Kevin Strange’s Top 8 Obscure Monster Movies


I don’t know about you dudes, but when I was a kid, there was nothing cooler than finding a brand new monster flick at the video store. There was Godzilla and King Kong, horror monsters like zombies, demons, giant insects, werewolves, vampires, mummies, you name it. I loved them all. Sit me in front of the TV and all my worries went away as soon as those monsters hit the screen!

I was a fucking monster kid and still am. I used to wish I WAS a monster. To this day I still make movies full of monsters and write novels about monsters. And still to this day I LOVE to find new and cool monster movies that I never saw when I was a kid.

This list is my attempt to introduce you lot to some monsters you may not necessarily be familiar with. Of course since I’m an 80s kid, my list is going to be biased toward rad 80s flicks. Here are my top 8 obscure monster movies. Hope you like em!

8. Dead Heat

This whopper of a flick stars Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams and is so weird and wacky it flies right under most people’s radars. I can’t in good faith call it a good movie, but it IS an obscure movie so I can include it on my list and still sleep well tonight.

In essence, this is a zombie cop buddy movie but it takes such bizarre twists and turns and basically turns all of the main characters into monsters that I just HAD to include it on my list. Furthermore, I like this movie so much I dedicated a whole podcast to it.

Melty love interests, killer cold-cuts, violently murdered partners. This flick brings the monster gore!

7. Brain Damage

So if you’re worth your salt as a monster kid, you’ve probably seen the BASKET CASE series of films. They were displayed prominently at video stores in the 80s. Each subsequent sequel got weirder and weirder until there were musical numbers and shit. Totally wacky stuff.

But the BASKET CASE dude also made this weird little gem (and FRANKENHOOKER which will inevitably end up on another of my movie lists in the future) that most people haven’t seen. It’s called BRAIN DAMAGE which often gets confused with BRAINDEAD, the original title of the Peter Jackson zombie flick DEAD ALIVE.

This low budget nonsense is about a parasitic alien thing named Aylmer who lives inside a dude’s body and gets the dude hooked on his blue brain-piss or something.

It’s very reminiscent of the BASKET CASE storyline but with an even weirder monster and even more violent kills. Definitely a must watch if you’re into the body horror sub genre and love getting grossed out by bodily fluids.

6. Rawhead Rex

Just look at that goofy muppet face! How could yo not love RAWHEAD REX? Written by Clive Barker himself, this is probably his most obscure writing credit based on one of his most popular books.

RAWHEAD REX appeared in Barker’s Books of Blood short story collection series. The movie basically ends up being nothing like the story and has some of the worst practical effects for a monster shown so prominently and made to be taken so seriously.

Add in some great gore, some awkward monster-stalking and some bizarre priest-pissing scenes and you’ve got yourself one helluva monster flick most people have never even heard of!

5. Killer Tongue

This is another of my personal favorite flicks. KILLER TONGUE takes the hot chick zombie from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 and pits her against Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund as a sadistic prison warden bent on hunting down said hot chick’s boyfriend at all costs.

KILLER TONGUE features insane cannibalism, sexy leather body suits, a talking tongue monster, a gaggle of poodle-turned-transvestite sidekicks and you have one of the weirdest most batshit crazy monster movies you’re ever likely to come across.  I dedicated a podcast to this one, too.

4. Society

SOCIETY is a flick that I’ve already included in another one of my movie lists but we’re gonna go ahead and cover it again here because it’s both one of the coolest melt movies ever AND one of the most obscure monster movies you’ve probably never heard of.

The flick features literal “butt heads” a chick who turns her entire body around to soap up her own ass in the shower and a ton of other absolutely bonkers monsters and ends in a gigantic orgy where all of the monsters melt into a gigantic orgy of connected flesh.

It’s so odd that most people have never even bothered to watch it. But if you like the off-the-wall shit, you should totally check it out!

3. Hardware

Alright so this flick only has one monster in it and that monster is actually a killer robot but let’s take a damn second, settle down and talk about just how cool HARDWARE is.

Richard Stanley is an auteur renegade filmmaker who shamefully never got a real shot at making a gigantic visionary film. Well, he actually did. He was set to make that awful 90s ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU disaster but got fired part of the way through.

