Monster: A rat named Ben (Michael Jackson sang about him).
Why: If you’re queasy about when cats meet their Waterloo, then the 2003 version of Willard is certainly not for you. Scully, the orange tabby gets taken out by the rodent hordes who follow Ben (and Willard).
||Movie: Willow Creek
Why: This found footage flick, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, is an intriguing take on the Sasquatch mythos.
Monster: Rabid dog
Why: Stephen King. Dee Wallace. And a St. Bernard hell-bent on getting into that Ford Pinto Wallace was driving. (He just didn’t hit the right spot, in my opinion).
||Movie: The Bay
Monster: Giant isopods
Why: Oh, there is pretty legit evidence that there are giant isopods. But coming out of the mouths of humans, well that’s just different. And cool.
||Movie: Super 8
Why: Smalltown Ohio is invaded by an alien that jailbreaks during a train crash.
||Movie: The Mist
Monster: Take your pick
Why: One several tales from Stephen King on this list, The Mist provides that Lovecraftian horror that is omnipresent in his universe.
||Movie: The Blob
Monster: Killer slime from outer space
Why: Though it was a box office failure, The Blob has aged like a fine wine. Who could forget that telephone booth scene?
||Movie: Eight Legged Freaks
Monster: Mutated spiders
Why: Like a cheesy ’50s B-movie, Eight Legged Freaks has that novelty and self-deprecating humour. It knows it’s cheese. Side note: It was one of Scarlett Johansson’s first films.
Monster: Big, honkin’ monster
Why: It’s a little more than just a glorified Godzilla-esque flick. It has dimension: love, friends and little parasites feeding on people.
Monster: Mutant bear
Why: Talia Shire gives use a romp through the woods with a mutant bear savagely attacking campers, right in their sleeping bags.
Monster: Shapeshifting beastie
Why: I know what you’re thinking. It’s The Thing, only underwater. Yes, it is. But it has Robocop, one half of the Wet Bandits and Winston Zedmore in it.
Monster: Giant ants
Why: Life was so much easier in the 1950s when horror was a simple fabrication of the overt fears of America: nuclear radiation.
Monster: Fire-starting cockroaches
Why: It’s an old-school classic from William Castle himself. This time he perpetuates the fears of mutation combined with the disaster theme that was as common in the ’70s as superhero flicks are now.
||Movie: The Relic
Why: My undergrad was steeped in anthropology and archaeology classes. I love myth, legend, and history, so this was right up my alley.
||Movie: The Monster Squad
Monster: Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Mummy, Wolfman and Gillman
Why: Much like Super 8, a bunch of kids team up to bring down Lord Alucard and his evil henchmen.
Monster: Giant subterranean wurms
Why: Kevin Bacon. Fred Ward. Reba with a gun. This has it all, and in a desolate landscape too.
Monster: Something you don’t feed after midnight
Why: Classic Christmas movie. I mean come on, there are lights, carols and flying grandmas.
||Movie: The Thing
Monster: Shapeshifting alien
Why: There is so much awesome about this film, especially its up-in-the-air conclusion. Isolation is the greatest catalyst for craziness.
||Movie: Graveyard Shift
Monster: Giant bat
Why: The atmosphere is just so wasteland-esque. This is another Stephen King short story adaptation that just brings to life our fear of rats, blue-collar work and the darkest depths of our souls.
Why: The early ’90s were great for creature features. South American spiders, the size of Huntsmans are pretty frickin’ freaky.
Monster: Electrified worms
Why: This is a guilty pleasure that dates back to my dad watching late-night horror and me sneaking in a few movies.
Monster: Alien fur balls
Why: This is so much camp in such a little ball of E.T. that it’s incredibly hilarious. It’s ’80s comedy-horror at its finest.
||Movie: Lake Placid
Monster: Giant crocodile
Why: More campy humour with Oliver Platt playing a self-absorbed, rich croc enthusiast and Bridget Fonda playing a paleontologist. The two investigate a giant reptile in a New England lake. Watch it for a foul-mouthed Betty White.
||Movie: Creature from the Black Lagoon
Why: While visiting my uncle in Whitby — before we moved there — he would always set me up in their house watching old horror films. This was one of my favourites.
Monster: Great White Shark
Why: One of the best films for a rogue beast going on a killing spree. Too bad the shark had to die at the end.