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A mix of monster movie and found footage, this divisive film had many people turning away, not because of the horror but rather for the shaky camera. With a sea-beast coming ashore in New York City at night, getting a glimpse of the creature was not easy. The film teases and teases the monster for most of the run time, giving us only the most frustratingly brief looks at legs and arms and the occasional blink and you’ll miss views of anything else. Nonetheless, its entrance is one of the most memorable movie monster come-shores ever, even though we don’t actually see it as it blasts through buildings and bridges, sending the head of the Statue of Liberty sailing through the night sky straight at the feet of the panicked people we are following. Absolutely awesome start.
The cool thing about this water monster is how it hides in plain sight, dangling from a bridge over the Han River in Seoul while people begin to question what it is and how it got there. More curious than scared, they point and speculate as it slips back under the surface before finally emerging, coming ashore, and going on a rampage. Doing away with many clichés of the genre, this entrance is fast and unexpected, more about the panic than the awe. While it might not be the biggest beast on the list, it remains nonetheless, an impressive one.
Subterranean monsters typically live in deep caves or tunnels, but the thing that makes the giant monsters in the action film Tremors so good is that these beasts travel along underground as if they were sharks in water. Near the start, when heroes Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) try to ride away on horses from something they don’t quite understand, they soon realize monsters are under their feet. After the horses ditch them, they think they are surrounded by small tentacle-like creatures but that’s not the case when out from the dirt emerges an enormous monster that puts on the chase. It’s clever, surprising, and a great entrance to a unique set of hungry hunters.
While this remake of the 1981 film is considered by many to be an inferior movie, the story of Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his winged horse Pegasus has some solid action moments, though it is the famous line from Liam Neeson as Zeus commanding to, “Release the Kraken!” that serves as the film’s highlight. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) does the bidding and from the bowels of hell come the epically large tentacled leviathan with a gnarly mouthful of teeth. The beast is a great-looking CGI monster that unfortunately has very limited screen time, but nonetheless was absolutely stunning when it bursts out of the water that first time. A very cool monster that should have stayed longer.
This first re-imagining of the classic giant ape movie is a campy sometimes thrilling, often disappointing remake though it has a great performance by Jeff Bridges and a spectacular Kong in the Rick Baker-made beast. In this still startlingly good moment, Dwan (Jessica Lange) is captured by the tribespeople of Skull Island and offered up to their god, tied by the wrists and mounted like a prize on the forest edge. When the trees begin to shake and the ground tremble, the thundering drums of the frenzied clan (and John Barry‘s incredible score) build tremendous tension as the we glimpse the great ape emerging from the darkness, making this the single best moment in the film.
Near the deserts of Arizona, a scientist is working on an injection that promotes gigantism, seeing results in a number of caged animals, including rabbits, mice, and one spider, which, after one of the doctor’s deformed assistance sets fire to the laboratory, gets out and heads to the hills where the experiments cause the arachnid to grow at a substantial rate, eventually becoming larger than a house. Making it’s appearance at around the 40-minute mark in the film, it begins with a corral of horses who grow restless in the night as something seems to be approaching over the hills just beyond, and sure enough, BOOM, the tarantula pops into view, beginning its terrorizing of the small time. Rear-screen projection that still kinda brings the creeps.
The original live-action and stop-motion animated film is considered a classic in the genre, despite the visual effects that don’t quite hold up to modern standards, though Ray Harryhausen‘s work is truly the real reason the film is so beloved. In the classic scene, Andromeda (Judi Bowker) is tied to the rocks by the shore, a sacrifice forced to be made to the Kraken, who, in this film is a mix of sea serpent and a bit of the Creature From The Black Lagoon. The monster’s entrance is made all the better by its elongated fingers that come into view first as it grips the shoreline rocks and then rises out of the waves. Back in the day, this was legendary stuff.
To choose one Godzilla entrance is a tough one, but we’ll go current, only because the anticipation for Gareth Edwards‘ English-language reboot was at off-the-chart levels, and he pulled a mega-Spielberg on us by holding back the great monster’s entrance until almost the third act, concentrating on characters and set up. And wow, did it work. While the film is flawed, the monster is not, and when he storms onto the battle against the Muto in San Francisco, it’s a spine-tingly good sequence as an airport goes up in flame and a gigantic foot falls into view signaling, at last, a full on view of the beast in come-and-get-me rage mode.
There was already plenty of interest in dinosaurs before Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park, but because of it, they became an international phenomenon that has yet to really wane, and that entirely because this movie did what no other has done so well: It made us believe. No other dino in the film did that better than the Tyrannosaurus rex, and the giant monster’s entrance is still one of the best ever. Beginning with a subtle series of thumps that sound like distant thunder and a few rings in a plastic cup of water, the king of the dinosaurs finally bursts through the underbrush and crashes the fence meant to hold it back. It lets go a terrifying howl, announcing to the petrified onlookers that it’s about to make whatever it can catch go extinct.
When ghosts begin to terrorize the city of New York, it’s up to four men in tan jumpsuits and nuclear accelerators on their back to try and catch them. When they trace the source to the apartment building of Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), they face off against Gozer the Gozerian, a demigod with a nasty disposition looking to end all of humanity. She summons the destructor, who will take the form of whatever the Ghostbusters think of. It just so happens, one of them likes Stay-Puft marshmallows so in comes a massive, smiling, evil, marshmallow man. The mystery of what is coming, and the framing of his entrance makes it one of the scariest and funniest giant monster entrances ever filmed.
In Peter Jackson‘s epic trilogy of the much beloved J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy series, a group of brave adventures from different races band together to try and stop the evil Dark Lord Sauron who seeks the lost One Ring, which will give him dominion over Middle Earth. The fellowship, which consists of humans, Hobbits, Dwarves, and the wizard Gandolf (Ian McKellen), must pass through the Mines of Moria to reach Mordor, home of Sauron, but along the way, they disturb a malicious Balrog, a massive, horned, ebony creature bathed in flames and armed with whips of fire. It’s arrival in the dark catacombs, announced by its fearsome, echoing howl is one the most chilling moments in the series, and arguably one of best movie monster entrances ever. You shall not pass . . . up seeing this amazing movie monster entrance.
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