even alien hunters are
not immune to movie star contracts). In the sequel, the
Predator changes locales and starts hunting humans in
L.A., and why not? It was getting crowded anyway.
This time the government wants to capture it for its
own nefarious purposes. You can imagine how well that
works out for the government.
*Can it be killed?: Yes, though like the bad guys in the
'Alien' films, killing a Predator usually involves a very
*From*: 'Jurassic Park,' 1993, and two sequels
*Description*: Human-sized, genetically reengineered
dinosaurs with really big brains, sharp claws, and
organizational skills that make Patton look like a lost
*Hobbies*: Running, leaping, planning ambushes of
overconfident humans, snacking on same.
*What's their story?* A large, arrogant genetic
engineering company decides to bring back the
dinosaurs to make a quick buck on a theme park, and in
addition to bringing happy, gentle herbivores, also
brings back smart, mean, vicious carnivores, because,
well, they sure are cute! Anyway, it doesn't take long
for these smart, mean vicious carnivores to deduce that
humans are soft and chewy, make great snacks - and are
easy pickin's. And they're easy pickin's over three
separate movies, so you tell us which is the smarter
*Can they by killed?* Yes, but if helps if a T. rex does
it for you.
An Internet poll of favorite movie monsters ranked the
"classic" monsters as follows:
The only monster movies that made the American Film
Institute's list of the top 100 American films of the
20th century were:
'King Kong', 1933 * 'Jaws', 1975 * 'Frankenstein', 1931
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