The 10 Scariest Giant Movie Monsters Of All Time

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 28th, 2012 at 8:16 am, This is a list post.

Gwoemul The Host Movie monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and while some of the smallest creatures have produced the greatest fear in humanity, there's no questioning that the giant monsters that attack whole cities and engulf victims like Tic-Tacs are terrifying on a whole other scale (get it?). Movies have seen their fair share of the big fellas, and we've narrowed them down to those we think are the scariest of them all. Certain giant movie monsters just missed the cut, but came to mind while developing our 10 favorites. For instance, the Brain Bug from Starship Troopers is a massive and disgusting creature and the Graboids of Tremors are hideous creatures, but ultimately both missed our list. Don't forget monsters that don't quite fit the protocol, like the aliens from War of the Worlds or Independence Day. While their ships were massive and had the ability to destroy entire cities, the monsters themselves were "regular-size" aliens. One name that may instantly creep into your head throughout this process is King Kong. But we've decided he's just not that scary. Sure, a run-in on the streets of Manhattan might stop your heart, but after Peter Jackson's extensive humanization of the great ape, he's just not all that scary any more. Without further ado, let's get right into the scariest giant movie monsters of all time. SOME SPOILERS ahead as many of the films hide the identity until the last act.

The 50-Foot Woman - Attack of the 50-Foot Woman

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Now this one is a gorgeous beast. It could be considered a subtle parody of the genre films of its era, but in 1958 Attack of the 50-Foot Woman was just downright scary on a number of levels. More impressive than the monster itself herself is the production budget of $88,000. Any monster movie that can accomplish its goal on such a microscopic budget deserves recognition. Either way, some would find a 50-Foot Woman to be the perfect monster, but it all depends on your perspective. If she stepped over you, your view might be better than if she stepped on you. The best part about the film is that it focuses on a specific problem. Instead of wreaking havoc on the world, the giant woman uses her new "power" to exact revenge on her cheating husband and his mistress.

Ants - Them!

Giant Ants from Them! One of the few monster movies that transcended its genre and entered the Oscar race, Them! was nominated for an award in the Special Effects category. In 1954, the giant ants of the film felt realer than any giant monster before. The tagline on a movie poster is just as hilarious as it is fear-inducting:
A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the Earth from mile-deep catacombs.
That reminds me of the Graboids from Tremors, but much bigger and more threatening. The essential message behind the film came at a time when the nuclear threat was frighteningly new. The ants are mutated by atomic radiation to enormous proportions. Rather than immediately showing off the gigantic ants, our first glimpse is 30 minutes into the film. This is probably what sets it apart from so many monster movies of the time. It is about suspense and mystery. Once we uncover the clues behind the disappearing people, it becomes a scary monster movie with one of the best giant monsters of all time.

Mantis Creatures - The Mist

The Mist Mantis Monster There are so many monsters in The Mist that it could have a Top 10 list all its own. As the movie progresses, the monsters get bigger and meaner, ultimately finding a place on our list. One of the most intimidating creatures in recent memory has to be the giant mantis creatures that approach the cast near the end of the film. As difficult as it is to see the monsters in the thick mist, the sounds of their movement are just as scary. It's quite the moment when people are snatched into the sky or cars are crushed.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man - Ghostbusters

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Ghostbusters One of the funniest and scariest giant monsters of all time tears its way through Ghostbusters. There is nothing more frightening than an enormous multi-layered marshmallow with an attitude. But just imagine if you burnt the Marshmallow Man. That is one tasty monster. The history behind the Marshmallow Man is interesting. Wikipedia explains that in the original script, Dan Aykroyd was the person who thought of the giant marshmallow. It stemmed from the concept of a cute, cuddly mascot all blown up into a terrifying monster. Bill Bryan created the outfit as part of a miniature set which was blended in for the finished product. The worst part of a massive marshmallow man would have to be the sticky cleanup  left in its wake. How do you get towering pieces of marshmallow off a building? No easy task, that.

