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monster

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What is the greatest mythological creature of all time?

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Cerberus

Feb 26, 2015
Cerberus

With a name that appears in Mass Effect, the Hercules television series, and Dante’s Inferno, it’s no wonder that Cerberus is still alive and well in contemporary pop culture. Much of the three-headed creature’s fame was derived from its obvious connections to a domesticated guard dog, an image which has endured through eons of human development, and from its symbol as an otherworldly protector. Interestingly enough, the number of heads on Cerberus was never truly agreed upon by ancient historians, although the majority sided with three. Some notable outliers were Horace, who claimed 100 heads, and Hesiod, who claimed 50. While in the service of Hades, Cerberus guarded the gates of the Underworld and prevented the living from entering, but also ensured that the dead remained in their resting grounds.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek | Appearance: A three-hounded hound with non-canine feaures, including a mane formed from snakes, a serpentine tail, and the claws of a lion. | Region of Habitation: The Underworld

Traits: Assigned as the primary guard for the Gates of the Underworld, consuming only live and raw meat for its diet. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001 (under a different name)

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Basilisk

Feb 26, 2015
Basilisk

Much like the world’s collective sense of disappointment when told that dinosaurs had avian origins (and thus had feathers), there were likely large numbers of medieval scholars who found themselves dismayed at the basilisk’s cockerel connection. Modern depictions of the basilisk have either been crocodilian or serpentine, but few have shown the feathered side of the creature, which is due to its origins as the spawn of a snake and bird. The basilisk’s weaponry – venom, fire, and sharp claws – were impressive enough, but they may have been overshadowed by its prominent feathers and rooster-like wings, which many artists were keen to include. While the basilisk’s contemporary image may have been altered for a more intimidating effect, there’s plenty to be said about the uniqueness of its original (and bizarre) design.

Culture of Origin: Roman, Early Medieval European | Appearance: A small but ferocious reptilian creature, sometimes marked by distinctly avian features such as a beak and wings. | Region of Habitation: Cyrene, Cantabria

Traits: Capable of breathing fire, excreting potent venom, and killing witnesses upon eye contact. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002

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Jinn

Feb 26, 2015
Jinn

Disney’s take on Aladdin may have given the world a distinct and memorable impression of a genie (or jinn, djinn, or jann, depending on your source), but the reality behind these creatures is almost as fascinating as Robin Williams’ performance. The jinn, according to Arabic and Islamic mythology, were near-identical to humans in regards to behavior, cultural dynamics, and everyday life, but they differed in their powers and appearance. Jinn were seen as beings made from living fire, and were known to change into various living and inanimate forms, usually to conceal themselves or to play tricks on humans. In addition, they were able to cross extreme distances with speed, paying no mind to things such as oceans or mountain ranges. Ibn Taymiyyah, a 13th century Sunni scholar, characterized the jinn as manipulative and crude creatures, known to toy with the human perceptions of miracles and magic for amusement.

*Culture of Origin: Arabian | Appearance: Animal or humanoid figures formed entirely from smokeless fire. | Region of Habitation: The alternate plane of Djinnestan

Traits: Similar to humans, jinn may act with malice or kindness, but are often known as tricksters when interacting with humans. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Aladdin, 1992*

4

Dragon (East Asian)

Feb 26, 2015
Dragon (East Asian)

Dragons are one of the most popular mythological creatures in the known world, spanning nearly every continent and appearing in a dozen variations. The European archetype of the dragon generally involved an element of evil or greed, but the eastern view of dragons was more eclectic, encompassing both aggressive and peaceful creatures. In Japan, specifically, the dragon was a revered symbol of nature and spirituality, and various shrines were constructed throughout the country to pay homage to the creatures. Many Japanese dragons also possessed numerous heads, tails, and arms, and were distinguished by their extremely long bodies, which were far more serpentine than their European counterparts. In Japan, the dragons were even able to work their way into astrological charts and cosmological observations, reinforcing their position as celestial and powerful beings.

Culture of Origin: Japanese | Appearance: Long, generally wingless creatures with colorful scales and prominent claws, often with features from various animals. | Region of Habitation: Miyajima, widespread throughout Japan

Traits: Often able to transform into humans or other animals, presided over lakes, rivers, and seas. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Dragonball Z, 1989

5

Naga

Feb 26, 2015
Naga

Sadly enough, the world has not received a proper media adaptation of naga just yet. While World of Warcraft featured serpent-humanoid hybrid creatures with the same name, the true scale and force of the naga, as told in Sanskrit mythological tales, has never come to light. The naga appeared throughout Asian schools of thought and religious circles, including Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and were initially depicted as massive cobras with a habit of aggression (and, in some rare cases, peacefulness). The naga were known to patrol rivers, lakes, and oceans, both for a sense of freedom and to satisfy their innate curiosity. While some philosophies and later texts reformed the personality of the naga into a generally more benevolent creature, their physiology – that of a forceful serpent – has never been altered significantly.

