Movie News & Reviews

A movie monster survival guide, just in time for Halloween

Zombies gather at an amusement park in "Zombieland."
Zombies gather at an amusement park in "Zombieland."

Now hold on — you said what is chasing you?

An alien robot?

Okay, take it easy. Alien robots are notoriously slow. And thanks to Hollywood, we know how to get rid of most pesky movie monsters.

For instance, your little alien robot problem: According to the 1954 movie “Target Earth!” all you gotta do is whip up an ultrasonic wave and — BLAMMO! — that glorified box of bolts will wish it never left Venus.

As tonight’s moon ushers in another Halloween, we’ve compiled a monster survival guide based on our scary movie research to keep you safe from the following:

The Blob

Backstory: Caused by a meteor — but also possibly germ warfare — the blob is sort of a, um ... well, you’ll know it when you see it. Up to 50 feet in height, it oozes about like a giant serving of Jell-O.

Why worry: The Blob absorbs flesh on contact. 

Remedy: Guns, power lines, pitchforks, crucifixes … none of those work. But blobs don’t gel with cold weather. So unless you have a snow-making truck you can spare (1988’s “The Blob”), maybe your best ticket is a one-way trip to Canada.

Frankenstein’s Monster

Backstory: Stitched together from spare body parts and brought to life via lightning storm by Dr. Victor Frankenstein, this reanimated corpse might be the most famous monster ever created. 

Why worry: Frankenstein’s towering creation possesses superhuman strength, speed and serious anger management issues.

Remedy: Fire is not Frank’s friend. He’s also not immune to a bowl of hot soup (“Young Frankenstein”). 


Backstory: Call them phantoms, specters or spooks, these often-vengeful spirits of the dead have unfinished business to attend to on earth. And it ain’t pretty. 

Why worry: Possession, kidnapping, rape and murder are only a few of the methods employed by these wrathful wraiths. And that’s not to mention broken toilets (“The Amityville Horror”), spooky dolls (“The Conjuring”) and evil trees (“Poltergeist”).

Remedy: Who you gonna call? The Ghostbusters, of course! Or an exorcist.

Giant mutants

Backstory: Usually a man-made creation having something to do with radioactivity, giant monsters are hard to miss. In “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” 10-foot mutated land crabs snack on brains. In “The Deadly Mantis,” a 150-foot-long bug climbs the Washington Monument. And in “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman,” the title character makes it big after an encounter with a giant alien.

Why worry: They squish people, ruin vacations and cause major traffic jams.

Remedy: It varies. Napalm was needed in “The Tarantula,” but a giant shock therapy session had electrifying results in “Earth v. the Spider.” It took a car packed with nitroglycerin in “The Giant Gila Monster” and deadly gas in “The Deadly Mantis.”  


Backstory: Awakened from his millennia-long slumber by nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean, this prehistoric creature resembles a turbo-charged Tyrannosaurus rex — if said T-rex was played by a man in a rubber suit. 

Why worry: Godzilla uses his massive size, enormous strength and incendiary breath to destroy everything in his radioactive path. Plus, his patented roar is sure to set your teeth on edge.

Remedy: Scientists have tried pretty much everything in their attempts to conquer the “king of the monsters”— from sucking all the breathable air from ocean water (“Gojira”) to siccing a giant ape on the badass beast (“King Kong vs. Godzilla”). Nothing’s worked so far.


Backstory: You’ll be screaming for your mommy after an encounter with this bandage-bound baddie, who was buried alive when his forbidden love affair went south. Once magically revived, he’s sure to set off in search of his reincarnated cutie.

Why worry: Vengeful and virtually invulnerable to injury, mummies have Egyptian curses and undead warriors at their disposal. 

Remedy: Give the mummy a taste of his own medicine by enlisting the assistance of the Egyptian goddess Isis (1932’s “The Mummy”) or the Book of Amon-Ra (1999’s “The Mummy”). In a pinch, fire (“The Mummy’s Hand”) or explosives (“Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy”) will do the trick.


Backstory: Allergic to werewolf bites? We wouldn’t recommend wandering the moors during a full moon. It only takes a nibble to transform from ordinary human to hairy horror story — unless you have a hereditary condition a la “Teen Wolf.”

Why worry: Furry fury, powerful limbs and razor-sharp teeth and claws make werewolves formidable foes — and great at basketball.

Remedy: Stock up on silver. A silver bullet (“An American Werewolf in London,” 2010’s “The Wolfman”) or even a blow from a silver-headed cane (1940’s “The Wolfman”) is enough to take any werewolf out of commission.


Backstory: Topping the list of elite monsters, vampires are undead people who can be hideous in appearance (“Nosferatu”) or hot (“Love at First Bite”). But even with the best-looking vamps, a pair of fangs is a dead give-away.

Why worry: They vvvvant to suck your blood.

Remedy: As “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” taught us, a wooden stake to the heart always vanquishes vampires. But your anti-vamp kit should also include garlic (“The Lost Boys”), a crucifix (“Dracula”) and holy water (“From Dusk till Dawn”). When all else fails, you might consider hanging at the beach. Even the strongest sunscreen doesn’t protect a vampire from the sun. 


Backstory: These reanimated corpses can be easily identified by their torn clothing, lack of reasoning abilities and — depending how long they’ve been dead — awful smell. In “Night of the Living Dead,” the origin of the zombies is traced to radioactive contamination from a space probe, but some say voodoo can wake the dead.  

Why worry: They have a hankering for flesh, feel no pain and can smell your brain from a distance.

Remedy: As the sheriff says in “Night of the Living Dead,” “They’re just dead flesh. Kill the brain and you kill the ghouls.” So a well-placed shovel, hammer, bullet, or — as in “Shaun of the Dead” — old record album to the skull will save your skin.