The 100 Greatest Monsters From Movies And Television #81 - #90

90. THE GREMLIN

"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is a 1963 episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, based on the short story of the same name by Richard Matheson.

Bob Wilson (William Shatner) is a salesman on an airplane for the first time since his nervous breakdown six months ago. He spots a gremlin on the wing of the plane. Every time someone else looks out the window, the gremlin leaps out of view, so nobody believes Bob's seemingly outlandish claim. Bob realizes that his wife is starting to think he needs to go back to the sanitarium, but also, if nothing is done about the gremlin, it will damage the plane and cause it to crash. Bob steals a sleeping policeman's revolver, and opens the window marked "Auxiliary Exit" to shoot the gremlin, succeeding despite the fact that he is nearly blown out of the plane himself. Once the plane has landed, although he is whisked away in a straitjacket, a final shot reveals evidence of his claims: the unusual damage to the plane's engine nacelle — yet to be discovered by mechanics.


89. ALIENS (It Came From Outer Space)

It Came from Outer Space is a 1953 Science fiction 3-D film directed by Jack Arnold, and starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, and Charles Drake. It was Universal's first film to be filmed in 3-D.

Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Rush) watch a great meteor crash to earth near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. After visiting the crash site, John Putnam notices a strange object at the impact site, and comes to believe the meteor is not a meteor at all, but an alien spaceship. After a landslide covers the mysterious craft, John Putnam's story is ridiculed by the townspeople, the sheriff (Drake), and the local media. Even Ellen is unsure of what to believe at first, but soon agrees to assist John in further investigation. In the following days, several local people disappear. A few return, only to display odd robot-like behavior, and seem distant and removed from their normal selves. Eventually Sheriff Warren also becomes convinced that something more than a meteor is involved, and organizes a posse to root out and destroy the invaders. All alone, John hopes to reach a peaceful solution, entering a mine which he hopes will lead him to the buried spacecraft and its mysterious occupants.

It develops that the aliens are benign beings whose spacecraft has crashed due to malfunctioning components. Their plan is to stay on Earth long enough to replace them, then continue on their voyage. They temporarily control a few humans since they would not be able to mingle inconspicuously with people, and they realize that humans would panic on seeing them. Upon their departure, all returns to normal on Earth.


88. THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN

The Mighty Peking Man (猩猩王 THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN) (Mandarin: Hsing Hsing Wang, Cantonese: Sing Sing Wong - literally "Orangutan King: THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN") is a 1977 film produced in Hong Kong by Shaw Brothers Studio to capitalize on the craze surrounding the 1976 remake of King Kong.

The film was directed by Ho Meng Hua and produced by Runme Shaw; the special effects were directed by Sadamasa Arikawa, with Koichi Kawakita as assistant FX director. It starred Danny Lee and Evelyn Kraft.

A party from Hong Kong headed up by Johnny (Danny Lee) are exploring the Indian side of the Himalayan mountains discover the eponymous Peking Man, a gigantic ape-like creature, along with a beautiful blond barefoot wild woman named Samantha (Evelyn Kraft) whose parents had been killed in a plane crash. Samantha was raised by Utam (the Peking Man) with nothing to wear but an animal-skin bikini (which she later continues to wear in preference to the type of women's clothing more common in Hong Kong). Like Tarzan, she has learned both to swing through the trees on vines and to communicate with and command the jungle animals, with the exception of a venomous snake who bites her on the inner thigh requiring the hero Johnny to suck out the poison while Samantha's leopard friend fights the snake. Shortly thereafter, they fall in love.

Johnny and his partners bring Samantha and Utam to Hong Kong, where Utam goes on display to the incredulous public. Johnny, meanwhile, reconciles with the girlfriend whose romantic betrayal with his brother had been the impetus behind his sudden decision to explore the Himalayas. Samantha sees this and runs off, nearly getting raped. Utam goes berserk and squashes the rapist, then runs off with Samantha to the tallest building he can find (namely the Jardine House), climbs it, and is burned/shot to death by several helicopters in a scene greatly reminiscent of the ending of King Kong, and falls off. Samantha is killed in an explosion during the conflict, and Johnny receives what appears to be a very minor gunshot wound to the lower leg.



87. THE DEADLY MANTIS

The Deadly Mantis is a 1957 science fiction film produced by William Alland for Universal-International Pictures. It was directed by Nathan Juran from a screenplay by Martin Berkeley, and starred Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton, and Pat Conway. It was filmed in black and white and runs for 79 minutes.

