Top 50 Monster Movies of All Time


Here are the top 50 monster movies with creatures of all shapes and sizes that have stomped, slithered, and scared their way into movie history.

top 50 monster movies of all time

Ok, so I love horror, I love sci-fi, and I definitely love a good monster!

So, if you’re looking for a truly stellar monster movie for your next movie night, than checkout this list of the top 50 monster movies of all time for inspiration.

I’ve included creatures of all shapes and sizes that have stomped, slithered, and scared their way into movie history.

Let me know what you think of the list in the comments.

As with all of our articles, we offer a free movie checklist for you to download for later reference.

best 50 monster movies checklist

What information is provided about each sci-fi monster movie in this selection?

  • The movie title and release year
  • Image of movie
  • A list of actors in the movie
  • Link to the movie in IMDb – For movie reviews, where to stream, ratings, trailers and lots more.
  • A movie summary

1. The Host (2006)

  • Director: Bong Joon-ho
  • Actors: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona, Go Ah-sung
  • ‘The Host’ on IMDb

In “The Host,” a monstrous creature emerges from Seoul’s Han River, causing panic and devastation. When the monster captures a young girl, her dysfunctional family must overcome their differences and band together to rescue her. The film combines horror with social satire, delivering thrills and a commentary on environmental issues.

2. Tremors (1990)

  • Director: Ron Underwood
  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire
  • ‘Tremors’ on IMDb

“Tremors” is set in the isolated town of Perfection, Nevada, where the residents encounter giant, flesh-eating, worm-like creatures called Graboids. The townspeople, including a pair of handymen and a seismology student, must devise a plan to survive the subterranean threats. The film is a mix of horror, comedy, and action, with a dash of Western flair.

3. Predator (1987)

  • Director: John McTiernan
  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura
  • ‘Predator’ on IMDb

“Predator” follows an elite paramilitary rescue team led by Major Dutch Schaefer on a mission in a Central American jungle. They soon find themselves hunted by an advanced extraterrestrial warrior. As team members are picked off one by one, Dutch must use all his combat skills to outwit the technologically superior Predator. The film is a seminal entry in the sci-fi action genre, known for its intense sequences and memorable one-liners.

4. Troll Hunter (2010)

  • Director: André Øvredal
  • Actors: Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck, Glenn Erland Tosterud
  • ‘Troll Hunter’ on IMDb

In the depths of Norway’s forests, “Troll Hunter” follows a group of students investigating bear killings, only to discover a secret government operation to control trolls. They tag along with a grizzled troll hunter, learning the ropes and the reality of these mythical giants. It’s a found-footage adventure that blends dark fantasy with mockumentary-style humor, revealing that maybe trolls aren’t just a fairy tale after all.

5. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

This horror-comedy classic tells the tale of two American backpackers whose jaunt across the English moors takes a terrifying turn when they’re attacked by a werewolf. One survives, only to find himself cursed to become the very beast that bit him. With groundbreaking makeup effects and a mix of laughs and chills, it’s a full moon frenzy that’s both a howling good time and a biting social commentary.

6. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Picking up where “Frankenstein” left off, this sequel sees Dr. Frankenstein coerced by Dr. Pretorius and his own creation into building a mate for the Monster. The result is the iconic Bride, with her electrifying hairdo and piercing scream. It’s a gothic romance gone awry, filled with pathos, horror, and a touch of the macabre humor that director James Whale was known for. A monster movie masterpiece that’s alive with drama and dread.

7. Alien (1979)

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Actors: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
  • ‘Alien’ on IMDb

In the deep reaches of space, the crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo is awakened from cryosleep to investigate a distress signal from a nearby moon. The mission turns deadly when they encounter a hostile extraterrestrial being. With its life cycle of face-hugging, chest-bursting, and relentless hunting, the creature picks off the crew one by one, leading to a tense and claustrophobic showdown with the sole survivor, Ripley.

8. Godzilla (1954)

  • Director: Ishirō Honda
  • Actors: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura
  • ‘Godzilla’ on IMDb

Japan faces the wrath of Godzilla, a colossal prehistoric creature awakened by nuclear testing. The monster’s rampage through Tokyo evokes the horrors of nuclear destruction and reflects the trauma of post-war Japan. As the city crumbles under Godzilla’s might, humanity’s weapons prove futile, and it falls to a tormented scientist and his devastating invention, the Oxygen Destroyer, to stop the beast.

9. King Kong (1933)

  • Director: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Actors: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
  • ‘King Kong’ on IMDb

The ultimate adventure film of its time, “King Kong” follows a film crew to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter prehistoric creatures and the mighty King Kong. Captivated by the crew’s leading lady, Kong is captured and brought to New York City for exhibition. But the giant ape breaks free, leading to a climactic chase and a battle atop the Empire State Building, a spectacle that has become an indelible part of cinematic history.

