Top Five… Greek mythological movie monsters

The poor Greeks are currently facing beasts of unimaginable horror; the dreaded Troika, the Phantom Referendum, the undead Prime Minister, the twin-head-shaking abomination SarkozyMerkel. Luckily they have had plenty of practice facing down some pretty formidable monsters in the past. With the release of Immortals this weekend, Ross McD takes on the best of them.

5. The Minotaur

Try telling this guy the Narnia movies were a load of bull

The half man-half bull came to be just how you’d imagine – his mom had sex with a bull. Her husband king Monos was none to pleased, so locked the boisterous bull-child in a labyrinth on Crete. Although there was originally just one – the one you’ll see Theseus face -off against in Immortals this weekend – ‘Minotaur’ has since become an entire race in popular culture. They’re usually baddies.

Best in Show: Otmin, Queen Jadis’ General in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

4. Talos

A giant bronze man who guarded the island of Crete. Stop-motion supremo Ray Harryhausen created some superb monsters in his time, but nothing came close to this kilometre-high killing machine. When Jason and his Argonauts arrive on the island, they make that oh-so-oft-made error of touching treasure that’s just ‘lying around, unguarded’. Why don’t people ever ask themselves why the treasure is just lying around, unguarded? The moment the idyllic silence is broken by the sound of twisting metal as the eyeless sentry turns to look at them is among cinemas scariest scenes.

Best in Show: Jason and the Argonauts

3. Cerberus

The three-headed giant guard dog of hell. Hades had his faithful companion sit at the gates of the Underworld making sure no souls escaped, and no election campaigners got it (if they weren’t in there already. One wonders how effective a guard dog a three-headed canine can be – only one tail to chase, only one set of genitals to lick – surely there must have been arguments? Many terrifying depictions of the beast have appeared in popular culture, but the nod has to go to his much cuter descendant

Best in Show: Fluffy, Hogwarts guardian in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

2. The Kraken

Although not officially of Greek myth descent, the sea monster has made appearances alongside ancient Greek heroes, most notably in 1981 classic Clash Of The Titans, and its not-so-legendary remake in 2010. It has taken many forms – in the former an ugly four-armed fish man, the latter an ugly dinosaur/octopus – indeed one of its most scary forms is the rollercoaster in Universal Studios in Florida. Many believe the Kraken’s origins come from actual sightings of giant squids, the form it took on in Pirates of the Caribbean, where after (spoiler) swallowing Johnny Depp at the end, had the perfect opportunity to prevent At World’s End and On Stranger Tides from getting made. But it couldn’t keep him down, unfortunately.

Best in Show: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

1. Medusa

Lady Gaga had jumped the shark

The snake-haired, serpent-tailed gorgon. Medusa was actually one of three sisters; I’m not quite sure why Euryale and Stheno aren’t quite as famous as their sibling, but they might not have begrudged her the bit of attention, since they were immortal while she was not. A mean shot with a bow-and-arrow, Medusa could turn any living thing to stone just by looking at it – rendering her arrows a bit moot after taking aim. Perseus only managed to slay her using a mirror to see where she was – although the shock of seeing that nasty face might have killed her anyway.

Best in Show: Clash of the Titans



2 Responses to “Top Five… Greek mythological movie monsters”

  1. Great choices. Has the hydra ever been done well in a movie? Because that is definitely one of the coolest great monsters, you just don’t see it much on film oddly enough.

  2. Good shout Cool, the Hydra was just outside the cut! Hercules and Clash of the Titans had decent efforts, but Harryhausen’s was subpar for his excellent standards. Though in fairness, the Hydra’s teeth did produce those nasty skeletons, and probably the best scene in Harryhausen’s CV….

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