The picture isn't much to look at, I know, but that's sort of the point. This amorphous monster (think the Blob 2.0) has a cell structure similar to petroleum, but has gained sentience and intelligence by absorbing the memories of every creature it consumes. It can take the form of anything it wants, even Lovecraftian horrors drawn by one of its victims. Body Snatcher and spooky potential abound with this one, and the fact that it will only get stronger over time makes it quite the menace.
Not unlike The Enemy, The Borg are all about growing and moving closer to perfection. Single-minded in their purpose to assimilate anything they can learn from, they use various implants and nanorobots to augment them physically and replace an individual's free will with their hive mind. Their plague-like spread and ability to quickly adapt to almost any threat are the stuff of nightmares.
You knew you weren't making it through this list without at least one del Toro entry and the Reapers are the best of the best. For a vampire to make the list, it has to be a little more animalistic than Stoker's variety. There's too much charm and suaveness in his or Anne Rice's bloodsuckers to qualify as a "monster". Running on all fours and having a maw more like a leech's gets you on the list though. Del Toro obviously has a much more brutal take on vampires than most, with his upcoming show The Strain taking the physical transformation to a whole new level from Reapers. In age of "True Blood" and Twilight perpetuating a very feminine quality even amongst male vampires, del Toro's take is refreshing.
Another victim of modern entertainment's neutering of traditional monsters, the Lycans of Underworld can at least kick as much ass their heritage deserves. Underworld's Lycans can only change at will once they are extremely old and powerful. Right when the very first Lycans would have been achieving this feat, definitely tipping the balance of power in their favor, firearms were invented, giving the Vampires a leg up to fight them. This gives us a fantastic fictional détente that Hollywood seems content to waste on movies increasingly devoid of artistic merit (why give the fourth film the largest budget of the series and have two never-weres as the directors?), the Lycans deserve better.
A vastly underrated monster from a vastly underrated movie. Whereas the 1958 original had Delambre swapping his head and arm with a fly because of a trade of their "atoms" (that's how genetics worked in 1958 apparently), the 1986 reimagining has Jeff Goldblum's Seth Brundle fused genetically with the fly that got in the teleporter, initially giving him positive side effects, but eventually resulting in his full transformation into "Brundlefly". Made for just $9 million, the computer scenes (and the inclusion of Geena Davis) are of course quaint, but the effects hold up rather nicely given their age. If Hollywood is so obsessed with remakes, this one should really be at the top of their list. Extra bonus: it would be pretty easy to set it up as a franchise.
Just about the only even semi-lighthearted entry on the list, Graboids seemingly come from out of nowhere to mass murder entire towns without ever having been previously detected. The poster for Tremors bears a striking resemblance to the Jaws poster, which one can only assume was intentional, given that Graboids actually look nothing like what's on the poster. Based on the cryptid Mongolian Death Worm, their inexplicable emergence is overshadowed by the fact that they make a great monster. Jaws was terrifying, but easily avoidable. If the thing that's going to hunt you while it can't be seen can move underground? That's a little tougher to outmaneuver.
Two vampires making the list? In name only. The vampires of 30 Days of Night bear little resemblance to Reapers beyond being vicious monsters that were once human. The movie overdoes it on the arterial spray, making you wonder if there's actually enough blood left for the vampires to feed on, but it still does a nice job of augmenting their claws and teeth with a creepy dialect and slightly-too-angular facial features. Interested only in the kill, they are nevertheless more cunning than Reapers and nowhere near as physiologically altered. They exhibit none of the charm of the more modern take on their kind, and the actors chosen to portray them seem to have been selected for the sheer unmemorableness they look to have possessed in human form. This makes them all the more terrifying, since it is a constant reminder that anyone could be turned into one of their kind.
The monster that ushered in the revival of the giant monster genre, Cloverfield was decidedly alien despite being somewhat hominid. Because of its found footage style, the movie didn't concern itself much with the facts are mythos surrounding the creature, and focused mainly on the impact it had on the protagonists. A sequel has been bandied about, and could focus on the same incident from a different point of view, or follow something in the aftermath. Either way, it would be interesting to get more details on a movie monster unlike any other (smaller, parasitic creatures it drops like munitions?!). I'm in the minority, but I found the love story in Cloverfield to be quite tragic and think that's a testament to the writing of "Buffy" alum Drew Goddard.
Perhaps the most iconic, terrifying movie monster of all time, the Xenomorph is the work of H.R. Giger whom Fox initially didn't want on the project because they thought his work would be too disturbing for audiences. They weren't entirely wrong. Intentionally invoking plenty of sexual overtones to further discomfort an audience, it's a good thing the film didn't go with its working title of Star Beast, or this monster might have been lost to the annals of history. Prometheus did its best to tarnish the Xenomorph's legacy, although as the reported sequel (with a freshly finished script) does not involve the enigma-loving Damon Lindelof, we might actually get a few answers the next time around.
Maybe it's just my excitement over the upcoming mega-budget release of Godzilla, but I firmly believe this giant lizard deserves his spot over RIdley Scott's creation. The trailer has people walking through a huge skeleton and saying the atomic tests in the Pacific were actually attempts to kill it, suggesting that this take will thankfully ditch the "nuclear testing caused it" explanation. Director Gareth Edwards has wisely kept the iconic look of the monster, only making a few small tweaks, but keeping the short snout, back spines, and general bulk. Perhaps in May I'll feel rather silly for the choice, but at this point, Godzilla is the undisputed king.
Another del Toro creation, I ultimately couldn't justify his inclusion on the list given his intellect and short screen-time.
Missed the cut because of the intellect. Once you're established to have technology beyond humanity, that's no longer a monster; that's straight-up villain.
Too cute to make the cut, even in their "evil" form.