Direction: Bert I. Gordon
Screenplay: George Worthing Yates
Special Effects: Bert I. Gordon
Music: Albert Glasser
Producer: Bert I. Gordon
Low-budget 1950’s producer-director Bert I. Gordon strikes
This sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man more or
less picks up where the original left off. Due to his fall from Boulder Dam,
Colonel Manning’s hideously mangled face has become unrecognizable. Hiding out
in Mexico and raiding bread trucks, the Colossal Beast finds himself captured by
U.S. authorities, who house him in an airplane hanger in Los Angeles.
Why an airplane hanger in Los Angeles? Obviously so he can break out and terrorize the
After all, if they’d confined the title character at an isolated military base, there
wouldn’t be much for him to smash up before tanks and bazookas blew him into
amazing colossal pulp, would there?
Anyway, the Colossal Beast escapes once, panics the airport, is caught and chained
down, and then escapes a second time. Due to the strapped budget, the angry
giant abstains from toppling any well-known landmarks. However, he does
literally hold a busload of school kids hostage over his head. Can his sister
convince him to come to his senses and put the bus down? Does he even know he
has a sister? After all, the first film stated that he had no family,
but a little thing like plot continuity shouldn’t stand in the way of some
black-and-white fifties fun, should it?
Unlike its predecessor, War of the Colossal Beast rarely strives for pathos,
instead opting to be an economical giant monster movie and little more, an
aspiration at which it mostly succeeds. In addition, Jack H. Young’s make-up
for the Colossal Beast, somewhat patterned after Gordon’s earlier and equally
hideous The Cyclops, is striking and grotesque, making the Colossal
Beast one of the most famous “horror faces” from the fifties, even if most
“civilians” couldn’t tell you what movie he was in.
In fact, as a kid, both Gordon’s Cyclops and the Colossal Beast creeped me out,
not only because of the grisly make-up, but also because of the horrible sounds
that growled and grunted from the throats of each. As a young, monster-struck
devotee, I found these harsh vocalizations disturbing. I’ve even had a couple
of nightmares about the Colossal Beast!