Three dirty twenty somethings stare up in horror at a giant offscreen monster in "Cloverfield"
(Paramount Pictures)

The Best Monster Movies to Watch Right Now

IT’S A MONSTER. RUN.

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I don’t mean that in hyperbolic way to describe a particularly depraved human being like Donald Trump or the parents of Britney Spears. Nor do I mean it in a metaphorical way in reference to existential evils like climate change, rising inflation, or the stagnation of worker’s wages. I mean it in a LITERAL way because there is quite literally a monster standing behind you RIGHT NOW and I really think that we need to RUN AWAY in order to remain tethered to this earthly plane. But how can we DEFEAT this monster? I have an idea. I’ll strap a TV to your back on which I will play monster movies in order to frighten this monster away. We’ll fight fire with fire! Monster with monster! Whatever! START RUNNING. I’LL GET THE MOVIES.

The Ritual

Four men stand in the woods in "The Ritual"
(Netflix)

The monster from David Bruckner’s The Ritual is perhaps the best designed movie monster ever made! When four friends go on a backpacking trip into the wilds of Northern Europe, they discover that they are being stalked by an otherworldly monstrosity! Much like we are being right now! While many of the monsters on this list are corporeal in nature, this monster is a spiritual beast. I.e. an old god! But rest assured, it’s certainly corporeal enough to impale you on a tree. It’s into that sort of thing.

The Host

The monster on fire in The Host
(Magnolia Pictures)

The monster of Bong Joon-ho’s The Host was once a cute little fish swimming around the Seoul’s Han River. That is until an American scientist ordered his assistant to dump thousands of gallons of chemicals into the sewer system, thus mutating the lil’ guy into a big HUNGRY guy. After the daughter of a down and out shopkeeper is stolen by the beast, he has to rally his grieving family to venture into the sewers and get her back!

Nope

OJ (Daniel Kaluuya), Emerald (Keke Palmer), and Angel (Brandon Perea) in Jordan Peele's 'Nope'
(Universal Pictures)

Sometimes monsters don’t come from this planet. Sometimes they come from the stars! The characters of Jordan Peele’s Nope find that out the hard way! Set in the deserts of the American Southwest, a rural community are hunted by a flying saucer like entity from outer space! While the film appears to be a traditional UFO tale, Jordan Peele’s monster actually takes more inspiration from biblically accurate angels! Nothing quite causes terror like the bible!

Cloverfield

Three dirty twenty somethings stare up in horror at a giant offscreen monster in "Cloverfield"
(Paramount Pictures)

Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield reintroduced the kaiju – a giant monster made famous by Japanese monster movies of yore – to Western pop culture with this little number! Set in New York City, a group of friends are forced to flee from an attack from a skyscraper high monster! Lucky for us, one of them happened to be recording it on his camcorder the entire time! To make matters worse, the giant alien monster is actually covered in parasitic little monsters that leap off from their host to attack the populace and spectacularly gory ways.

The Mist

A man gazes into a dense fog while standing next to his truck in 'The Mist'
(MGM)

Stephen King’s The Mist is the the King of Horror’s take on interdimensional beings from a parallel realm! The film is set in a small New England town (like every other Stevie K. story) whose residents are forced to shelter in a grocery store after an eerie mist settles above the streets. The mist itself isn’t so bad, it’s the horrific monsters INSIDE the mist that are the real problem! Evil bird things! Tentacled horrors! Skyscraper tall behemoths that trample the Earth! The monster chasing us right now would never stand a chance.

Pan’s Labyrinth

A mythical faun with horns emerges from the shadows in a scene from 'Pan's Labyrinth'
(Warner Bros.)

While the most despicable monsters in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth are the fascist soldiers terrorizing post-Civil War Spain, a young girl named Ofelia encounters REAL monsters after following a faerie into the woods and encountering a mysterious labyrinth haunted by a faun. While the faun Pan is spooky, he’s far from the worst monster. The WORST monster is an emaciated zombie looking dude with eyeballs on his palms named The Pale Man. The Pale Man sits at a dining room table waiting to pounce on anyone who takes food from him. What does the Pale Man himself eat? Children.

Monsters Inc.

The animated cast of Pixar's classic Monsters Inc. standing together.
(Pixar)

Wait a minute, these monsters aren’t scary – they’re adorable! The REAL monster in this film are the countless child labor violations that these corporate beasts are committing! Pixar’s Monsters Inc. is a story about a pair of monsters named Sully and Mike, who work on the Scare Floor at Monsters Inc – an energy company. What does the company export as energy? The screams of children! Monsters on the clock enter into the closets of human children and scare the daylights out of them, so the monster engineers can harvest their screams to keep the lights on.

The Thing

A nearly-frozen, cornered Kurt Russell wards off assailants with a bundle of dynamite in John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing.’
(Universal Pictures)

Oh…. oh no… the monster that’s chasing us is pretty bad. But it doesn’t deserve to be exposed to the horrors of The Thing! John Carpenter’s extra-terrestrial body horror masterpiece is about a group of scientists who are trapped in an Antarctic research station with a shapeshifting alien being. The titular “thing” is able to take the form of any being that it kills and consuming, rendering the scientists unable to determine who they can trust. The monster could be anyone, after all.

The Descent

Shauna McDonald in 'The Descent'
(Pathé Distribution)

The truly monstrous aspect of The Descent is that this group of women thought cave diving would be a good time. What about being trapped in claustrophobic darkness hundreds of feet underground sounds sounds FUN!? After the tragic death of her husband, an amateur cave diver and her friends venture into an uncharted system of caverns. They soon find out that the caverns were never explored for good reason – they’re home to a species of cannibalistic subterranean humanoid! And these fellas are hungry!

Alien

sigourney weaver and jonesy the cat in Ridley Scott's Alien.
(20th Century Studios)

If the monster chasing us has any psychosexual hang-ups that it needs to work out in therapy, Ridley Scott’s Alien is CERTAIN to trigger it! A group of astronauts on a spacefaring mining ship land on an extraterrestrial planet. After being attacked by a face-sucking monster, the astronauts flee to their ship, unknowingly bringing an extraterrestrial horror on board with them! In its deadliest form, the alien being looks like a giant penis with legs and claws! I can’t think of anything worse!

(Featured Image: Paramount Pictures)


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.