Culture of Origin: Sanskrit | Appearance: Enormous serpentine creatures, typically water-dwelling and modeled after the cobra. | Region of Habitation: The Mekong River, Pahang, Vrindavan, widespread throughout the Philippines and Java.

Traits: Known in Buddhism to be protectors of a sacred mountain, and occasionally seekers of enlightenment. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: World of Warcraft, 2004

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Mermaid

Feb 26, 2015
Mermaid

Humanity has always been fascinated by the sea, either out of fear or a need to explore, and the mermaid is perhaps the most fitting symbol of this relationship. It was one of the few mythological creatures to appear globally and maintain a relatively consistent appearance, regardless of era or geographic positioning. The mermaid’s body, which combined humanoid and aquatic features, had a striking resemblance to the general shape of a seal, which may have explained some of the sightings by fishermen or sailors. It was the basis for hundreds of stories throughout the ages, especially in the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, which had a decidedly darker ending than the Disney adaptation. Many years later, mermaids have maintained their spotlight in the media and pop culture, and they show no sign of disappearing under the waves any time soon.

Culture of Origin: Assyrian, later globalized | Appearance: Women with humanoid upper bodies and aquatic - in most cases, scaled and fin-adorned - lower bodies. | Region of Habitation: The Aegean Sea, the Isle of Man, widespread throughout China, the Caribbean, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe.

Traits: Proficient at swimming underwater and breathing with hidden gills, sometimes luring sailors to their deaths from rock perches. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: The Little Mermaid, 1989

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Chimera

Feb 26, 2015
Chimera

The word Chimera, in modern contexts, is commonly associated with rogue genetic experimentation. In its original form, however, the Chimera was a hideous monster far beyond any scientific byproduct, capable of breathing fire and wreaking havoc wherever it went. In most stories, the Chimera was formed from three animals, and had family ties to the infamous Lernaean Hydra and Cerberus. The Chimera was, unlike many of its mythological brethren, geographically tied to Lycia. Numerous depictions of similar monsters have been uncovered in civilizations around the world, including one in Egypt, which represents of the earliest examples of a hybrid creature. While the Chimera itself may not wander the hills of Turkey any longer, genetic engineering may have given redoubled hope to fans of this cross-bred creation.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek | Appearance: A creature formed from multiple animal features, including a lion's body, the head of a goat, and a serpentine tail. | Region of Habitation: Lycia

Traits: Possessing extreme speed and power, able to breathe streams of fire. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Wrath of the Titans, 2012

8

Baba Yaga

Feb 26, 2015
Baba Yaga

Baba, the first word of this creature’s name, has a strong relation to the word “grandmother” in various Slavic languages (especially Russian and Polish). This may be due to the fact that despite Baba Yaga’s hideous appearance, reliance on strange magic (including a chicken-legged hut and a flying mortar), and reputation for revenge, she was also depicted as a motherly figure in the woodlands, reflecting the natural connection that many other mythological creatures possessed. Baba Yaga’s forest isolation was not atypical for Slavic mythology, but her deformed and sickly body painted her as a horrifying figure, and the image was worsened by her ability to fly and chase down travelers. Although Baba Yaga was able to provide help to those she deemed worthy, there were few ways to escape from her clutches if she felt slighted.

Culture of Origin: Slavic | Appearance: A hideous, overgrown woman with a chicken-legged hut and a flying mortar, commonly depicted with a pestle or mop in hand. | Region of Habitation: Eastern Europe

Traits: Able to float through forests in an oversized mortar, typically providing supernatural aid or dangers to wanderers. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Bartok the Magnificent, 1999

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Minotaur

Feb 26, 2015
Minotaur

If there anything’s more terrifying than being trapped inside of an impossibly large labyrinth, it’s being trapped inside with the man-bull creature the labyrinth was designed to contain. The labyrinth of Daedalus was one of the most famous engineering projects in mythology, and within its walls was the Minotaur, a creature spawned from a human mother and bull father. Although its mother cared deeply for the beast, it was too savage to be left unchecked, and was eventually contained within Daedalus’ labyrinth. Years later, the hero Theseus made his name by decapitating the creature and putting an end to its roaming within the dark halls. Although the Minotaur is depicted as a monster in most contemporary media, a great deal of mythological writing emphasizes the bond between the Minotaur and its human mother, Pasiphae.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Cretan | Appearance: A towering humanoid creature with a distinctly bull-like head. | Region of Habitation: Crete

Traits: Formed from a human mother and a bull father, the minotaur was imprisoned in a Cretan labyrinth to contain its strength and rage. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, 2010

