Being a teenager is rough. You keep breaking out, your hormones are out of control, you can’t figure out how to talk to your crush, and your body is constantly changing. But what happens when that body changes in more ways than one? Horror movies love to take the idea of puberty quite literally and have teenagers shape shift into various monsters, especially when a girl gets her period. The body is in a volatile state, so it only makes sense to personify that state through violent transformations full of tearing flesh.
From vampires and werewolves to sexy she-demons, this list pays homage to those gory transformations, running down 10 of the best teen monster movies where teens become scary creatures and terrorize those around them.
10. All Cheerleaders Die (2013)
In Lucky McKee (The Woman) and Chris Siverston’s (I Know Who Killed Me) take on the evil cheerleader film, the entire cheer squad goes supernatural. A horrible accident, caused by the football team, kills the entire high school cheerleading squad. Luckily, a fellow student is able to resurrect them all using a little Wicca magic. However, with their resurrection comes an undying hunger for human flesh. So, of course, they begin picking off the football players one by one. It is a film that takes the usual cheerleader-football-player dynamic so common in high school and rips it apart, literally.
9. Cooties (2014)
Cafeteria food is always sketchy as best, so it makes sense that a contaminated chicken nugget is the source of a zombie apocalypse. But these zombies are special: they’re all kids. An entire school’s worth of children are changed into flesh-hungry monsters who want to devour their teachers and their parents after one student, Shelly, consumes a seemingly mold-ridden nugget. It’s up to the school’s staff, which includes Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, and Rainn Wilson, to find some way to escape the little monsters. Teachers may especially enjoy this film as it involves some rather creative ways to inflict harm onto students.
8. Let The Right One In (2008)
Sometimes, you fall in love with your neighbor who’s a vampire, just like Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) in Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 film Let the Right One In. Oskar is 12-years-old (almost a teen) and is persistently bullied by his classmates. He’s all alone, until he meets his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who appears to be his age. However, he quickly learns she is a centuries-old vampire who needs to feast on human blood to stay alive. Despite her particular appetites, Oskar isn’t scared away; he has finally found someone who understands him. Eli’s monstrous actions particularly come into play at the film’s end during its infamous pool scene as she rips apart a few teenage boys to save Oskar.
7. Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)
In 1994, director Stewart Raffill blessed the world with his teen monster flick, Tammy and The T-Rex, starring the late Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious) as the T-Rex and Denise Richards (Starship Troopers) as the titular Tammy. High school jock Michael (Walker) suffers life-threatening injuries after a run-in with Tammy’s boyfriend. While he lies comatose in the hospital, a mad scientist steals Michael’s body so he can put it into a giant robotic T. rex. Somehow, the plan works, and Michael is now a massive dinosaur. He uses his new prehistoric powers to seek revenge against his high school bullies, as well as protect Tammy. He tears apart the bad guys, but makes sure to spare the good guys. And yes, there is a dinosaur-human sex scene.
6. The Faculty (1998)
A nerd, a burnout, a jock, a goth, a cheerleader, and a new girl meet in the cafeteria… Yes, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it is the premise for Robert Rodriguez’s (From Dusk Till Dawn) 1998 teen horror The Faculty. The film unites all ways of teenage life in order to fight against an alien parasite that has taken over the school. Teachers, administrators, and students alike become infected with the parasite and begin hunting the group of high school stereotypes. As the group’s numbers dwindle, they seem to be getting closer to defeating the monsters, until they realize that new girl Marybeth (Laura Harris, 24) is actually the alien queen. Good girls gone bad, indeed.
5. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Karyn Kusama’s (The Invitation) Jennifer’s Body didn’t get its due on initial release. But now, 10 years later, the teenage-girl-turned-demon movie is finally being lauded as the masterpiece it is. Megan Fox (Transformers) plays Jennifer, the high school hottie who commands the attention of all the men in her small town. Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) is her best friend, Needy, who pines after Jennifer in some not-so-subtle homoerotic subtext. But, everything changes when a band visits their town and decides to sacrifice Jennifer so they can make it big. Too bad that Jennifer isn’t a virgin like they thought. The ritual turns Jennifer into a man-eating succubus who needs boy flesh to keep herself looking young and hot. It’s a phenomenal film about a young woman getting revenge on those that objectify her while also delivering some deliciously gory kills.
4. Near Dark (1987)
Kathryn Bigelow’s (Zero Dark Thirty) vampire western Near Dark in a cult classic. Young Caleb (Adrian Pasdar, Heroes) lives in a small town, so when a gorgeous young woman he’s never seen before crosses his path, of course he’s interested. However, this young woman, named Mae (Jenny Wright, The Lawnmower Man), is part of a group of wandering vampires. She turns him, and he unwillingly joins the band of bloodsuckers as they travel across the country.
3. The Lost Boys (1987)
In another teen vampire movie, this one directed by Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever), a group of young boys must fight against a vampire biker gang that has taken over their coastal California town. Michael (Jason Patric, Sleepers) becomes enamored with Star (Jami Gertz, Twister), one of the vampire gang, and is initiated into their crew by David (Kiefer Sutherland, 24). Only his brother, Sam (Corey Haim) and the vampire-hunting Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) can save Michael from the vampires. It is yet another case of a teen turning into a monster all in the name of lust.
2. Ginger Snaps (2000)
Teen werewolf movie Ginger Snaps really takes the pain of getting your period to another level. On the night of her first period, Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle, American Mary) is attacked by a massive creature. While her sister Brigitte (Emily Perkins, She’s The Man) saves her and Ginger’s wounds heal mysteriously fast, she does not leave the attack unscathed. She begins exhibiting werewolf-like symptoms, such as hair sprouting from her wound, the growth of a new tail, and aggressive behavior. It is both a tale of the monstrous feminine and a testament to the power of sisterhood. While getting your period doesn’t make you a monster, it can sure make you feel like one.
1. Teen Wolf (1987)
In Teen Wolf, nerdy teen Scott (Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future) discovers that being a werewolf is a genetic trait. Despite learning he is technically a monster, Scott decides to use his newfound powers to go from zero to hero and become a high school basketball star. Unlike most of these movies, everyone at school knows Scott is a werewolf and they love it! It’s not every day that you get to see a wolfman take to the court. However, this newfound fame backfires when Scott’s fans realize that his wolf-like abilities come with violence. Teen Wolf is a classic horror-comedy that takes many of the tropes of the 1980s and put them in a ridiculous, and entertaining context.