Top 20 Craziest Kaiju: Number 20

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The Monster Crystals


from The Monolith Monsters (US-1957; dir. John Sherwood)

Monolith Monsters poster

“Rocks, Joe? Towers of rock crashing down and then growing up again?”

The monsters in this “atomic age” classic are skyscraper-sized obsidian crystal towers. They arrive on earth attached to a meteor that is shattered upon entrance into earth’s atmosphere. The remnants of the meteor begin to grow by absorbing the water and silicon out of everything with which they come in contact, including humans. The absorbing of these elements causes the crystals to grow skyward until all of the resources have been exhausted, then they break apart from within and come crashing down — destroying everything in their paths. Then the one becomes many as the fragments of these monoliths instantly begin to absorb elements and grow. Their inexorable progress toward the township is akin to the march of a more traditional giant monster, and potentially as deadly. It’s a unique concept and makes for many eerie scenes in a movie that is too often ignored.

Monolith Monsters - still 1

Monolith Monsters screenshot 2

Here’s the classically ’50s opening narration and credit sequence from the film:

And here’s a low-quality version of the trailer:


Coming Tomorrow: Kaiju Search-Robot Avery’s Top 20 Craziest Kaiju Countdown Number 19!

Read the Top 20 Craziest Kaiju Countdown Introduction.


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26 Responses to Top 20 Craziest Kaiju: Number 20

  1. Terry Frost says:

    Good start with the monolith monsters – I just hope Rectuma arrives on the list soon…

  2. Mysterious Pants says:

    I remember seeing this on TV when I was really young and becoming frustrated that the movie seemed to be taking forever to get the supposed “monsters” promised in the movie’s title while spending an inordinate amount of time with some stuff about giant crystals. My father had explain to me that said crystals WERE the monsters. Whoops.

  3. Avery says:

    ‘Rectuma’…hmmn??Pretty crazy flick.Does it display a lot of creativity??Well,I can’t reveal any films from the list,because that would ruin it.You’ll just have to wait and see.I love “The Monolith Monsters”.It’s one of my favorites,and a lot of fun.I’m anxious to hear more suggestions from the readers.Anyone else got any suggestions??

  4. Backbrain says:

    To Mysterious Pants: I can imagine that… and it is clearly what the title was meant to do. Not frustrate you, but attract the monster-fan audience to something that is a little less clear-cut than your ordinary monster flick. Yet the Monoliths do act like monsters, despite being “non-living” or at least non-sentient. There are other examples; the monster tornadoes of “Twister” act like giant monsters and cause very giant-monster-like destruction. (See my article on the relationship of this film to “Godzilla” :
    Similarly the volcano in “Dante’s Peak” is rather giant-monster like.

  5. Backbrain says:

    I think I might collect readers’ suggestions and at the end have an Addendum post that lists the ones that you haven’t included on yours, Avery. We’re a democracy here! … within the confines of the Backbrain’s benevolent dictatorship, of course! 🙂

  6. Avery says:

    In that case Rob,how about the ‘massive swarm of man made micro organisms’ in the film “Path Of Destruction”[2005] from the Sci-Fi Channel??They really caused some destruction and carried the presence of being like one big living creature.They seemed to move in harmony;all in the same direction at the same time.Like a giant floating blob-like creature.They were in fact all part of the same organism if I’m not mistaken??

  7. Backbrain says:

    I haven’t seen it, though I like the concept. It’s sort of a hive mentality, isn’t it? Where the individuals within the swarm share a common consciousness… making them a single unified organism.

  8. Avery says:

    Yeah,exactly!!I caught it on the Sci-Fi Channel once.It really had that kaiju feel to it.Much like’Twister’.More so than films about locusts swarms or killer bees,which seem to act separately.Leave it to the SF channel to come up with some of the weirdest concepts.

  9. Terry Frost says:

    Well if you’re talking about collective groups of thingies then you have to chuck in Chuck in “The Naked Jungle” too. Five square miles of agonising death, to quote William Conrad in that movie

  10. Backbrain says:

    That’s the one based on “Leiningen Versus the Ants” by Carl Stephenson — great short story!

    The exact quote (according to IMDB) is even better for your argument: “Leiningen, you’re up against a monster twenty miles long and two miles wide… forty square miles of agonizing death! You can’t stop it!”

  11. Terry Frost says:

    I sit corrected on the quote. Eleanor Parker was hot in the movie, too. I rewatched it a few weeks ago for my George Pal podcast.

    The story needs a good remake, too, instead of movie makers reanimating the corpses of weak 1970s tv shows for their feature film ideas.

  12. Backbrain says:

    Hey, Terry, your version of the quote was pretty close considering that you didn’t cheat and look it up!

    It must be 20 years since I saw that film. I’d like to watch it again. Must seek it out.

  13. Avery says:

    Sounds really cool!! I’ll have to check it out.Let me get this straight;it’s a living forest??Or is it just about killer ants that dominate that much territory??

  14. Backbrain says:

    The latter. A 20 mile long, 2 mile wide column of army ants, acting as one…

  15. Terry Frost says:

    Hi Rob
    Unfortunately, the only DVD version of The Naked Jungle is pan and scan – not sure or not if the original was widescreen or academy ratio.

    Avery: marabunta! Soldier ants. They stripped a fat character actor to the bone in minutes. The SFX are pretty good for the day, too. Watching it now, the whole thing works.

  16. Backbrain says:

    According to IMDB, it was made in Academy ratio: 1.37 : 1. Pretty much the standard 4:3 TV.

  17. Avery says:

    WOW!!Sounds rather awesome,much like ‘Path Of Destruction’.Some company needs to pick it up soon.I would love to see it.

  18. Terry Frost says:

    Kewl. I didn’t get ripped off – the way I did with Colossus: The Forbin Project. Thanks 🙂

  19. Avery says:

    There’s a remake of it from 2006? Check this out:

  20. Terry Frost says:

    No remake. It was a project but never got through the lenses…

  21. Backbrain says:

    I notice it refers to the ants as “mutant” ants … An upgrade from the fairly naturalistic ones of the original?

    I notice too that the proposed director was Jonathan Hensleigh, who wrote “Armageddon” and hence should be slapped. He also wrote “The Saint”. “The Punisher”, “Jumanji” and “Die Hard With a Vengeance”, all of which were tolerable if not as good as they should have been — especially “The Saint”, which was NOT very Saint-like. But then he wrote and directed “Welcome to the Jungle”, which I thought was a hoot!

  22. Avery says:

    I wonder how long it will be before SF channel remakes it??It sounds cool though.Any other suggestions/opinions about the list??Perhaps predictions??

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  26. Scot says:

    So, the proposed remake of “The Naked Jungle” had the ants upgraded from regular old army ants to “mutant” ants? That figures. The story was probably also updated to the present instead of 1901, and the mail-order bride character replaced by a beautiful and feisty female entomologist. God bless Hollywood.

    A couple of other interesting 1950s sci-fi films with a similar premise to “The Monolith Monsters” — the threat is neither man nor alien nor beast, but a mindless thing that keeps growing and growing — are “The Magnetic Monster” and “Kronos.”

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