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Centaur

Feb 26, 2015
Centaur

Anybody involved in distance running has probably, at one point or another, wished that they could gain the centaur’s defining trait: an equine lower body. With a full set of powerful legs, hooves, and a swishing tail, the centaur was a symbol of foreignness to the Greeks, and often represented primal behavior and belligerence in legends. In one memorable instance, a brawl instigated by drunken centaurs at a wedding celebration devolved into slaughter. Disney’s Hercules, surprisingly, presented one of the creature’s most accurate portrayals, considering the aggressive and stubborn nature of its lead centaur. Chiron, the ferryman for the Underworld, was perhaps the most well-known centaur in Greek mythology. He stood in stark contrast to the undisciplined masses of his species due to his temperament, medicinal knowledge, and general kindness.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek | Appearance: A hybrid creature with the upper body of a human, and the lower body of a horse, including hooves and a tail. | Region of Habitation: Thessaly, Magnesia, Laconia, Elis

Traits: Known for their intimidating physiology and penchant for violence, often known to fight humans with little provocation. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005

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Jötunn

Feb 26, 2015
Jötunn

The Norse were renowned for their elite class of raiders, known as Vikings (a term which would later become a misnomer for the entirety of the Norse). Modern media has preserved the ferocity, strength, and brutality of these warriors, and as a result, one might imagine how powerful a creature had to be in order to frighten the Vikings. The jötunn were a race of giants living in one of the neighboring Nine Worlds, and were known to run the aesthetic gamut, from appearing as malformed or flawless as their human counterparts. Numerous sagas pitted the jötunn against the major and minor gods, and there were often instances of interspecies procreation or marriage throughout the tales. Despite their nature, there was also a great deal of power assigned to the giants. Many of the jötunn held dominion over aspects of nature or cosmology, and despite their exile from the realms of the gods, they were fated to murder a great number of their superiors during the apocalyptic battles of Ragnarök.

Culture of Origin: Norse | Appearance: Varies tremendously based on individuals, typically described as monstrous (with claws and fangs), or as beautiful and humanoid. | Region of Habitation: The world of Jötunheimr

Traits: Immense size and strength, enabling the giants to rival the gods of Asgard and Vanaheimr. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Trollhunter, 2010

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Satyr

Feb 26, 2015
Satyr

Much like the centaur, satyrs often have a misunderstood and whitewashed presence in mythology. While the satyr (and its Roman counterpart, the faun) was known for its love of parties and music, these same interests often gave the creatures an air of vice, since they were fond of excessive drinking and lavishness. Many satyrs shared a bond with nature and were eager to play their pipes, but were also known to the Greeks as lustful and bawdy creatures. In fact, an entire genre of plays – known as satyr plays – characterized the satyr as a base ingredient for burlesque performances, throwing in as much comedy and drunken reverie as possible. Today, the satyr lives on in vases and murals, and it is typically (and fitfully) depicted with drinking cups and festival surroundings.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek, Roman | Appearance: Bipedal, bearded humanoids with equine features, including tails and pointed ears. | Region of Habitation: African coastal zones, Libya, widespread throughout Greece.

Traits: Infamous for their hedonistic pursuits, regularly indulging in parties, feasts, and bouts of pipe-playing. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Hercules, 1997


GOAT Staff Score - Mythological Creature

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Otherworldly Characteristics (30%)Uniqueness (20%)Power (20%)Historical Prevalance (20%)Representation in Media (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Cerberus 119108543920
Basilisk 67911841800
Jinn121233232740
Dragon (East Asian)551261139720
Naga9667331680
Mermaid821121235660
Chimera71172431650
Baba Yaga101051127630
Minotaur4884630580
Centaur3449929520
Jotunn13115727480
Satyr212101025420

GOAT Verdict:

The Cerberus is the Greatest Mythological Creature of All Time
Any creatures tasked with guarding the entrance to the Underworld are bound to be impressive, but Cerberus is in a class of his own. Numerous films, novels, and video games have been quick to capitalize on the imagery and namesake of the creature, and there is a wealth of ancient texts discussing the role of Cerberus within the world of Greek mythology (including the labors of Hercules). The concept of a giant, three-headed canine is interesting on its own, but it is reinforced by similar mythological dogs around the world, including the blood-covered hounds of Norse mythology. Cerberus is more than just an individual creature; it’s a symbol of discipline, an enduring image within Greek mythology, and the progenitor of the “hellhound” trope, which persists to this day. This creature is also, perhaps, the best link between dog lovers and the concept of canine loyalty, furthering his legacy as a viable pet as well as Underworld guardsman. And, since each of Cerberus’ heads operates independently, they’ll have to negotiate and decide which of them receives the honor of the greatest mythological creature of all time.

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What is the greatest monster movie of all time?

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Alien

Oct 31, 2014
Alien

Ridley Scott’s Alien without a doubt ushered in a new wave of monstrous terror. The film has since left its mark on the cinematic landscape, producing four direct sequels, one prequel and two spinoffs, and that’s not including its countless imitators. A futuristic sci-fi horror, it picks up with the crew of the commercial spacecraft Nostromo as they investigate a nearby planetoid; LV-426. The now-infamous dinner sequence in which John Hurt is horrifically killed by a chestbuster, a reminder that sometimes curiosity kills the cat. Every scene is beautifully designed to amp up the characters, showcase the sinister ship setting and highlight the chilling xenomorph itself. Designed by legendary artist, H.R. Giger, there’s nothing about the beast that could be described as anything other than terrifying.

