This officially goes down as one of the hardest articles I have ever had to write. Ever! I mean to choose just six monsters out of the myriad of truly iconic heroes out there. What was I thinking..?!
Monsters are cool, monsters are scary, monsters are not supposed to be heroes – from a young age monsters are instilled in our psyche as being bad, an entity that brings with it fear and destruction. However, is this always the case? Is a monster always bad?
This is an article that may cause somewhat of a stir amongst all you hardcore movie fans out there. But, the thing is, there are monsters out there that are seriously cool, and there are monsters out there that we all end up rooting for, but these characters are never the hero.
So for those of you out there that think Darth Vader is actually a nice guy, just a little misunderstood or for those of you that dream of owning a Xenomorph as a pet one day, you guys are going to be disappointed. Unless Vader has been volunteering down at the soup kitchen every other Thursday, in which case, I apologise.
So, I have put together just six of my top movie monster to movie hero contenders. Of course, there are many, many other characters I wish I could have spoken to you about but this is a list of 6 not 66 (sorry Toothless), so I guess you’ll just have to let me have it at the end.
6. Gru - Despicable Me (2013)
Formerly the world's greatest super villain, Gru is cold, conniving and heartless. Gru is seen to hold no care of consequence within society. At the beginning of the Despicable Me, he is seen to wreck cars with his monstrous vehicle, Freeze Ray people for no reason whatsoever and just generally be really mean to kids.
When first introduced to the trio of lovable orphans Margo, Edith and Agnes, Gru is clearly irritated and harbouring extremely obvious contempt for the girls. But isn't it funny what love can do to even the hardest of people.
His original plan was a selfish one - he only adopted the girls so that he could gain access to Vector’s house and steal the shrink ray.
But as he spends time with the girls we see his emotions change i.e he starts displaying some. He laughs and frolics with the girls, baking cookies and engaging in brilliant face painting games – much to Dr Nefario’s annoyance.
A lonely soul who didn't realise that what he was really looking for wasn't the world, just love to occupy his world.
Love gives you wings
Gru never really got affection from his mother, not for want of trying, but now he has it three fold from his girls. He even goes on to renounce his evil ways and go into the jelly and jam industry.. for a bit.
5. Terminator - Terminator 2 (1991)
Ok, so a machine is not technically a flesh and blood monster but we can all agree that the Terminator is a true movie monster. The fact that the Terminator is not flesh and blood, to me, is the most terrifying aspect about the Terminator.
It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
The Terminator is nigh on unstoppable and when we get to the points of the movie in which we see the internal structure of the Terminator, oh my, was it scary! The ultimate killing machine was upon us.
Then comes the T- 2, the same machine but fighting for good..whaaa? My mind melted, I will admit that I kind of wanted to be John, with the dirt bike, the guns and of course the unconditional protection from a freaking terminator!
Between the awesome scenes of miniguns chewing up cop cars and father-like-son like bonding between John and the machine, Terminator 2 ultimately goes on to give us one of the most memorable and iconic big-screen sacrifices of all time.
Thumbs up to you too sir.
4. Frankenstein's monster - Monster Squad (1987)
Considered by many as one of the touchstone of great movie icon mashups, the Monster Squad was one of the first titles to ever integrate individually great characters and team them up in one motion picture.
Frankenstein's monster, in my book, is the godfather of the movie monsters. At 8-foot-tall and hideous to look at, this monster has all the tell traits of a truly horrible creature.
However, Frank’s monster was inexplicably able to feel a full range of emotions; he was sensitive and perceptive. It was actually this ability to feel and be human that was the catalyst for his murderous outrage. The monster attempted to fit into human society, but was shunned, which led him to seek revenge against his creator.
In the Monster Squad, the monster is brought back to life by Dracula to aid in his master plan to plunge the world into darkness.
And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids!
