The monster movie, sometimes referred to as the “creature feature,” is one of the most beloved sub-genres in movie history. Two of the most famous examples are those from Japan. Godzilla and america’s King Kong. The two mythical beasts will face off in 2021 Godzilla vs. Kong, and the teasers and promotional images already look promising.

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Throughout the modern era, special effects in monster movies have ranged from distracting to incredibly impressive. The power of visual effects can make or break a great monster movie, as much of the audience’s enjoyment is based on that all-important “wow factor.”

10 Best: Alien


Acclaimed director Ridley Scott Alien is a sci-fi horror masterpiece for many reasons. It’s a genre-bending movie, essentially a horror movie set in outer space. The Assassin – A terrifying and overly realistic looking space creature. The infamous “chest buster” scene has fantastic effects, but the adult monster is the real show.

Despite being released over 40 years ago in 1979, the monster effects are just as good as they were in the 21st century, which makes Alien decades ahead of its time.

9 Worst: Jaws 3D

3D has been an on and off trend in film for many years, with the most recent comeback coming in the late 2000s and early 2010. Back in 1983, the infamous 3D jaws it was thrown to horrible reviews, largely due to the absurdly fake special effects. Sometimes the shark looked like a magazine clipping taped to the screen. Their movements were absurd, at one point they came to a complete stop as they somehow passed through a glass window.

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The only time it didn’t look bad was when it was shot in extreme close-up, or when the lighting was too poor to notice how bad it looked.

8 Best: The Fly

Gina Davis and the fly in The Fly (1986)

Acclaimed director David Cronenberg is often considered the pioneer of the “body horror” genre, which involves terrifying graphic depictions of bodily affliction, transformation, infection, or deterioration. His 1986 remake of the 1958 film The fly It’s the gold standard within this newly created subgenre of horror movies. It is a monster movie where the main character, Seth Brundle, transforms into the creature.

Not only is the final “fly” stunning in all its roughness, but the scenes in which Brundle is in transition also feature incredibly effective and terrifying makeup effects, for which designers Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis won an award from The academy.

7 Worst: Anaconda


1997 Anaconda is a perfect example of a glorified B movie. Everything is cheap except for its cast, which includes big-name stars like Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Ice Cube, and Jon Voight. The film was successful enough to spawn three sequels, despite its disappointing monster effects. The snake looks obviously animated whenever viewers look at it well enough to notice.

The filmmakers wisely kept the creature in near constant motion, often moving too fast for audiences to realize how fake it looked. However, whenever the action slowed down, the effects were insanely bad, especially when he strangled Owen Wilson’s character in slow motion.

6 Better: tremors

Nineties Tremors It remains a minor classic to this day, thanks to its clever and fun script, great cast, and surprisingly compelling monster effects. The design of the famous “Graboids” evolved throughout the film’s development, but the end result is appropriately slimy, gross, and terrifying.

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They are giant, eyeless underground worms, so they are not the most difficult creatures to create. Nonetheless, the special effects served the tone of the film, which is equal parts horror and comedy.

5 Worst: The Mummy Returns

The Scorpion King CGI

2001 The mummy returns was produced with a budget close to $ 100 million, which makes the monster’s horrific effects even more inexplicable and unforgivable. None of the special effects are particularly good, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Scorpion King He looks more like a poorly designed video game villain than a real flesh-and-blood movie character.

The mummy returns It was a huge box office success despite its shortcomings, grossing nearly $ 450 million worldwide. The Scorpion King would later get his own movie in the headlines, in which he looked a little better.

4 Best: Jurassic Park

Visual effects pioneer Stan Winston was the mastermind behind the stunningly realistic dinosaurs from the 1993 masterpiece Jurassic Park. Despite being made nearly 30 years ago, the dinosaurs in the movie look better and more compelling than most 21st century special effects.

Part of what makes the effects so great is that dinosaurs fill audiences with not only fear, but wonder and discovery as well. The T-Rex, for good reason, is the most famous monster in the movie, but the brilliantly performed Brontosaurus majesty is also a wonder to behold.

3 Worst: Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy Vs Jason Freddy Weed Caterpillar Smoking

2003 Freddy vs. Jason It wasn’t expected to be the smartest movie ever made, but that’s still no excuse for Freddy Krueger’s manifestation as a hideously animated pot-smoking caterpillar. This is the most egregious misuse of CGI in Freddy against Jason, but he’s not the only one.

The practical gore effects are pretty good, but they are often integrated with CGI effects that are too amateurish to be scary. This is likely because the film was released during the budding years of CGI, but a little more restraint on the part of the filmmakers would have served this mashup slasher much better.

two Best: King Kong

Fresh off his Oscar success with the Lord of the Rings franchise, Peter Jackson tackled the greatest American myth of them all in 2005 King Kong. The movie is over three hours long and contains a host of computer-generated creatures. Some are more compelling than others, but the brilliance of the main character’s design and execution cannot be denied.

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In order for the film to work, audiences must take the final leap and invest in a kind of romance between “beauty and the beast.” Kong is so meticulously interpreted that you can read the emotions in his eyes.

1 Worst: Jumanji

The stampede in Jumanji

From the point of view of storytelling, 1995 Jumanji it is not a bad adaptation of the page to the screen. The visuals, however, leave a lot to be desired. Almost all creatures, from monkeys to birds to alligators, are distracting.

Especially unimpressive, though, is the stampede of large animals, including elephants and rhinos, moving incredibly fast to the point where they look almost cartoonish. The scope of the story and the numerous creatures involved made Jumanji an ambitious undertaking, and while the movie overall isn’t a flop, the CGI certainly isn’t one of its strong points.

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