Release Year: 1979 | Studio: Brandywine, 20th Century Fox | Director: Ridley Scott | Run-time: 117 minutes | Budget: $11 million | Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skeritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Ian Holm

Monster Type: Xenomorph | IMDB Rating: 8.5 | Tomatometer: 97% / Audience: 94%

2

Jaws

Oct 31, 2014
Jaws

The first ever summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg scared a generation of filmgoers from the beach in his gory tale of a shark-infested New England seaside town. Cranking up the tension from the outset, Jaws’ opening sequence tracks the shark’s cunning prowess as it targets its first victim - all scored by John Williams’ drudging musical cues. The marriage of score and shock are the true elements Spielberg harnesses to carry the film from one sequence to the next. For the most part, the story hones in on the human reaction to a bloodthirsty great white, before building up to its epic finale. While at the time the effects were considered remedial, the sight of Jaws emerging from the water, mouth agape, continues to horrify audiences to this very day.

Release Year: 1975 | Studio: Universal | Director: Steven Spielberg | Run-time: 124 minutes | Budget: $8 million | Starring: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus, Robert Shaw

Monster Type: Great White Shark | IMDB Rating: 8.1 | Tomatometer: 98% / Audience: 90%

3

Pan's Labyrinth

Oct 31, 2014
Pan's Labyrinth

If you thought the gut-wrenching torment depicted in wartime drama Schindler’s List was bad, then you haven’t seen Spanish Civil War horror, Pan’s Labyrinth. The underground fantasy world of the labyrinth is a million miles from the PG-tinged Jim Henson offering. Instead, Guillermo Del Toro takes us into the imagination of a child who, along with her mother, resides with her sadistic Captain stepfather. Flitting between the real world, and the overgrown labyrinth, young Ofelia is constantly faced by mythical creatures who range from the helpful to the downright sinister. What’s so effective here is the fact that the audience are never certain if the other world is real, so well do the boundaries blend together. While the fate which befalls Ofelia is foreshadowed long in advance, her battles against the Pale Man - the chap with eyeballs in his palms - is hands down one of cinema’s most tension-ridden scenes.

Release Year: 2006 | Studio: Estudios Picasso, Tequila Gang, Esperanto Filmoj | Director: Guillermo Del Toro | Run-time: 118 minutes | Budget: $19 million | Starring: Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu, Doug Jones

Monster Type: Pale Man | IMDB Rating: 8.3 | Tomatometer: 96% / Audience: 91%

4

The Cabin in the Woods

Oct 31, 2014
The Cabin in the Woods

The brainchild of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the pair bashed out the script for Cabin In The Woods over the course of a weekend. Two days was all it took for the birth of a new era in horror. Much like Scream in 1996, the movie revitalised the stale genre by upping the meta references, the intertextuality and of course piling on more monsters, villains and bad guys than have ever been assembled at one time onscreen. The clever angle has of course been tried on many occasions, but never has it been so inventive. Goddard throws in many heavy-handed hints as to what the massive twist is, but half the enjoyment is witnessing the jaw-dropping truth unfold from the mouths of nerdy scientists. There’s never been a monster film that includes this many classic villains via such unique narrative devices - and it’s doubtful there’ll be one that’s this much fun.

Release Year: 2012 | Studio: Mutant Enemy | Director: Drew Goddard | Run-time: 95 minutes | Budget: $30 million | Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Wiliams

Monster Type: Nearly every monster imaginable | IMDB Rating: 7.1 | Tomatometer: 91% / Audience: 73%

5

The Thing

Oct 31, 2014
The Thing

The second entry on the list that’s a remake which surpasses the original, The Thing hails from a time in the genre when the only place left to explore was man himself. John Carpenter assembled a killer cast, to tell the story of a parasitic alien species that assimilates and imitates its prey. As The Thing stalks the crew of Antarctic scientists in a remote basecamp, the stakes are constantly raised by one question; are you you, or are you the thing? It’s an astonishingly simple concept that’s executed with aplomb by the trusted genre skills of Carpenter, who’d helmed the slasher classic Halloween. His villain this time wears the face of any man, a conceit that’s far scarier than any mask. During the stand-out sequences; the blood-test and autopsy scenes, the phenomenal skills of the effects and lighting team still put the 2011 prequel-remake to shame. The showiest moment that cements The Thing into the annals of monster movie history, is the sight of the Norris-thing head dragging itself across the floor. Try and eat your dinner while watching it - we dare you.

