There are quite a few science fiction movies that feature sea creatures. Most aren’t very good, but there are a handful of classics. Here are my ten favorites.
1. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) – An atomic bomb test in the Artic releases a frozen “Rhedosaurus”. The beast is especially deadly because it’s radioactive. As far as I know, this was the first of many movies where radioactivity creates a giant monster. This film was the inspiration for Godzilla (1954). Stop-motion special effects by the famous Ray Harryhausen.
2. Godzilla (1954/56) – Although most of the action takes place on land, some of the best scenes take place in the sea, including the fishing boat scene and the Tokyo Bay scene.
3. 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954) – The giant squid is one of the most famous sci-fi sea creatures. This is a great film. And the best movie submarine of all time – the Nautilus. I used to love going to the 20,000 Leagues exhibit at Disneyland in the 1960s.
4. The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) – My favorite parts of the original 1954 film are at the beginning when the scientists are searching for the creature in the lagoon. Quite suspenseful. I don’t like the 1955 “Revenge of the Creature” too much, but I do like the 1956 follow-up movie, “The Creature Walks among Us” where the Gill Man gets lungs.
5. It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) – A hydrogen bomb test disturbs a big octopus. Really big. The octopus heads for San Francisco. Stop-motion special effects by the Ray Harryhausen.
6. The Giant Behemoth (1959) – This British film is very much like “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms”. This time the radioactive beast is a “Paleosaurus” and it rampages through London before being killed by a radium filled torpedo. Stop-motion special effects by Willis O’Brien who is most famous for King Kong.
7. Clash of the Titans (1981) – The Kraken was animated by Ray Harryhausen and makes only a brief appearance. I much prefer the 1981 version to the 2010 remake even though the 2010 Kraken is quite impressive.
8. The Monster that Challenged the World (1957) – The monsters here are thousands of giant snail-like things. They challenge the world by threatening to invade via irrigation systems.
9. Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) – Atomic testing creates giant intelligent crabs. After a crab eats someone, they digest the brains of the victim and can communicate telepathically with humans. Weird but effective movie.
10. Leviathon (1989) – This movie is basically an underwater version of “Alien” (1979). This is the best of half a dozen underwater sci-fi movies released in 1989.
Mysterious Island (1961) All kinds of Ray Harryhausen creatures including a cool ammonite.