What makes a movie monster? Is it an enormous scaly apparition with the power to sack Tokyo? Is it an off-the-charts intellectual who dangerously mingles blood lust with fine cuisine? Or is it those demons we dream about -- horrible, green women whose cackling laughs taunt you with the tried and true, "I'll get you my pretty!" Of course, it's all of the above and then some. And to everyone there is one "monster" more horrifying than the other. As such, choosing a list of the greatest movie monsters is a difficult, uh, gargantuan process. Alien vs. Predator? Mothra vs. Godzilla? Wolfman vs. Mummy? Liza vs. Oprah? Stupid joke...
Anyway, because we've got Peter Jackson's newest, longest take on King Kong on our minds (and our televisions and computer screens and ...), I'm thinking of those bad boys who've penetrated pop culture in all their unsightly glory. And with exception given to the great finned one, I'm sticking to monsters -- those of the supernatural, uber-natural and unnatural form. No "real" people like, say Hannibal Lecter or Leatherface or Henry Lee Lucas (and they are "real" when standing next to fire-breathing lizards), but extraordinary, legendary beasts. Love them, Hate them, love to hate them and, in the words of Donna Summer (if she were singing to Gill-Man) love to love you baby.
10. Gill-Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) He may not be as scary and he may not have spawned as many sequels, but I'm partial to the sexed-up webbed one. Gill-Man, as the scientists call him, is a fancy looking reptilian being who appears as a half-human, half-slimy, fish-headed lizard. In Jack Arnold's beautifully photographed film, he's quite the swimmer -- the underwater sequences are famous -- and has a soft spot for the ladies (here, the comely Julie Adams) but deadly if you think of invading his home turf. Though he's supposed to be terrifying and sad, I think he's so fantastic looking (and oddly sexy) that I wonder just what his problem is. Serious about getting the girl, he should have simply maintained his appearance and offered his services to that monster band KISS. He'd never have to fight for a woman again.
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