Tyrannosaurus Rex - Jurassic Park I-III

Jurassic Park T-Rex monster It's easy to argue the lack of size of the T-Rex. Its place on this list has more to do with its destructive behavior than its sheer size. But there is no question it is a giant monster. At nearly 20 feet tall and weighing eight tons, the T-Rex is a man-eating machine that spends the rest of its time destroying everything around it. The most relevant scene was its great escape in San Diego during the second half of Jurassic Park II. Starved and frustrated, the T-Rex roams the streets of San Diego, causing chaos and destruction. At one point, it throws a bus through a Blockbuster Video Store (which turned out to be a metaphor for the chain's future - who knew?). The signature roar of the T-Rex has become a staple in monster movies ever since. The roars of the Cloverfield monster bring back memories of our days watching disaster unfold in the first  Jurassic Park film.

Giant Squid - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

20000 Leagues Under The Sea monster poster Walt Disney had his own 1954 monster movie for the masses. While Ants! earned itself a single Oscar nomination, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea actually took home a pair of Oscars for Art Direction and Special Effects, along with a nomination for Editing. The monster in 20,000 Leagues was terrorizing sailors before the film's story even got underway. But when the government sends Professor Arronax on a mission to find out if the giant sea monster truly exists, the film becomes a journey into the abyss. While the film ends up with only a brief encounter with the giant squid, it is one of the most memorable moments in the film. The main characters battle the giant squid and it becomes the cornerstone of the  action in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The squid is a creature that deserved more screen time. With David Fincher's recently announced remake, we may yet get to see more of this beast.

Unnamed - Cloverfield

Cloverfield Monster Cloverfield worked mighty hard to hide the identity of the film's giant monster until the climax. Some were disappointed by the bizarre look of the creature, but there's no question it was one of the most intense monsters ever to take a swipe at New York City's skyline. The reason the monster is so effective has to due with the intention the filmmakers had for the beast. They have frequently discussed how the monster is not your typical rampaging beast - instead, it is like an infant, afraid of the world it has been thrown into and the small creatures (humans) attacking it. It tried desperately to escape, but couldn't maneuver the maze of streets and buildings in Manhattan. The monster definitely redesigned the look of the city, but it was mostly due to collisions and stumbling into skyscrapers. The only real time it seemed to knowingly attack was when it cut off the head of the Statue of Liberty.

Gwoemul - The Host

Gwoemul The Host Sometimes a film is so good that it transcends its genre. The Host is one of the most acclaimed foreign films of the last decade and its beast deserves much of the praise. As Godzilla was Japan's cinematic allegory for the nuclear attack from the United States, The Host uses a fictional beast to incite satire for government occupation. A monster can metaphorically represent any number of things, but if it doesn't scare the hell out of its victims, it's worthless. The monster in The Host is so wild and unpredictable that it turns the film into a horror movie. It's more the presence of a hidden beast that creates fear and tension than its destructive behavior. The real question is whether its size is an issue; it's big enough to destroy bridges, so it is a relative giant.

The Kraken - Pirates of the Caribbean, Clash of the Titans

Pirates of the Caribbean The Kraken No matter who fights The Kraken, you can always count on its massive scale. The enormous teeth threaten all who tread near its mouth, but that only matters if you can get that close. Most attacks from The Kraken occur on the open sea, but as shown in Clash of the Titans, it has been known to devour port city areas. Unfortunately for bystanders, The Kraken is just like any giant monster that takes  countless innocent lives. Yet, the one characteristic that makes The Kraken unique is that is must be summoned. In Clash of the Titans, The Kraken is released by Zeus. In Pirates of the Caribbean, The Kraken is summoned by Davy Jones. Yet even those in power seem to have limited control over the massive beast. The Kraken is one of the most deadly sea monsters around. If you can keep away from those in control of it, you should be fine on your voyages across the sea.