Release Year: 1982 | Studio: Universal Pictures | Director: John Carpenter | Run-time: 109 minutes | Budget: $15 million | Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Monster Type: 1982 | IMDB Rating: 8.2 | Tomatometer: 80% / Audience: 92%

6

Jurassic Park

Oct 31, 2014
Jurassic Park

It’s hard to imagine where Hollywood’s creative capabilities would now reside, were it not for the astonishing effects work of ILM and Stan Winston’s animatronic team on Jurassic Park. For nearly a century prior, filmmakers had attempted to rattle cinemagoers with humongous beasts and towering monsters. It wasn’t until Steven Spielberg tackled Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel, and brought his vision to life, that audiences were genuinely spooked. The film’s winning element, aside from the breath-taking creature design, lies in the human component - its characters. From Jeff Goldblum’s cocksure mathematician, to Sam Neill’s zealous paleontologist, right down to the arrogant lawyer, there’s a genuine heart beating throughout. After all, an island of dinosaurs isn’t the least bit frightening if there are no people for them to hunt. Despite a clutch of sequels, and a fourth instalment slated for release next summer, there’s never been a better example of the lengths humans will go to in order to face a monster.

Release Year: 1993 | Studio: Amblin Entertainment | Director: Steven Spielberg | Run-time: 127 minutes | Budget: $63 million | Starring: Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson

Monster Type: Dinosaurs | IMDB Rating: 8.0 | Tomatometer: 93% / Audience: 90%

7

Frankenstein

Oct 31, 2014
Frankenstein

James Whale’s tale of a deranged scientist has left its meddlesome, influential fingerprints all over the horror genre. As one of the first ‘back from the dead’ features to bewitch audiences, plenty of emphasis is placed on social commentary. Dr. Henry Frankenstein’s morally-questionable exploits - namely grave robbing - don’t merely extend to the re-animation of his composite creation. The lumbering, infantile monster is indeed a terrifying presence; lingering in the shadows and skulking in Whale’s beautifully-composed shots. But it’s the human reaction to such an abomination that elicits true terror. Destroying that which they do not understand, as the iconic final shot ebbs into darkness, it’s the villagers who burn the monster that are the real ogres here.

Release Year: 1931 | Studio: Univeral | Director: James Whale | Run-time: 70 minutes | Budget: $262,000 | Starring: Boris Karloff, Mae Clarke, Colin Clive

Monster Type: Animated humanoid | IMDB Rating: 8.0 | Tomatometer: 100% / Audience: 87%

8

Gremlins

Oct 31, 2014
Gremlins

Mogwais. They’re cute. They’re fluffy. But give them a snack and a bath, and a swarm of gremlins shall break forth! Joe Dante’s eighties goblin caper is often pigeonholed into the realms of horror comedy - which isn’t inaccurate as it’s pretty darn chucklesome - but it’s far darker than many give it credit for. The story of a young lad who receives a Mogwai as a pet and fails to heed the strict instructions, spirals out of control almost immediately with the direst of consequences. Before long, the quaint town of Kingston Falls is plagued by pintsized critters whose sole aim is to cause havoc. Thirty year sold this year, it’s still one of the finest monster flicks to utilise the fading art of puppetry, that injects a level of realism that continues to triumph over CGI.

Release Year: 1984 | Studio: Amblin Entertainment | Director: Joe Dante | Run-time: 106 minutes | Budget: $11 million | Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates

Monster Type: Goblins | IMDB Rating: 7.2 | Tomatometer: 85% / Audience: 77%

9

The Fly

Oct 31, 2014
The Fly

Proof that not all remakes are inferior, David Cronenberg’s sci-fi horror exposes the repugnant consequences of mankind’s meddling. When scientist Seth Brundle attempts a transportation experiment, a housefly sneaks into one of the pods - and throughout the course of the film we witness his hideous transformation into the self-dubbed “Brundle-Fly.” Coming off a stint of sexualised body horrors, Cronenberg angled instead for a sweet love story between Seth and reporter, Veronica (Geena Davis), whose romance gives the audience something to root for. As the degradation of Seth’s human form sees him switch from hero to enemy (and the film’s former antagonist (Veronica’s slimy boss) becomes the hero), Cronenberg pulls off many other similarly risky moves. His insistence on gratuitous close-ups of Seth’s corporeal victims - he keeps his necrotic nose, fingers and penis in the bathroom cabinet! - are utterly ghastly. Yet, we cannot turn away from the demise of a man, who really, had no one to blame but himself. When the final act rolls around, there’s every reason to be very afraid, indeed.

