Top 10 Monsters vs. Aliens in Film
Top 10 Monsters vs. Aliens in Film

“I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.”

– Ellen Ripley, “Aliens” (1986)


While the world calls on monsters to defeat the evil aliens in Dreamworks’ “Monsters vs. Aliens,” opening March 27, 2009, film critic Joel Massie investigates the ten greatest movies that involve monsters fighting aliens (or any combination of the two). The film has to clearly contain a battle between monsters, aliens, or monsters and aliens, and no cheating with an all-alien or mostly-alien cast (sorry “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”). Also, the movie can’t completely suck (sorry “Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurs” and “Sharktopus vs Pteracuda”).


10. Alien vs. Alien: Howard the Duck (1986)


Okay, so “Howard the Duck” is probably one of the worst movies ever made (hey, it’s not like I’m putting it in the number one spot).  But as painful as it is to watch (and I wouldn’t recommend it), the first Marvel comic book adaptation does contain a truly bizarre and almost cult classic battle of alien duck versus alien overlord. Sadly, it’s also a battle just trying to make it through the whole movie. If this is your movie-of-choice for a fun-filled sleepover, you may want to bring a comfortable sleeping bag, since you’ll likely sleep through this film.


9. Alien vs. Alien: Species II (1998)


In the second (though astonishingly far from final) installment of the “Species” franchise, humankind must rely on Eve, an alien clone of Sil, to defeat reproduction-crazy alien menace Patrick. Though their “battle” turns out to be more of a bloody sex scene, well … no one’s complaining.


8. Alien vs. Monster: Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993)


“Dollman” Brick Bardo is a hard-boiled alien cop from the planet Arturus who must fight off a gang of demon-possessed monster toys. If that doesn’t sound good to you, you’ve been watching too many serious movies. Throw in Bardo’s scantily-clad, 11-inch-tall girlfriend, Nurse Ginger, and copious amounts of foul language from the vile Baby Oopsie-Daisy, and you’ve got a classic clash between good and evil, man-doll and rabid teddy bear.


7. Alien vs. Alien: Alien Resurrection (1997)


While certainly not the best of the Aliens franchise, “Alien: Resurrection” was the first to actually have an alien fight the uh … aliens. Ripley returns as a mostly human, partly alien clone to do battle against the soulless beasts, as well as her own alien child (kind of). One could argue that “Alien 3” should have made this list instead, as the “monster” penal colony inmates wage war against the Dog Alien, but metaphors aside, the more classic concept of Aliens against Predators would make a better substitution. But that movie really sucked.


6. Alien vs. Alien: Pitch Black (2000)


The last of a powerful race of Furyans, Richard B. Riddick becomes the last hope for a group of crash-landed survivors against a swarm of carnivorous, raptor-like aliens on a planet about to be engulfed in darkness. “Pitch Black” reminds us that Vin Diesel used to be cool, and no matter how hopeless the situation or the quantity of flesh-eating birds, having an attitude (and glowing eyes) will get you through it.


5. Monster vs. Monster: Gremlins (1984)


Don’t let them near sunlight. Don’t get them wet. And definitely don’t let them eat after midnight. Of course, without breaking these rules (all of them), we wouldn’t have one of the most inventive and darkly comic monster clashes of the ‘80s, with the cute and fluffy Gizmo versus an army of savage Gremlins led by the maniacal Stripe. Sure Gizmo has some help from the humans, but they mostly just get in the way.


4. Monster vs. Alien: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)


Though certainly not the best of the Godzilla movies, this was the first to show Godzilla as a protagonist rather than a rampaging beast – and also introduced many monsters to duke it out in a climactic, ultimate showdown. To battle the three-headed golden space alien dragon Ghidorah, Godzilla must join forces with former opponent Mothra (a giant moth-god) and crossover monster Rodan (a pteranodon-like beast). I take it back – this WAS one of the best Godzilla movies.


3. Alien vs. Alien: The Fifth Element (1997)


The mobility-challenged Mondoshawan aliens are sworn to protect Earth and safeguard the Fifth Element against Evil and the obtuse Mangalore race under the payroll of Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman in one of his zaniest roles). Korben Dallas is human, the antagonists aren’t, Ruby Rhod probably isn’t, and who knows what Leeloo really is. In the end, it’s still aliens versus aliens in a truly visionary genre-mixing action epic.


2. Monster vs. Monster: Hellboy (2004)


A wise-cracking, cigar-smoking, disgruntled creature from hell, a psychically-enhanced fish-creature, and a troubled pyrokinetic with a short fuse. And those are the good guys. Based on Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy,” Guillermo del Toro’s ambitious adaptation finds the inhabitants of the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense combating a zombified, blade-wielding, psycho-Nazi and a legion of slimy, multiplying hellhounds, as well as Rasputin and the monstrous tentacled behemoth Ogdru Jahad.


1. Monster vs. Monster: King Kong (1933)


In one of the most famous and influential monster movies of all time, the gigantic Kong fends off several dinosaurs – most notably a Tyrannosaurus – in his quest to save beauty Ann. It’s a shame that the mighty gorilla meets his demise at the hands of a few airplanes (though some would say, beauty killed the beast – but that’s preposterous).


Honorable Mentions:

“Enemy Mine,” “Total Recall,” “Nightbreed,” “Men in Black II,” “Hellraiser II.”