He’s never worked on another significant film which is a crying shame. BUT he did make HARDWARE and it is an absolute visual treat. It is the film equivalent of the 90s industrial metal music genre. In fact, it uses music from MINISTRY as part of its soundtrack.

The gore is brief but brutal and the killer robot’s design is magnificent. You’ve probably never seen HARDWARE but you owe it to yourself as a monster movie fan to rectify that immediately!

2. The Keep

THE KEEP for sure has one of the coolest soundtracks of any monster flick and also one of the coolest monsters that you’ve probably never even heard of. THE KEEP is Michael Mann’s red-headed step child. It’s never been released on Blu Ray or even DVD because he’s embarrassed that he made a low budget horror flick early in his career.

Well fuck him, buddy. This movie is fucking badass! It features Nazis getting the fuck killed out of them and one of the absolute coolest monsters you will ever see on film, guaranteed.

Nazis try to loot a citadel only to unleash a demonic force that proceeds to wipe them out to one of the best Tangerine Dream synth soundtracks ever! This demon spends the first half of the movie as some sort of anthropomorphic smoke with glowing red eyes. Seriously you have to see it to understand just how fucking cool it looks.

Find THE KEEP if you can. It’s worth every penny.

 

1. Return of the Living Dead 3

Known for its super sexy zombie girl Julie, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 has been surprisingly hard to find for years. It was recently released as a limited edition blu ray, like a lot of the movies on this list, but also like a lot of those blu rays is extremely over priced and will probably be out of print soon.

What’s often overlooked about this flick, though, is just how amazing the zombie monsters are. From the gang leader having his spine stretched up into some kind of horrific snake-like creature, to the homeless guy who gets screwed into a metal exoskeleton and the Trioxin barrel zombie who rips half its own face off crawling out of the barrel, this flick is LOADED with great gore and even cooler zombie monsters.

If you think zombies ended with Romero or the first ROTLD, you’re playing yourself. I put ROTLD 3 above almost any other zombie flick in terms of monster factor. This one is the business!

 

Kevin Strange’s Top 6 Lovecraftian Movies

H.P Lovecraft is my favorite author. 80s B-movie monster flicks are my favorite genre of movies. So there should be no doubt that 80s B-Movie monster flicks based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft would be right up my alley.

I fucking love these flicks! Even the bad ones! Even the crappy sequels to the bad ones! If it’s got HPL’s name on it and it’s a horror movie, you bet your big bubble butt I’m gonna watch that shit!

What follows are what I consider to be the absolute best six cheesy B-movies based on HPL stories. I hope you have as much fun watching them as I do!

 

6. Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2006)

This little know bugger isn’t a particularly good film but I really liked the atmosphere the filmmakers created by shooting the flick in an honest to god abandoned insane asylum.

I found it in the dwindling horror section of a Blockbuster Video back in the day and rented it based on Lovecraft’s big ole name splashed across the top of the cover art. You know what else that cover had? A badass monster that appears absolutely nowhere in the film!

Yes. It’s one of THOSE movies. Ordinarily that would be enough to make me toss the disk across the room and never think about the flick again, but for some reason the acting of William Sanderson (the only legit actor in the flick) and the awesome(ly bad) Cthulhu rubber monster suit at the end saved this one for me and even though I’ve only seen it once, I still recommend it to Lovecraft movie loving friends.

Unfortunately there are a LOT worse flicks out there with HPL’s name emblazoned on them than this one.  2 and a half out of five dead and dreaming Strangeheads.

 

5. The Dunwich Horror (1970)

Dean Stockwell as Wilbur Whateley. Nuff said. …But I’ll say more anyway because this is my shit and I can do what I want.

While this flick was an AIP, Roger Corman produced movie, it REALLY feels like a Hammer film. Not only did it come out during the Hammer era, but the sleazy, soft focus porn music infused aesthetic lends credence to that feel as well.

While only tangentially related to the story of the same name, The Dunwich Horror, taken as a weird, stand alone occult movie by itself really works as a creepy horror film. Seeing Stockwell perform Lovecraftian rituals on a hot blonde ain’t bad on the eyes either.

Really if you’re a fan of 60s/70s era Satanic movies, you could do worse than this slow burn warlock flick. 3 out of 5 Strangeheads that are the key and the gate to the Strangeheads. 