In the South Seas, a volcano explodes, eventually causing North Pole icebergs to shift. Below the melting polar ice caps, a 200-foot-long praying mantis, trapped in the ice for centuries, begins to stir. Soon after, the military personnel at Red Eagle One, a military station in northern Canada that monitors information gathered from a nearby radar line, realize that the men at one of their outposts are not responding to calls. Commanding officer Col. Joe Parkman drives there to investigate, and finds the post destroyed, its men disappeared and giant slashes left in the snow outside.

When a blip on the outpost's radar screen is soon sighted, Joe sends his pilots out, and one is attacked. Joe searches the wreckage, and this time, in addition to the huge slashes, finds a five-foot-long pointed object in the snow. He takes it to General Mark Ford at the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ford gathers top scientists, including Professor Anton Gunther, to examine the object, but after they fail to identify it, Gunther recommends calling in Dr. Nedrick Jackson, a paleontologist at the Museum of Natural History.

When Ned receives the call from Ford, he is helping museum magazine editor Marge Blaine plan her next issue, and later dodges her questions as she begs him for a big scoop. Later, after examining the object, Ned recognizes it as a torn-off spur from an insect's legs, and soon guesses, from evidence that the creature ate human flesh, that it must be a gigantic praying mantis. Meanwhile, in the Arctic, the people of an Eskimo village spot the mantis in the sky, and although they hurry to their boats to escape, it swoops down and kills several men.

Ned is sent to Red Eagle One to investigate further, and upon leaving, discovers that Marge has finagled permission to accompany him as his photographer. They reach the base, where all the men, including Joe, are smitten by Marge's beauty. That night, Marge and Joe join Ned in his office and discuss the creature, not realizing that it is drawing close to the office window. Marge suddenly catches sight of it and screams, and the bug attacks the building. Although the full unit opens fire on the mantis, it is unscathed and moves away only after planes encircle it.

Hours later, the base remains on red alert, but they finally hear that the bug has attacked a boat in the Canadian sea, which means, Ned calculates, that it is flying at a speed of 200 miles an hour. Ford calls a press conference to announce the bug's existence, and asks the Civilian Ground Observer Corps to track its whereabouts. Over the next few days, Ned, Marge and Joe tirelessly track the bug's progress, with the help of military and civilian onlookers. Late one night, Joe drives Marge home, stopping briefly to ask for, and receive, a kiss. They are distracted by a report of a nearby train wreck, and although they assume it to be a fluke accident, soon after, a woman leaving a bus sees the mantis, and all emergency personnel are put on alert. The mantis is then sighted in Washington, D.C., atop the Washington Monument.

Joe is one of the pilots who bravely attempt to drive the bug toward the sea, but a dense fog throws him off course, and he flies directly into the mantis. As the wounded mantis drops to the ground and crawls into the Manhattan Tunnel, Joe safely parachutes to the ground. Ford heads a team that seals off the tunnel, filling it with smoke to provide cover for Joe and his special unit of men, who enter the tunnel armed with chemical bombs. They creep past wrecked cars until suddenly the bug appears in the fog only a few yards ahead of them. They shoot at it, but it lumbers on, forcing them backward. The mantis seems immune to the ammunition until, only feet from the tunnel entrance, Joe throws a grenade in its face, and it collapses, dead.

Later, Ford, Ned, Joe and Marge enter the tunnel to examine the bug. Marge photographs its face while the men walk around its side, but Joe suddenly sees the mantis' arm move, and runs to protect Marge. Although Ned explains that the bug's movement was merely an automatic reflex, Joe takes the opportunity to pull Marge into an embrace.



86. THE GIANT BEHEMOTH

Behemoth, the Sea Monster (1959) is an American-British science-fiction film co-production. Originally a story about an amorphous blob of radiation, the script was changed at the distributor's insistence to a pastiche of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), though elements of the original concept remain in the early parts of the film and in the "electric eel" power of the titular monster. The script was written by blacklisted author Daniel James under the name "Daniel Hyatt," with Eugène Lourié co-writing as well as directing. Released in the United States as The Giant Behemoth, the film starred Gene Evans and André Morell. It was distributed by Allied Artists Pictures.