10. The Ritual (2017)

Four friends hiking through the Swedish wilderness as a tribute to their deceased friend find themselves lost in a forest where an ancient Norse evil lurks. As they delve deeper, they encounter strange symbols and nightmarish visions, realizing that the forest is home to a sinister presence that begins to stalk them.

11. The Fly (1986)

A brilliant but eccentric scientist’s experiment goes horribly wrong when he attempts to teleport himself and a housefly gets into the transmission pod with him. He emerges seemingly unscathed, but soon begins a horrific transformation into a hybrid creature, part man, part fly, leading to a tragic and terrifying conclusion.

12. Pumpkinhead (1988)

After his son is accidentally killed, a grieving father seeks vengeance through an old witch who conjures a demonic creature known as Pumpkinhead. As the monster hunts down the teenagers responsible, the father experiences a psychic connection with the creature, feeling the pain of its victims.

13. The Thing (1982)

In the icy solitude of Antarctica, a group of American researchers encounters a parasitic extraterrestrial life-form that assimilates and then imitates other organisms. Paranoia escalates as they realize the alien could be hiding within any one of them.

14. Jeepers Creepers (2001)

A brother and sister encounter a flesh-eating creature in the midst of its ritualistic eating spree during their drive home through the countryside. As they delve into the mystery, they realize the creature, known as The Creeper, is after something more than just a meal.

15. Mimic (1997)

  • Director: Guillermo del Toro
  • Actors: Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin
  • ‘Mimic’ on IMDb

In “Mimic,” what begins as a scientific triumph over a deadly epidemic turns into a nightmare. When genetically engineered insects, designed to eradicate disease-carrying cockroaches, begin to evolve and mimic their human creators, the streets of New York become a hunting ground for these predatory beings.

16. Monsters (2010)

“Monsters” takes us on a suspenseful journey through an ‘Infected Zone’ in Mexico, where alien life forms have taken over following a NASA probe crash. The story follows a photojournalist escorting his employer’s daughter to the safety of the US border, revealing the human side of a post-alien invasion world.

17. Cloverfield (2008)

  • Director: Matt Reeves
  • Actors: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman
  • ‘Cloverfield’ on IMDb

“Cloverfield” delivers a heart-pounding experience through found footage from a camcorder recovered after a devastating monster attack in New York City. The film follows a group of friends struggling to survive and escape the city during what was supposed to be a farewell party, turning their night into a fight for their lives.

18. Destroy All Monsters (1968)

In a future where Earth’s monsters are contained on Monsterland, chaos ensues when the Kilaaks, she-aliens from the asteroid belt, release the creatures to wreak havoc. It’s up to the crew of the super rocket ship X-2 to infiltrate the alien headquarters and save the planet from annihilation by the monsters and King Ghidorah.

19. Spring (2014)

  • Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
  • Actors: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker
  • ‘Spring’ on IMDb

“Spring” is a romantic body horror film that follows Evan, a young man who travels to Italy and falls for Louise, a woman harboring a monstrous secret. As their relationship deepens, Evan discovers Louise’s true nature and the ancient cycle that threatens to change everything.

20. Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

When New York City is terrorized by a flying Aztec deity, it’s up to a small-time crook who stumbles upon the creature’s lair to aid the police. As the winged serpent descends upon the city, a battle ensues to prevent the rise of this ancient god and save the city from destruction.

21. Komodo (1999)

In “Komodo,” a young man named Patrick witnesses his parents being killed by giant Komodo dragons on an island. Traumatized and unable to remember the events, he is later brought back to the island by his psychiatrist, only to face the deadly creatures once again. The film explores themes of trauma and the confrontation with one’s fears.

22. Krampus (2015)

“Krampus” is a darkly comedic horror film that brings to life the ancient European folklore of Krampus, a demonic beast that punishes naughty children during Christmas. When a dysfunctional family’s squabbling causes a young boy to lose his festive spirit, it unleashes the wrath of Krampus, leading to a monstrous siege that the family must survive.

23. The Descent (2005)

“The Descent” follows a group of six women who embark on a caving expedition, only to find themselves trapped and hunted by humanoid creatures within the cave system. The film is a claustrophobic and intense horror experience that delves into the themes of survival, friendship, and the primal fear of the unknown.

24. Jaws (1975)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Actors: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
  • ‘Jaws’ on IMDb

In the suspenseful thriller “Jaws,” the summer tranquility of Amity Island is shattered by a series of deadly shark attacks. Police Chief Martin Brody, with the help of a marine biologist and a grizzled shark hunter, sets out to hunt the monstrous great white shark terrorizing the beachgoers. The film’s tension is heightened by the iconic score, and it remains a defining moment in cinematic history.

