When it comes to the countless subgenres of horror, one has remained a fan favorite for many years. While there’s no ignoring the nightmares from haunted house movies, nor the paranoia you get from a good psychological thriller, everyone loves a good creature feature. Of course, nowadays, the concept of “creatures” or “monsters” has its own variety of subgenres, one of which has similarly stood the test of time.
Thalassophobia is the fear of large bodies of water, along with what horrors they may hold, and it is a phobia that cinema has capitalized on since its early days. Ever since people have gone out on the ocean, legends have arisen to explain their natural fear of it. The majority of these result in terrifying sea monsters which, as storytelling progressed, made their way onto the big screen.
Aquatic Life Finds A Way
Created for the new dinosaur park in Jurassic World, the Mosasaurus spends most of her time as an aquatic attraction. Visitors are more than welcome to watch her swim around and devour the occasional shark. Eventually though, after things go horribly wrong, the creature is set loose upon the ocean.
Despite having a smaller amount of screen time, the Mosasaurus from Jurassic World makes a pretty frightening impact. A big part of why it’s so scary is naturally because it really existed. Even though the real mosasaurus was several times smaller than the one on-screen, imagining something even remotely that monstrous inhabiting our oceans is enough to stay inland.
There’s Always A Bigger Fish
Found deep in the oceans and lakes of Naboo, the sando aqua monster is a behemoth of a creature. With four limbs and a large tail, it almost looks like it should be a land mammal. Although rarely spotted, its presence is always known as it must continuously feed to support its enormous size.
One of the many deadly creatures in Star Warsthe sando aqua monster made its debut in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Its carnivorous appetite, giant mouths, and strong arms with the ability to grasp on like hands make the sando aqua monster a formidable sea monster.
A Whale Of A Whale
While most sperm whales tend to eat squids, sharks, and other fish, Monstro is perfectly content to consume whole ships and the people upon them. Much larger and aggressive than others of its kind, the mere mention of his name is enough to make those who know about him flee.
Appearing in the Disney animated movie Pinocchio, part of what makes Monstro so frightening is its level of sentience. After Pinocchio saves his father Geppetto from the belly of the beast, the whale is outraged and pursues them with a calculated vengeance.
You’re Gonna Need A MUCH Bigger Boat
For millions of years, the Megalodon survived at the bottom of Mariana’s Trench in a biome separated by a thick layer of hydrogen sulfide. When a group of researchers breaches the layer however, the enormous beast is released and sets off to feed.
Understandably, shark movies have somewhat of a bad rap. However, much like the Mosasaurus from Jurassic Worldthe giant shark in The Meg proves that terrifying sea monsters aren’t only found in fiction. Of course, the difference is that in this movie, the legendary creature has survived to this day. With the majority of our oceans being unexplored, it is not totally impossible, which is even more frightening.
Fish Out Of Water
It is mostly unknown where the creature, dubbed Clover, really came from. What is known, despite some believing it to be alien, is that the infant monster lay sleeping at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for countless ages. This was until it was awoken by a group of submarines attempting to research it, and you could say it woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
First appearing in the filmCloverfield, Clover is seen rampaging through New York City. Although its attack is purely out of fear and anger at the human provocation, it is still difficult not to be terrified. Even if you think you might be able to avoid a large monster better, it also brings smaller parasites along that have their own deadly features.
Stand By For Sushi
Eris, the Greek goddess of discord, has a menagerie of monstrous servants, many of which exist as constellations until they are called upon. One of these is the sea monster, Cetus, whose massive tentacles are used to cause destruction at the goddess’ whim.
Although smaller than other similar sea monsters, Cetus from Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas has his own, unique qualities. For example, it wields an extending, barbed tongue to grab prey and swallow them in an instant. Additionally, although it is the servant of Eris, it seems to possess some intelligence of its own, making it more than an intimidating foe.
A Monster Of Biblical Proportions
Created long ago by a much more advanced civilization, the Leviathan may have been once used for war. Now that the ancient kingdom has fallen, or rather sunken, the enormous monster’s only purpose is as its guardian.
Technically speaking, the Leviathan inAtlantis: The Lost Empireis more machine than creature. When the main characters first hear its roar as they explore the ocean’s unknown depths, it’s bone-chilling, to say the least. As the Leviathan fully reveals itself and attacks, the merciless determination and raw strength it demonstrates is nothing short of nightmarish.
Lying in wait at the bottom of the ocean, this creature latches on to its prey with long, bioluminescent tendrils. Even if its victim is able to escape the monster’s clutches, they may be left with tiny microorganisms trying to kill them from the inside out.
Compared to all the giant monsters in filmthe creature fromSea Fever is a refreshing, if not horrifying, change. If the glowing, underwater tentacles weren’t enough, the hidden parasitic infection they deliver is sure to create a madness much like that found in The Thing.
It Was Not Meant That We Should Voyage Far
After being woken up and possibly released by a drilling station at the bottom of Mariana’s Trench, Cthulhu rises. Due to his immense size, he utilizes smaller creatures nicknamed “Clingers” to do much of his bidding. However, when he does enter the ring, all bets are off.
Although he is only seen for a bit at the end of Underwater, Cthulhu makes those minutes count. Even beyond how scary his design is, the fact that the movie barely shows all of him perfectly portrays the sense of cosmic horror. The feeling here that humanity could unearth something infinitely beyond its comprehension is one of the most effective in the genre.
Squid The Bounty Hunter
Acting solely as the servant of Davy Jones, the Kraken is set upon those who fail to repay their debts to the Flying Dutchman’s captain. Wherever the debtor goes, the Kraken will pursue them relentlessly until it drags them to the depths to be claimed by the sea.
Largely due to its appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, no other legendary sea monster has persisted in pop culture quite like the Kraken. Its ravenous hunger, circles of razor-sharp teeth, and the destructive power of its tentacles are enough to drive a sailor mad. Not to mention, unlike Cetus, it can only be killed by its master.
NEXT: 7 Monster Movies Where the Real Monster is Humanity