Dead fish by the thousands begin washing up on the shores of Cornwall, and finally an old fisherman is killed by something which has left him covered with radiation burns, his dying word being "behemoth". An Anglo-American team of scientists are dispatched from London to investigate, and discover the dead fish are also radioactive. Further investigation reveals a large, glowing animal swimming below the surface of the sea, and on another night it comes out and "burns" a farmhouse and its occupants, leaving footprints the length of a police car. From a picture of one print, a paleontologist determines the animal is a [fictional] Paeleosaurus that can project electric shocks and is saturated with radiation. The dinosaur enters the River Thames and surfaces and attacks the city of London. The scientists realize that if it is destroyed by conventional military weaponry, a large amount of radioactive contamination will be released. The military then concludes to use a mini-submarine capable of firing a torpedo with enough additional radioactivity in its warhead to "overdose" the behemoth and kill it. The American scientist and one of the younger Cornish fishermen, boyfriend of the daughter of the first man killed, take the mini-sub out and successfully kill the behemoth.

Upon returning to base in the mini-sub, the sub's passengers hear a radio broadcast reporting schools of dead fish washing up along the shoreline of Florida!



85. SANDA & GAIRA

War of the Gargantuas, released in Japan as Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda versus Gaira (フランケンシュタインの怪獣 サンダ対ガイラ, Furankenshutain no Kaijū: Sanda tai Gaira?), is a 1966 daikaiju eiga (giant monster movie), and a semisequel to Frankenstein vs. Baragon.

It introduces two giant, hairy humanoids called Gargantuas, which spawned from the discarded cells of Frankenstein's monster from the previous film and are described as brothers. The Green Gargantua is violent and savage, preying upon human beings; as he lives in sea water, he is given the name Gaira (ガイラ?, from kai, "sea"). The Brown Gargantua had been raised in captivity, and is docile and gentle; because he resides in the Japan Alps, he is called Sanda (サンダ?, from san, "mountain"). The film follows the investigation and military engagements of these creatures until their climatic confrontation in Tokyo.

Several ambiguous references are made to Frankenstein vs. Baragon, but the only direct link between the films is the term "Frankenstein", which appears in the title and is used to refer to the Gargantuas ("Frankensteins") in the original Japanese dialogue. Like the previous film, which starred Nick Adams, War of the Gargantuas features a Hollywood actor (Russ Tamblyn) in the lead as a scientist, Kumi Mizuno as his colleague, and another Japanese scientist (previously Tadao Takashima, here Kenji Sahara). The similar casting has led to speculation that the film was intended to feature recurring characters. Eiji Tsuburaya helmed the special effects crew with monster suit actor Haruo Nakajima portraying the antagonistic Gaira.

The film itself is rather vague as to where (if at all) War of the Gargantuas falls in regard to the continuity of Toho's other kaiju films, or even if it should be considered a canonical part of the Godzilla series. In 2002's Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, however, specific reference to the Gargantuas is made, indicating that (in this variation on Godzilla continuity, in any case) War of the Gargantuas is considered by Toho to be a legitimate part of the Godzilla universe.


84. THE BLACK SCORPION

The Black Scorpion is a 1957 horror film released by Warner Brothers, with stop motion special effects done by Willis O'Brien.

The film begins when an earthquake hits Mexico, resulting in the overnight birth of a new volcano. Sent to study this phenomenon are geologists Dr. Hank Scott and his partner Dr. Arturo Ramos. En route to the village of San Lorenzo, the two men happen upon a destroyed house and an equally totaled police car. Shortly afterward, they find the dead policeman nearby, as well as an abandoned infant.

They take the baby to San Lorenzo and give it to some friends of its (now missing) parents, and are welcomed by the village's priest, Father Delgado. In addition to the disappearances of locals and the destruction of their homes, there have been wholesale slaughters of livestock and strange roars in the night. The villagers believe the culprit to be a demon bull, and have been pestering Delgado for divine assistance. Undaunted, Hank and Arturo begin their geological survey as members of the Mexican army, led by Major Cosio, arrive in San Lorenzo to begin disaster relief efforts. Hank meets and falls in love with local rancher Teresa Alvarez and makes friends with a young boy named Juanito.

The volcano erupts again and the true culprits behind the disappearances and deaths are revealed as giant prehistoric scorpions. After attacking a trio of telephone repairmen, the scorpions turn their attention to San Lorenzo itself, with the guns of Major Cosio's troops having no effect on them. Come morning, the scorpions have returned to their underground lair (which, in addition to the scorpions, is home to giant worms and spiders), leaving the authorities to seek the help of renowned entomologist Dr. Velasco. It is up to him, Hank, and Arturo to figure out a way to either destroy the scorpions or seal off the entrance to their cavern home, before more innocent lives are lost.