Release Year: 1986 | Studio: Brooksfilms, SLM | Director: David Cronenberg | Run-time: 96 minutes | Budget: $9 million | Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis

Monster Type: Human-fly hybrid | IMDB Rating: 7.5 | Tomatometer: 91% / Audience: 82%

10

Dracula

Oct 31, 2014
Dracula

The suave charms of Dracula began with Universal’s original (s)take on the Count back in 1931. After securing the rights to the Broadway play, producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. had hoped to create a showy genre offering but alas his plans were thwarted by budgetary restraints. In a compromising move that proved to be advantageous, star of the play Bela Lugosi was enlisted to once more portray the cape-wearin’ vamp. While critical comment often laments the film for seeming too “stage-bound” - the opening sequences elevated the sinister story into the echelons of timeless monster fare. Certainly Lugosi’s turn as the eternal biter has received its share of flack - solely based on his line delivery. But if you take a closer look, it’s his dour performance, guided through Tod Browning’s eerily-staged sets that mark his Dracula as a bona fide ghoul.

Release Year: 1931 | Studio: Universal | Director: Tod Browning | Run-time: 75 minutes | Budget: $355,000 | Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan

Monster Type: Vampire | IMDB Rating: 7.7 | Tomatometer: 91% / Audience: 81%

11

King Kong

Oct 31, 2014
King Kong

Out of the three versions of King Kong in existence, it’s still the 1931 original that possesses the most fearful iteration of the gigantic ape. At the time of production, the task of manifesting a 50-foot simian was no small feat for stop-motion animator Willis O’Brien, who brought to life a plethora of beasts - apes, dinosaurs and lizards - that captivated audiences. Kong’s destructive mean streak has never since been so violent as it is here, as his sexual desire for a young starlet puts anyone who crosses his path in mortal danger. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s original idea indeed spawned a menacing central creature, who like many other monstrous creations, fought against the repression of an urban society. The tale of a filmmaking crew who stumble upon the monster-infested Skull Island, mirrors more than a simple fear of giant critters, but that age old terror of that which is unknown.

Release Year: 1933 | Studio: RKO Radio Pictures | Director: Merlan C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Run-time: 100 minutes | Budget: $672,000 | Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Monster Type: Giant ape | IMDB Rating: 8.0 | Tomatometer: 98% / Audience: 86%

12

The Mummy

Oct 31, 2014
The Mummy

Boris Karloff returns from the dead once more after his turn in Frankenstein for Karl Freund’s take on resurrection. After the mummified Ancient Egyptian priest, Imhotep, is awakened from death’s slumber, he vies to restore the life of his similarly mummified love. Freund harbours a sizeable amount of empathy for his antagonist in spite of his intentions causing death and destruction wherever he treads. At the heart of the matter lies a message as old as time; love lasts forever. Out of Universal’s key roster of monsters, The Mummy’s lasting legacy rests on the fact that the bandaged Imhotep barely graces the screen. And yet, the iconic visual of the mummy itself has since influenced an entire sub-genre of pics.

Release Year: 1932 | Studio: Universal| Director: Karl Freund | Run-time: 73 minutes | Budget: $196,000 | Starring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners

Monster Type: Resurrected Mummy | IMDB Rating: 7.3 | Tomatometer: 93% / Audience: 71%

GOAT Staff Score - Monster Movie

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Monster Effects (30%)Scare Factor (20%)Acting (15%)Originality (15%)Critical Reception (10%)Legacy (10%)Raw TotalFinal GOAT Score
Alien12121210118651120
Jaws61011712753840
Pan's Labyrinth998810448830
Cabin in the Woods1084129346820
The Thing811948646795
Jurassic Park1121064538700
Frankenstein456971041615
Gremlins76352124480
The Fly57713225460
Dracula345251231445
King Kong231361126350
The Mummy112111925345

GOAT Verdict:

Alien is the Greatest Monster Movie of All Time
There’s no doubt about it: Alien is the Greatest Monster Movie Of All Time. Scoring exceptionally high in every category, there’s simply no other creature feature that comes close to Ridley Scott’s original xenomorph outing. The combined elements used to evaluate this accomplishment have been echoed over the last thirty five years in film criticism, fan blogs, commentaries, and in the general consensus of cinema-goers worldwide. What marks Scott’s approach to the monster movie as truly unique, is that the alien is never given more screen time than is required. Leaning heavily on the old adage ‘leave it to the imagination’, long, slow-burning scenes draw out tension as the threat of a double-jawed death loom around every darkened corner. The acid-blooded ogre might be at the root of the story, but its true star emerged in newcomer Sigourney Weaver. As flight officer Ellen Ripley, the last survivor, the film’s ominous heart-stopping finale is highlighted by her stunning performance.

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What is the greatest horror movie scene of all time?

1

The Exorcist - Head Spin

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The Exorcist - Head Spin

This scene struck fear into the hearts of anyone who saw it back in the 70s, and it has been just as effective in terrifying audiences ever since. The Exorcist was one of the first horror films to be awarded a substantial production budget, and the producer's parlayed this rare blessing into a healthy box office success. The ample war chest afforded Friedkin the freedom to use special effects that, while they may seem trite today, were downright bloodcurdling at the time of the film’s debut. We now know the vomit was pea soup and the head spinning is simple makeup and cinematography, but there is still something so compelling about this scene, because of the horror implied by the frightened priests, and the evil completely taking over this young and innocent girl. By the time we reach this climactic scene, the viewer is rooting for the priests to get rid of the demon, yet still stuck in the grip of terror that it invokes.The storytelling keeps the horror alive, and this moment has undoubtedly stood the test of time.

