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
Four boys travel back through time in a row boat, escaping cave-men and dinosaurs. Czechoslovakian animator Karel Zeman’s 1955 edutainment film is a beautifully rendered and heart-warming family movie about evolution. 7/10
A radioactive octopus destroys San Francisco in this 1955 rehash of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion is stunning, but the script anticipates the climax, and more thought could have gone into story leading up to it. 4/10
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
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
Godzilla and Anguirus take on Osaka in this 1955 sequel. While a quick cash-grabber, the second movie still retains some of the grittiness and gravitas of the original. 5/10
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
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
The film that kickstarted B-movie legend Roger Corman’s career in 1954 is a surprisingly well-made no-budget schlocker about a young woman investigating claims of a sea monster off the coast of Mexico. 5/10
Released in 1953, a year before Godzilla, the Beast was the original kaiju. Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion magic elevates this movie about a radioactive dinosaur wreaking havoc in New York from run-of-the-mill monster action to full-blown classic. 7/10
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
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 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.
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.
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