Godzilla vs Kong has been getting a lot of hype recently, and while it is way more of a thriller/action film it got me thinking about the best monster movies out there where a giant creature is terrifying a city (usually New York, lets be real). To keep things on a base level, I thought I would introduce some rules to my following list of best monster movies out there and suggest that the creatures be a) larger than real life (ie. city sized) and b) it doesn’t need to be a particular part of the Warner Bros. fictional series MonsterVerse (in which Godzilla vs Kong is).
Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra
The Japanese monster films are so legendary that they need a place on this list as being the first giant monster movies to be made and the creation of their own trope Kaiju (meaning giant monsters). While the 1933’s King Kong was the first to be made, the 1954 version of Godzilla was a man in a suit whose appearance triggers fears of a nuclear holocaust during post-war Japan. It was closely followed by Rodan in 1956, which featured a flying pterodactyl -type monster that began terrorising Japan, and then a giant moth in 1961 with Mothra, who later battled Godzilla. Both of these Kaiju creatures made appearances in the American remake Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Cloverfield came out in the hey day of found footage style films and it was probably one of the best versions of the trope. Starting off as a goodbye film being made a swanky farewell party in New York, the festivities are rudely interrupted when a terrifying creature starts wrecking havoc on the city. As the group of friends (played by the sexy Mike Vogel and featuring Lizzie Caplin) make their way into – and then under – the streets of New York to find their friend, they discover that the reptilian creature has been dropping off smaller spider-like creatures to feast on their flesh. The whole movie becomes more of a rescue mission as they continue to search for their friend, but what I actually liked about Cloverfield is that the monster stays off screen for most of the time, leaving ruins and questions in its wake. This effect ultimately makes the found footage style all the more livable.
Kong: Skull Island
With a stellar cast of Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and Samuel L. Jackson, Kong: Skull Island sets up an origin story for King Kong in a gritty Vietnam war-era backdrop. When a monster hunter convinces the government to fund a trip to a legendary and unexplored island they discover that it happens to be the home of the mighty Kong – a larger-than-life gorilla that happens to protect the island from the more mysterious and deadly dwellers who also call Skull Island home. The movie is a pretty classic action/adventure movie, and sets up well for the foray into the Monsterverse with Godzilla vs. Kong a heck of a lot better than the new Godzilla did!
When I say Godzilla, I of course mean the 1998 classic starring Matthew Broderick and Hank Azaria, which will always go down as the best Godzilla movie in history to us 90’s kids. Depicted as a giant dinosaur-like reptile, Godzilla strides into New York City and wrecks havoc, meaning that a lowly earthworm scientist, reporter ex-girlfriend, and an eccentric Frenchmen team up as an unlikely hero team to save the city and get rid of Godzilla once and for all. Look, it’s a 90’s classic that is surely rather problematic, but it beats the constant following of the US Military in the recent remake of the film. Sorry guys, your military isn’t the be all and end all.
Is there anything that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can’t do? In this movie remake of the pretty spectacular Nintendo 64 game Rampage, the film follows a dangerous pathogen from space which falls to Earth and infects three creatures with extra-ordinary size, strength and abilities – a rare albino gorilla named George, a random American crocodile (Lizzie) and my favourite, a grey wolf named Ralph (whom I always played as). As the pathogen makes the creatures super aggressive, a primatologist (The Rock) and his genetics team set out to find a cure for the creatures – particularly George, with whom The Rock works with in his Chicago lab. Look, it’s a mindless action film about giant creatures, but I loved the game and so I am more likely to be inclined to put it on my best Monster movie list.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Honestly, if we can make giant dinosaurs and moths wreck havoc on cities, why cant we make humans do it? Well, that is exactly what happened in the 1958 film Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. An American Science Fiction classic, this film starred Allison Hayes as an alcoholic and troubled young woman who has an alien encounter in the desert that results in an exposure to radiation. This radiation makes her 50 feet tall and with her unstable attitude already, she decides to avenge herself on her cheating husband. The movie is a 50’s classic sci fi, so it garners points in that department – and besides, who doesn’t want to see a giant sexy 50 foot woman terrorising a town in search of revenge from a jilted lover? Sounds good to me!
Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus
There was a time where kind of ridiculous giant monster movie films were being made, and that was around 2010 with giant Anacondas, Sharknados, Sand and Ice Sharks and one of my favourites – Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. Followed up as a series where Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus, Kolossas, and Mecha Shark, the Giant Octopus battle was so epic (and epicly bad) that it stayed on my list as a favourite Kaiju movie. Plus I made the bet that the giant shark would win. Also, there is a scene where the giant shark jumps out of the sky and swallows a plane whole. It was worth it for that one scene.