Sometimes it’s nice to watch a giant monster stomp on a tiny replica city. In the golden age of monster films, limited special effects led to two kinds of monster films: the superimposed film-on-film flicks where the creatures were enlarged to massive proportions (movies like Them!) or man-in-suit monster movies featuring actors in heavy suits with camera work and miniatures providing the size reference (such as in movies with Godzilla). While these films are far from terrifying by today’s standards, these once-frightening creature features are available through the library system for a night of giant monsters. Grab your popcorn and enjoy!
1. Tarantula (1955)
If you've ever wondered what a radioactive, experimental tarantula can do if it gets loose in a remote desert, perhaps this is the movie for you. Trigger warning: giant icky spider on the loose being pursued by army men in jeeps.
2. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Two times the monsters, two times the destruction. Featuring the man-in-suit gargantuan Godzilla and nimble King Kong, this film is fun and exciting to watch. Tokyo doesn’t stand a chance between the antics of these two mega monsters!
3. Gorgo (1961)
Before there was Jurassic World, there was Gorgo. Set in Britain, a mysterious sea dinosaur creature nicknamed “Gorgo” is taken back to Britain for a circus act. So, what’s more terrifying than a 65-foot tall dinosaur? Its mother.
4. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
This film was one of the first Atomic monster movies. The Beast featured in this movie, a prehistoric dinosaur, is awakened by atomic bomb testing. Unlike most monster movies, this beast is contagious...
5. 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
This film may cause major feels. The monster in this film travels across continents and grows from a tiny hatchling in the care of scientists to a giant creature as it roams in fear around the Earth - harmless for humans until animals and humans attack the creature and force it to fight for survival. This is one monster movie where the monster might not be the villain after all.
6. The Giant Behemoth (1959)
An irradiated Paleosaurus terrorizes ships in the ocean and swims up the Thames. Unlike other monsters, this one is racing against time: the radiation is killing it, and it is desperate to reach its home... which happens to involve taking a shortcut through London.
7. Mothra (1961)
If it can be said that a monster is beautiful, Mothra is definitely worthy of the word. Unlike the stomp-and-smash monster rampages of other films within the genre, this film features a protector-monster, guardians of a primitive island, well meaning but curious scientists, and a greedy man determined to make money off of the discovery of Infant Island.
8. Beginning of the End (1957)
Set in nearby Chicago, an agricultural mishap creates a swarm of giant grasshoppers intent on eating Chicago. There's nothing quite so terrifying as a giant bug with enormous eyes and pincers that decides it likes the taste of humans...
9. The Blob (1958)
It creeps. It oozes. It eats people. It is the monster with no shape and no apparent weaknesses, devouring cars, diners, and terrified nurses with ease. How can it possibly be stopped? Check out this classic flick to see how a couple of teenagers act to save the town and stop THE BLOB.
10. Them! (1954)
If you've seen any scary movies lately, you've probably seen a lone child looking pale and kind of creepy giving vague statements about something they've just witnessed. Bonus points if the child points off into the distance. Them! is arguably the monster movie that featured the first noteworthy scene with a lone child wandering out of a decimated town and as the only clue to what is killing the good townspeople in the desert at night. If you like suspense, this is a monster movie for you.
By Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk, on November 26, 2016