My Top Ten Giant Monster Movies by Jeff Burk
A little over a year ago, I wrote a choose-your-own-mind-fuck-fest titled Super Giant Monster Time! The book was my tribute to the giant monster sub-genre. During the process of working on that book, I indulged in a massive marathon of as many giant monster movies I could get my hands on. I spent way too much time thinking about buildings being knocked over and people being stepped on. To share my passion of all things monstrous, here are my favorite giant monster movies:
10: GODZILLA FINAL WARS (2004)
The most recent, and Toho claims final but we all know that’s bullshit, Godzilla movie. The idea behind this movie was to do a remake of the classic Destroy All Monsters but with the budget and improved special effects of the latest Godzilla series. The end result was a mixed bag. The monster fights are amazing but the director (who also did the cult favorite Versus) got confused and thought Godzilla fans want their monster fighting broken up with 45 mins of martial arts – sorry, we don’t. Despite that, it’s still a damn fun movie and, as the following clips show, for shear number of monsters, nothing has this beat.
9: NIGHT OF THE LEPUS (1972)
Giant killer bunnies! Giant killer bunnies! Giant killer bunnies!
I have so many found memories of being very young and watching this movie every Easter Sunday on basic cable. I have no idea who thought this was a good idea but they should be given a medal.
8: FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965)
One of the more obscure entries on this list is also one of the craziest. Toho got the rights from universal to do a Godzilla vs Frankenstein movie (what the fuck!?!) that over time developed into this strange film. It really has nothing to do with any Frankenstein mythos but instead is it’s own unique giant monster movie that stands in nice contrast to the other Toho films of the time. Also, it introduces one of my personal favorite monsters – Baragon!
7: DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968)
If you’re looking for a cheesy man in a rubber suit monster movie, look no further. Destroy All Monsters is the best of the classic Godzilla movies. Toho had the genius idea to make a movie that featured almost all of their monsters to date rampaging all over the world. Brilliant. Just watch the trailer.
6: GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (1993)
While Gamera is normally known as the “friend to children everywhere,” this 1993 re-imagining cast Gamera as a fucking badass! He smashes cities and, unlike most monster movies, the viewer sees the human damage (people being crushed, burned alive, etc. . .) the monster causes. While Gamera is still a man in a suit, the special effects are awesome even by Hollywood standards.
5: THE HOST (2006)
Really a family drama masquerading as a monster movie, The Host is still one of the coolest and most exciting creature features ever put to film. A South Korean film, the movie packs drama, political commentary, comedy, and plenty of action into its story. It is wonderful to see a monster movie trying to aspiring to be something more while not forgetting why the audience is watching.
4: KING KONG (2005)
I love King Kong and, after watching this remake, it’s obvious Peter Jackson does too. A love letter to the classic film, Jackson packs the movie with in-joke references to the original and plenty of giant monster scenes. The raft scene, the bug pit, the T-Rex fight – everything about this proves Jackson understood what made the original work. He never strays far from the original but instead offers monster fans a three hour epic of destruction.
3: GMK: GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH – GIANT MONSTER ALL OUT ATTACK (2001)
The best Godzilla movie ever made! Awesome special effects, amazing destruction sequences (Godzilla blowing up the hospital is one of the best scenes in the whole series), and the best monster cast of the whole series (Godzilla, Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah) make this the quintessential Godzilla film. Amazingly, it is super hard to find clips of GMK online but I did find this one excerpt from one of the fight scenes:
2: KING KONG (1933)
The original classic giant monster movie. What else can I say about this masterpiece that hasn’t already been said. So just watch this “re-imagining” Peter Jackson did of the lost bug pit scene.
1: GODZILLA VS HEDORAH (1971)
Easily the most psychedelic, weird, and outright insane giant monster movie ever made. Godzilla vs Hedorah (or Godzilla vs the Smog Monster) was made in 1971 and director Yoshimitsu Banno had no interest in leaving the swinging sixties behind. This installment’s villain is a creature made from pollution. If the obvious environmental message was not enough hippie-bait, the movie features go-go dancers, tripped out animation sequences, fish-headed people, and Godzilla flying: