31 Days of Horror: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Today is International Animation Day and ideally I would like to highlight an animated horror movie. But for some strange reason there isn't really any.

There has been some Japanese anime that play with the horror genre like Vampire Hunter D (1985) and Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) but I found Vampire Hunter D to be a mediocre film at best. It's ok but it's more of a fantasy film than a horror movie and Blood: The Last Vampire is more of action film and is only 48 minutes long - it barely gets started and then it's over.

But in 1953 Warner Brothers made the first of the atomic powered giant monster movies and the brilliant Ray Harryhausen provided the stop motion effects.

The movie claims to be based on Ray Bradbury's short story of the same name. In fact the movie was shot and then the producers bought the rights to Bradbury's story to use the name. Bradbury then changed the name of his story to The Fog Horn.

In the arctic during a nuclear bomb test - a frozen dinosaur is awakened and then goes on a rampage in New York City. The beast ends up at the Coney Island amusement park because Disneyland wasn't open yet.

This film started the whole giant monster movie craze and it inspired Japan to create one of the most famous giant monsters of all - Godzilla. Harryhausen's animation is amazing and it's pretty cool that when the monster bleeds, it releases a ancient "horrible, virulent" prehistoric germ that also starts killing the people off who weren't trampled by the beast. The ending at Coney Island is fantastic and the film itself is one of the many highlights of Ray Harryhausen's long career.

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