Throughout the years, horror has worn many hats (masks?), and perhaps no genre hat is more beloved, and more due for a comeback, than the monster movie. This genre has seen two major iterations – the preeminent one being the traditional, mass-produced B-movies of the 50s and 60s, the era when Godzilla battled Mothra and all sorts of crazed, irradiated beasts ravaged the countryside. There was something of a resurgence in the late 70s and 80s when Alligator, Beasties, and Tremors terrorized the screen, and things were good.
While there have been some monster films throughout the past decades (The Relic, 1997, Cloverfield, 2008, et al), the monster hasn’t torn through the silver screen the way he ought to. Why is this? Where oh where have the monsters gone? In the digital age, only imagination limits what’s possible. But you know me, so fuck CGI. Monster movies have been around for ages and they only have three real ingredients: blood, celluloid, and rubber. Men in masks. Guys in suits. Mother fucking monsters knocking shit over, tearing stuff up, and kicking ass all over the place.
There is no reason for the monster movie to be absent from our theaters, or at the very least dominating our television sets and direct to video releases. A ton has been said of the social commentary of a zombie film, despite most of them not really applying any thought in that direction. Switch over to the monster movie and you’ve got commentary, real commentary, whether you want it or not. Usually. I mean think about it – what creates a monster? In the 1950s, nearly all our beasts were caused by radiation, a byproduct of our fears of nuclear war. Later, as space exploration became more commonplace, our monsters fell from the sky. Before Al Gore and James Cameron, mercury poisoning turned a pissed off bear into a gigantic, mutated pissed off bear in Prophecy.
Monster movies mirror our current climate. The time is now for ecological monsters or the always relevant don’t-trust-the-government-because-they’re-breeding-monsters angle, because don’t trust the government, ever.
So where are the monster flicks? Why are they missing? Why are they relegated to only appear on the SyFy channel and be about RockMonsters? I want to see rubber suits ripping men apart and feasting on the brains of babies. If everything old is new again (eventually), how about we make monster movies new again? Cloverfield did well. Disaster movies still do well. What is a monster movie other than an unnatural disaster?
Plain and simple, monsters are awesome. Whether they’re six inches tall (Critters), six feet tall (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) or six hundred feet tall (Godzilla), monsters deserve a resurgence. If you’re tired of remakes – how about a new monster movie? If you’re a Hollywood producer only interested in remakes, how about CHUD or Reptilian? Whether you want social commentary or just a balls out blood splatterfest, the monster movie is right for right now. Every month that ticks by with no new monster movie for me to watch and no new plastic monster statue for my to slap on my desk brings me one irradiated step closer to my boiling point.
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