I love a good creature feature. When done right they provide a fantastic combination of violence, likable characters and neat special effects. The problem with creature features is that too many of them slip through the cracks and are not viewed enough by the mainstream. The following five films all excel at creating fun stories that feature lots of booze, blood and Bigfoots. I love them because they take old tropes and make them fresh via actually being good.
If you are hankering for some solid creature features I totally recommend you check out these five films. Let me know what you think!
1. Dog Soldiers
Dog Soldiers is one of the best 21st century horror films that doesn’t appear on any “best of” lists (read the list. It is really good). This line from Dog Soldiers sums up the film.
We are now up against live, hostile targets. So, if Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch.
Dog Soldiers is an action packed spectacle that doesn’t reinvent the wheel. However, it makes the wheel look amazing. It is a fun ride that borrows heavily from other films but shows all the traits of Neil Marshall’s (The Descent) future films. Dog Soldiers walks a fine line of humor, violence and suspense. For instance, after a massive kitchen brawl the werewolves get the upper hand and a soldier says “I hope I give you the sh*ts. You f**king wimp.” Dog Soldiers exemplifies independent horror and is urgent and exciting in ways very few films can match.
Grabbers is fun, charming and re-watchable. It is a little Irish film that focuses on villagers who have to stay drunk to stay alive. The best thing about Grabbers is that it is immensely likable and doesn’t become a one-note shlock fest. It follows in the foot steps of Gremlins, Attack the Block and Tremors with its infusion of horror, comedy and oddness. You will cheer for the eventual drunk heroes as they battle ill-tempered aliens.
Rogue was directed by Wolf Creek’s Greg McLean and features Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell, Sam Worthington, John Jarratt and Mia Wasikowska. it is a well-acted and great looking monster movie that moves along quickly and logically. What I love most about Rogue is the respect it gives to the monster and the various characters. They all feel real and you grow to like the monster fodder.
McLean was incredibly dismayed with the treatment the film received yet had this to say about it:
I made exactly the film with Rogue, that I was making for ten years, exactly the way I wanted, with exactly the people I wanted and the film they put out was exactly what I wanted to make. So that’s the plus side. People will catch it on cable or see it playing and go, ‘what is this film?’ Because the quality is so good and they can’t understand how these films just don’t get released properly. So hopefully they’re the sort of things we’ll find.
4. Willow Creek
I love what Indiewire had to say about Bobcat Goldthwait’s Bigfoot horror film:
Willow Creek stands alone because it aims to engage with several genres at once. While it eventually devolves into exploring the terrifying prospects of something hairy lurking about in the shadows, Goldthwait uses that thrill factor to validate the commitment of Bigfoot believers. Willow Creek never feels like an attempt to proselytize, but it’s a smart recognition of the dangers involved in doubt.
5. Troll Hunter
Troll Hunter is a fantastic Norwegian found footage film that revolves around what happens when trolls run amok. What makes Troll Hunter stand apart from its peers is that it is actually a very good film. Everything about it is great and I will let John's Horror Corner sum it up:
Good special effects, a dash of realistic biology and an interesting story make Troll Hunter that which I always strive to find: something entertaining and unlike anything else I’ve seen. Clutch writing makes the characters as interesting as the monsters—a task which I feel is generally difficult. This film gets a solid, John-approved “A