10 Great Kaiju Scenes in Non Godzilla Movies
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Whether you liked the new Godzilla: King of the Monsters or not, there is no denying the cultural impact of Godzilla and Kaiju in general on cinema’s history. We have all enjoyed at one point in our lives watching giant monsters destroying cities and battling other hideous creatures. It’s a spectacle that is unique to film and has influenced a lot of visuals that you have experienced in non-kaiju films. This list is a celebration of those homages to either Godzilla or Kaiju in general.
This list does contain spoilers, so read on at your own risk. This is a numbered list, but it is not a ranked list.
Any good Kaiju homage list worth its salt will either start or end with the 1988 cult classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The film is about a group of teenagers that investigate a comet crash and discover a group of psychopathic clowns (as if there are any other kind) that are actually aliens. The alien’s job seems to be eating as many people on Earth as possible.
The leader of the group is Jojo the Klownzilla. Killer Klowns Wiki has the Klown monster standing at over 18 feet tall and having bullet immunity. It turns out the only thing worse than a murderous alien clown is a bullet proof one. If you haven’t wasted an evening of your life enjoying this cult classic sci-fi horror comedy, then you have not properly wasted an evening of your life yet.
When I started making this list and it had Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm on it, I knew I had a solid one two punch. This is by far my favorite Batman film of all time and it continues to win over audiences of all ages. It has the most meaningful Batman origin story and the film really dives into the emotional makeup of Bruce Wayne. But that is not what this list is about.
The scene that I love in this film is when Batman is fighting the Joker in the rundown World of the Future Fairgrounds. While Batman and Joker are not monster sized, fighting in a miniature city helps to create one of the most epic Batman fights ever and a good installment for a Kaiju homage list. This is a must watch film for everyone that has a pulse.
How far would you go to bring back your favorite pet? In this dark 3D stop-motion-animated horror fantasy children’s film, Tim Burton created a great send up to classic horror films and literature. It’s the story of a young boy who loses his dog, but he uses what he learned in science class to revive Sparky. Once the other children find out that they can bring their pets back, all hell breaks loose.
The student, Toshiaki, pours growth formula over his pet turtle Shelley and turns it into a giant turtle monster. It’s an obvious reference to Gamera for all of your Kaiju Heads out there, but for legal purposes, it is called Turtle Monster or just Shelley.
When you are watching Colossal, whether you found it to be ambitious and charming like I did or underwhelming and tiresome, you cannot argue that the director Nacho Vigalondo loves Kaijus. He created a heartfelt low budget Kaiju film where the worst monster of them all is alcoholism.
The plot is as simple as it is unique: an alcoholic unemployed writer has to move back to her hometown, but whenever she falls asleep, a monster starts attacking Seoul, South Korea. It’s a unique idea that should be celebrated by all monster fans. Hopefully, we can have more creatives doing quirky and inventive takes on the monster genre.
Chev Chelios is the greatest action hero of all time. I was fortunate enough to have found out about the Crank films after the second one so that I could watch them as a double feature for the first time. These are fast paced action packed romps that are as hilarious as they are ridiculous.
In a movie that is already jammed full of headshots, exploding fake breasts, and a climax that is memorable for all the right and wrong reasons, it impressive that they found a moment to have a Kaiju battle. Jason Stathom (as Chev Chelios, the greatest action hero of all time) has just found out that he must charge his heart so that he can stay alive. He follows a thug into a power plant where they have an epic Godzilla style showdown complete with chest pounding and miniatures. It was a nice touch to an already amazing film.
6. Hot Fuzz
Edgar Wright has been on an amazing creative streak with his films. He is currently splatterless on RottenTomatoes which is a huge feat to begin with and he has created an amazing list of credits to his name. One of my favorite films that he did was Hot Fuzz were Edgar Wright police movie tropes and turned them on their head.
There is a scene towards the end of the film where Simon Pegg and Timothy Dalton have an all out brawl in a model village. It’s actually a really well done fight scene with references to Kaiju battles and Point Break. It’s a great scene that really ties the movie together.
Tammy and the T-Rex has been described as an after-school special on bath salts. It is the story of a high school jock who dies and has his brain transplanted into a T-Rex’s body. The film was directed by Stewart Raffill who brought us such classics as Mac and Me and Mannequin 2: On the Move.
What makes this movie special is that the jock was Paul Walker and his girlfriend Tammy is Denise Richards. That and some amazing T-Rex killing sprees and the greatest game of charades ever played make this film a midnight cult classic. VHS copies of this film are going for over $150 on Amazon right now, but full versions of this movie can be found on Youtube. Watch the Italian dub because they left all of the gore and violence in that cut.
If you couldn’t tell, I am a big animated Batman fan. The Lego Batman Movie had so many references and Easter Eggs throughout the film that there are entire blogs dedicated to pointing them all out. It was a fun and fast paced children’s film that was funny and heartwarming.
When the Joker is sent to The Phantom Zone, he is instantly met with all kinds of evil creatures: gremlins, Soran, Dracula, sharks, and of course a Godzilla like character. Godzilla also makes an appearance in the final battles of the film. If you want more Lego Batman Godzilla action, he is apparently a tough boss on The Lego Batman Movie Game as well.
9. The Mist
This is a film that has clearly divided fan lines. You either love or hate this movie. I am on the love side of the fence. The Mist was Frank Darabont’s third Stephen King adaptation. He had written and directed The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Some critics had a hard time with Frank going from these big emotional home runs to a monster film.
The monsters in The Mist are terrifying creatures. There is a black and white cut of the film on the collector’s DVD, and apparently it makes the monsters even more terrifying. Although the monsters work in this film, the most frightening thing in the film is how fast humanity crumbles.
10. I Kill Giants
This is a great low budget high concept film where the monsters are good enough to not take you out of the film emotionally. The film is about a high school student who feels like she is the only one that can protect her hometown from monsters. The deeper you go in the film, the more you understand where the monsters are coming from.
I really loved this movie and cannot talk about it enough. Here is my Letterboxd review for the film: “A low budget epic fantasy that takes place in the darkest and most terrifying setting ever: the world of teenage girls. This movie has all of the ideas of big blockbuster films on a smaller budget and done with more heart. It is a good film for those of us who are trying to run away from what’s in front of us.” Enjoy the monsters and warm your heart at the same time.