The 5 best monster movies for learning a language
Here at Kaplan, we love a good monster movie. Even if horror isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of friendly monsters in cinematic history that won’t make you jump out of your seat. As well as being a source of great entertainment, your favourite monster movie can also help you to learn a language.
1. Harry Potter series – English
There are many monsters and fantastical creatures in the Harry Potter movies – Fluffy the three-headed dog in The Sorcerer’s Stone, the basilisk in The Chamber of Secrets and the dementors that guard Azkaban to name a few.
The Harry Potter movies are particularly helpful for learning English because you can also read the books to further your understanding. The movies get longer and more complex as the series progresses, so you can choose your Potter film depending on your current English level.
As the Harry Potter series is hugely popular all over the world, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a version of the movies in your native language. You might find it helpful to watch the movies in your own language first before you try watching them in English.
2. Monsters, Inc and Monsters University – English
Both Monsters, Inc and its prequel Monsters University are, as the titles suggest, full of monsters – but the friendly kind. They’re a great watch for learners of all ages, particularly for kids and teens. Both movies are fairly short (around 90 minutes) and easy to follow, so you’ll be able to pick up new English words and phrases without putting too much strain on your brain.
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3. Un Monstre à Paris – French
English version: A Monster in Paris
Set in 1910 Paris, this animated musical comedy tells the tale of an ill-matched friendship between pretty cabaret singer Lucille, and Francoeur, a giant but friendly flea with a singing talent. The movie is inspired by other famous titles such as Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera and King Kong. You’re bound to pick up some new French vocabulary (or English, if you watch the English version) from the movie’s catchy songs.
4. Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht – German
English version (same cast as the German film): Nosferatu the Vampyre
This 1979 West German horror movie is conceived as a stylistic remake of F.W. Marnau’s 1922 classic silent Dracula adaptation Nosferatu. This version follows an estate agent who is sent to Count Dracula’s castle to sell him a house in Wismar. Dracula moves to Wismar, bringing death and plague with him.
There are two different versions of the movie, one where the actors speak German, and one where they speak English – so you could use it to learn either language. A novelization of the screenplay was written (in English) by Paul Monette, which could be a useful tool to help you follow the German version of the movie.
5. El Labertino del Fauno – Spanish
English version: Pan’s Labyrinth
Set in Spain during the summer of 1944, this Mexican-Spanish dark fantasy drama movie intertwines this real world with a mythical world, centered on an abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature. The monster in this movie is the Pale Man, a grotesque being who eats children.
The movie has won numerous international awards and appeared on many film critics’ top ten lists of the best films of 2006. Due to its widespread success, there are lots of ready-made Spanish-learning resources related to Pan’s Labyrinth online, so if you do watch it, make sure to do a quick search to see what you can find.