Directed by Eugène Lourié and Douglas Hickox
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Now this is what I am talking about, man! Giant monsters destroying cities! People fleeing in a panic! Bad special F/X! Even worse acting! Submarines! Ferries being overturned! Cars being stepped on! Hand puppets sticking out of the water! Matte paintings! The same scenes used over, and over, and over again as rampage filler! Tag-lines like The biggest thing since creation! Exclamation points to denote excitement!!! Yeah, baby!
SEE the Beast that shakes the Earth! LIVE in a world gone mad! WATCH the chaos of a smashed civilization! FLEE from the mightiest fright on the screen! NOTHING so BIG as BEHEMOTH!
I could do this shit for hours! Instead … let’s take a quick look at the story.
Man. We screw everything up. The Earth must hate us. After all, why else would it spit out a long sleeping prehistoric creature to come and show us the error of our ways? That’s exactly what happens year after year after year of dumping radioactive materials into the ocean. Now that the beastie has woken up on the wrong side of the reef, he finds himself with the uncanny ability to project enough electricity to char humans to the point at which they and their surroundings are turned into bad paintings that are supposed to pass for special F/X. Know what the kicker is? The military cannot even drop a bomb on the behemoth because they’re afraid that bits of the monster would scatter radioactive matter all over the place. Oh the horror!
And horror it is. But not the part with the monster. That’s just fun. It’s the near hour we have to wait for the big bad to show up and wreck shit that is truly terrifying. Apparently the filmmakers just didn’t have the cash laying around to deliver a non-stop creature feature. All the goodies come in the last twenty or so minutes. What to do? I’ll tell you — praise the creator of the fast forward button. This person should have a holiday named after him. Whoever he may be, he’s a true saint to home video watchers everywhere!
Still, there is some good news — the commentary! Other than the film’s trailer this is the only feature to be found here, and man, does it deliver. F/X gurus Dennis Murren (Equinox, Jurassic Park) and Phil Tippett (Piranah, Star Wars) are on hand to wax nostalgic and tear apart this film’s many shortcomings with a loving sort of reckless abandon. My opinion — get these guys to do commentary on all of these flicks! They are great.
Despite its flaws The Giant Behemoth remains one of those movies you just have to see, and it’s cool to have it come home for the first time packing some unexpected supplemental punch. It is a must for giant monster movie fans. Everyone else should at least watch it with the commentary for some laughs!
Audio commentary with F/X gurus Dennis Murren and Phil Tippett
2 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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