Ridley Scott’s Xenomorphs are so visually impressive that they’ve managed to spawn countless sequels and spinoffs since their initial creation back in 1979. They’re terrifying enough to be horrific, but mysterious enough to leave the viewer wanting to know more.
When Steven Spielberg took on E.T. back in the early 80s, you have to wonder if he knew that he’d be creating one of the most lovable fictional creatures ever seen. E.T. is so one-of-a-kind, his spot here is unquestionable.
Judging by his prevalence across film and television—over 32 movies to date—it goes without saying that Godzilla might be the most iconic fictional creature in film history. There’s just no way to argue against it.
Joe Dante’s titular creatures from his 80s family-horror-comedy Gremlins are as cute (and as horrific) as can be, depending on the time of day and how much they’ve had to eat and drink. Gremlins are still iconic even after 35 years cementing their status as one of the best fictional creatures in film.
This one’s a two-way tie. Who could choose between Mike and Sully? Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. is filled with all kinds of really great monsters, but these two leads are simply inimitable.
A recent addition to the collection, Bong Joon-ho’s Okja is a Netflix Original that transcends its streaming service. The titular Okja is a lovable pig-elephant-hippo hybrid the likes of which only E.T. has reached.
Guillermo Del Toro has proven himself to be one of the greatest visionaries working today. His film Pan’s Labyrinth helped audiences across the world realize this for the first time in his career, especially when looking at the fictional creature that is the Pale Man.
Beloved 2D animator Hayao Miyazaki has been a valuable presence in the world of hand-drawn animation for decades now. The film’s ghostly No-Face is instantly recognizable, even if you’ve never even seen the movie.
Another Guillermo Del Toro fantasy, The Shape of Water’s creature takes an old school creature (Creature from the Black Lagoon, to be precise) and updates it with a unique twist, improving on an old design and making something entirely new in the process. Guillermo Del Toro is just so good at this sort of thing.
John Carpenter remains one of the kings of practical special effects. His arctic thriller The Thing shows this accolade off on full display, with the titular creature shape-shifting to fit whatever it pleases. However, catching a glimpse of it in between transitions, it’s clear this Thing belongs in this slideshow.