Today: April 18, 2024

Top Ten Beasts In Film

Mythical beasts have always provided fantastic source material for filmmakers across the ages, and Luke Hyam’s British horror Xmoor is no different. Premiering at this year’s Frightfest on the 25th August, the film showcases the director’s talent for updating a classic horror legend and bringing it effortlessly into the modern day. To celebrate its release we’re counting down the very best mythical beasts in film…

Directed by Luke Hyams and starring Mark Bonnar, Melia Kreiling and Nick Blood, this British horror updates the legend of the beast of Exmoor to the modern day – and follows the story of American documentary makers Georgia and Matt, who head to Exmoor in North Devon to film the fabled ‘beast’ supposedly slinking through the remote terrain. As darkness settles, their plans are thrown into disarray as they stumble on a horrific discovery, and face the realisation that they are in the lair of a beast alright, but not one of the four-legged variety…

The Mist
In 2007, having previously adapted Stephen King’s novellas The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, director Frank Darabont returned with yet another adaptation of King’s work, The Mist. An ensemble cast of Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden and Laurie Holden  feature in this spooky, claustrophobic horror. After a freak storm in the small town of Bridgton, Maine, a band of citizens become trapped in a supermarket, enveloped by a most unnatural mist. The trapped citizens are driven into action as it becomes evident that something vicious, savage and otherworldly lurks within the mist, unseen. The Mist explores what ordinary people will be driven to do under extraordinary circumstances.

This American science fiction film, written and directed by David Lynch, was based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name stars Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen and Francesca Annis Set in the year 10,191 in the midst of an intergalactic war, a duke’s son, Paul Atreides, leads an army of desert warriors against the galactic Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV to defend planet Arrakis (also known as Dune). Successfully defending the barren, desert planet seems all but hopeless, unless Paul can harness control of the monsters that linger beneath the sands of planet Dune…

In 2007 the Old English epic poem Beowulf exploded onto the screen in revolutionary computer-animation. The fantasy film was created through a brand new motion capture process, and starred a blockbuster cast including Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Crispin Glover and Angelina Jolie. Set against the coming of Christianity, the fearsome and boastful warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing towns and villages. Beowulf’s heroism cannot be celebrated for too long however, as a monster much more powerful still exists, and she has a vengeful desire for human blood… Grendel’s mother…

Clash Of The Titans
Directed by Louis Leterrier, Clash of the Titans sees Sam Worthington star in his second major lead role, following the vast critical acclaim for his character Jake Sully in Avatar. This action-packed fantasy thriller is based on the Greek myth of Perseus and his battle with Hades. Once Perseus is prophesied as the only ‘human’ who can defeat the Olympian Gods, he faces all manner of fearsome beasts and monsters in his attempt to send Hades back to the Underworld. To fulfil this prophesy he must slay giant scorpions, the gorgon Medusa, and most terrifying of all, the Kraken.

Dog Soldiers
British director Neil Marshall’s directorial debut was a surprise hit on release, expertly combining comedy and horror on a shoestring budget. Sergeant Harry Wells (Sean Pertwee) leads a team of soldiers on an expedition to the Scottish Highlands, which takes a sinister turn when they discover the severely injured Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham) and the bloody remains of his team. On the run from giant werewolf beasts, they seek refuge in the cottage of zoologist Megan (Emma Cleasby), who offers some explanation… but the danger is far from over, as they begin a desperate attempt to keep the monsters out…

The Cabin In The Woods
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard wrote and directed this well-received satirical horror, turning a clichéd premise on its head and subverting the genre. When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams) stay in a remote cabin in the woods, they find they are completely isolated with no means of communicating with the outside world. Finding a collection of relics, they inadvertently awaken a whole host of mythical beasts and monsters. But who is pulling the strings … and why?

The Abominable Snowman
Peter Cushing stars in the 1957 classic monster movie from the world famous Hammer Studios. Although the beast SFX wouldn’t win any awards the story, based on the BBC TV play written by Quatermass’ Nigel Kneale, is a surprisingly sympathetic take on the tale of the Yeti which asks who really is the monster?

The Village
M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this thriller, which features his trademark twist ending. The rustic village of Covington is home to 60 citizens leading a quiet, seemingly idyllic life- with one bizarre caveat. Terrible creatures lurk just outside the borders of the village, and the people of Covington have reached an agreement with them, permitting them to go about their business as long as they never cross the village’s boundaries. However, this delicate agreement is upset when the wilful Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), decides to investigate what really lies past the boundaries, and unwittingly incurs the wrath of the creatures upon the village…

This 2008 sci-fi film gave a modern twist to the Beowulf tale. James Caviezel is a soldier, Kainan, whose spaceship crashes in Viking-Age Norway … unwittingly bringing with him a stowaway in the form of the monstrous and murderous Moorwen. Patrick Tatopoulos’ creature effects recalls some of the great monsters of classic sci-fi while the larger than life Vikings make this an eminently watchable romp.

Xmoor will premiere at Film4 FrightFest on August 25th 2014 – see for more information.


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