The Geek Beat: Five Great Monster Mash-up Movies to Watch After 'The Mummy'

The Geek Beat: Five Great Monster Mash-up Movies to Watch After 'The Mummy'

Jun 12, 2017

The arrival of The Mummy in theaters is more than just the big-screen return of a classic movie monster – it's also the first chapter in Universal Pictures' Dark Universe based on its famous creature characters. Future installments will feature the Bride of Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and other popular monster movie stars, while bringing back characters introduced in The Mummy.

As if one monster-themed universe wasn't enough, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Entertainment are also bringing together King Kong, Godzilla and a long list of other characters for their own crossover franchise dubbed the MonsterVerse.

Sensing a trend here?

Monster mash-ups are all the rage now in Hollywood, but it's not like they're a new thing. Universal and other studios have been pitting popular monsters – heroes, villains or otherwise – against each other with varying degrees of success for decades. With that in mind, here are five films that show how smashing two (or more) creature characters together can yield monstrously entertaining results.

 

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

One might not expect a crossover with two of comedy's biggest duos to yield one of Universal's best monster movies, but that's exactly what this 1948 movie provided.

The grand send-off for the studio's classic monsters, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein featured veteran actors Lon Chaney Jr., Béla Lugosi and Glenn Strange (the successor to original Frankenstein actor Boris Karloff) reprising their iconic roles as the Wolf Man, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster, respectively. The story featured the famous comedy pair of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the roles of bumbling baggage handlers who get caught up in the world of terrifying monsters when they attempt to deliver a mysterious shipment to a local wax museum. Naturally, hilarity – and classic scares – ensue.

Along with giving audiences the opportunity to see some of Hollywood's most famous monsters on the same screen together portrayed by the actors who made them so popular, the film is widely regarded as one of the funniest movies of all time and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2001. So it really is a bona fide classic!

 

The Cabin in the Woods

Drew Goddard's 2012 horror movie seemingly came out of nowhere to shock – and pleasantly surprise – audiences with its self-aware, meta commentary on the horror genre that blended traditional slasher elements, creature features, and just about every other subgenre in the horror realm.

A moderate box office success but a massive critical hit, The Cabin in the Woods didn't feature the traditional name-brand monsters, but it did feature an impressively wide array of recognizable versions of classic and modern monsters – everything from a merman and vampires to the sort of creepy Japanese horror antagonists made infamous in films like The Ring and The Grudge. And when all of those elements come together, the results are, well … more than memorable.

One of the best horror movies of the last 10 years, The Cabin in the Woods checked off every box for horror fans in all the right ways.

 

Freddy vs. Jason

Sure, it wasn't a high mark in cinema, but this 2003 crossover turned fan fiction into reality by pitting two of the biggest villains in the supernatural slasher genre against each other in a wild, bloody big-screen brawl.

Given all of the hype and years of buildup that preceded the film's release in theaters, expectations were understandably high for the film (or as high as expectations get for the two horror franchises). Fortunately, the final product managed to satisfy fans of both franchises by having the two titans of terror throw down repeatedly – culminating in a long, drawn-out fight with plenty of hacking, slashing and impaling (and a lot of running around engulfed in flames, too).

Most importantly, however, the film offered a feature-length answer to the question of who would win in a fight – which is what any decent monster mash-up movie should do.

 

Godzilla: Final Wars

There's no shortage of great Godzilla movies that could have made this list, but this 2004 film from Toho Studios is particularly special.

Released for Godzilla's 50th anniversary, Final Wars featured just about every major and minor monster in the character's history making a return appearance to either provide an assist, fight or simply make a cameo in Godzilla's latest adventure. The film unfolds in the aftermath of one of Godzilla's rampages, when the arrival of a mysterious alien species seems a little too coincidental to the sudden appearance of various monsters from Godzilla's past at different locations around the world. Naturally, the only solution is to unleash Godzilla once again and hope he can stop the monsters. (Because of course that's the answer.)

The film is memorable not only for its use of modern digital effects to complement the standard rubber monster suits, but also for the ridiculously long list of fan-favorite supporting monsters that appear in the film – including a few outside-the-box additions. At one point, Godzilla even makes short work of the creature from Roland Emmerich's Godzilla released in 1998. Final Wars really is fan fiction gone wild.

 

The Monster Squad

Another film steeped in Universal Pictures' iconic monsters lore, director Fred Dekker's 1987 film The Monster Squad is basically The Goonies crossed with a creature feature – and it's a true classic.

The film follows a group of outcast kids who bond over their mutual love of classic monsters like Wolf Man and Dracula, only to suddenly find themselves facing real-life versions of the characters when they find the diary of the famous Abraham Van Helsing. With the fate of the world at stake, the kids have only themselves to rely on if they want to thwart the plans of the evil monsters that infiltrated their town.

There really is nothing quite like this film, which was cowritten by Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3 scribe Shane Black and manages to capture what it was like to be a kid in the '80s – and covers the all-important question of whether the Wolfman actually has nards.

 

This week's question: What's your favorite monster mash-up movie?


Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, and various other online, print and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.

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