War of the Colossal Beast

Year of Release: 1958
Running Time: 69 Minutes
DVD Released By: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Directed By: Bert I. Gordon
Writing Credits: Bert I. Gordon (Story), George Worthing Yates (Screenplay)
Filming Locations: Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park - 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA / Iverson Ranch, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA

Starring: Sally Fraser (Joyce Manning), Roger Pace (Maj. Mark Baird), Duncan 'Dean' Parkin (Col. Glenn Manning), Russ Bender (Dr. Carmichael), Rico Alaniz (Sgt. Luis Murillo), George Becwar (John Swanson), Robert Hernandez (Miguel), Charles Stewart (Capt. Harris), June Jocelyn (Mrs. Edwards), John McNamara (Neurologist), Loretta Nicholson (Joan), Raymond Winston, Jack Kosslyn (Newscaster), George Navarro (Mexican Doctor), Bob Garnet (Pentagon Correspondent)

Tagline: The towering terror from hell!


Alternate Titles:
Revenge of the Colossal Man
The Terror Strikes

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Duncan 'Dean' Parkin only appeared in two films. He appeared as Col. Glen Manning in War of the Colossal Beast in 1958, and in an earlier and similarly themed film, The Cyclops, in 1957. His only other credited film work was as a stage hand on the film Beginning of the End, also in 1957. Throughout this film, his character, Colonel Manning, only says one word..."Joyce", which is the name of his sister. Sally Fraser (Joyce) had a ten year career which was mostly comprised of roles in b-movies and westerns. After her final role in 1962, she retired from acting so she could stay home and focus on her family. She moved to Idaho in the 1980's and now lives on a cattle ranch with her husband Allan Johnson.




Cast of Characters

Joyce Manning: Oh man this chick is one hot ticket. I know this isn't the best screenshot of her, but I've seen her in other films and man...what a drooler. In this particular film, she's the sister of Colonel Glenn Manning, who's the poor schmuck who got turned into the colossal beast in the first film. There's nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy about her other than her looks. Basically she just wants to help save her brother.

Major Mark Baird: This guy is the air force major who's in charge of trying to capture and help Col. Manning. Again, nothing really noteworthy or special about him. He's a good guy and he really wants to help Joyce save her brother, but he's also obligated to protect the public from him, which means he might have to kill him if he can't be captured and subdued. Throughout the movie you can tell he has the hots for Joyce (hell, who doesn't?), and he even asks her out to dinner at one point, but she's so wrapped up in helping her brother, they never do get together. Sucks to be him, doesn't it? He spends the whole movie busting his can trying to catch the beast and doesn't even get the girl. Pretty lame if you ask me.

Colonel Glenn Manning: This is how Colonel Manning looked in the first movie after he became the amazing colossal man. Why do I have this shot of him in here from the first movie? Because there's a big flashback segment in this film of the stuff that happened in the first movie, so you kinda get some background on how he ended up the way he did. He looks pretty normal here, but this was before they shot him off the top of a dam and he ended up all messed up with one eye, a torn and scarred up face and brain damage. I wanted to get a shot of him the way he was in this movie, but I never could get a decent one that I was happy with. You can see him in the video clip screenshot though. It's not the best, but you can see how messed up he was in this one. Anyway, all he does is grunt and growl and go on one rampage after another in this one. At least in the first movie he could talk. In this one the only thing he says is, "Joyce" and that's only one time. Basically, that fall off the dam at the end of the first movie scrambled his eggs but good.