When the monster is tasked by the Count to eliminate the group of pesky kids, the monster instead becomes friends with Sean’s little sister Phoebe. Seeing his human side the gang take him in as one of their own. This inevitably leads to the recomposed dead guy becoming instrumental in taking out Dracula.
Not only is he kind of adorable in this movie but plays a part in another one of the best and most tearful selfless scenes ever to grace the silver screen.
If it bleeds we can kill it. So, I may have been a little bias by adding the Predator to this list, but Predator is my ultimate movie monster hero and it does actually fit in this list.
Known to us as the Predator, and dubbed ‘Yautja’ by the expanded universe, the Predator is part of a close knit group of hunters who travel the vast expanses of the universe seeking out the ultimate prey. The Predator is drawn to planetary conflict in a hope that these planetary wars will offer up an enemy worthy of the Predator.
Although a trophy hunter by instinct they are certainly able recognise the damage a physically stronger opponent can deal. And when this happens they aren't above teaming up with another species in order to overcome a common foe i.e. the Alien Queen in Alien versus Predator.
That is a cool scene when she is given the A-Ok by the Predator. (Jealous!)
Don’t forget that at the end of Predator 2, just after Danny Glover successfully kills the Predator with its own smart disk - about ten predators disengage their active camouflage to reveal that they were stood just inches from the two the whole time they were squaring off toe to toe.
They are known to adhere to a combat code of conduct, they could have helped their comrade at any point during the fight, but that would have been unsporting and an infringement of their code of combat.
The leader even hands Danny Glover an old school pistol claimed from their last visit to earth, further proof that they are clear advocates of good sportsmanship.
2. King Kong (1933 & 2005)
This mighty ape saw Godzilla out the list for me. It was a tossup, but this brute is way more in touch with his sensitive side than 'Zilla'.
This is a classic case of a guy that is misunderstood. At 50 foot tall and with a personality that puts your grumpy Irish grandfather to shame, we can see why people are terrified of this big beast.
This is probably the best movie to make you just hate humanity. I remember feeling extremely hostile towards those darn pilots. Kong is presumed to be the last of his kind and forced to fight of oversized dinosaurs on a daily basis so we excuse his short temper somewhat. But when he meets Ann, it all changes, at times we can almost see the very best of humanity in his mighty eyes.
His love for Ann is unconditional, a love that he will eventually pay for with his life. This is a classic case of movie monster turned movie hero but it doesn't quite trump my number 1 choice.
1. The T-Rex - Jurassic Park (1991) & Jurassic World (2015)
The most ferocious and insatiable carnivore ever to step on the face of the planet, and the most recent and most infallible of our monsters. The biggest and the best of our movie monster ensemble, returned to grace our screens once again in Jurassic World. The Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World hold a truly special place in my heart. This creature is one of the all-time monstrous greats.
The T-Rex was by far and away the pièce de résistance of the park. Even the dino experts that were there to see the exhibits quaked in fear when they are told there is a T-Rex in the lineup. "You Have A T-Rex?!"
That final scene though!
Rexy stole every scene she was in, turning each moment into a classic. But none more iconic than the final showdown.
When all seems lost, the Raptors have everyone cornered, we as an audience have all turned blue from holding our breath for so long - and just as the lead Raptor screeches and launches into his killer strike, BOOM, T-Rex catches the Raptor just inches from Alan's face. The music explodes as the T-Rex finishes the job with a display of overwhelming power as he throws the final Raptor across the room and into the remaining elements of the ornamental skeleton. Producing one of Hollywood’s most iconic images of all time.
It’s your turn to hit me with your favourite movie monsters to hero contenders. It’s time to geek out completely Moviepilot!
Although being one of the hardest articles I have ever had to write, it has also been one of the most enjoyable. I have spent many a night crossing off the list and putting back on the list many a cryptic creature.
The message in most of the examples though is simple. It is not about how we look, what culture or creed we follow or even what planet we hail from it simply comes down to how we treat one another that makes the difference.