Horror Roundtable – Week Eighty-Three

Name your favourite giant monster movie.

Donald May, Jr. – Synapse

Well, I’m fond of the GODZILLA series and still have a great fondness for the original B&W version (the Japanese one, not the Raymond Burr recut).


The Giant Gila Monster tied with War of the Gargantuas.

B-Sol – Vault of Horror

For me, there’s only one true King of the Monsters, and that’s Godzilla. I’m sorry to say that I had never seen the original Japanese cut of Gojira until it finally got a limited American release four years ago. But if the only version you’ve seen is the one with Raymond Burr, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The original 1954 Gojira is a stark, nightmarish vision of terror bred from Japan’s real-life terror of the atom bomb. As much as I love the later Godzilla entries for their kitsch value, the first movie is in a totally different category, a high-quality film that stands the test of time.

Bill – Pulp 2.0


Not GODZILLA, but the original Japanese monster movie with the wonderful subplots that were left out of the “Americanized” version. All in glorious, sometimes overexposed black & white.

If you sign up, you can see it on Joost for free. [Not a plug, but just a referral]

Sean – Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat

Between Shelob, the mûmakil, the fell beasts, and the trolls, I’m going with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Nathan – MicroHorror

My favorite giant monster movie? That’s hardly even a question. One of the old Toho classics, of course– I’ll just say 1954’s “Gojira” and be done with it.

That said, I’ll take the opportunity to suggest an underrated success from recent years: 2002’s “Eight-Legged Freaks.” It’s not a great movie by any means, but man, is it fun. Somebody clearly said “You know, it’s been way too long since anybody made a giant spider movie,” and then proceeded to do just that. It’s a terrific throwback to the golden era of monster movies, updated just enough to keep things interesting. The script even manages to be clever in its awareness and exploitation of different species of spiders and their various behaviors and hunting methods. The set piece with a gang of jumping spiders chasing down kids on dirt bikes is a hoot. Highly recommended.

Louis – Damaged 2.0

I’m gonna have to go with the 50 Ft Woman in ATTACK OF THE 50 FT. WOMAN, if purely for sexual curiosity. She’s 50-feet tall, so her vagina has got to be, what, at least three feet tall and about, spread out, three feet wide, right? And I’m sure that it will take a midget, darting his body in an out rapidly, to give her any sort of pleasure. Let’s not even get into her clitoris, which has got to at least be the size of a softball. And what about if she decides to shave it all clean, porno-style? Surely she could donate the hair to a charity that makes wigs for kids with cancer.

Hmm…why doesn’t someone make this movie?

Mark – Exclamation Mark’s SciFi/Horror Review

My initial response was Gojira, the original Japanese version of Godzilla King of the Monsters. However, after a little more consideration, I have to go with 1954’s Them! Them! rates at least a few notches higher than your standard giant bug flick for its intelligent dialog and above par acting. It’s also the original radiation-mutated monster movie. Today, many aspects of the film seem cliche, but that’s only because Them! has been emulated so often.

JA – My New Plaid Pants

Although I really really liked Cloverfield, the only correct answer to this question is the original King Kong. It’s 75 years old this year and it still retains every bit of power it must’ve had when it first came out. That that tiny little model was able to get across, and still does, so much emotion, so much pathos, still astonishes me. And you can’t go wrong with dinosaur-fights, like, ever.

Kimberly – Cinebeats

I have the sudden urge to say Cloverfield because frankly, the movie kicks some serious ass and it should be viewed in a theater more then once. I’ll also add that anyone who doesn’t like Cloverfield should have their giant monster movie watching privileges revoked permanently. Now that I’ve got my “Ain’t it Kewl” headline out of the way, I’ll mention the original Godzilla film since it will probably always reign supreme as the ultimate giant monster movie in my mind, but The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and It Came from Beneath the Sea both come damn close to beating it. Cloverfield will probably also be a favorite someday, but I need a few more years to enjoy it before I allow it to enter my pantheon of favorite films.

Well, I’m glad somebody mentioned King Kong. Huge thanks to all the contributors to this week’s edition of the Horror Roundtable, and if you get a chance please name your favourite kaiju in the comments below.

9 Responses to “Horror Roundtable – Week Eighty-Three”

  1. JA Says:

    I’m an italicized “somebody”! Yay! My mother would be so proud.

  2. Sam J. Miller Says:

    hands down it’s gotta be King Kong for me – the original, of course, because he’s the most human character in the movie. A couple years ago i saw it on 35mm on the big screen, in a theater packed with kids, and for most of the movie they were all laughing and talking about how bad the special effects were, but i swear to god, in that last scene, those little fuckers were ALL crying.

    an underdog runner-up is Gwangi, in “the valley of Gwangi.” amazing harryhausen special effects, and one very kick-ass magenta allosaur.

  3. Jeff Allard Says:

    Well, just to represent the “loves giant monsters/didn’t love Cloverfield” contingent, I have to say that shaky, low-angle glimpses of a below par (to my eyes) CGI monster don’t particularly do it for me. But for those that love it – more power to you!

    As for giant monster movies I do like, I’ll go with some big bug action with Them! and Starship Troopers. Them! never failed to freak me out as a kid whenever it aired on the 4 O’Clock Movie – just that chirping sound the ants made would send me scurrying out of the room. And Starship Troopers is just flat-out amazing. Hordes of alien insects never looked so good. And that big brain sucker at the end was repulsive enough to give me nightmares.

