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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Monster Week at Nuketown?

by Ken Newquist / May 15, 2007

 Tremors Discovery Channel has Shark Week. I want Nuketown to have a Monster Week. I thought about doing this last summer, but simply didn't have the time with Luke having just been born. This time around though, I really want to due it.

The idea is that for one week, Nuketown will be all monsters, all the time. I'll have written reviews of seven classic modern era monster movies, some editorials on what makes a good monster movie, reviews of a monster book or two, links to monster goodness around the web, a DVD-style commentary track for one lucky film, and perhaps an "Actual Play" session featuring adventurers battling some monstrous horror using the Savage Worlds rules. It'll be an homage to the creature features of old ... but focusing on flicks released after 1975.

My question for you all is what monster movies and books should I review? My criteria is pretty basic: the movie has to have been released after Jaws, and should focus on a true monster: no serial killers, no supernatural boogymen. Just good old teeth, slime and gore. I'm looking to span a variety of settings and environments, from oceans to deserts to deep space and to pick films that either establish or play with the archetypes of the genre.

The Movies

Here's my tentative movie list, but note I'm more than willing to add/drop movies based on reader suggestions

  • Alien
  • Jaws
  • Slither
  • Tremors
  • The Thing
  • Deep Rising
  • Predator

The Books

Books are harder, partly because I haven't been reading much horror lately, and partly because you don't see many creature features in novel form (or at least, I haven't seen many). At this moment, nothing's much is coming to mind, so please give me your suggestions!

  • It by Stephen King
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    as far as books go with actual monsters,
    Silver Bullet
    Lovecraft has some actual monsters in some stuff.

    As far as movies go
    Silver Bullet - this is one of my favorite Werewolf movies
    Just about any Zombie Movie
    Are you counting all the monster car movies like Maximum Overdrive?
    What about Piranha or Arachnophobia?
    The Descent, I didn't really like it but they probably qualify as monsters.

    Let me think on it and I'll come up with more.

    I'm thinking of saving zombies, werewolves and other supernatural-type creatures (though i realize zombies can be artificially spawned) for a similar "Monster Week" in the fall. I'd probably place Maximum Overdrive into that category, but Piranha is a good suggestion -- I don't have a really good, low-budget film in my line-up.

    I rented The Descent a while back, but didn't get through the first 20 minutes or so -- the opening scenes really freaked me out, striking a little too close to home. Tentacled monsters attacking cruise ships in the middle of the Pacific? Bring it on! Bad stuff happening to four-year-olds ... the geek dad in me just had too hard of a time with that.

    I've never seen "Silver Bullet" -- is that the one that Stephen King wrote the screen play for?

    yeah, but I think it was a short story first.
    Everyone I have shown it to loves it. Granted it was in the late 80's/early 90's but still a good movie. It had to be good it has Gary Busey and werewolves....

    More Suggestions
    Critters.... good low budget movie
    The Blob...I think they did a remake in the 80's
    Eight Legged Freaks
    Jurassic Park would kind of fall into this category too wouldn't it?
    Bubba Ho-tep
    The Gate
    though I think the last three are more supernatural

    coming up with these with specific criteria are kind of hard. I never realized just how rare the non supernatural monster movie was in this day and age. Back in the 50-60's they were everywhere. Now it is mostly psycho nut jobs.
    Class is getting ready to start so I'll check my movie library when I get home and see if I can come up with anymore.

    Eight-Legged Freaks is a good one; a nice homage to 60s monster movies, and the spiders making things decidedly creepy (and ultimately, I think it's a better movie than Arachnophobia, which never could figure out if it was a horror movie or a comedy).

    Critters ... man, that's an oldie. I'd almost forgotten about it and its 20-odd sequels! Gremlins is another good one, though I think I almost prefer the over-the-top humor of Gremlins 2. Jurassic Park's a solid creature feature, though I might pick The Lost World over the original; aside from the annoying gymnastics scene, I think it was the better movie (at least in a horror sense).

    Critters is an old favorite. I am torn on the Gremlins, but I think I have to go with the original. Call it nostalgia or sentimentality, G2 just can't hold a candle.
    The original Jurassic Park just had the great T-Rex scene, which was classic, but yeah the second one definitely was more of horror movie, reminiscent of King King . I would say the first one leaned a little more towards suspenseful sci-fi.

    I hate spiders so both Arachnophobia and Eight legged freaks creeped me out. Although Eight Legged Freaks was a better monster flick.

    Lake Placid is another good one.
    or Alligator.

    Lake Placid won major points with my gaming group when its protagonists used a cow suspended from a helicopter as bait for the giant alligator -- one of our long standing battle tactics for our "Blackrazor Guild" campaign has been "stake out a cow".

    The new King Kong itself isn't a bad option, though I think its ultimately too sentimentally tragic to qualify as a true creature feature. It does, however, have that great fight scene with the T-Rexes and the exceedingly gross/horrifying "bug" scene.