25. Pitch Black (2000)

“Pitch Black” follows the survivors of a spaceship crash on a desert planet, where they encounter predatory alien creatures that lurk in the darkness. Among the survivors is the dangerous criminal Riddick, whose unique ability to see in the dark becomes key to their survival as they face a total eclipse and the ensuing blackout.

26. Jurassic Park (1993)

“Jurassic Park” is a groundbreaking sci-fi adventure where a theme park featuring cloned dinosaurs turns into a nightmare when a power failure leads to a catastrophic security breakdown. The park’s visitors, including a paleontologist, a chaotician, and two children, must find a way to survive as the prehistoric creatures roam free on the island.

27. Feast (2005)

  • Director: John Gulager
  • Actors: Balthazar Getty, Henry Rollins, Navi Rawat
  • ‘Feast’ on IMDb

“Feast” is a gory, action-packed horror comedy that traps a motley crew of strangers inside a remote bar in Nevada. They must band together to fend off a horde of monstrous creatures intent on breaking in and turning the patrons into their next meal. It’s a wild ride of survival with a side of dark humor.

28. Pacific Rim (2013)

In “Pacific Rim,” humanity faces annihilation from colossal sea monsters known as Kaiju. To combat them, giant robots called Jaegers are piloted by duos linked through a neural bridge. When the Kaiju evolve, it’s up to a washed-up pilot and an untested trainee to helm an obsolete Jaeger in a desperate bid to save the world from the apocalypse.

29. The Relic (1997)

“The Relic” brings horror to the hallowed halls of the Chicago Museum of Natural History. A detective and a biologist team up to track down a mysterious creature that’s on a killing spree. The monster, a chimera of human, insect, and reptilian DNA, has made the museum its hunting ground, leaving a trail of decapitated victims in its wake.

30. Monster Squad (1987)

A club of young monster fans, known as the Monster Squad, discover that Dracula is alive and plans to rule the world with the help of other legendary monsters. However, these savvy kids uncover the devious plan and prepare for a counter-strike to save their hometown and the world from the creatures’ clutches.

31. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Set in 1944 Falangist Spain, “Pan’s Labyrinth” follows Ofelia, a young girl who escapes into a captivating fantasy world to flee the brutality of her new stepfather, a sadistic army officer. In her mystical journey, she meets a faun who tells her she’s a princess and must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks.

32. Basket Case (1982)

In “Basket Case,” Duane Bradley carries a big basket containing his deformed conjoined twin brother, Belial. After being separated against their will, they seek vengeance on the doctors responsible. As Duane tries to start a new life, Belial’s violent nature leads to a series of chilling encounters.

33. Swamp Thing (1982)

In “Swamp Thing,” a brilliant scientist, Dr. Alec Holland, becomes the victim of a treacherous attack that transforms him into the Swamp Thing. Merging with the swamp’s vegetation, he becomes a plant-like creature with superhuman abilities. As he battles the evil forces that caused his transformation, he also grapples with the loss of his humanity.

34. Dragonslayer (1981)

“Dragonslayer” tells the story of a young sorcerer’s apprentice, Galen, who embarks on a perilous quest to slay a dragon terrorizing the kingdom. Armed with his master’s magical amulet and courage, he faces the fiery beast to save the virgins sacrificed to appease it. It’s a tale of bravery and the fight against an ancient evil.

35. Nightbreed (1990)

“Nightbreed” explores the journey of Aaron Boone, a man haunted by visions of a city inhabited by monsters. Misled by his sinister psychiatrist to believe he is a serial killer, Boone seeks refuge in the mythical city of Midian among a tribe of monstrous outcasts. As he finds acceptance among the Nightbreed, he must also confront the real killer who threatens both his new sanctuary and the human world.

36. Lake Placid (1999)

In “Lake Placid,” a tranquil Maine lake becomes the hunting ground for a giant crocodile. A group of quirky characters, including a sheriff, a paleontologist, and a mythology professor, team up to capture or kill the beast. The film blends comedy and horror, as the creature’s appetite for chaos disrupts the peace of Black Lake.

37. Piranha (1978)

“Piranha” unleashes a school of genetically altered piranha into a river leading to a summer resort. As the lethal fish threaten local residents and vacationers, an insurance investigator and a local guide race against time to stop the flesh-eating swarm. This B movie, inspired by “Jaws,” combines horror with a satirical edge.

