The creature feature has been a staple of the b-movie sub genre since the 1950s, with monsters from way beyond the stars, deep beneath the earth and fast behind the doors of the mad scientist’s laboratory.
Of course, monsters originated in prose, before the cinema had the capability to realise them to the fullest. H.P. Lovecraft, in particular, devoted a lifetime to writing about monstrous entities so appalling that they could drive you mad.
Anyone can pull together a film about a giant lizard stepping out of the ocean to trash Tokyo, and most humanoid monster movies are essentially just capering serial killer flicks with a garish cherry on top. These, however… these are the jagged fragments of cinema which recast the monster as something truly monstrous, a deviation from the norm, a reflection of the grotesque id.
Spawn of the unconscious, they represent the primitive instincts, the sex urge balancing the death urge: eros versus thanatos. Some are misunderstood, some are barely capable of rational thought, but they horrify and unnerve in equal measure.
In collecting this clutch of bug-eyed boogeymen, I’ve limited myself to only one Asian flick: Japan and Korea between them could fill a list like this fifty times over without breaking a sweat…