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Giant Monsters on film

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sean Campbell, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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    Now that Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' is about to hit DVD, what are everyone's favourite giant monster films? I'm talking about 'giant creature loose in the contemporary world' style flicks, so no films such as '7th Voyage of Sinbad' or 'Jason & The Argonauts' ( excellent as they may be ).

    My list:

    1: King Kong ( 1933 ). Not much to be said really - a genuine classic of the cinema and a major inspiration to decades of subsequent monster movies.

    2: Godzilla: The original 1954 Japanese cut. A superb piece of work, suitably dark and gloomy and a rare example of a film that dwells on the death and destruction caused by the rampaging beast.

    3: Gorgo. Essentially a British version of Godzilla - think a guy in a monster suit laying waste to a minature London. It's silly in places but I adore this film. The effects are surprisingly good, especially the rampage itself which takes up the final third of the film.
    Best line - "No, atomic weapons are out of the question in any built up area."

    4: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Some great stop motion work from Ray Harryhausen and an engaging storyline that keeps events at a credible level. There's a lot of classic scenes in here, particularly the destruction of the lighthouse. Look out for a young Lee Van Cleef.

    5: THEM. Another classic, and an inspiration to dozens of 'giant bugs' flicks. The full size ants, while a bit stiff at times, are suitably creepy.

    6: Tarantula. The best of the post-THEM giant bug movies, this is a nice, atmospheric piece of work from Jack Arnold. Aside from one or two shots where one of the tarantula's legs goes transparent, the effects are excellent. There's a great line uttered by a spider specialist on being asked what would happen if a tarantula was to grow to an enormous size - "Then expect something that's fiercer, more cruel and deadly than anything that ever walked the Earth"
    The line is followed by a shot of the massive spider creeping across a desert highway, a telegraph pole falling into the sand. When I saw this when I was 8 I thought it was the best film ever made [​IMG]
    Clint Eastwood turns up as a fighter pilot near the end.

    7: The Lost World. I'm talking about the 1920s silent version here. The scenes of the Brontosaurus on the loose in London was the template from which 'Kong' followed.

    8: The Valley of Gwangi. An underrated dinosaur/western, this is one of my favourite Harryhausen's. The finale, with the allosaurus burning to death in the Mexican cathedral, is stunning stuff.

    9: Q The Winged Serpent. Great low budget flick from Larry Cohen. The climax atop the Chrysler building is as effective as the ending of 'Kong'. The stop motion serpent, while not as good as a Harryhausen job, is pretty decent.

    10: Mothra vs. Godzilla. There were over 20 Godzilla movies, but this 1964 production is my favourite of the bunch.

    Movies I've never seen but which I'd love to: Rodan ( original Japanese cut ), War of the Gargantuas, The Giant Behemoth, Mothra.
     
  2. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS has been one of my favorites since childhood. Just TRY getting your hands on it domestically/legally. [​IMG]

    Do the Jurassic Park movies count? I'm a sucker for those... Ditto Lake Placid. Betty White is a hoot. [​IMG]

    I remember a whole spate of schlocky "giant animal" films back in the 70's...Food Of The Gods, Night Of The Lepus, etc. Great "so bad it's good" howlers.
     
  3. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    Just watched 8 Legged Freaks tonight. Nothing like a town overrun by giant giggling spiders. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    War of the Gargantuas definetly one of my favorites. (The Words Get Stuck In My Throat)[​IMG]
    Godzilla Movies you got em' I love em'
    Attack of the Killer Shrews. Now they were not giant monsters but compared to what their natural sizes are, they were huge.
    Gappa the Triphibian Monster: poor special effects but enjoyable.
    Gorgo, always a favorite for me.
    The one with the Giant Ants, now that I mentioned it I can't get that chirping sound out of my head.
     
  5. SteveJKo

    SteveJKo Second Unit

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    Sean, don't forget The Giant Behemoth(1959). He was another radioactive dinosaur (animated by Willis O'Brien of Kong '33 fame) attacking London just like Gorgo. And we can't forget Ray Harryhausen's six armed octopus that tried to do for the Golden Gate Bridge what Kong did for the empire State Building in It Came From Beneath The Sea(1955). And we can't ignore the tarantula's good buddy in The Deadly Mantis(1957). Through the 1970's these flicks (and all their MANY counterparts) were on local TV every Saturday afternoon. They were perfect for a rainy day, as I'm sure they were in their original theatrical runs.
     
  6. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    The Lost World (1925)
    King Kong (1933)
    Godzilla (1954)
    Jurassic Park (1993) (
     
  7. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    Beginning of the End... I saw this years ago when I was very small, and while I was young enough [and dumb enough] to be scared, I always wondered why my dad, who was watching this flick with me, was laughing so hard tears were rolling down his face. Of course, when I saw it again on MST3K, I finally understood.

    There is another giant spider movie whose title I can't remember. The reason it is so memorable is that the giant spider had been running amok, nailed by gallons upon gallons of DDT [or some other insecticide] and was believed to be dead. Then his gigantic carcass was hauled into a high school gym as the centerpiece for a Halloween dance. Naturally, he was NOT dead and just as he was INCHES from killing the nice old janitor, the TV station switched to commercial. Ten minutes later, this sheepish sounding official from the TV station came on and announced that they had lost the second reel to this movie, and they were going to play the second feature of the double feature!
     
  8. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I remember the first time I saw War of the Gargantuas, I was prob around 6 years old. It scared the hell out of me.

    Godzilla and Ghidrah have always been my favorites. I always thought the mechanical Kong from King Kong Escapes was really cool too.
     
  9. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    That movie was EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (1958). If you want to see it again, you're in luck; Lion Gate released it on R1 DVD a couple of months ago as a double-feature with WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST (1958).
     
  10. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    Thank you Peter Fitzgerald! I never could remember the name of that flick, and unfortunately, I never saw the episode on MST3K. I am going to check that out on Amazon.com ASAP.

    Thanks again!
     
  11. Carl_G

    Carl_G Stunt Coordinator

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    Aw, c'mon, dino movies don't count!

    Gamara!!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Earth Vs The Spider was a disappointment when i finally saw the whole thing recently- but War Of The Colossal Beast still held up really well for me(watched it last night as a matter a fact).

    i just read where someone picked the Arkoff dbl features , of which the above two are one, at Wal-mart for $4.88.
    you may want to check there, Lynda-Marie, if you haven't already ordered it from amazon.

    add me to the chourus that would love to see WotG again. i remembering really enjoying it as a kid, and King Kong Escapes. Most of the other Japanese monster-fests tended to blur together but those stood out for me.
     
  13. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    DOH!!!
    Totally forgot about him. I have all three of his latest movies and a couple of the old ones. Certainly one of my favorites.
     
  14. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Loved this one. Actually, my favorite thing about these movies is when the scientist with the pipe explains just what caused this to happen about a 3rd of the way in to it.

    Earth Vs The Spider, War Of The Colossal Beast

    I still have copies of these on tape. I never bought the double feature as it should of been "The Amazing Colossal Man/War Of The Colossal Beast" [​IMG]
     

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