The battle of man vs. monster has been prevalent in our stories and myths since the dawn of time, and the creativity of the human mind has always given us some excellent nightmare fuel from the very beginning.

Latest Terrifier GIFs | Gfycat

Modern horror and sci-fi filmmakers are always working to shock and scare us with their content, which means coming up with new monsters can be challenging when trying to get the attention of fans who have already seen so much in the genres.

Lately, movies have been filled with some familiar creatures rebooted for the modern era and some new monsters that have impressed not only genre fans, but have also managed to bring others into the fandom along the way.

Below are some of the recent fearful oddities that have caught my attention as a longtime fan of the weird and wild worlds of both horror and science fiction.

Monsters, Aliens, and Creatures of the Dark

Vivarium (2020)

Species: Alien

For fans of the slow burn and the absolutely odd, this movie provided an interesting and bleak science fiction story involving aliens of an unknown origin.

The mysterious unnamed species of aliens looked and acted deceptively like humans, but were just a bit… well, off.

Throughout the movie, it’s shown that they have some abilities (besides being creepy human knockoffs) with the main one being able to control and navigate their way through the purgatory where the two lead characters are trapped.

If you’re into a Black Mirror styled experience, this film is certainly worth the ride, and it gives a very interesting twist on the usual humans vs. aliens story.

Terrifier (2016)

Species: Killer Clown

Clowns have been a part of horror for decades. The most famous of which is Stephen King’s character Pennywise, which has been a household name since the release of the 1986 novel and the 1990’s film.

Since then, there have been many more horrifying stories of clowns, some notable and others mostly forgettable, but in 2016 one came out that was a new breed of horror.

The haunting monster known as ‘Art the Clown’, made his appearance in director Damien Leone’s 2012 anthology All Hallows’ Eve, but 4 years later his feature film debut is one that managed to shock even the most diehard horror fans.

art the clown | Tumblr

The film itself was created on a modest budget of under $1 million USD, and its B movie appeal was one that made it a simple watch with some undeniably devastating kills throughout the film.

It definitely isn’t for the casual fan not looking for gore, but if you’ve seen everything on Netflix and just skimmed by this one, it’s worth the watch.

The Invisible Man (2020)

Species: Human

Not all monsters are from deep space or wear clown makeup, sometimes the scariest of them are the ones we can’t see.

In the 2020 re-imagining of the iconic H.G. Wells, not only was science fiction pushed to its limits but so was our image of domestic violence on the big screen.

Actor Elizabeth Moss is no stranger to roles that involve taking down the worst of humanity, as seen in her award-winning TV series Handmaid’s Tale. This made the casting of her against a psychotic controlling invisible ex-boyfriend a perfect fit, that elevated the entire genre.

To have the villain of a film able to attack without being seen and make the heroine look like she’s losing her mind in the process, was a double-edged sword that made the entire film a tense watch with a brilliant final act.

Underwater (2020)

Species: Fish? Cthulhu? Sea Alien?

The ocean holds many secrets and millions of unknown species that probably would like to remain anonymous, seeing as humans cause nothing but trouble.

In this dark science fiction thriller, the lesson of “humans have no business being 7 miles underwater” is taught to us by a rag tag squad of scientists and engineers, who try to survive an assault by a unknown species hunting them down with no remorse.

If slow burns are not your thing this movie might be a good change of pace, seeing as it starts with a literal bang and continues from that point on, barely giving you anytime to catch your breath.

The film’s creatures are a mix of sci-fi and horror favorites like Alien and The Descent, which seemed to attract some longtime genre fans and turn-off others.

Personally, I thought they made for worthy adversaries to the pack of heroes fighting them off, and the film was fun ride that was heightened by the mysteries of their origins.

Deep sea monsters make for some of the scariest foes, due to the fact that the battle is in their environment, and in this movie, the creatures really showed that they had the home field advantage.

underwater (2020) | Tumblr

Monsters, aliens, and whatever other creatures they send our way are always welcome, and hopefully they keep coming out with the same vigor as they have been over the past couple years.

Some monster movies have now won Oscars and been held in critical acclaim along side dramatic films, while others have dominated box offices across the globe as they can work as both metaphorical stories or just pure entertainment.

These classical modern day fables have had the ability to both excite and scare us at the same time, and hopefully they will continue to do so for many generations to come.

westcoaststrange
joel@westcoaststrange.com

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