To celebrate the release of Monsters director Gareth Edwards new film Godzilla, we look at the best movies to see cities under attack from giant villains…
With the impending release of the latest Godzilla reboot, it only seemed right to take a look back through cinema history for the latest Top 10 Films list. This time, the goal is to assess all those giant beasts that have destroyed cities. Urban landscapes both big and small are unsafe once these monsters get out of their cages – so to speak – and the same goes for anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. Be sure to give this a full read and let us know in the comments section if you think a particular monster should have made the cut – or if some other giant monstrosity should have taken the top spot.
10. Godzilla — Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)
Whether you call him Gojira or Godzilla, this gigantic lizard monster is definitely the king of city-destroying beasts. His roar is a thing of beauty – yes, even in the awful 1998 movie – and he’s probably taken down more buildings than we could try to count. Not only that, but the brand-new reboot features some terrifying city destruction. Although, the world could use another Godzilla Vs. King Kong film, just as long as they let the lizard take home the win this go-round.
9. 50 Foot Woman — Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman (Nathan H. Juran, 1958)
One of the great 1950s films in the anything-can-be-gigantic-and-scary sub-genre, Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman features a protagonist who grows to massive heights after a chance encounter with an extra terrestrial. The only thing? No one believes her because she’s a drunk. So when she grows five-stories and wreaks havoc? Yeah, maybe they could have seen that one coming. Sure this one is a cheese-fest, but definitely better than the ’90s reboot.
8. Giant Spiders — Eight Legged Freaks (Ellory Elkayem, 2002)
What happens when your every-day spiders happen upon toxic waste dumps? They become giant creatures that want to murder everyone and rip apart towns and cities, of course! At least, that’s the premise of the completely absurd Eight Legged Freaks, which admirably harks back to the earlier days of monster cinema. You know, back when you could throw together a random, potentially dangerous subject (in this case, spiders) with toxic waste and BAM, movie made. This one might have been critically panned, but it’s still a lot of fun to watch, even if David Arquette is unbearable at times.
7. Kaiju — Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, 2013)
Pacific Rim wasn’t exactly the best viewing experience of the past few years but it did bring it when it came to great action sequences. Once the intergalactic monsters (known in this film as Kaiju) made their way from the Pacific Ocean to land, all hell broke loose and we got to see fisticuffs of incredible proportions. To say there was a lot of carnage feels like I’m short-changing the impact these beasts had on the countries within the actual Pacific Rim.
6. King Kong — King Kong (Peter Jackson, 2005)
As if gorillas weren’t intimidating enough — and they are! — the King Kong franchise brought upon nightmares of a GIANT gorilla tearing down the Big Apple since 1933. The 2005 reboot was (thankfully) good enough to receive plenty of love from critics and fans alike. It even spawned new gaming takes on the beast from Ubisoft on consoles and the Betfair Arcade for gamers who like to play with their cash. You’re still tearing down cities in the latter option, of course, but you can actually benefit it from it beyond carpal-tunnel syndrome.
5. T. Rex — Jurassic Park: The Lost World (Steven Spielberg, 1997)
Did anyone else feel like Steven Spielberg was sort of losing his luster with the release of this Jurassic Park sequel? Did anyone else think that the franchise could have ended with the original? Well, it didn’t matter because Spielberg at least tried to make The Lost World interesting by bringing the T. Rex to the States, where the genetically engineered dinosaur was basically a mini-Godzilla. He ate a dog, stomped on some cars, and basically scared the living daylights out of anyone in San Diego, California. Well, he did for a few hours until being lured back to the boat. Hey, at least the video game was decent.
4. River Monster — The Host (Bong Joon-ho, 2006)
South Korea brought the world one of the finest monster flicks of the past decade with The Host. It depicts what happens when you think pouring loads of formaldehyde down a drain is a good idea. Spoiler alert: It isn’t, because a nasty creature will form in the depths and eventually run amok. Beyond all the carnage, though, is a sharp, well-written story with plenty of political commentary to boot. Want to experience some fear? Check out The Host trailer and get back to me.
3. Giant Ants — Them! (Gordon Douglas, 1954)
Call me a sucker for the oldies, but there’s something special about Them!. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s one of the first movies to feature gigantic insects taking over the planet. Or maybe it’s the whole nuclear radiation thing, which must have been a million times scarier back in the 1950s. Whatever the case, it’s difficult to not get a sense of “this is where it all started” watching those humongous ants from New Mexico do their thing, crush people, and cause all sorts of old-school mayhem.
2. Sea Monster — Cloverfield (JJ Abrams, 2008)
Where Cloverfield shines is not in its narrative, which often gets too cheesy with the romantic angle, or in the way it was shot, which honestly can be a bit much if you’re prone to nausea. No, it’s the mere fact that you hardly ever seen the ugly-as-hell monster that is tearing New York City a new one. It’s almost like JJ Abrams and company were echoing the work of Steven Spielberg in the first Jaws, which introduced its beast near the conclusion. Oh wait, maybe that’s exactly what JJ was doing.
1. Stay Puft Marshmallow Man — Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
Whoever thought that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man could be a threat to human society beyond people consuming too much sugar? As it turns out, he’s hell bent on destroying the titular protagonists of Ghostbusters. Sure he’s more possessed than, say, just pissed off at the world like some of his contemporaries. But something that sweet being that scary is worth something, right? Good luck taking him down in the Ghostbusters game, by the way.