Release Date: Dec. 26th, 1973 | Director: William Friedkin | Subgenre: supernatural horror – original | Major Actors: Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller

Budget: $12.00 mm | Domestic Box Office Gross: $193.00 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 87%

2

Alien - Chestburster

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Alien - Chestburster

Sci-fi horror really hits a nerve because of the possibility that lies behind the stories – the scientific community is in near agreement that malevolent spirits can’t pick people up and throw them across the room, but evil aliens from deep space? That possibility is bone-chillingly real. Adding to that fear, the famous exploding chest scene in alien is some of the most authentic acting you'll see in film . . . . the actors weren’t told what was going to happen, and the pop-out wasn’t written into the script. Not to mention the grimy latex effects of the alien itself, and the fact that this is one of the initial effective uses of the jump scare. The Chestburster scene in Alien surely stands among the greatest moments in the entire horror genre.

Release Date: May 5th, 1979 | Director: Ridley Scott | Subgenre: sci-fi horror - original | Major Actors: John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Tom Skeritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Sigourney Weaver

Budget: $11.00 mm | Domestic Box Office Gross: $79.00 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 94%

3

The Blair Witch Project - Ending

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The Blair Witch Project - Ending

The found footage landscape has become flooded in recent years with knock-offs and reboots left and right, but once upon a time, The Blair Witch Project was a pioneer in its field. Widely hailed as the scariest found footage flick of all time, the film works because we'd never seen anything like it before, but also because the story and acting are superb. This last scene, where the group is lured into the basement and end up meeting a fate unknown, is extremely unnerving, and raw. The director creates a haunting maze of spooky sights and sounds that make you want to escape the place as much as the characters themselves. Perhaps the most haunting quality of all is this scene's lack of a pay-off; you expect the witch to be revealed in a shock at the very end – but it never does.

Release Date: July 30th, 1999 | Director: Daniel Myric | Subgenre: found footage - original | Major Actors: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard

Budget: $25,000 | Domestic Box Office Gross: $140.54 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 55%

4

The Shining – Bathtub

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The Shining – Bathtub

This is hands-down one of the most horrifying moments in cinema history. Things are getting weirder and weirder for Jack as he spirals further into madness, and the moment he realizes he's necking a rotting corpse instead of a beautiful ghost takes the film over the edge from bizarre to total nightmare territory. The combination of Danny’s shocked face, Jack backing up in horror, and of course the nastiest hug-seeking corpse we've ever seen in film creates a moment that will be lauded as sheer horror genius for generations. The Shining would prove to be one of Kubrick’s finest moments in cinema, and that image of the old lady in the tub will have you checking behind the shower curtain for far longer than you'd like to admit.

Release Date: May 23rd, 1980 | Director: Stanley Kubrick | Subgenre: psychological horror - based on book | Major Actors: Billie Gibson, Jack Nicholson, Dany Lloyd

Budget: $19.00 mm | Domestic Box Office Gross: $44.00 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 93%

5

Misery – Hobbling

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Misery – Hobbling

This is an unusual horror film – there are only two characters throughout most of it, and what makes it so scary is not any special effects or horrible demons, but the depths of depravity to which Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) will sink to protect her un-willing captor, the famous author Paul Sheldon (James Caan). This scene takes the cake when it comes to the cringe factor; the sight and sound of the metal on bone as Wilkes maims her prisoner is sadly unforgettable. It's all the more disturbing when viewed through the lens of the initially good-natured and lovable Kathy Bates character. Perhaps she channeled that Annie Wilkes character with her staple roles on American Horror Story, where we get another taste of her dark side. This one definitely still stands up today as an overall terrifying film, and the stellar acting performances of the two main characters will ensure it goes down as one of the greatest horror films of all time.

Release Date: Nov. 30th, 1990 | Director: Rob Reiner | Subgenre: psychological thriller - based on book | Major Actors: Cathy Bates, James Caan

Budget: $20.00 mm | Domestic Box Office Gross: $61.28 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 89%

6

Prometheus – C-Section

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Prometheus – C-Section

This reboot of the Alien series might not be as terrific in story as the original epic, but my initial comment about sci-fi horror still holds true: this is so bloodcurdling because it could be real one day. The parasitic invasiveness of this species makes your skin crawl from the very beginning, and once it gets inside protagonist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), she knows she has to get it out at any cost. I am sure most females will agree – nothing terrifies like a forced scientific C-section, shown in graphic detail. The cold, technological brutality combined with the gore and body imagery make this an unforgettable scene you wish you could forget.

