The History of Movie Monsters

Monsters in films are among the most popular genres of movie and they predate the medium by a long shot. Movie websites like 123Movies have a collection of cinematic depictions of monsters and otherworldly (or out-of-this-world) creatures.

The first American movies featured both humorous and horrific characters. Body parts may be stretched, blasted to pieces, and then reanimated in these early stop-action films, with horrific skeletons typically standing in for the humans.

How Monster Movies Were Born

The Selenites, or moon men, in Georges Melies’s 1902 French film “A Trip to the Moon” are widely considered to be the first aliens in film history. Monsters have always piqued the interest of moviegoers, who portray them as strange and otherworldly.

Despite its monstrous appearance, the monster’s appeal lies in the human qualities it displays. The monsters in movies aren’t always scary. People who flee or look on in horror may seem more human than the monsters themselves.

Creating Monster Reels

Monsters in films frequently stand in for people’s worst nightmares in order to comment on or dramatize disturbing aspects of culture. The nightmare creature has been released into the world to terrorize, destroy, and make sense of evil pasts. Monsters have a penchant for carnage and want for blood.

They enjoy bloodshed and the macabre is what drives them. They are emblematic of our baser natures. Monsters evoke both revulsion and fascination from viewers. Monsters in movies are terrifying, yet there’s a thing about them that draws the audience in.

Not only did genuine scientific experimentation and creation inform the more technical aspects of filmmaking, but it also inspired the fictional characters who inhabited them. Creative set artist Kenneth Strickfaden, a trained electrician, came up with methods to make it look like lightning and electricity were actually happening in the laboratory where Frankenstein’s monster was created.

Karloff’s makeup for The Mummy took head makeup artist Jack Pierce eight hours to apply. Pierce is credited with developing many of the looks in Universal’s stable of monsters. The process involved applying layers of clay mixture called “fuller’s earth,” cotton submerged in the chemical collodion and 150 ft of wraps.

Make Believe Movies

In the end, knowing the scientific basis for these classic creatures added an extra layer of unease to the films of the era’s golden age of horror. Moviegoers recognized intellectually that the animals they saw on the big screen were just that: creatures.

However, the scientific foundations, such as the accurate portrayal of an amphibian that actually wandered the earth millions of years ago or reanimation methods that could bring someone, or something, back to existence, triggered disturbing anxiety and compelled people to think about whether this could really happen.

Monster Movies of Today

We can only hope that as filmmakers gain experience with CGI, more and more monster movies will be made where CGI is used to enhance the narrative rather than serve as a stand-in for practical effects. There have been some encouraging signals in recent years, including King Kong, which, despite being a bit too long, stays faithful to the iconic monster film’s original story and structure.

The Korean film The Host follows a family as they search for their missing daughter after she is abducted by a slimy creature from the local river. Cloverfield updates the classic huge monster movie for the digital age by telling its story entirely through the footage captured by one of the city’s victims as the monster rampages through New York.

Closing Thoughts

Movie monsters often reflect the social tensions and horrors of the societies that create them, including those related to gender, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. Movie monsters always cause problems and terror.

The question “Who or what are you?” is prompted. And the solutions evolve into convoluted mixtures of unease and horror that are paradoxically quite alluring.

Monsters are the creatures we despise while also loving, and this love reveals an ugly truth about humanity that we’d prefer to ignore: that we all harbor some dark, monstrous impulses deep within. Discover monster movies of the old and the new at 123Movies!

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