Godzilla - Godzilla

Godzilla Godzilla has gone through a number of makeovers throughout the years, but one thing remains certain - this giant lizard hates (almost) everything. While it has spent most of its "entertainment life" fighting other giant monsters, Godzilla has spent some time crushing cities and the humans in them. In fact, Godzilla is such a celebrity that he even has his own Hollywood star. He has experienced the glory days - from the original 1954 Japanese movie, to many, many subsequent films and television shows. But a 1998 adaptation by Roland Emmerich left the great lizard in shame, putting the well-known monster on the run for most of the film, instead of on the attack. Regardless, the devastation left behind when Godzilla arrives is nothing short of spectacular. To put it in perspective: the only man capable of bringing the beast back to the Hollywood spotlight was Roland Emmerich, King of Disaster Movies. There is no monster quite like Godzilla - that's why he takes the crown as the scariest giant movie monster of all time. P.S. - Stay tuned, because there may be yet another adaptation of the beast also known as Gojira - a Godzilla reboot movie that's due out in 2012.

Cat Monster Scary Giant Movie Monsters Did we leave out your favorite giant movie monster? Do you agree with our ranking? Let us know! Header Image from Robert Hood
TAGS: 20000 leagues under the sea, clash of the titans, cloverfield, ghostbusters, godzilla, jurassic park, pirates of the caribbean, the mist

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  1. Kothoga from ‘The Relic’ was awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SU_ZshgGro

    • actually, Kothoga was the name of the tribe that tried to control Mwumbum (i think that’s how you spell it), which was the creature. At least that’s how it was in the book, havn’t seen the movie in years.

      • That’s how it was in the book, yes, but in the movie, the monster was Kathoga.

  2. I wish there were more! :’(

  3. The Alien in the original 1979 “Alien” with Sigorney Weaver was truly terrifying since you did not see it (full grown) completely almost until the very end. For that matter it’s “emergence” scene in the spaceship’s mess hall was pretty terrifying/horrifying too.

  4. John Carpenter’s The Thing.

    • I concur with your choice. The creatures were terrifying, but the story elevated your fear level because you were in a place of despair & hopelessness. It was too cold to run, you could not trust anyone around you (they may have been assimilated by the creature), & obviously the creatures were deadly. One of the best horror films of all time, remake or not.

  5. those wernt scary at all, what about zombies and the jeepers creepers movie, and etc. the stay puffed marshmellew man? ive pooped out turds scarier than that

    • I couldn’t agree more. Some of these were great films but far from having scary monsters in them. I could probably agree that some of the films were scary but the monsters in the films were far from it. This article seems to point more at the fear related to the suspense used in the films and not the sort of feat that comes with a monster creation that is horrific to actually look at.

    • The list was Scariest Giant Monsters… not scariest regular monsters.

    • Giant Zombies?

  6. One thing you did not mention about “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” was the song it inspired by The Tubes! Fee Waybill, at one point in the song, points out one particularly frightening consequence:
    “My God!” I screamed
    To my distress
    “Got a 50 foot woman
    in a 5 foot dress!”

  7. so, what movie is the main “10 scariest monster movies of all time” (which mysteriously becomes “10 scariest GIANT monster movies of all time”) gallery photo taken from? i’m looking for the larger version of the photo in the slide show but it’s not in there. kind of frustrating.

    • That’s the monster from “The Relic” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120004/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

      If you look up “the monster from the relic” in Google images you will see that picture but I couldn’t find a larger size. Probably have to make your own screen grab off the DVD if you want a larger one as there doesn’t seem to be many pics of the creature and that is definitely one of the transformation scenes where it looks nothing like the creature at the end of the film. :)

  8. “Historical monsters” would be better.

  9. A “Historical monsters” would be a better title for the article.

  10. The Balrog from The Lord of the Rings is number one all-time. And Shelob should be in the top ten, too.

    Fifty foot woman? Really? Sta-Puf Marshmellow man? Scarey? Really?

    This list sucks.

  11. Maybe it didn’t make the list because it’s too obvious – but where is Alien? The original is truly terrifying, and the second one’s pretty scary too – like when the guy lifts the ceiling panel and sees dozens of them crawling through the rafters. Also, the creature itself has to be one of the most horrifying movie monsters ever conceived.

  12. Really? Where is the Alien Queen?

  13. John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ is strangely absent from this list, despite being one of the most memorable monsters I’ve ever seen…

    I mean you don’t even need to watch this video, the sound alone is enough..