Despite collapsing the cave entrance, the giant scorpions make it to the surface and destroy a train, killing countless passengers before fighting amongst themselves. In the end, one scorpion, the largest of the group and presumably the alpha scorpion, kills all of the smaller ones, making it the last scorpion alive and it heads for Mexico City. Hank and Arturo come up with a plan to lure it to a stadium where the military is waiting with tanks and helicopters. Using a truckload of meat from a butcher shop, they manage to get the scorpion into the stadium where the military's weapons are again proved useless against its armor. However, Hank manages to finish it off by using an electric cable attached to a spear at its throat, which is its weakness. After destroying several tanks and choppers, the scorpion is electrocuted.


83. THE SHADOWS

The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z'ha'dum. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question "Who are you?", that of the Shadows is represented by the question "What do you want?", centering towards desire rather than identity. J. Michael Straczynski, the show's creator, once explained that he chose the name "Shadows" because of its meaning in Jungian psychology.

A Shadow is an insect-like organism with a spiked, violet-black carapace. They are similar in shape to a praying mantis with an upper body, shoulder spines, a mobile head, and at least one pair of grasping forelimbs. The rear of the body is supported by multiple pairs of legs. Their legs resemble those of a spider, but each Shadow has six of them instead of eight.

The Shadows have fourteen eyes in total divided into four groups. Two sets of three arranged, slanted upward and two sets of four arranged to align perfectly under the first sets.

The spoken language of the Shadows is a rapid series of high-frequency bursts and chirps like a cricket or grasshopper. The endonym of the Shadows is ten thousand letters long, and unpronounceable by many.

Detailed descriptions are rare, due to their ability to "cloak" their physical bodies to visual wavelengths of light. They are thus rarely seen except as shadowy, mirage-like silhouettes, which can be seen by telepaths, those using visual enhancement devices, or when the entity chooses to partially or wholly reveal itself.

Other manifestations take the form of the Shadows' three pairs of glowing orange eyes, usually as a symbolic image within a telepathic or dream vision.

Shadows very rarely engage in hand-to-hand combat to accomplish their goals, relying instead on invisibility, behind-the-scenes maneuvering and their technology. They are, however, vulnerable to high-powered energy weapons, as demonstrated when the two Shadow guards flanking Mr. Morden are killed by particle gun fire from Centauri guards.



82. THE BLOB
The Blob is an independently made American horror/science-fiction film from 1958 that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It was not until star Steve McQueen became famous with the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive that the film became a hit at the drive-in theatres.

The film was Steve McQueen's debut leading role, and also starred Aneta Corsaut. The film's tongue-in-cheek theme song, "Beware of the Blob" (recorded by studio group the Five Blobs—actually singer Bernie Nee overdubbing himself), was written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David and was a nationwide hit in the U.S.

Teenager Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) and his girl Jane Martin (Aneta Corsaut) are out parking and see a falling star. They drive out to try to find where the meteor landed. An old man (Olin Howland) has heard the meteor crash near his house. He finds the meteor and pokes it with a stick. The rock breaks open to reveal small jelly-like blob inside. This blob, a living creature, crawls up the stick and attaches itself to his hand. The man runs hysterically onto the road, where he is seen by Steve, who takes him to see the local doctor, Doctor Hallen.

They reach the clinic when Doctor Hallen is about to leave. Hallen anesthetizes the man and sends Steve back to the crash site to gather more information. Hallen decides he must amputate the man's arm which is being consumed by the blob, calling in his nurse. However, the blob completely consumes the old man. Now an amorphous creature, it eats the nurse and the doctor while increasing in size.

Steve and Jane return to the office and Steve witnesses the doctor's death. They go to the local police and return to the clinic with the kindly Lt. Dave and cynical Sgt. Burt. However, there is no sign of the creature or the doctor, and the police dismiss Steve's story. Steve and Jane are sent home with their fathers but sneak out and retrieve Steve's friends and successfully enlist their help warning the town.

In the meantime, the blob has consumed a mechanic, the janitor in Mr. Andrew's grocery store and a bar room of late-night drinkers. Investigating, Steve and Jane are confronted by the blob in the grocery store and seek refuge in the walk-in refrigerator. The blob starts to ooze in under the door but then retreats. Steve and Jane escape and set off the town's fire and air-raid alarms. The whole town gathers and demands to know what is going on. As the townspeople and police angrily confront Steve, the blob enters the Colonial Theater, engulfing and eating the projectionist before oozing into the cinema seating area. The patrons run screaming out of the theater alerting the assembled townspeople to the danger. The blob leaves the theatre, but Jane's little brother appears from the crowd to confront the blob with his cap gun before running into the adjacent diner. Jane and Steve run in after him but become trapped along with the owner and a waitress.

