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Enduring Movie Monsters of Our Time
Movies entertain us with stories of heart-breaking romance, nerve-racking adventure, common people facing and struggling to solve uncommon problems, and sometimes, scary and deadly monsters. Today, most people spend their times either in front of a computer screen in the office or a TV screen at home living in a sterilized world of routines and suppressed emotions. Monster movies are popular because they help us to release our buried emotions and make us feel alive. As a result, scores of monster movie were made with the single purpose to scare the hell out of us. The following man-made movie monsters have withstood the test of time and come back in ever refined forms to keep the audiences interested and scared.
To a lot of people, Dracula is as real as Santa Claus. This blood sucking monster made its big screen debut in 1922. It sleeps in a coffin during the day and appears in human form at night to seek out unsuspecting victims for their blood. Morality and religion play subtle roles in the story as it tries its best to avoid anything that is holy and righteous. It can only be killed by either the sunlight or a wooden stake to the heart. There were no less than hundreds of this monster movies made not only in this country but also in other cultures around the world. All these movies shared the same theme of a reclusive gentleman’s sudden appearance in a small town, followed by the unexplained deaths with victims being drained of their blood. Sometimes, there was romance as the lonely vampire tried to strike a normal relationship with a girl of his fancy. However, they all ended with the destruction of the unholy monster to the relief of the audiences. But, the damage may have been done, as we walk through the dim-lighted street during a moonless night, our awareness is uncontrollably heightened at every murky-figured passerby.
This monster movie made its big screen debut in 1931. Frankenstein was actually the name of the scientist who created the human-like creature. Due to its catchy title, as time went by, the creator and his creation melted into one. It is the human’s fancy to play God and the attempt is met with disastrous result in the movie. Instead of a better human being, the creature is child-like with unsociable behavior. Due to its disfigurement and unusually large stature, people mistake it as a threat and treat it as a monster. Eventually, it has to be destroyed in the course of a series of tragic circumstances. The morale of the movie is not to tamper with God’s work. Many Frankenstein monster movies were made to satisfy our curiosity of how life could be created and the horrific consequences when things develop not as expected.
This sinister-looking and pure destructive monster from outer space made its big screen debut in 1979. Its impact was immediate and long lasting. It is purportedly a silicon-based (vs. carbon-based) living thing with sulfuric acid as blood. It is shaped like a giant lizard with projecting teeth, spear-shaped tail, and lightening fast movement. It breeds like ants with a queen laying eggs in the hundreds at a time. After the incubation period, they lie in wait to grow inside a living host till they can hunt on their own. All these menacing features are shown with great efforts in dim lighting to magnify its monstrosity. The success of the movie is in exploiting the terror and destruction it generates and the elaborate endeavor exerted by the humans to seek its annihilation. 6 sequels were made with the last two shown with the other movie monster, the Predator, in a duel for domination in 2007 and 2009, respectively.
This 7-foot ugly looking monster also from the other world made its big screen debut in 1987. It is designed to be a highly evolved creature with human-like body, crab face, and fluorescent green-colored blood. It comes to Earth to hunt human beings as a sport. Its effectiveness is enhanced by its high leaping and camouflage capabilities. The success of the movie is attributed to the exotic jungle settings pitting the monster against a team of well-trained marine commandos. The ensuing cat and mouse, predator and prey duels are unfolding with unrelenting suspense and bloodshed. The movie ends with the monster self-destructed in an explosion so powerful that it levels portion of the jungle. 5 sequels were made with the last one in 2009.
This monster from hell is earth-bound and made its big screen debut in 2001. It has a devilish look with razor sharp teeth, bat-like wings, and eagle talons as feet. It lives like a cicada that hibernates for 23 years and comes out to feed on human flesh for 23 days. It can soar like a hawk and its body can regenerate, thus, it cannot be killed by normal means. With all these deadly features, innocent humans are easy picking especially in rural areas where missing people do not attract as much attention. What makes this movie memorable is the fateful encounter between the likable brother and sister sibling traveling through a rural town with this hellish monster during its brief feeding time. The movie ends with the monster flying away in a full-moon night with the brother under its claws and the sister chasing after them hopelessly on the ground. Only one sequel was made in 2005 showing the airborne monster going after a school bus full of students while it itself is being hunted by a revengeful father. Both movies keep the audiences in their seats with sweating palms and pounding hearts. I hope more sequels will follow.