  14. Where’s the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth? You know, the one who keeps his eyes in his freakin’ hands? I was in my 30s when I saw that and it gave me nightmares.

    • GIANT Monsters kids. Doesn’t anybody pay attention anymore?

  15. HORRIBLE choices, seriously…Stay puffed? Are you 3? LOL

    • I agree!

  16. 20,000 Leagues under the sea? NAH, squids are not scary, just odd. Marshmallows are great in hot chocolate and 1foot or 50 feet, women don’t scare me. I’m a woman and my mommy was a woman, so there.

  17. 2spooki4me

  18. This is the silliest list EVER. 50 Foot Woman, Marshmellow Man?? Seriously?

    Where’s Alien, Predator, Kothoga, The Blob, The Thing, The Fly?? Heck Big Bird is scarier than some things on this list!!

  19. You need the Alien, and what about the giant creature in resident evil thats crawling every in the hive?

  20. It’s not 2012, it’s 2014.

  21. Some of the monsters on this list are on target. Here are some others you may want to reconsider.
    1. The Thing. An alien that can duplicate anyone form it comes in contact with? Very scary.
    2. Deep Risings beast from below. Sharp toothed multi-mandibled feelers with tremor-sense hooked up to an even bigger monster. Sweet jesus!
    3. The Blob 1988 remake. even though the blue screen special effects were pretty cheesy, this flesh dissolving red schmoo from another planet is pretty terrifying.

    there are plenty of other monsters from other sci-fi/horror movies that I can think of but those 3 are absolutely terrifying to me.

  22. Wow, this list is terrible. You forgot

  23. the creatures from “The Descent”

  24. you left out the cloverflield monster .. that monster most terrifying to me .

  25. You are the stupides blogger iv ever mad, why you think you realy understand a litle of films? You knowledg of movies is as good as my englisch … Watch four a new hobby dush

  26. Jeeper creepers should of been up there, its pretty scary if its kinda indestructible for the time its awake and needs to feed.

  27. Ive always liked the two movies that come to mind for me is, the 1980s version of Catch Me If You Can not that awfull movie that was made in 2010 with Tom Hanks And Leonardo Decaprieo the one they stared in sucked it was stupid. And it nocked the ariginal out of print. Thats why i hate Leonardo. But the ariginal was alot better, it was about a high school was geting ready to close and it was up to the school class president to help save it by doing things like fund raising bake sells she needed alot of money to save the school. Her classmates wouldnt help her, so in a desprite attempt to save it another student that drag races his car in and ileagal street races to come up with the money to save their school. That one u cant find on dvd anywhere. I sure would like to find it maybe the director will rerelease it. And the other movie from the 1980s i would like to find on dvd that isout of print is The Leagend Of Billy Jean. That one is also out of print aswell. That one is about a brother and syster that live in a trailer park, and they go to the lake and some guys go there and steal his scooter and trash it and the rest of the movie is about them trying to get the damages covered for it and one thing leads to another and Billy Jean and her friends become outlaws. That one is also out of print ive tryed to look for both movies on dvd but no luck. I dont know why those 80s movies are so hated but thats no reason to just pull them off the shelves forever. Alot of the movies they have out is crapy no good story and no moral and no hart.

  28. What 25 year old’s made this list?
    So, the Giants Monter Shark from “JAWS”, that left a lot of people in the late 70′s too scared to swim in their own swimming pools wasn’t scary??

    How about the Giants Monster in John Carpenter’s “The THING.”
    How about the Giants Monster from the movie “ALIEN” and “ALIEN II?”
    How about “King Kong” from 1977?

    And you missed the biggest GIANT MONSTER of all: Liza Minelli!

  29. Apparently most of you troglodytes who can’t even spell the simplest of words missed the qualifier “giant”. Rag on some of these picks regarding their scariness and I’ll agree with you, but for f***’s sake, the ones you think should be in the list are not giant. The alien from Alien is not giant. The monster from Pan’s Labyrinth is not giant. The alien from The Thing is not giant. The creature from Jeepers Creepers was not giant (and not scary either; those movies sucked).