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War Of The Colossal Beast - Review

A Review by Mike Bogue

2˝ Stars - Pretty Good

(Released July 1958 by American International Pictures, a.k.a. AIP.)

Direction: Bert I. Gordon

Screenplay: George Worthing Yates

Special Effects: Bert I. Gordon

Music: Albert Glasser

Producer: Bert I. Gordon

War Of The Colossal Beast Still. Low-budget 1950’s producer-director Bert I. Gordon strikes again!

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 town!

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?

War Of The Colossal Beast Still.

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!

Amazing Useless Trivia:

  • This movie’s working title was Revenge of the Colossal Man, which makes more sense than War of the Colossal Beast.  After all, the first title would make any potential viewer aware that this was a sequel to Colonel Glenn Manning’s ordeal from the previous year, but the second title has only the word “colossal” to connect the two. 
  • In England, War of the Colossal Beast was released as The Terror Strikes, certainly an interesting title for a 1950’s Grade-B sci-fier.
  • War Of The Colossal Beast Still.
  • Actor Glenn Langan did not return to portray Colonel Glenn Manning in War of the Colossal Beast.  Instead, the more athletic Dean Parkin essayed the role of the battered-face giant.
  • Though mostly shot in black and white, the movie’s ending is in color.
  • In addition to being electrocuted, the Colossal Beast inexplicably disintegrates (!) after grasping high-tension power lines.  Perhaps he phased into an Amazing Colossal Twilight Zone?
  • The Colossal Beast and the more-than-full-figured heroine of 1958’s Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman both died from electrocution.
  • There is no truth to the rumor that the Colossal Man and Fifty-Foot Woman eloped and gave birth to the state of Massivechusetts.

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