Giant monsters

Tarantula

A scientist trying to end hunger creates a giant spider that runs amok in a small desert community. This 1955 classic is not director Jack Arnold’s best work, but even so, it’s one of the best giant critter movies of the 50’s. 6/10

King Dinosaur

Bert I. Gordon’s 1955 directorial debut sees four scientists completely uninterested in exploring a new planet and doing “darn science stuff”. After battling stock footage and superimposed insects, they detonate a nuclear bomb and go home. 0/10

Bride of the Monster

Ed Wood’s 1955 schlocker is a love letter to the film’s star Bela Lugosi and the monster movies of the thirties, and as such it is quite charming, despite its ineptitude. And despite ill health, Lugosi is magnetic in his last first billing. 5/10

Gojira

spite its clumsy rubber monster and the under-developed characters, 1954’s Gojira (Godzilla) is a gripping allegory for Japan’s experiences during WWII, with beautifully grim visuals and intimate focus on the casualties of war. 7/10

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

a star cast, this 1954 Disney blockbuster is regularly seen as the best Jules Verne adaptation of all time. Shot in majestic Technicolor, it is a magnificent adventure film with groundbreaking special effects, despite a so-so script. 8/10

Port Sinister

Villains thwart a scientific expedition to a lost city rising out of the sea, and a damsel is distressed by lava quicksand and giant crab monsters. The valiant cast battles a thin, juvenile script, cramped sets and a low budget. 3/10

Untamed Women

A hapless US bomber crew during WWII crash land on an island inhabited by a tribe of glamour girls in leather skirts, and dinosaur stock footage from One Million B.C. The result in this 1951 lost world potboiler is surprisingly dull. 1/10

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The fate of the world hangs in the balance as the mysterious alien Klaatu arrives on a diplomatic mission to Earth with his deadly robot. Oscar winner Robert Wise’s “subversive” 1951 classic was a radical call for world peace in the midst of McCarthyist blacklistings. Possibly the best of the fifties SF films, this one holds up surprisingly well today. 10/10.

Lost Continent

A ragtag team led by Cesar Romero searches for a lost missile and finds a radioactive island filled with dinosaurs in what may be Sam Newfield’s finest film. Despite its MST3K-tarnished reputation and a whole lot of padding, it’s well worth a look. 5/10.

Two Lost Worlds

In 1950 former ballet master and style adviser to Mae West, Boris Petroff, produced a bewildering mishmash of pirates, Australian farm romance, western action and slurpasaurs starring later TV star James Arness. Two Lost Worlds is a low-budget patch job with new dialogue scenes edited to fit action sequences from at least three other movies. 1/10