Let’s take it easy on our brains today. This post is going to be me saying, “Just LOOK at how cool these 1980’s horror movie monsters are!!” and then you’ll look at the photos I show you and think, “Dang. She’s right. Those are some of the best looking creatures I’ve seen this week!”

I’m not going to go into the people who made the FX or talk about the plots of the movies these beasties appear in… I’m just going to show you some rad-lookin’ creatures and briefly share why I like them, aesthetically.

Sound good? Good! Let’s all gawk at the monsters I consider the best (looking) from 1980’s creature features!

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Gremlins (1984)

Look at that gremlin! Look at how mischievous he looks! I love his big ears, his stripes, and his cheeky grin.

Gremlins (1984) is arguably THE quintessential watch when it comes to 1980’s creature features, and with good reason. Not only are the monster antagonists creatures, but one of the three protagonists is as well!

Good gremlin Gizmo is also a pretty nice looking monster in his own right! And he’s a big part of why Gremlins (and its sequel!) is a great choice for introducing tweens to horror films.

Aliens (1986)

While a xenomorph alien was introduced in Alien (1979), we didn’t get to meet the QUEEN until the sequel, Aliens (1986). That makes her one of the best horror movies monsters of the 1980s!

I love how she looks naaaaaaaasty and gross like a cockroach (ugh!!) but also really intriguing and cool. She’s also incredibly expressive for something that’s essentially a giant bug! Just think about some of her scenes with Ripley and how PISSED she acts!

The xenomorphs in Aliens also had a more streamlined/perfected look from the original Alien as well, which I love. But the Queen, with her distinctive flat head and big ol’ bod, is my fave.

Predator (1987)

Just when you think the monstrous alien in Predator (1987) couldn’t possibly look any more awesome…

…he takes off his mask!

So cool.

The Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Another alien!! Not only is Audrey II the star of one of the best horror movie musicals, and one of the coolest plant monsters, they’re also one of the best creature feature monsters from the 1980’s!

I love Audrey II’s colors! The bright greens and purples and pinks and oranges and yellows… It’s so rare to see a horror movie monster that’s colorful! And I’m also a sucker for a nice smile.

Critters (1986)

Awwww. See? Lookit dat grin! So cute!!!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a soft spot for the crites from the Critters franchise. My dad, Rob Tharp, was one of the FX painters for Critters and Critters II and I have many a fond memory of hanging out with them when I’d visit Dad at work! (My dad’s reaction, when looking at their adorable smiles, is usually, “They sure had a LOT of teeth to paint!”).

Even as an adult, I like how the crites look. They have Madballs heads on hamster bodies! What’s not to love?

Side thought: If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if a crite from Critters had a baby with a gremlin from Gremlins, check out the monsters from the movie Hobgoblins (1988).

The Thing (1982)

I thought about including the title monster from The Blob (1988), but when it comes to freaky alien organisms, the design of the thing from The Thing (1982) has more form and, therefore, is more of a creature in my eyes. Which makes it more qualified to be one of the best monsters from 1980’s creature features!

No matter what form this Thing takes, its pretty darn memorable! And it would definitely win in the “WTF is that thing?!” category of horror movie monsters. It’s got a very “Haha. Nope! No thanks!!” design.

I also love that its such an inspiration to my dear friend Heather Landry (the artist who drew all of the HorrorFam.com banners/logos/mascots)! Check out her Who Goes There?/The Thing fan art!

The Fly (1986)

I’m not sure what the opposite of a “butterface” would be, but the title monster from The Fly (1986) fits, I think. In his final form, ol’ Brundlefly has a cute face with big Disney princess eyes and a vaguely “Johnny 5” head shape from the front. Adorable.

But his body kinda gives me the ick. It’s not so much the shape as it is a texture aversion thing… He looks like he’d feel like a wet scab if you touched him and that’s just blehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Awesome monster design though! Look at that thing!!

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

One of the best werewolf movies of the 1980’s also has one of the best-looking werewolves! Imagine that!

I like how he goes on all fours. Usually werewolves stay up on two legs, so that’s already something unique I love about this creature.

He also looks a lot like my childhood dog, Max. And Max was the best dog in the entire world and no other dog could ever or will ever compete with him.

The Howling (1981)

When it comes to watching the actual movies, I vastly prefer Silver Bullet (1985) to The Howling (1981). That said, the werewolf in Silver Bullet looks like disappointingly doofy bear creature (sorry…) whereas the werewolf in The Howling looks AWESOME.

The ears! The snout! That’s one cool monster!!

The Monster Squad (1987)

It’s hard to think of creature features without thinking of The Creature! And, for the 1980’s, the Gill Man from The Monster Squad (1987) was the most creature-y creature there was!

The Gill Man’s design is absolutely in the top tier for “guy in a suit” movie monsters.

Depending on how you define what qualifies as a “creature feature” horror film monster, The Monster Squad has a few other candidates worthy of admiration:

With a creature, Frankenstein’s monster, a werewolf, a mummy, and more… The Monster Squad (1987) might have to be tied with Gremlins (1984) for the winning spot when it comes to The Best 1980’s Creature Features — and for my favorite monsters!

Who Are YOUR Favorite Horror Movie Monsters??

This post was a bit silly, huh? I had a lot of fun with it, though. How about you? Would you like to see more posts like this in the future?

This all stemmed from a question I was asked earlier this month: “What are your favorite horror movie monsters from 1980’s creature features?” This was my answer.

What’s YOUR answer…? Let me know in the comments!


Images were purchased via MovieStillsDB.

About the Author

Lauren Spear (née Tharp) is the owner of LittleZotz.com, a formerly super-respectable multiple award-winning website for freelance writers that's now just a wacky place where she tries to cheer people up any way she can. Lauren's also HorrorFam.com's primary founder/owner! Lauren grew up in the horror industry (her parents did practical special FX work for many of the horror movies you love from the '80s and '90s) and she basically created this site so she could freely gas on about creepy stuff and stop having to pretend to be normal. o_O

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