In 1967 a competitor studio of Tohos, Nikkatsu, issued their own
characters – all the Earths monsters, confined to an island, are released and used by aliens to attack major cities. Here, Gorosaurus makes short work of Paris.
In Destroy All Monsters (1968) – a virtual encyclopedia of
A wealthy but emotionally unstable woman encounters an alien in the desert, whereupon she grows into a giant – the better to deal with her philandering husband – in Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958).
Animator Willis OBrien created stop-motion dinosaurs for the 1925 film, The Lost World, in which a brontosaurus wreaks havoc in London. But the art of Willis stop-motion was perfectly merged with drama in the 1933 classic, King Kong, in which a giant ape is captured on a mysterious island and brought to the concrete canyons of New York City.
In other words, no rubber suits with zippers.
The shaky-cam, found-footage horror film from J.J. Abrams, Cloverfield (2008), documents the arrival in New York City of a nasty giant alien. Whats worse, he carries parasites – giant lice (were talking GIANT lice).
Video: Godzilla is back in Hollywood
Ray Milland was one of the unfortunate cast members of the AIP horror film, Frogs (1972), in which Nature gets back at the residents of a private island. Alas, the poster promised a creature much larger than the film delivered.
In Gorgo (1961), a monster is captured and turned into a circus act. Then, its mother (left) comes looking for him, turning much of London – just rebuilt following the Blitz – into rubble.
After a poorly-received American remake in 1998 by Roland Emmerich, Hollywood is once again bringing Godzilla to the screen, in a new version directed by Gareth Edwards.
Thanks to the childish whims of ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd, his memory of marshmallow mascot Mr. Stay Puft becomes the corporeal form of an ancient spirit that will – if left untoasted – destroy the world, in the 1984 comedy, Ghostbusters.
In Gojira (1954) – released in the United States as Godzilla, with scenes added featuring Raymond Burr – an amphibious, reptilean creature is awakened and empowered by the radiation produced by nuclear bomb tests. It proceeds to destroy much of Tokyo as scientists try to find a way to stop it.
In the 2006 reboot Gamera the Brave, a young boy finds a tortoise egg which hatches into a baby Gamera, which grows up to defeat the monstrous Zedus.
Dogora, the Space Monster (1964) was a giant alien jellyfish with an affinity for tearing apart suspension bridges. It also likes to eat diamonds, which means its fate becomes entangled in the films other plotline involving an international ring of diamond thieves.
One of the silliest-looking movie monsters was the giant bird that dangled from marionette wires as it attacked model airplanes, perched on the Empire State Building, and tried to hatch an egg, in The Giant Claw (1957).
Only one of eight legs is needed to inspire terror in the 1955 film, Tarantula, in which radiation again causes problems for arachnids and humans alike.
It was the first of a long series ofkaijufilms – movies that feature sueprnatural, mythical or alien creatures, often battling one another among fragile cityscapes.
Workers building New Yorks skyscrapers are no match for Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec monster that stars in Larry Cohens somewhat tongue-in-cheek horror film, Q: The Winged Serpent (1982). Featured as NYPD detectives are David Carradine and Richard Roundtree (Shaft).
The producers of the 1976 3-D exploitation flick A*P*E want you to know that it is NOT to be confused with Dino di Laurentiis big-budget remake of King Kong, released the same year, irregardless of the $1.5 million lawsuit filed against them. The film
A giant robot from outer space slowly marches across the landscape, attacking power plants and sucking up energy to transmit back to its home planet, in Kronos (1957). Oh, and dont get in the way of its huge, stamping feet.
film (released in the U.S. as Monster From a Prehistoric Planet), in which scientists on a strange island find a baby bird-lizard (dubbed Gappa) and bring it back to civilization. The birds parents, none too pleased, come looking for him.
Gamera – a giant tortoise who can fly through the air thanks to rockets in his shell – is perhaps the most kid-friendly of Tohos giant monsters. [Listen to his theme songif you doubt it.]
Godzilla (a.k.a. Gojira)(1954) – Available from the Criterion Collection
He told the Associated Press that Godzilla is probably the most recognized character from movie history. Yet, as an adult, its hard to point at a film where that truly did him justice. Especially with the digital tools we have available today.
Beware of GMO foods! Irradiated plants end up fueling mutations of munching locusts, which end up attacking the city of Chicago, in Beginning of the End (1957).
Watch out! A meteorite triggers a massive expansion of giant stone columns which pierce the sky, shatter, and multiply, crushing buildings and turning people into petrified stone, in The Monolith Monsters (1957).
retain its original title, Super King Kong, in South Korea, where the production was based.
A creature carried aboard a spaceship from Venus grows into a threatening size as he rampages through Italy in 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957). Stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen.
The character is now starring in a Hollywood remake, though not (as in the original) played by an actor in a rubber suit.
The shadowy horror in the poster of Night of the Lepus (1972) looks a lot more sinister than the films actual monsters – giant bunny rabbits hopping around miniature sets. But these rabbits dont just eat lettuce!
South Korean director Bong Joon-hos The Host (2006), a critical and box-office hit, shows the repercussions of environmental pollution when the dumping of chemicals into a river is followed by the appearance of a particularly nasty form of underwater life.
The three-headed dragon King Ghidorah made his debut in the appropriately-named Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), battling Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. He returned several times, including Invasion of the Astro-Monster (left), and also as a cyborg, with armor plating.
Godzilla returned in a 1955 sequel, Godzilla Raids Again! this time fighting another giant monster: the spiky Anguirus.
The giant Godzilla has leveled cities, spewed fiery breath, and charmed audiences worldwide for six decades, as he battled other giant monsters in one of the more enjoyably cheesy genres of cinema.
A proposal for a sequel to King Kong, featuring the legendary ape battling another giant monster, interested Toho Studios, which adapted the script to suit their in-house monster, in 1962s King Kong vs. Godzilla. Unlike Willis OBriens original Kong, no stop-motion animation was used.
When a pair of tiny, fairy-like girls are kidnapped from an island and forced to sing at a Tokyo nightclub, they pray to their god, Mothra, to rescue them. That he does – hatching from an egg and growing from his larval stage into a massive moth (thanks to all that atomic bomb testing in the area). He wreaks havoc on his mission, in this colorful 1961 film.
In a trilogy of films released in 1966, the giant stone idol Daimajin exacts vengeance upon those who would harm the local village peasants praying to him.