Since the very earliest days of cinema, horror has featured prominently and the genre has brought us some of the most unforgettable sights in motion picture history. It is a hundred years since German director F. W. Murnau unveiled the original vampire movie, 1922s Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Horror. That silent classic remains a pivotal and compelling work of art, highly influential in all that was to follow.
Every decade since has seen its share of striking horror films, with the 'monster movie' a mainstay of the genre. The '70s gave us Jaws, the '80s unleashed The Blob, and so far the 2020s have brought us crocodiles, sharks and demons aplenty. While we're all familiar with the big-name blockbusters, though, there are a host of wonderful entries in this genre which remain relatively undiscovered.
The list below contains some of the most memorable movie monsters ever committed to celluloid. From beautifully strange reworkings of classic fairytales to demon cats, rabbits and dinosaurs, there's something for everyone here, even fans of Elvis Presley.
Read on to discover some of the best (and one of the worst) creature features available.
10. Kuroneko (1968)
Kuroneko or, to give the film its full title, Yabu no Naka no Kuroneko (A Black Cat in a Bamboo Grove) ranks among the best movies you may not have seen, in any genre. The film was directed by Kaneto Shindo, the multi-talented creative responsible for many classics of Japanese cinema, including Onibaba and Naked Island. Shindo also provided scripts for Kenji Mizoguchi, Seijun Suzuki and an impressive list of other legendary directors. He was a pioneer of independent film in his native country, being one of the first to co-found his own company.
Shot in black and white, Kuroneko's setting is feudal Japan, and the 'monsters' in this case are the deadly spirits of Yone and her daughter-in-law, Shige. Murdered by a troop of samurai, the two women return as vicious killers, seducing and then murdering unsuspecting samurai by tearing their throats out with their cat-like teeth.
A splendid twist arises when a samurai named Gintoki is tasked with tracking down and destroying the vengeful spirits. The problem, as Gintoki soon discovers, is that Yone and Shige are none other than his deceased mother and wife.