Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: The Giant Behemoth (1959)
While looking for something to watch during the week, I was perusing our Amazon Prime watchlist. It’s a veritable goldmine in terms of movies that most people would never watch. Bless my husband; I found a movie he had put in there called Behemoth, the Sea Monster (aka The Giant Behemoth) and I only had to read the words “...the resurrection of a dormant dinosaur which threatens London” to get me to pull the trigger on this one.
The movie opens on an American scientist Steve Karnes (Gene Evans) giving a speech to a British Scientific Club. He is discussing how all marine life is being effected by the nuclear testing going on around the world. The scientists, led by Professor James Bickford (the wonderful Andre Morell), all pretty much pooh-pooh Karnes. He’s about to leave to go back to America when word comes in to the club that a fisherman in Wales has been killed by a lethal dose of radiation poisoning. The last word he says to those that find him is “behemoth”. Tons of fish also wind up dead on shore, too.
Well, Karnes and Bickford decide to take a trip over to Wales to find out what the hell is going on. Bickford and the government are skeptical about the claims of a behemoth or about radiation poisoning. When another group of people die of radiation poisoning, they discover a huge footprint of the creature who is killing people with its radiation. Dr. Sampson (Jack MacGowran) is brought in and he says a prehistoric aquatic dinosaur is emitting electrical pulses of radiation. He tells Karnes and Bickford that this giant creature is also dying of radiation. He posits that this creature is headed to shallow waters and that London and the Thames are most likely the target.
Of course, the government thinks they can track the beast and have zero plans on closing off the Thames to people and traffic. Now, we’ve all seen enough of these Kaiju movies to know that the government are usually run by morons and they never want to listen to scientists who know better. Yes, the behemoth is invisible to tracking radar so when he gets to London, he fucking goes mad destroying shit, as you do when you’re a lovely sea creating just minding your biz and you get zapped with radiation.
Karnes and Bickford, again, try to tell the government how to kill the creature. They figure their best bet is to get it to swallow a torpedo full of radium. While they’re trying to get their shit together, the creature continues to fuck with the city, eventually even crushing the London Bridge. Finally, Karnes gets into a mini-sub to try and force feed the radiation torpedo into the behemoth’s mouth. Will they kill the creature? Will man ever learn not to fuck with animals?
Even though Behemoth, the Sea Monster is a lot like Gorgo (which I’ve previous written about), I still really liked this one. If nothing else, Andre Morell classes up any joint he’s in. Sure, the creature isn’t the best looking thing you’ve ever seen. The stop-motion isn’t great but it’s still awesome to see the monster walking down the streets of London causing mayhem. And, sure, this movie ticks all the boxes in terms of what a monster movie should do but, really, so what? So, while it doesn’t give us anything new, it doesn’t matter. I like to throw in a Kaiju movie that takes place in England. These films will never be as great at the amazing films the Japanese output but they are fun nonetheless.