Attack of the Giant Monsters in Movies from the Fifties (Part Two: Mammals and Things)

Now, for mammals, we start with the most dangerous animal of all: Man. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

The Amazing Colossal Man: A low-ranking officer is exposed to high-level radiation during nuclear test. Instead of being killed by the blast, the officer actually gets larger and larger, until he is sixty feet tall and weighs as much as the average resident of Wisconsin. Because his heart doesn’t grow, or something, he becomes quite mad and rampages to a degree that even British soccer hooligans might find excessive. Without the Whos around to sing Christmas carols, the giant’s heart remains two sizes too small. Cool scene where he impales a soldier on a giant syringe. Then, the giant falls down a gorge. The army might’ve checked on him and finished the job, but, if they had, there would’ve been no

War of the Colossal Beast: Sure, we now know what would happen if a sixty foot crazy man went on a destruction bender; but, what would happen if a sixty-foot, crazier, one-eyed disfigured man went on a destruction bender? After wrecking Los Angeles, the monster has a brief moment of lucidity and electrocutes himself…which is how most brief moments of lucidity turn out for everyone I’ve known…

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman: Note that she is ten feet shorter than the Amazing Colossal Man, so slow dancing wouldn’t be a problem between the two of them. The giant woman, made large by an alien for no really good reason, is completely sane throughout this movie, but vindictive. After settling a few scores with her husband, her husband’s girl friend, the sheriff and that web site that purchased her old gold jewelry, she has a brief moment of non-lucidity and electrocutes herself…

The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock: Starring Lou Costello. Much like the previous movie only with more spit-takes and pregnancy double entendres. In the end, she is shrunk back to normal size and, after a brief moment of lucidity, marries Lou Costello…


The Killer Shrews: Sure, the acting may be uninspired, wooden and even an affront to humanity itself; certainly, the movie’s script seems like it was scribbled on the back of a napkin by schizophrenic with Asperger’s Syndrome; and, aren’t those giant shrews actually dogs wearing masks and carpet? I give extra points for choosing one of the few venomous mammals. I give a few more points for noticing that dogs, under certain conditions, look almost exactly like shrews…

And, the rest…

20 Million Miles to Earth: What happens when a monster from the planet Venus is exposed to the oxygen-rich atmosphere of Earth? If you said “hilarity”, you are a smart cookie…unless that is your answer to every question; then, you’re just weird. An alien, looking much like the Creature of the Black Lagoon, is brought back from Earth’s sister planet. He destroys much of Rome, although it doesn’t look much different afterwards. He is finally killed at the Coliseum with nothing more than simple household mortar rockets.

It Came from Beneath the Sea: What happens when a giant octopus from the ocean floor attacks San Francisco? If you said, “hilarity”, I am beginning to notice a pattern here. The movie starts with a few missing persons cases where the police adamantly refuse to even ENTERTAIN the possibility of a giant radioactive octopus. When it attacks San Francisco, the military kills it with an atomic torpedo. But, who is the real monster here?

The Giant Behemoth: What happens when a giant dinosaur from under the sea attacks London? If you said, “spaghetti”, you probably weren’t listening too closely. This is a sad little movie. And, because most of the cast is British, the women in this flick have all the sex appeal of something coughed into a handkerchief…

There are others, of course. The movies above were specifically chosen for this list because they happened to be the ones I wrote down before I got bored with the theme. But, my point is: Godzilla was not alone in the movie world. There were a LOT of other monsters out there. What gave Godzilla the staying power to last another four decades?

Few people tried to create sequels to monster movies. Who knows? We could have been living in a world with a fifteenth killer shrews movie, possibly starring Nicholas Cage and possibly while high. Really, the only limit to what one can do with a premise is the writer’s imagination. Judging from what passes for writing at present, that is a pretty confining limit; however, Toho studios managed to entertain the world with fresh new scripts in the Godzilla universe. In Japan, people packed theaters to see these movies. In America, people packed drive-in theaters…mostly to have sex to the sound of those movies coming over the window speakers.

It is no mystery, really. Japan just wanted it more…

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