5. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The movie: American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) wander off the path on the Yorkshire moors and get attacked by a mysterious creature. Transported to London for treatment, David finds himself haunted by the beast and his dead best friend. John Landis throws in the odd bit of humour, but the ending is heart-breaking.
The monster: Another werewolf but with special effects by Rick Baker, it's maybe the most convincing of all the screen wolves.
4. Frankenstein (1931)
The movie: Loosely based on Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein is probably the best of all the Universal monster movies. Though Boris Karloff brings so much pathos to his role that it's hard not to hate Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) instead of being afraid of his creature.
The monster: Sort of a man, except he's been put together using an assortment of dead limbs from other bodies, with a criminal's brain plopped in for good measure.
3. King Kong (1933)
The movie: An ambitious creature feature showcasing some pretty spectacular stop-motion effects, King Kong tells the story of a group of filmmakers who head off to a remote island and encounter a giant ape which they decide to bring back to New York to show off as a tourist attraction. Turns out to be a bad idea.
The monster: The titular King Kong is a 25-foot tall ape but the film throws in a handful of dinosaurs, too.
2. The Thing (1982)
The movie: John Carpenter's remake of The Thing From Another World ups the horror by changing the monster from an extra-terrestrial plant to a shape-changing thing that can either look exactly like a person or animal, or turn into a spidery nightmare creature.
The monster: Almost impossible to describe, the Thing is a shapeshifter that can modify itself to look like any creature its eaten or hideous mashups of everything.
1. Alien (1979)
The movie: The ultimate reason not to go into space. Ridley Scott's Alien is more horror than science-fiction, as the unfortunate crew of the Nostromo encounter the deadly alien race and get picked off one by one. Nothing has ever looked so much like a nightmare as the xenomorph does.
The monster: Designed by H.R. Giger, the xenomorph in its adult form is all teeth and spikes. And in its larval form, it's like a really gross crab-octopus thing that attaches itself to the face of its victim to impregnate them before killing them. Arghhh.