The Blob – now an enormous mass – engulfs the diner and begins to ooze in through the windows while the occupants seek refuge in the cellar. The police try to kill the Blob by dropping a power line onto it, but this fails and only sets the diner ablaze. Defending themselves inside, the diner's owner uses a CO2 fire extinguisher attempting to put out the fire, which also causes the approaching blob to recoil. Steve remembers the blob recoiled from the refrigerator, too, and tells Lt. Dave that the Blob cannot stand cold. Jane's father, Mr. Martin, takes Steve's friends to the high school to retrieve fire extinguishers which are used to freeze the blob. Dave requests an Air Force jet to transport the blob to the North Pole to keep it frozen. A military plane is shown dropping the blob into an Arctic landscape. The film ends with the words "The End", which then morph into a question mark, suggesting that the Blob may return.



81. TARANTULA

Tarantula is a 1955 science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold, and starring Leo G. Carroll, John Agar, and Mara Corday. Among other things, the film is notable for the appearance of a 25-year-old Clint Eastwood in an uncredited role as a jet pilot at the end of the film.

When a mysteriously deformed man, ERIC JACOBS, is found dead in the desert, DR. MATT HASTINGS, a family doctor in the tiny neighboring town of Desert Rock, is called in to examine the body. Jacobs, a research scientist, worked with PROFESSOR DEEMER, a reclusive scientist who's conducting mysterious experiments at an out of the way mansion near the town.

Dr. Matt is baffled by the cause of Eric's death. His distorted features suggest acromegaly, a disorder of the pituitary gland, but since Eric was fine just days earlier, Matt can't understand why he would deteriorate so quickly. When Professor Deemer insists that it is acromegaly and refuses to authorize an autopsy, Matt is both annoyed and confused. The local SHERIFF takes the Professor's side.

Later, Deemer returns to his lab, where it's revealed he's working on creating a food nutrient to feed the world's increasing population. He has injected the nutrient into lab animals, which have grown at astonishing rates. A caged tarantula is several times normal size. Suddenly, Deemer's other assistant, PAUL, stumbles into the lab, his face as hideously distorted as Jacobs'. Delirious, Paul attacks Deemer and busts up the lab, setting the tarantula loose. He also injects the unconscious Deemer with the nutrient, then dies as the lab begins to burn. Deemer awakes in time to put out the fire, then buries Paul's body without notifying authorities.

The following day, beautiful DR. STEPHANIE CLAYTON arrives in Desert Rock, having been hired by the late Jacobs. Matt gives her a ride to Deemer's, informing her of Jacobs' death. When they reach Deemer's house, the Professor pretends the damaged lab was an accident. Deemer explains how he is making the nutrient using the power of the atom to bind the solution.

Stephanie becomes an able assistant to Deemer, helping him with his experiments. She also gets to know Matt, who shows her the town and desert scenery. Meanwhile, something odd is going on in the desert. Something unknown is devouring the horses, their skeletal remains found by local RANCHERS. Two human beings appear to have been devoured after an apparent car accident. Matt notices huge pools of a mysterious substance near the accident. After lab analysis, he discovers that it's insect venom û but in an enormous quantity.

At the lab, Stephanie becomes concerned about Deemer, whose face is gradually becoming distorted, much like Jacobs and Paul. When Deemer finally confesses to Matt and Stephanie that Paul went on a rampage and released the tarantula, Matt becomes suspicious, making a connection to the recent phenomena. Meanwhile, the tarantula continues its rampage, killing TWO OLD PROSPECTORS in the desert.

While studying in her bedroom that night, Stephanie doesn't see that the tarantula is approaching in the distance, visible from her bedroom window. Once the tarantula begins wrecking the house, a horrified Stephanie tries to save Deemer, who's convalescing in his room, his face now completely distorted. Unfortunately, the tarantula kills Deemer before Stephanie can save him.

Matt drives up to the house as it collapses, but Stephanie gets out alive, rushing to Matt's car. They drive off into the desert, notifying the State Police and Sheriff, who gives orders to evacuate the town. Efforts to kill the approaching tarantula with machine guns fail, and the monster kills TWO COPS in the bargain. Another effort to kill the monster with dynamite also fails. With the tarantula headed for town, fighter planes approach, dropping bombs on the monster as it reaches Desert Rock. When traditional bombs fail, the planes drop napalm, setting the tarantula on fire as a relieved Matt, Stephanie and various OFFICIALS look on. The film's poster, featuring a spider with two eyes instead of the normal eight, and carrying a woman in its fangs, does not represent any actual scene in the film.

(Information on all monsters provided by Wikipedia)

See Also: The 100 Greatest Monsters From Movies And Television #91 - #100  -and - 

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