The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Mike Matei / October 16th, 2014

The original giant reptile from stop-motion master Ray Harryhausen. Pre-dates Godzilla by one year!


  • October 16, 2014 at 9:05 am


  • October 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

    It’s funny how things work out. It is my understanding that Ishiro Honda wanted to use stop-motion for Godzilla, but the Toho higher-ups did not have the resources to bring in anyone with that skill, so they went with the rubber suit instead. Great to see early Harryhausen on the list! An absolute original and creative genius.

    • Larry Hood

      October 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

      I’d like to see this one. I’ve never wanted to see the original King Kong but this one looks right up my alley.

      • October 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        You’ve gotta see the original King Kong at least once. It’s a classic!

      • October 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

        The original King Kong is fantastic. Fay Wray’s constant screaming does get a little irksome, but other than that it is an amazing achievement in early special effects.

    • October 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Haha, thank you! I love movies and love discussing them. With all the great ones James and Mike post, as well as their comments, I think these message boards are a missed opportunity for worthwhile discussion.

  • CrushingC10996WM

    October 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

    This movie is so much better than Zilla

  • Rick

    October 16, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Yeeeeah, Harryhausen!

  • Stick

    October 16, 2014 at 10:09 am

    That’s an impressive looking movie. It looks better than a lot of modern cgi. Artwork here.

  • October 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

    As an artist myself I can certainly appreciate the time and artistry that went into stop motion animation, but still its a severely limited art form. Even when stop motion animation is really good, it still never looks real. When CG is bad, its annoying. But when its good, it can be flawless.

    • October 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Stop motion is something to be appreciated for sure. It helped paved the way for modern day special effects. Yes, most stop motion doesn’t hold up, but that shouldn’t detract anyone from watching these films. They’re fun monster movies.

      For me having grown up watching many films with stop motion. Stop motion has a magically quality to me. The jerky effect of stop motion stands out. It has this way of moving that makes it look other wordly, even if it can look fake. I’ll give you an example of stop motion effects that still hold up in terms of look real. The ATATs in Empire Strike Back. They were stop motion and imo still look amazing. There’s something badass about their mechanical movements that CG can’t touch.

      • October 17, 2014 at 12:30 am

        I have nothing against old special effects, and can understand people liking stop motion for its retro charm. But at the end of the day movie effects are meant to look as real as possible. There’s something about the color and lighting that never matches up to the live action. Stop motion effects just always looked placed in. Besides CG could be made to look jerky and robotic. Fluid fast robots just seem to be what most directors want right now.

  • Claude Lilford

    October 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Nice to see Harryhausen get some praise and attention, nice one Cinemassacre.
    Could you talk about Nightbreed please? I want to know whether to watch it this month or not.

  • frostare

    October 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Compared to this guy, King Kong is a pussy!

  • rob norton

    October 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

    i remember the “6000 SUX” tv ad from Robocop that was a parody of this film. It’s in the middle of this compilation.

    • FinallyGAF

      October 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Awesome link.
      Also: From which movie is that guy in the beginning with the blue face?

  • rob norton

    October 16, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Review “Night of the Leapers” an absolute classic!

  • October 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    ray harryhausen was a genius at stop motion

  • Mega-Gojira

    October 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm


  • October 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Go for Scary movie man, I hope you’re going to cover that classic too. Otherwise it’s always fascinating to go trough this stuff.

  • Tailikku

    October 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Whose Line much?

    • Another Guy Named James

      October 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      “Colin, how do you respond to Animal Rights Activists who are saying that there’s a lot of misunderstanding going on?”


  • October 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    As a child, I visited a Ray Harryhausen exhibition at a local museum, which had a sustainable fascination as an effect.
    He did a great job in this movie, and so did you by doing this review!

  • Another Guy Named James

    October 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I remember seeing this movie as part of the “Green Screen” game on “Whose Line is it Anyway?”. It’s pretty neat to know this was the first giant reptilic monster!

    Thanks for the fun fact, James!

  • Ben_from_G-town

    October 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    It really is an important movie. It was cool to hear your words on it.

  • October 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    When I first saw was in 2007 while I was stationed Arifjan Kuwait.
    I just order it form Amazon, as the PX had a limited supply of DVDs, and thought it was great.
    When saw it again, I compare to the 1997 Godzilla and realized how much they lifted from this movie. When both monsters take the same path into Downtown in New Year. Even smashing the same building on Wall Street. They even die in the same way.
    I realize that 1997 Godzilla was, in reality, a really shitty remake of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

  • geddon

    October 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

    sooooooooooooooooooo good. <3 Monster Madness

  • icemann

    October 17, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I assume it was this movie that Robocop was parodying in one 2000SUX advertisement. Looks extremely similar.

  • Jimmy Reed

    October 17, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I wanted him to do this review ever since his “Top 10 Giant Movie Monsters”. Good review.

  • October 18, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Historical piece right here. Good stuff.

  • andrew giles

    October 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    You should check out the movie “The lost World (1925)”. It started the whole giant monster genre!

  • October 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    The scenes and story of this movie remind me of the 1998 godzilla. Mainly the new york bit, and that bit where it attacks the boat.

  • skwij

    October 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Ray Harryhausen was the man! Thanks!

  • MAZZ0Murder

    October 27, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Never even heard of this movie…and it looks like a good one to know!

  • November 1, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Basically Godzilla

  • January 12, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    I saw the movie when I was very little and it made such an impression on me that at bedtime I had to be reassured that the Beast could NOT swim up the Mississippi to Minneapolis because there were too many dams on the river. I was allowed to sleep with the lights on, however, just to be safe.
    So when I recently captured some video of our cat Opie walking on my model railroad it inspired me to do a parody, in a Calvin and Hobbes style, of the trailer from the movie.
    My town survived the assault with minimal damage and hopefully this will be a one time event, but I’m afraid that now that our cat has “tasted” the thrill of marauding ….
    See the trailer parody here:

  • August 4, 2015 at 1:10 am

    I feel like maybe the 98 Godzilla wouldn’t be hated as much if it presented itself as a remake of this rather then Godzilla. It kinda does have a similar look.

  • Alexander Braner

    October 3, 2016 at 7:25 am

    i think the movie was a little too slow

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