  4. Ivan Lerner Says:

    Horror Blog:
    Like everybody, I love Godzilla and King Kong (although Jackson’s Kong film left me very cold–I couldn’t finish watching it, turning it off mid-dino-rampage).

    But, Attack of the Crab Monsters is my personal favorite giant monster flick–some can’t get past the bad acting and awful effects, but I have been incredibly willing to suspend my disbelief for this movie ever since I was a kid, and it was on heavy rotation on NYC’s old Metromedia Channel 5.
    With Corman’s nonstop atmosphere of dread, and the movie’s lightning pacing, those talking crabs *freaked* me out. I just couldn’t let go of the thought that if the atomic crabs ate your brain (ewww!), then they’d absorb your memories and personality. And when I was a kid, I thought that it meant that the crabs would steal your soul, too.

    And this movie is fast! Only about 65 minutes long! I have a copy of Charles Griffith’s original script; Corman cut out about 20 pages; not that I blame him, it was mushy romance crud, and had it been left in, I don’t think the movie would still have its fans.

    Jeff, if I may cross-talk, I think why Them! (which is another fave) completely holds up after all these years is because it’s primarily a good, well-acted police procedural. We’ve got decent, hard-working lawmen and forensics experts trying to stop an evil criminal enterprise. It just *happens* to be giant radioactive ants, that’s all…

    (BTW, My stepdad and I used to watch Them! whenever it was on TV, and for the next week after, he’d randomly shout “Make me a sergeant, charge the booze!” like the geezer in the nuthouse. )

    One monster movie that tends to get overlooked, I feel, is Rodan. I really want to see a deluxe DVD of this movie. Others (whom I can’t remember now…sorry…) have noted that Rodan starts as a mystery, becomes a horror movie, and so on, bouncing between genres (romance, war movie, kaiju, tragedy, etc.), and that it’s this switching gears that keeps Rodan fresh.

    Finally, Godzilla: Final Wars is highly recommended–yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a remake of Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero, but gee-whiz: it’s got *every* Toho monster in it, and it even manages to be post-modern, commenting on Gamera and the rotten American Godzilla movie.
    And I won’t start on the high quality of the most recent batch of Gamera films–which, if you look closely at the effects, somewhat predate Cloverfield: Gamera’s effects are usually shot from “street” level creating a more “realistic” camera angle–as opposed to Eiji Tsuburaya/Toho, who around the 1960s starting shooting everything at “chest” level. I liked Cloverfield, and I may even go see it again in a theater. I hope the Cloverfield DVD has a gorier version, though.

    Thanks for letting blab! This is a great site, and I’ve always enjoyed visiting it,

  5. Steve Says:

    Thanks, Ivan. That’s nice of you to say.

    One of my New Year’s resolutions was to wade through every Godzilla feature (and most of the tangential films of the Godzilla mythos, like Mothra and Rodan), but a project I’m working on with Roundtable member Doug Nagy is taking up most of my viewing time. So instead I’ve mostly been bouncing around the different films based on my mood.

    I started watching Godzilla: Final Wars with a group of friends and we loved it, but we had to cut the screening short. Unfortunately, I promised that we would pick it up again at a later date, but I couldn’t resist and I peeked at a few scenes. Then I felt guilty and turned it off. I’ve really got to get them all back over here.

    I’ve heard great things about the Gamera series, and I really enjoyed GMK so I imagine it would be up my alley. I should really get on that.

  6. Jeff Allard Says:

    Hey Ivan,
    I totally agree with your thoughts on Them! – it’s definitely set-up with a strong “real world” vibe to it. It never seems campy like some of its atomic age contemporaries, like Tarantula. And I’m with you on Godzilla: Final Wars, too – although I think enjoying it completely depends on whether or not you grew up with the Godzilla films of the ’70s.

  7. Ivan Lerner Says:

    Jeff & Steve:
    Thanks for the kind words. And Jeff, I think you might be right about Godzilla: Final Wars–that and that last batch* of Toho’s Godzilla “reimaginings” really appealed to me as a fan of the 1960s Big G. (when he was still villainous–somewhat–but usually fighting something much worse). Most of the 1960s Japanese SF output was on heavy rotation on NY TV in the 1970s and early-1980s, when I was maximizing televised sensory input. (Go to dvddrive-in-dot-com, and look for the “NY TV Monster Movie Memories” tag: there are some phenomenally well-researched articles there!)

    *= after checking Barry’s Temple of Godzilla (godzillatemple-dot-com), I see there’s been several reimaginings of Godzilla–and a batch of “new” Godzilla flicks I haven’t seen…I hate to say it, but I think I’d rather watch Godzilla: Final Wars again, fast-forwarding through the stuff I don’t like.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. warren @ 150 days Says:

    Yeah! Starship Troopers!!

    Plus King Kong Lives in the 80’s where the Kongs are in love!

  9. lancifer Says:

    I have always had a soft spot for GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER. It’s one of the very first movies I saw in a theater and it has a great theme song in the psychedelic “Save the earth”! The image of smoggy flying over a school and folks just plopping down dead afterwards was scary and strangely satisfying to me.

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