Release Date: June 8th, 2012 | Director: Ridley Scott | Subgenre: sci-fi horror - reboot | Major Actors: Noomi Rapace

Budget: $403.40 mm | Box Office Gross: $126.48 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 69%

7

Night of the Living Dead – First Zombie Attack

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Night of the Living Dead – First Zombie Attack

This classic scene may seem a little dated now – “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” But this scene is huge, as this was one of the first zombie attacks in a major motion picture. What is par for the course now, even in TV shows like The Walking Dead, was cutting edge at the time that this film was released. What is so terrifying about this scene is that it doesn’t have any of the staple things that make zombies get under our skin today - a totally rotted body, or a whole heard coming after the protagonists. Instead, it’s insidious – the old man gets closer and closer, seeming more and more uncanny, until he finally attacks. The scene really highlights what is truly horrifying about zombies – how closely they resemble us.

Release Date: Oct. 1st, 1968 | Director: George Romero | Subgenre: zombie horror - original | Major Actors: Judith, O'Dea, Russell Streiner, Bill Heinzman

Budget: $114,000 | Domestic Box Office Gross: $5.84 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 88%

8

Friday the 13th – Ending

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Friday the 13th – Ending

Nowadays, if something doesn’t jump out to scare you at the end of a horror film, that’s almost more of a surprise. But believe it or not, there was a time when this now-cliché technique was still unexpected. The original Friday the 13th was groundbreaking in so many ways, pioneering both the slasher genre and the idea of the never-ending horror franchise. And this little gem at the end of the first movie is another critical contribution to the history of horror film. Just as you think Alice is going to wake up in the canoe and all will be well, a grotesque and gory Jason child jumps out of the lake to attack. Not only does the scene have elite jump-scare value, it cemented the theme of "It's never really over" within the Friday the 13th franchise for all time.

Release Date: May 9th, 1980 | Director: Sean S. Cunningham | Subgenre: slasher - original | Major Actors: Ari Lehman, Adrienne King

Budget: $550,000 | Domestic Box Office Gross: $39.75 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 61%

9

The Ring- Television

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The Ring- Television

The turn of the century is a questionable era for film, but one of the great exceptions to this rule is the American version of The Ring. The specter of Samara Morgan in the infamous "watch this tape and you will die in 7 days" video will have your hairs standing on end from the moment you lay eyes on her. The genius of the film was the way that we are slowly offered small bites of insight into the story of this creepy girl. And everything comes to a climax in this scene, the last in the film, when our hero Noah pops in the infamous tape and Samara starts to emerge from the screen. While this is undoubtedly creepy to watch without any context, part of what gives this scene so much power is that up until this point, Samara was an entity, an idea, someone to be pitied despite how scary she is. Now the viewer knows she is evil and knows she has the power to kill, and she is coming through the TV and right towards you! Watch this scene late at night and you'll never look at your television the same way again.

Release Date: Oct. 18th, 2002 | Director: Gore Verbinski | Subgenre: psychological horror/techno horror - remake | Major Actors: Naomi Watts, Daveigh Chase, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman

Budget: $48.00 mm | Box Office Gross: $129.13 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 48%

10

The Descent – Crawler Attack

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The Descent – Crawler Attack

This is another found footage film that is effective because of its intense, suspenseful cinematography and creative sequencing. Being trapped in a cave is horrifying enough, but when you add in bloodcurdling monsters who hear and smell you instead of see you, things get even more bizarre and horrific. This scene is one of the best examples of a cinema-quality found footage; where it's clearly not an amateur film-maker behind the camera, yet the effect still works. We get a clear view of the creatures in this segment, but that only increases the terror, since the camerawork and makeup are so well-done.

Release Date: August 4th, 2006 | Director: Neil Marshall | Subgenre: found footage - original | Major Actors: Shauana MacDonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone

Budget: $5.50 mm | Box Office Gross: $26.02 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 75%

GOAT Staff Score - Horror Movie Scene

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Shock Factor (20%)Originality (20%)Authenticy (20%)Fan Reception (15%)Critical Reception (15%)Atmosphere (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
The Exorcist – Head-spin985107753765
Alien – Chestburster1057710550745
The Shining­ – Bathtub86658951685
The Blair Witch Project – Ending29995850690
Night of the Living Dead - First Zombie Attack110436448475
Misery – The Hobbling341069648625
Friday the 13 th – Ending67321146375
The Ring – TV 531421045370
Prometheus – C-Section 71883245505
The Descent - Crawler Attck42214344265

GOAT Verdict:

the Exorcist - Head Spin is the GOAT
Although it was an extremely close call and everyone has their own personal demons that make a particular film or scene absolutely terrifying, the infamous head spinning and exorcism scene in The Exorcist stands the test of time as the most horrifying scene ever. This sequence took the cake in the seventies as a realistic look at demonic possession, and now it is hailed as one of the most psychologically harrowing scenes of all time. The Exorcist gets the GOAT stamp of approval as the movie with the most terrifying scene of all time.

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