Monday, September 3, 2012

GIANT MONSTER Movie Archives 1912-1959

Here's my list of Giant Monster (and Kaiju) movies because, well... you've been just too lazy to make your own. And who else was gonna do it, huh? Because there's so many titles, I've broken the list into decades. Here's the first installment.

Now there is naturally some debate over how "big" is considered giant. Does 10 feet tall qualify? How about 100 feet? Should we use the metric system? And where exactly do we measure? Head to tail or how tall it stands? What if it doesn't stand at all, but swims? And what if this monster is a huge beautiful woman? Or perhaps a sentient breakfast cereal? If so, is it still a monster? These are the questions that keep scientists up late at night. Well, the dedicated ones anyway.

So in the interest of providing a more complete list, and not getting into an argument over silly minutiae of what "exactly" constitutes a GIANT MONSTER MOVIE (don't we all hate it when that happens), I've decided to be more inclusive. Namely, to include anything that's kinda large, sorta menacing, and well... appears in a movie. Such as: deadly over-sized animals (whales, sharks, radiated spiders and ants, etc.), ancient monstrous creatures (dinosaurs, etc.), huge mythical beasts (dragons, minatons, etc.), legendary cryptids (Bigfoot, sea monsters, etc.) large terrifying aliens, super-giant people (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Big Man Japan), enormous violent robots (Transformers), and in one case gigantic interminable growing crystals (The Monolith Monsters), ... and of course food. That's right. Food that swallows you! (Such as in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs). And OF COURSE Godzilla, Gamera, Mothra and all your Toho/Daiei favorites are here too.

I purposely left out some movies such as all of Universal Studio's monsters like Frankenstein, Wolfman, creature from the Black Lagoon, and stuff like Kujo (just a dog) and Hitchcock's Birds (too small) and Speilberg's Duel, 1977's The Car, Christine, and Maximum Overdrive because vehicles are not really monsters in the sense I'm using here. (Although I have included the Transformers films because they are also GIANT monstrous robots that smash stuff.) I also did not include Honey, I Shrunk/Blew Up the Kids because in Part One the kids are small (the bugs aren't enlarged) and the giant toddler in the sequel is not really meant to be a true monster. It's merely a comedic plot device and visual gag. I also left out stuff like The Three Worlds of Gulliver and Gulliver's Travels. Yes the guy is huge but he's certainly not a monster. I'm also NOT including hand-drawn animated films like The Iron Giant, Akira, the Fantasia films, Dinosaur, Superman: The Arctic GiantWe're BackAllegro Non TroppoNausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Jack and the BeanstalkPrincess Mononoke, etc. etc. otherwise this list would be littered with a dozen Land Before Time entries. And no Oogie Boogie man from A Nightmare Before Christmas. For this list, we'll stick to live-action films and a handful of CG movies (since the monsters these days are usually rendered via computer graphics anyway).

French "cinemagician" Georges Méliès created many incredible visual tricks in his pioneering short films of the late 1890s and early 1900s. One such film, released in 1912 featured a "Frost Giant" realized through the manipulation of a large puppet.  In 1914 Winsor McCay had a popular live vaudeville-style act whereby he stood in front of a movie screen and "interacted" with a projected film of his cute animated character, Gertie, the Dinosaur. I'm including it in this list as it's probably the FIRST appearance of a huge animal (albeit cartoonish) in cinematic history.

But perhaps the very first live-action dinosaur film was Brute Force, released in 1914. The film was silent and only lasted 32 minutes, but audiences were amazed and terrified by the images of moving beasts on screen. The Dinosaur and the Missing Link: A Prehistoric Tragedy and The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (also short silent films) soon followed. They are considered animator Willis O'Brien's test films for his next opus. His ground-breaking stop-motion animation work on the 1925 classic, The Lost World (generally credited as the first real full-length giant monster/dinosaur film), was in turn practice for his crowning achievement, the highly influential box office smash King Kong released in 1933. That film set the standard for monster movies for decades.

And the world... and certainly the world of cinema, hasn't been the same since. Unleash the BEASTS!

I'm sure I've overlooked some, so feel free to make suggestions at the bottom in the "comments area" and maybe I can add to the list

The Early Years Lost World
Conquest of the Pole (short, 1912) Lost World
Gertie the Dinosaur (short, 1914)
Brute Force
Brute Force (short, 1914)
The Dinosaur and the Missing Link
The Dinosaur and the Missing Link (1915)
The Ghost of Slumber Mountain
The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1918) Lost World
The Three Ages (1923) Lost World
Siegfried (1924) Lost World
The Thief of Bagdad (1924) Lost World
The Lost World (1925)
King Kong
King Kong (1933)
Wasei Kingu Kongu
Wasei Kingu Kongu (short, 1933)
Son of Kong
Son of Kong (1933)
The Secret of the Loch
The Secret of the Loch (1934)
King Kong Appears in Edo
King Kong Appears in Edo (1938)
One Million BC
The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
One Million BC
One Million B.C. (1940)
Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young (1948)
Unknown Island
Unknown Island (1948)

The 1950s
Two Lost Worlds
Two Lost Worlds (1950)
The Lost Continent
The Lost Continent (1951)
The Day The Earth Stood Still
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
Untamed Women
Untamed Women (1952)
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
War of the Worlds
War of The Worlds (1953)
it came from outer space
It Came From Outer Space (1953)
Robot Monster
Robot Monster (1953)
Godzilla (1954)
Monster From the Ocean Floo
Monster From the Ocean Floor (1954)
Them! (1954)
Godzilla Raids Again
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Half Human
Half Human (1955)
It Came From Beneath the Sea
It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)
Tarantula (1955)
King Dinosaur
King Dinosaur (1955)
Rodan (1956)
The Animal World
The Animal World (1956)
The Beast From Hollow Mountain
The Beast From Hollow Mountain (1956)
The Sword and the Dragon
The Sword and the Dragon (1956)
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Beginning of the End
Beginning of the End (1957)
The Giant Claw
The Giant Claw (1957)
The Deadly Mantis
The Deadly Mantis (1957)
The Black Scorpion
The Black Scorpion (1957)
20 MKillion Miles To Earth
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
The Amazing Colossal Man
The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)
Kronos (1957)
The Monolith Monsters
The Monolith Monsters (1957)
The Monster That Changed The World
The Monster That Changed the World (1957)
Varan The Unbelievable
Varan the Unbelievable (1957)
The Cosmic Monster
The Cosmic Monster (1957)
The Land Unknown
The Land Unknown (1957)
The Cyclops
The Cyclops (1957)
The Colossus of New York
The Colossus of New York (1958)
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
The Blob
The Blob (1958) 
War of the Colossal Beast
War of the Colossal Beast (1958)
teenage caveman
Teenage Caveman (1958)
Earth versus the Spider
Earth vs. The Spider (1958)
Monster From Green Hell
Monster From Green Hell (1958) 
the crawling eye
The Crawling Eye (1958) 
it! the terror from beyond space
It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)
The Fly
The Fly (1958)
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad  (1958)
Attack of the Giant Leeches
Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) 
Behemoth the Sea Monster
Behemoth, the Sea Monster (1959)
The Giant Gila Monster
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
The Killer Shrews
The Killer Shrews (1959)
Return of the Fly
Return of the Fly (1959)
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Ooops, almost forgot to include these:
The Golem (1920)

Gorilla at Large (1954)

This Island Earth (1955)

Moby Dick (1956)

The Manster (1959)

The Birth of Japan (1959)

The smashing and crashing continued through the next decade and you can read about it here:  GIANT MONSTER MOVIES of the 1960s 

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