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Nose Norton

Location: Plainville
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,626
Subj: Creature Feature 101: War Of The Colossal Beast(1958)
Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 at 06:07:06 am CDT (Viewed 186 times)

Just 8 months after The Amazing Colossal Man, Bert I. Gordon and American International Pictures released it's sequel, War Of The Colossal Beast on June 30, 1958. The film continues the storyline of the original but with a new cast, including Dean Parker now in the role of giant Glenn Manning. It was also known as Revenge Of The Colossal Man and The Colossal Beast.

Glenn Manning, the Colossal Man, survived his fall from the Boulder Dam in the previous film, though he is horribly scarred and suffering brain damage. Upon hearing reports of mysteriously disappearing food trucks, his sister, Joyce, and a couple of military men investigate. When they find Glenn, they sedate him and transport him to an airplane hanger. Finding they can't get through to him, they chain him down and devise a plan to send him to a deserted island. Glenn escapes, however, and makes his way to Los Angeles. There he threatens to destroy a school bus full of children until his sister is able to inspire a sliver of humanity in him. He safely puts down the bus and commits suicide by grabbing high-voltage power lines.

This movie didn't seem familiar at all until the first time I heard Colossal Glenn groan. Then it came back to me. The distinctive groan is very effective as it does sound like it's coming from a giant creature rather than just being an animalistic roar. I've read reviews online that stated that the groans were very frightening to people who saw War Of The Colossal Beast as a child and I can understand. The makeup effects were also quite good when you were able to get a good look at them. I'd always thought they were some type of robotics from stills I've seen from the movie, but they are actually protruding bone and scar tissue from the military's attack and the fall in the climax of the first movie.
I'm a fan of continued stories and this movie does a good job of picking up where the last left off. The introduction of a new cast really isn't jarring but this sequel isn't as good as the original. The pathos is gone as Manning is reduced to a grunting beast and there was a great deal of padding, including a 5 minute flashback to the first film. I was particularly annoyed at the scenes leading up to the climax. I've definitely seen worse movies than War Of The Colossal Beast and I'm not disappointed that I watched it today but I think it'll be a while before I watch it again.

Memorable Moments:

The opening with the Mexican truck driver fleeing the unseen giant beast. This scene had the feeling of similar scenes in Rodan and Them! and was an effective way to open the movie.

The first appearance of the Colossal Beast. It's typical "monster appears from behind a mountain", but it works. The numerous destroyed food trucks, one with his giant thumbprint, help to build the tension, too. And those grunts!

The subdued Glenn nearly falling on the military men. They use knock-out gas on him and his head nearly crushes several of the men, giving a good view of his scarred face.

The school bus scene and electrocution. The sight of a giant holding a bus over his head is always fun, even when you can tell it's fake, and the flash to color when Glenn grabs the high voltage wires is cool, too. Glenn just disappears afterward, which was puzzling. I guess he could have rapidly shrunk to normal size.

War Of The Colossal Beast trailer

I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone is killed in this movie besides Glenn. I don't feel like watching it again to find out, though.

Bert I. Gordon is known as "Mr. B.I.G." due to his penchant for making giant monster movies.

War Of The Colossal Beast was released on a double bill with Attack Of The Puppet People, another Gordan film.

Sally Fraser, who played Joyce, appeared in several B horror movies, including It Conquered The World and Earth Vs. The Spider and has a brief uncredited scene in North By Northwest.

You can watch War Of The Colossal Beast here:

War Of The Colossal Beast

Next time:
King Kong Escapes

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