The Criterion Collection is not just a collection of the most critically acclaimed movies ever made. Criterion also prides itself on uncovering cult classics, movies that brought something new to cinema and proved to be groundbreaking or curious for their time. These include some very interesting and fun monster movies, which eclipse the stigma normally pushed onto the horror genre.
Here are some of the finest Criterion Collection monster movies that horror lovers can catch up on during the Halloween season.
“The Blob” – One of cinema’s most beloved sci-fi horror monster movies was “The Blob,” with Steve McQueen starring in an early career role. The movie, independently made, tells the story of a small town terrorized by a giant alien blob from outer space. The film also spawned a remake in 1988. The Criterion DVD includes two commentary tracks.
“Equinox” – Dennis Muren was a brilliant special effects artist who worked on films such as “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park.” However, before those masterpieces, he worked with some film students to create the monster movie “Equinox.” The film follows four friends who find a mysterious book that opens a dangerous world. Jack Harris, who produced “The Blob,” picked the movie up and added more scenes to turn the short film into a feature length production.
Criterion went all out on this effort, releasing the film with two commentaries, interviews, deleted scenes and a number of short films and videos.
“Fiend Without a Face” – This monster invasion movie showcases an invading army of invisible creatures who kill people and then steal their brains and spinal columns, which they then use as bodies. The movie, sharing a fear of scientific research, used stop motion animation to achieve its spectacular special effects. “Fiend without a Face” is available on DVD and has an audio commentary and some rare photographs.
“Godzilla” – Arguably, one of the most famous monster movies of them all, “Godzilla” received a 2012 Criterion Collection release, re-mastering the film with its best transfer since the original release of the film. The DVD and Blu-ray includes both the original “Gojira” as well as the Americanized version, “Godzilla.” Both versions include commentary tracks as well as interviews and a pair of great features over the making-of and history of the film.
“Island of Lost Souls” – Based on the classic sci-fi horror novel, “The Island of Dr. Moreau, “Island of Lost Souls” remains one of the most loyal versions of the story. The story follows a mad scientist conducting immoral genetic experiments, creating an army of animal-human hybrids. It is an almost perfect tale of science gone wrong. The DVD and Blu-ray features a commentary track, interviews and a nice feature with John Landis, Rick Baker and Bob Burns talking about the legacy of the movie.