From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Monster movie (also known as Creature Features or Monster-On-The-Loose) is a movie that centers around the struggle of human beings against one or more monsters. As such it blends aspects of horror movies and fantasy movies. Prominent monster movies include Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, King Kong, Godzilla and Alien. The monster may be created by, and prey upon, the weakness of human beings, but sometimes bears more of a resemblance to the noble savage, reflecting a more romantic view of nature. Another type of monster portrayed are giant creatures that are normally small to humans such as ants in Them!, spiders in Tarantula and praying mantis in The Deadly Mantis, or a "transformation" movie, such as The Fly. Often the monster is nigh-unkillable or there are multiple monsters.
Many techniques are used in the cinematography of a monster movie, including focal depth, a sense of following or watching stalker vision, dramatic or shadowy lighting, and the jump scene. Audio effects may also be used as when the music suddenly stops, suddenly starts, utters a sharp note, or becomes ominous.
Modern monster movies in the Western world have been heavily influenced by East Asian themes, beginning with the original Godzilla movie. However, the original Godzilla was in turn heavily influenced by several Western films, particularly King Kong and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.