“Here there be monsters,” declared the old warning, and in this case, they’d be right. This is a catalogue of classic movie monsters, the creatures that kept whole generations awake at night and represented fears and anxieties that still plague humanity today. Classic monster movies may not have been as violent or sensual as the monster movies of today but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have the power to captivate and terrify. Besides, all the horror movies people love today wouldn’t exist if these movies didn’t lay out all the groundwork.
Of course, not all horror movies are monster movies. Monster movies are movies about unnatural creatures, usually stemming from supernatural folklore or science fiction, that threaten us with physical or psychological violence. They are the enemy without, although they often represent the enemy within. They are sometimes inexplicable but often sympathetic. Like the rest of us, they’re just trying to survive. If they have to drink human blood or turn into a man-eating panther to do it, then that’s just what they have to do. You can feel their pain all they want, but when they come calling… run! Run for your lives!
Choosing the parameters for what counts as a “classic” monster movie was a lot trickier than choosing the parameters for what counts as a monster. Ultimately we settled on the following: the films must be of excellent quality, with some extra consideration awarded for films with a lasting artistic or cultural influence. The films must also have been released in the year 1960 or earlier. (Sorry, Mr. Sardonicus, but we had to set the cut off somewhere.)
So get the fireplace going in your ancient gothic castle, and fire up the Tesla coils… it’s time to explore our picks for The 25 Best Classic Monster Movies!