Dr. Carmichael: This guy irritated me. Not because his character was annoying or because the guy playing him was a crappy actor. No, it wasn't any of that at all. He annoyed me because I never could get a decent screenshot of him. This guy never once had a close head shot or looked at the camera from any position where I could get a decent shot of him, and yet, I was forced to include him because he actually does have a pretty big role to play in the plot. Basically, he's the doctor who's assigned to help capture and treat (if possible) Colonel Manning. There's a couple of times in the film where he has to come up with ways to drug the big brute so he can be captured, and then later on he tests Colonel Manning's brain to find out if he just has amnesia or if his eggs are scrambled. You'd think a guy with such an important role to play would at least look towards the camera once in a while or have a decent close up. Hmmph!
Sgt. Luis Murillo: This guy is like the one good, honest cop in Mexico. He's also the only cop in town. He helps the Major and crew to find and capture Colonel Manning by loading up a truck full of drugged bread so that Colonel Manning will grab it, eat all the bread and pass out cold. Unfortunately, when a sixty foot tall beast passes out, you need to be careful where you're standing. This poor schmuck wasn't and he ended up flatter than a flour tortilla. It's a shame too because he seemed like a really nice guy. Uninteresting, like everyone else in this movie, but nice.
John Swanson: This guy was about the most interesting character in this picture, but it's only because he was so pissy all the time. He owns a gun club near town and he had a bunch of people coming in for a big hunt. He sent Miguel in his truck to stock up on groceries before everyone arrived, but on the way back the truck disappeared and so did Miguel. So this guy goes to the cop and starts up the whole thing about finding his truck and blah blah blah... What was funny about him, is that he actually has a catch phrase. While he's explaining what happened to Sgt. Murillo, every time he finishes another part of the story, he's all, "Ya get the picture?" So basically, like every two or three sentences he's saying that. I thought it was funny. It was one of the few bright spots in this movie. Later on he's bitching about how the insurance company doesn't want to pay him and how he's going to hire a lawyer...or even two lawyers if he has to to get them to pay for his truck. That was pretty funny as well. Too bad the rest of the characters didn't have as much personality as this guy did. It might have been a better movie.
Miguel: This poor kid. All he was doing was driving a truck full of groceries and minding his own business, when suddenly he's chased down by the colossal beast, he sticks the truck in a pond, bails out, crawls away, and watches hysterically as the colossal beast picks up his truck, eats all the food out of the back of it, and then hauls it up to his little beast junkyard where he dumps it in a heap with the rest of the trashed trucks he's munched. When I say Miguel watched him do it, I actually mean that literally, because we don't get to see anything. In fact, it's a good third of the way through the movie before we see the beast at all. Anyway, Miguel looks all freaked out here because he was laying in the hospital in a catatonic state of shock, and then suddenly some kind of a switch flipped and so did he. He had a pretty awesome freak out, said a few words in spanish and then went catatonic again. And that my friends is the entirety of his role in this film. I only talked about him this much and used him in a screen shot because he made such cool faces in his freak out.



Screen Shots

"Ahhhhhhh!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Take it out! Take it out!!!"

Miguel finds out first hand how they take your temperature in a Mexican hospital. Unfortunately for him, the only other option is to have his temperature taken orally...and they only have the one thermometer.
 

Actually, this was just him coming out of shock in the hospital and throwing a freak out over having been attacked by the big monster dude, but since that's boring, I decided to stick something up his butt so as to enhance the entertainment value for my readers.

This is one of the Colossal Beast's footprints. You know what they say... Big feet...big....uh...boots. Well not boots, but you can figure it out.

In the previous screenshot you can see that the big ol' footprint only has three big ol' nubby mutant toes. Yet here in this shot, we can plainly see that the colossal beast duder has five toes on what appear to be normal, albeit huge, human feet. Five big, dirty toes that probably smell pretty rotten after walking around barefoot in Mexico for god knows how long. Oh man, I just thought of something. He's in Mexico, and he's sixty feet tall...at least. Can you imagine what a mess it would make if he drank the water? The devastation would be legendary. Why, years down the road, grandparents would be telling their grand kids stories about the great brown flood of 1958.

I was just thinking, what would happen to the little guy here if the big guy sneezed? First of all, he wouldn't need a lab coat...he'd need a raincoat...and a shower. Secondly, he'd probably be blown through the roof. Even if the giant didn't sneeze, his breath would have to be rotten enough to knock the flies off a manure truck. You know they don't make tooth brushes that big. Maybe they could get him a few cases of Scope or Listerine to chew on. At least then he could be a minty fresh freak of nature.

"Attention all units. Be on the lookout for Bert I. Gordon. The D.A. would like us to bring him in for a rubber hose interrogation so we can find out why he stuck us all in such a boring movie."




Best Quotes

Dr. Carmichael: "Now we're going to try to stimulate your brother's mind with various ideas. If one happens to arouse a response, it'll cause a tiny electric current to occur in his brain, and that in turn will be greatly amplified by this machine."

- Dr. Carmichael explaining to Joyce how they're going to test her brother's brain to find out if he's severely brain damaged or just has amnesia. - (Reviewer's Note: Man, if she was my sister, I'd have arousing ideas all the time!)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

War of the Colossal Beast
The beast hijacks and ransacks yet another grocery truck in order to fill his ever empty belly. Maybe he should just start eating people. There are plenty of those around. Hell, he could just walk into the middle of town and it would be like a Mexican buffet.



