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The 2013 State of the Monster Address

In the second annual State of the Monster Address, I examine what new monsters have shown up and see if they can take on the top veterans from our last go round. Let’s examine who made the cut.

An early favorite for next year could be the resurrection of all-time great, Godzilla. Of course I am one of the few that liked the 1998 Godzilla, but with Monsters director Gareth Edwards resurrecting the Godzilla franchise after his success with that great 2010 film, it should be interesting to see what Godzilla ends up being next year. Honorable mentions last time were tried and true classics such as Alien, The Thing, and Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

As for the front runners there was the beast from Korean ground breaking The Host, The myriad seen and yet unseen tentacle oriented beasties from The Mist, also the bug-like aliens from District 9, as well as the giant Cloverfield mutant mess. I also gave nods to the titan in the Clash of Titans remake, the human hybrid Dren from Splice, the aliens from both Skyline and Battle: Los Angeles and finally the superb creature from Super 8.

Overall it was well represented group of new monsters since the beginning of this millennium. Since it’s only been a bit over a year since I built my initial list and it covered the previous decade is there anyone to topple the incumbents in the past year? Yes, yes there is. Lets look at them and see where they rank. Some mentioned may be a bit older than just the past year but I add them based on when I got to see them the first time.

The first group will come from the mainstream offerings this year. I will start off with largest and work my way down. At the top is the Kaiju from Pacific Rim. Guillermo del Toro took his love of the Japanese genre to the big screen in a big way and created some of the best and biggest city stompers ever concocted. Following the Kaiju from Pacific Rim are a couple of alien beasties. One would be the nasty fear smelling creature at the end of otherwise pretty abysmal After Earth. The other would be the ‘mud scorpions’ from Riddick. Riddick also contributes this year in the ‘friendly monster’ honorable mention with the weird eared dog creature. Though it is a good companion it still can’t unseat the king of the hill friendly Calot monster Woola from John Carter.

Another entry this year is the only human entry worth mentioning. This would be the hive like, insect-swarming, ravenous, fast undead from World War Z, which was a much better film than many thought it would be and should have been named something else.

In a year that promised larger than life monsters, some of the best weren’t big beasties and some weren’t even sci-fi or alien. Three ground breaking examples begin with the horror oriented mom from Mama which was based on a one of the creepiest shorts I have ever seen. The other two come from the deep olden time lore that few dabble in outside Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth, or M.Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water. Two are foreign and one is a micro budget indie gem called Thale that follows Norwegian folklore that turns out to be real when two men encounter a tailed Thale in a basement. A regular commercial cleaning job turns into a struggle for survival, while they’re trying to figure out what or who Thale is.

The other film in this vein is the masterful found footage TrollHunter. Students filming a documentary about bear attacks follow a mysterious hunter Hans expecting to find an explanation for the killings. The reluctant Hans tries to flee from the youngsters, but he agrees that they can film him in action provided they follow his orders. Sooner the trio of students learns that Hans is actually a troll hunter that works for a secret government agency and they learn more than they ever wanted to know about the mythic creatures.

The trolls come in all shapes and sizes and filmmaker André Øvredal gives them a history rarely seen these days and what makes them my top monsters for the second State of The Monster Address, by a wide margin.

Bring on the new monsters, see you in 2014.

Rick

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