Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Giant Behemoth

(UK, 1959)

In England where it was made, it was titled Behemoth, the Sea Monster, which makes a bit more sense than the rather redundant American title. But I guess it’s better than The Super Colossal Gigantic Titanic Behemoth. One will soon notice the resemblance to The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and in fact it seems the whole script was re-written because of the success of that film, changing the monster from a big radioactive blob to a Paeleosaurus. (Hadn’t anyone seen The Blob? If you’re going to rip off, why not rip off a better film?) This movie is really rather sad, as it seems cobbled together from two movies, one with some ambition, and the other just ground out to make a quick buck at the drive-in. At first, when they are tracking and identifying the radioactive dinosaur, it is methodical and at least makes a nod toward the scientific method. The characters are interesting, and reasonably well-acted. Then, when the monster appears, it alternates between adequate special effects and some of the cheesiest shit I’ve ever seen. This is the last film the great Willis O’Brien worked on. Some of it is good, as in a scene where the monster attacks a ferry boat, and some scenes of the creature stomping through the streets of London, as if he took a wrong turn on his way to Tokyo. But it’s intercut with awful, laughable stuff, like cars that might actually be Matchbox toys splashing into water that might be drawn in a bathtub. The same car is crushed under the monster’s feet no less than three times. The exact same shot. The whole last half of the movie is like that. Could have been a classic, but they held O’Brien to a strict and tiny budget. What a shame.