Summary and Conclusion

War of the Colossal Beast is actually a sequel to an earlier Bert I. Gordon film entitled The Amazing Colossal Man. However, when it was released, they called it War of the Colossal Beast and basically never mentioned that it was a sequel to the previous film in an effort to make it able to stand on its own. This was also aided by the fact that there's a flashback sequence in this film that more or less fills you in on the back story from the first film and makes it even less important for the viewer to have seen the first one. It was an effective way of doing it, and at no time did I feel as though I really should have seen The Amazing Colossal Man first so that I could understand anything that was going on in this one.


The story goes something like this. Colonel Glenn Manning was caught outside of his bunker during a nuclear test. The radiation caused him to grow to sixty feet tall, and lose his hair, before they found a way to stop the growth. At the end of the first movie, they shot him off the top of a dam and he disappeared. They assumed he was dead, but he was only badly wounded and managed to wander away down to Mexico, where this story picks up. Trucks carrying food start disappearing off the road to a small Mexican town, and after the police are alerted and news reports start getting out, Joyce Manning, sister of the colossal beast, realizes that sounds like it could be the work of her mutated brother, so she calls up Major Baird and they head down to Mexico to investigate. While they do find her brother down there, they also find that he's suffered a severe head trauma and is now missing and eye and has a torn up lip and scar tissue all over one side of his face. He also has severe brain damage and has been reduced to little more than an animalistic state. The rest of the film involves them trying to capture him, hold him, or treat him, which all gets pretty old after a while.


So here my faithful readers we have yet another example of a film I refer to as a snoozer. For those who haven't yet read through my ratings page, a snoozer is a movie that there's really nothing wrong with, and yet it still manages to be boring. It's the kind of movie you could fall asleep too. Hence the name, snoozer.


But what exactly was it that made this movie a snoozer? Honestly, I've given that a lot of thought since I finished watching it, and I think it all boils down to uninteresting characters and a severe lack of any decent action involving the monster. I mean, how many times can you sit there and watch the beast going through the same slow, plodding motions over and over again? How many times can you listen to another conversation about whether they can or should help him or just send the military in to take him out once and for all? It just gets old after a while, and it keeps the pacing of the film down to a crawl at times. There were a few interesting or entertaining scenes, but generally it was all just too repetitive and flat out boring.


There's really not much else to complain about in this film though. The performances were all good, and even above average in many instances. The monster make-up and effects were all well done, with the exception of the three-toed footprint. I'm still trying to figure that one out, but generally everything was pretty nice looking when it came to the effects. At least, that is to say, nice looking for the era in which the film was created. Honestly though, the last film of Bert I. Gordon's that I reviewed, Earth vs. The Spider, not only had better and nicer looking effects, but it was a far superior film in every possible way. It had great characters, great settings, great effects...great everything. They really hit the mark with that one, but with this one, they missed it almost completely.


One thing I wanted to mention as well is that this film was shot in black and white, all except for the last scene. The last scene where the monster grabs the high tension electric wires and kills himself is actually shot in color for dramatic effect. Personally, I think they should have saved the money and left it in black and white. The color film didn't make it any more interesting, and it was a little weird to suddenly see everything in color after the rest of the film had been in black and white.


The DVD itself is the same double feature disc I used to review Earth vs. The Spider. It's got clean, nicely transferred copies of both films, but that's about it. Other than that, there's nothing special about it. The nice looking transfers make it worth picking up though. I do have to question why they would put War of the Colossal Beast as the second feature on this disc. It would have been smarter to pair Earth vs. The Spider with another Bert I. Gordon film and then release another double feature disc with The Amazing Colossal Man and War of the Colossal Beast as the double feature. The Amazing Colossal Man isn't currently released, at least at the time of this writing, so wouldn't it have made more sense to get it out there and released along side this one rather than to pair this film with a completely unrelated one? Oh well, I've stopped trying to figure out why these companies do what they do with their releases.


In the end, the question comes down to, should you see this movie. The answer is, it's up to you. Some people may find it more interesting than I did. If you ask the question, should I buy this disc however, the answer is a definite yes, because Earth vs. The Spider is a great film, and after you watch that one, if you're bored and you have some spare time...or just need a nap, you can pop this one in as well. In any case, as I've stated repeatedly throughout this review, I've given this particular film my dullest rating of...

B-Movie Central's Rating: Snoozer

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