Monsters

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

This Island Earth

With a more adult angle than most fifties SF movies, Universal’s 1955 big-budget splash dazzles both with wonderful visuals and clever ideas. That the screenplay mismanages these ideas prevents its inclusion with the bona fide classics. 7/10

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

Revenge of the Creature

The first sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon sees the Gill-Man captured in a fish tank and prodded with sticks for “science”. Little is done with the interesting premise, and the thin script devolves into a routine monster-on-the-loose affair. 4/10

The Snow Creature

The first Hollywood movie about the Yeti sees the snowman stuck at the US immigrations office. But that is the only flash of originality in this amateurish slog from 1954, which settles for an unexciting urban monster hunt. 2/10

Target Earth

One of the first “empty city” movies, this 1954 low-budget clunker starring SF legend Richard Denning has all the trappings of a taut, character-driven SF classic. Unfortunately the hackneyed script does away with much of its potential. 4/10

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

Them!

James Arness and Edmund Gwenn chase giant ants in this atmospheric 1954 SF horror thriller. The original giant bug film, considered by many to be the best. Good direction, solid acting and a smart script that taps into the era’s atomic fears. 8/10