Thursday, April 2, 2009

Movie Inspirations for Monsters vs. Aliens

I wanted to create a top 5 list of my favorite monster movies. But then I had to think, what kind of monsters? Kaiju monsters? Classic monsters? My head began to spin as titles floated around in my head. There were too many to come up with a top 100 let alone a top 5. So instead, I thought it would be more fun, and a lot saner, to do a list detailing the movies that inspired the monsters in Monsters vs. Aliens. Now since I had no hand in the creation of the Dreamworks movie (however much I wished), some of this is guesswork, but it’s not really all that hard since it’s pretty obvious what inspirations drove this movie. The thing to remember about most if not all of the classic sci-fi/horror films I‘m going to mention (all but one are from the 50’s) is that they dealt with the horrors of war, national feeling and growing paranoia. It’s like suddenly people woke up from a na├»ve dream world and asked, “who can we trust”, so these movies reflected those sentiments.

Them! (1954)

- Not to be confused with the F’d up French horror movie of the same name. That shit’s scary. Anyway, this movie inspired the military units and how they reacted in Monsters vs. Aliens. This one’s about ants that have become giant sized after being exposed to atom bomb testing and who quickly begin swarming the US. Granted the ants look pretty cheesy now, but I still find this film and its message quite affecting. This is one of my favorite monster movies.

The Thing From Another World (1951)

- Not to be confused with the far superior and legendary status 1982 John Carpenter classic, The Thing, this classic inspired a lot of the set pieces in Monsters vs. Aliens. This one’s about a group of scientists and Air Force crew that must battle an evil plant-based alien being in an Arctic research base. This movie is interesting from a historical perspective but hasn’t aged particularly well. If anything see the remake instead.

Blob (1958)

- Obviously the gelatinous blob Bob is inspired by this movie, so much so that his character is captured in 1958, when this movie came out. Again this is not to be confused with the 1988 remake of the same name, which scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. This classic is about a amorphous blob that crash lands on Earth inside a fallen meteor and then proceeds to consume everything, living or not, in sight. This movie is probably one of, if not the, quintessential 50’s sci-fi/horror films.

Fly (1958)

- not to be confused with the 1986 remake masterpiece of the same name, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jeff Goldblum. This one stars Vincent Price as a scientist who builds a teleportation device. However, unbeknownst to him, the first time he tests it out, a fly saunters in the booth with him, and they become scrambled together leaving the scientist as half-man, half-fly hybrid. This movie obviously inspired Dr. Cockroach PHD and is a classic in great old-school horror. Dr. Cockroach PHD is probably also inspired by 1957’s Curse of Frankenstein.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

- this classic is the inspiration along with the original 1933 King Kong, for the fishape known as The Missing Link in Monsters vs. Aliens. This one’s about a creature known as Gill-man who is the missing link between land and surface creatures. A research team goes into the Amazon in search of Gill-man, and well, the head researcher makes the mistake of bringing his hot girlfriend, and since Gill-man is a man who probably hasn’t seen a woman in a lifetime, he has to get his swerve on and he and the research team face-off. This film’s monster is one of the more iconic and last Monsters from the Universal Horror staple that were popular from the 1920’s-1950’s. If you like the monsters from this era, check out the 1987 horror/comedy The Monster Squad where all the more classic monsters, including the Gill-man, get taken out by a bunch of kids. Man that movie is just crappy fun.

Attack of the 50 ft-woman (1958)

- this one’s probably the easiest to call and is the movie that inspired the human character Susan in Monsters vs. Aliens. Not to be confused with the awful 1993 remake starring Daryl Hannah (although its debatable if the original was any good) this one’s about a wealthy heiress who grows 50-feet tall after coming in contact with a 30-ft alien who needs diamonds to power his spaceship. You know what, yeah this movie is terrible.

Godzilla (1954)

- this Japanese movie, not to be confused with the sadly terrible 1998 Hollywood remake, and the 1961 Mothra movie inspired the giant, Insectosaurus. Godzilla, or as many know her Gojira, was the first Kaiju film ever created and is about a prehistoric dinosaur who rampages all over Japan after it is awakened and mutated by the testing of hydrogen bombs. And Mothra is a giant butterfly deity who protects Infant Island and later all of Japan. Yeah as much as I like Kaiju monsters, Mothra, well Mothra sucks all kinds of cheese. Godzilla and Mothra would fight in later films, most notably in 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla and in 1992’s Godzilla vs. Mothra. How the hell could Mothra ever fight a bean bag let alone Godzilla?

Destroy All Monsters (1968)

- I should also mention the inspiration for the Aliens in Monster vs. Aliens. While the alien Gallaxhar could be inspired by a few movies, most notably Independence Day, I thought it would be more fun to point out this movie that inspired the alien Gallaxhar’s sequin costume, at least I think this is where they got his costume from. This is the ninth and ultimate Godzilla movie. It features 11 monsters fighting it out, except for Gamera because everyone knows Gamera would destroy Godzilla. Basically in the 20th Century all of Earth’s monsters are captured and sent to Monster Island. One day they break out, leaving the island, and are controlled to destroy all of Earth’s major cities by a new alien race. However the Monsters break free of the mind control and must battle the ultimate alien creation in King Ghidorah. It’s an all out battle as many classic Kaiju monsters fight to protect the Earth. This movie rocks all kinds of monster love. It’s like an orgy with 11 supermodels.

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