 

4. Dagon (2001)

Dagon is one of, in my opinion (and I’ve seen a LOT of Lovecraft movies,) the most authentic Lovecraftian film adaptations ever made. Only it’s not an adaptation of the short story Dagon. It’s actually an adaptation of the classic Lovecraft novella The Shadow Over Insmouth.

Now, I don’t mean that it’s a shot for shot remake of the story. There are a lot and I do mean a LOT of liberties taken with the story (hello naked octopus girl!) but they are liberties that I personally think enhance a film version of the classic tale.

Like most of the other movies on this list, Dagon is a Stuart Gordon/Brian Yuzna production. I just flat out love the B-Movie tits and gore aesthetic that these two bring to my favorite author’s works.

As nuts as some of the other movies are on this list, I put the final 20 minutes of Dagon up against any of them. The skinned faced denizens of Insmouth, the octopus girl and Mother Hydra herself making an appearance make Dagon one of the best Lovecraftian movies ever made. 4 out of 5 cultists from the Esoteric Order of the Strangeheads.

 

3. Necronomicon (1993)

This flick has a couple of things going against it that have kept it from getting the kind of attention it deserves. First, it’s an anthology film, with three Lovecraftian stories being told, all connected by a wrap around story concerning Jeffrey Combs as H.P. Lovecraft reading from a rare copy of the Necronomicon. His chin prosthetic alone should make this a cult classic!

The second thing is, it never got a DVD release in the states! For the life of me, I don’t know why that is. This is a GREAT Lovecraft flick featuring production by none other than Brian Yuzna who also directed one of the segments. It stars Combs, Richard Lynch and Bruce Payne so it has star power.

It’s also got great monsters, hot chicks and a boat load of gore. It’s a real travesty that it never got the release it deserved. Maybe we’ll get an overpriced Blu Ray special edition that I won’t be able to afford one of these days? 5 out of 5 cryogenically animated Strangeheads.

2. From Beyond (1986)

It’s all Gordon/Yuzna from here on out, as well it should be. I can’t stress enough how influential these Lovecraft flicks were to not only my love of all things HPL but of my love of practical monster FX and tits in horror movies. I grew up on this shit. It’s everything I love about movies!

And From Beyond is my personal favorite. It’s not number one just because I don’t consider it THE BEST. It’s got its flaws and is a much smaller scale production (while having much better monsters, however that works) than Re-Animator, but it suffers from only following the three central cast members in a single location for much of the run time of the film.

That, however, doesn’t stop it from having Barbara Crampton in a fucking leather dominatrix suit, or Jeffery Combs with a protruding pineal gland sucking the eyeball out of a nurse! There are so many perfect scenes and slimy monsters in this flick. God I love it. 5 out of 5 Dr. Edward Strangeheads, at your service. 

1. Re-Animator (1985)

Re-Animator is considered by practically everyone to be the quintessential H.P. Lovecraft film, and I find it hard to disagree. This film has everything a great B-movie needs. Zombies. A mad scientist. Another mad scientist. a re-animated severed head going down on Barbara Crampton. What? Yes. It’s that movie.

I can only imagine the kind of fanfare this flick got when it was released. I can also only imagine the kind of hate it got from Lovecraft purists. Hell, even the 18 year old kid who introduced me to Lovecraft back in the 90s thought this thing was a piece of trash.

But I loved it! And it brought together Charles Band, Stewart Gordon and Brian Yuzna who would all go on to make insanely awesome sequels and offshoot Lovecraftian flicks for decades to come.

I recently saw an interview with Gordon where he said that he personally had a hand in getting the story this movie was based on back into print. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if he did, then he not only influenced an entire generation of 80s horror kids to fall in love with the works of HPL, he was also instrumental in getting one of HPL’s coolest stories into my hands. And for that, this monster kid is forever grateful. 5 out of 5 blonde bombshell pussy eating Strangeheads. 

WWS Bonus Monster Squad Episode for Patreon

We’ve got a good one for you this week, Strangers! Kevin and Travis drop some knowledge atom bombs all over the big fat butt of the internet with this special Patreon only bonus episode featuring an in depth look at the filmmakers behind the cult classic THE MONSTER SQUAD.

This is a supplemental episode to our main MONSTER SQUAD episode and is ONLY accessible through Patreon.com/KevinTheStrange with a pledge of at least 1 dollar per month. A small price for such wicked freshness if you ask us!