Top 17 Sea Monster Movies

This article originally appeared on Culture Brats on October 19th, 2010. But we're bringing it back (along with a few others) to get you ready for Halloween!

The Loch Ness Monster, a REAL water
monster and not some silly fake
movie monster
Keeping with October's horror movie theme, we decided to rank our favorite sea (and lake and lagoon and swamp) monster movies this week. Enjoy!

17. Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus
16. Sharktopus
15. Deep Rising
14. Leviathan
13. Swamp Thing
12. Orca
11. Piranha
10. Open Water
9. Cloverfield
8. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
7. The Creature From The Black Lagoon
6. The Abyss

5. Gwoemul (The Host)
Chances are you may not have heard of The Host. This South Korean horror flick had a limited run in the States in 2007 before it made its home on DVD, which is where most creature features live these days. I didn't see it on the big screen, I caught the flick on DVD and was immediately captivated by it. On the surface, The Host has the usual monster movie tropes: chemicals released into the Han River (by Americans!) create a mutated monster that years later emerges to wreck havoc on an unsuspecting public. Amongst the victims are a family who is struggling with their own dysfunctions. Needless to say, the presence of a hideous monster from the deep doesn't help their situation... at least at first.

The Host rises above the fray because of sharp characters, a wicked sense of humor, and (even though it's a low budget movie) its effective FX. Don't believe me? Check out The Host for yourself and see why it earns its place in our top 5. --Daddy Geek Boy

4. Godzilla
Would it be helpful to regale you with the tales of endless hours spent in front of my gargantuan Zenith television watching the ABC 4:30 movie during Monster Week fighting back tears of joy?

Probably not. For that would cover one minuscule dust mite in the vortex of adoration I swirled around in from the ages of five through twelve.

Godzilla was a behemoth of man-made excess who terrorized the citizens of Tokyo for countless years and made my youth worth living. He had numerous starring vehicles in which he fought any number of worthy adversaries after he had tired of destroying the same Japanese village over and over again: Mothra, Ghidrah, Smog Monster, Mechagodzilla, King Kong, and oddly dressed men from outer space. You name it, Godzilla battled it.

No matter how you try, nothing beats the thudding roar signaling the imminent arrival of the King Of All Monsters. It was inevitably followed by a swelling ocean and the terrifying emergence of the gargantuan reptile with the fire breath and signature scream.

He was so tremendous you could see him coming from miles away, which only added to the horror of the already paralyzingly terrifying evacuation. This was no actor in a rubber suit throwing carefully placed plastic tank models around a set, this was the end of the world clumping slowly and definitively toward you ready to set all you held dear ablaze with one fiery breath.

It was no coincidence that my cousin and I spent every day for the better part of three years playing with our Godzilla toys and praying that somewhere, somehow this spectacular beast slumbered away in the waters off of Tokyo Bay.

Godzilla kicks ass, and don't you forget it. --Dufmanno

3. Deep Blue Sea
Here's the conversation studio execs must have had that ultimately led to the movie Deep Blue Sea.

Exec #1: What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
Exec #2: Jaws. Definitely Jaws.
Exec #1: Hey! We should remake Jaws!
Exec #2: We SHOULD remake Jaws!
Exec #1: No. We should go bigger than Jaws. Scarier.
Exec #2: Absolutely. Much scarier.
Exec #1: You know what's scarier than a shark?
Exec #2: What?
Exec #1: A super smart shark!
Exec #2: Yes!
Exec #1: A shark with a mutant, hyper-intelligent brain!
Exec #2: That's brilliant! I smell a Golden Globe!
Exec #1: We have to get Samuel L. Jackson for this.
Exec #2: I'm already dialing.

In the pantheon of Don't-Go-In-The-Water flicks, Deep Blue Sea is as over the top as it gets. Which is what makes it great. The premise: a group of researchers on a floating science lab are engineering hyper-intelligent sharks, when things go horrifyingly awry. What's that you're asking? Why do we need smarter sharks? Don't bother me with your silly logic questions. There's some science-y talk in the beginning about how enlarged shark brains will cure Alzheimer's. Whatever. Not important.

Here's what is important: a hurricane hits the station, there's much havoc-wreaking, and the underwater levels of the station flood. And that's when the sharks break in and start slithering through underwater passageways, ripping through the crew one screaming victim at a time with an efficiency that's both sleek and diabolical (cuz, remember, these are freakin' Mensa sharks). LL Cool J plays the station's cook, making panicky jokes about how black men a) don't swim and b) always get killed first in horror movies. Saffron Burrows plays the sexy, seemingly emotionless scientist who's pretty much to blame for the entire SmartShark problem. Samuel L. Jackson is the visiting investor who (spoiler) gets shredded in the movie's best jump-out-of-your-seat moment (so good that you're laughing moments after it's over). And a pre-Hung Thomas Jane is the daredevil shark expert who you know is going to outlive everyone else, since he's the only one who seems to understand that you don't stick needles in shark brains without expecting some payback.

In the ongoing battle between us and sharks, they win again. --Didactic Pirate

2. Lake Placid
You know what made Lake Placid a great flick? Betty White. Betty White dragging cows down to the water for feeding time. Betty White declaring to all and sundry that she killed her husband. Betty White crooning psychotic baby talk to voracious, giant crocodiles.

Lake Placid plays right into all those rumors of crocs in the sewers you half believed as a kid. Then it also fed those fears of what you were stepping on when you swam at murky camp lakes. Ah, a double slam of childhood anxiety! Not to mention it had the biggest crocodiles CGI could possibly build (you know there was a CGI geek somewhere just waiting for the software to be right so he/she could draw crocs like that). Lake Placid was campy and serious and it had, of course, some great jump out of your seat moments. And then it had TWO crocodiles, which you knew was coming but then you kind of didn't.

It had other great points (Pullman & Fonda for example) for a monster movie, but really, besides the crocs themselves, what do you remember about the film? That's right, it's Betty White. With baby crocs nibbling at her toes. Shudder. --The Weirdgirl

1. Jaws
Most guys my age talk about how much they love Star Wars and what an important event it was in their lives. Don't get me wrong, I have fond memories of the Star Wars flicks (the first two, at least). But Jaws was my Star Wars. It was the movie that made me love movies. I still have pictures of six-year-old me, proudly strutting around our hotel at the beach in my Jaws t-shirt.

Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, is the tale of a sleepy resort town that is awakened by a great white shark. The mayor tells Police Chief Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider, to calm the vacationers' fears and tell everyone the initial shark attack was a "boating accident." But the shark doesn't go away, so Brody enlists marine biologist Matt Hooper and local shark hunter Sam Quint to help him kill the shark.

Jaws is full of lines that have been referenced and parodied in countless films and television shows. "You're gonna need a bigger boat." "Cage goes in the water. You go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark." "Smile, you son of a bitch!"

OK. Maybe it's just me that uses that last one all the time. But hell, Kevin Smith alone should give Jaws' screenwriters co-writer credits on some of his films.

Jaws is an amazing film. It's the first blockbuster to have a nationwide release, the film that basically created the summer blockbuster. The shark's theme, two little notes played on a tuba, are now hummed by anyone who knows that danger's right around the corner.

But there's one thing that sets this film apart from most of the films on our list: Jaws really could happen. Shark attacks on swimmers and surfers make headlines every summer. Your chances of coming face to face with a Sharktopus, Godzilla, or Gwoemul while on vacation are pretty slim. But our oceans are filled with sharks.

And that's what makes Jaws so damn scary. --Chris

We showed you ours, now show us yours! What's your favorite sea monster movie?


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