38. Hellraiser (1987)

“Hellraiser” explores the dark world of pleasure and pain when a man solves a mystical puzzle box, summoning the Cenobites, sadomasochistic beings from another dimension. As the man’s partially resurrected body requires more sacrifices to become whole, a twisted tale of obsession and horror unfolds, challenging the boundaries between desire and torment.

39. Clash of the Titans (1981)

“Clash of the Titans” is a mythological adventure that follows Perseus, the mortal son of Zeus, who embarks on a perilous journey to save Princess Andromeda. Battling various mythical beasts like Medusa and the Kraken, Perseus must overcome the gods’ manipulations and fulfill his destiny.

40. Them! (1954)

  • Director: Gordon Douglas
  • Actors: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon
  • ‘Them!’ on IMDb

In “Them!,” atomic tests in New Mexico result in the creation of giant, man-eating ants that threaten civilization. A team of investigators and the army race against time to control their spread in this Cold War-era monster film, which is one of the first “big bug” movies.

41. The Blob (1988)

A remake of the 1958 classic, “The Blob” features an alien amoebic entity that crashes to Earth and devours anything in its path, growing larger with each victim. A group of townspeople, including rebellious teen Brian and cheerleader Meg, struggle to survive and stop the creature.

42. The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

In this classic B-movie, a giant lizard terrorizes a rural Texas community. A heroic teenager, who is also a hot-rod racer, attempts to destroy the creature with his car packed with nitroglycerin, ultimately saving the town from destruction.

43. Love and Monsters (2020)

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where giant monsters have taken over the Earth’s surface, “Love and Monsters” follows Joel Dawson, a young man who embarks on a dangerous journey to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Along the way, he encounters a loyal dog and learns survival skills from a pair of seasoned adventurers.

44. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

A team of scientists, soldiers, and adventurers travel to the uncharted Skull Island, where they encounter the mighty Kong, a gigantic ape who is the last of his species. As they explore the treacherous island, they must confront other terrifying creatures and fight to escape this primal Eden.

45. Deep Rising (1998)

“Deep Rising” combines action and horror as a group of mercenaries and a boat crew encounter monstrous, tentacled sea creatures aboard a luxury cruise ship. The team initially aims to rob the vessel but soon finds themselves fighting for survival against the deadly beings that have already invaded the ship.

46. The Shape of Water (2017)

  • Director: Guillermo del Toro
  • Actors: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer
  • ‘The Shape of Water’ on IMDb

Set against the backdrop of the Cold War era, “The Shape of Water” is a romantic dark fantasy that tells the story of Elisa, a mute janitor at a high-security government laboratory who forms a unique bond with a captive amphibious creature. Their relationship grows into a deep connection that defies the agendas of those around them.

47. Splice (2009)

  • Director: Vincenzo Natali
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac
  • ‘Splice’ on IMDb

“Splice” follows genetic engineers Clive and Elsa, who achieve fame by splicing together the DNA of different animals to create new hybrid animals. Their next step is to use human DNA, which results in the creation of a human-animal hybrid named Dren. As Dren rapidly develops from a deformed infant into a beautiful but dangerous winged human-chimera, ethical boundaries are crossed, and a dangerous scenario unfolds, blurring the lines between creator and creation.

48. Grabbers (2012)

Set on an island off the coast of Ireland, “Grabbers” is a monster horror comedy where the local inhabitants discover that bloodsucking tentacled aliens are vulnerable to alcohol. With a storm preventing escape or help from the mainland, the townspeople organize a party at the local pub to get everyone drunk enough to be toxic to the alien invaders.

49. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

In the classic horror film “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” a scientific expedition to the Amazon uncovers the existence of a prehistoric, amphibious creature known as the Gill-man. The team’s discovery in the remote Black Lagoon becomes perilous when the creature demonstrates both curiosity and aggression towards the crew, especially showing an eerie fascination with the expedition’s sole female member.

50. Underwater (2020)

  • Director: William Eubank
  • Actors: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller
  • ‘Underwater’ on IMDb

A crew working in an underwater drilling facility at the bottom of the Mariana Trench faces disaster when an earthquake devastates their station. As they try to reach safety, they discover that the quake has unleashed something far more terrifying: mysterious creatures that now threaten their survival.

We hope you found your next watch movie on this list of the 50 best monster movies of all time!

If you’re looking for more sci-fi inspiration, checkout our other sci-fi articles next.

If you love aliens and UFOs, checkout these two articles:
25 UFO Movies Like Fire in the Sky
25 Best Sci-Fi Alien Movies That Stand the Test of Time

If you’re a real diehard sci-fi monster movie fan, than here is Wikipedias list of all monster movies categorized by alphabet.

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best 50 monster movies checklist

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So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

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