It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955) – Giant Atomic Octo- Awesomeness
It Came from Beneath the Sea is a 1955 atomic monster movie – something that was pretty common at the time. These are movies where the monster is a beast that has mutated or changed in some horrible way with atomic radiation somehow the catalyst for this change. There are many examples of these movies, and this has to be one of the best. In this case, a giant octopus is disturbed by atomic testing in the south Pacific by the U.S. Government.
In the opening scene, we are told about the progress man has made in the realm of submarines, culminating in the nuclear sub. The next scene, we are on the command deck of one of these subs on it’s maiden voyage. where we are introduced to Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey), a major player going forward. Soon the sub detects a large radioactive object outside the sub. In an attempt to escape from the unknown object (the sub becomes stuck), they tear away a piece of what ever had held them. Upon return to dry dock a largish piece of biological matter that had been stuck to the sub is examined and turns out to be part of what appears to be a gigantic octopus. This is determined by tests run by Doctors John Carter and Professor Lesley Joyce. Upon sharing their results with Navy brass, they are at first not believed. A series of attacks on shipping and first hand descriptions of the creatures by survivors of these attacks soon change the mind of the Navy and soon they back the efforts of Professor Joyce and Dr. Carter. With the help of Commander Mathews, they devise a plan to use a newly developed jet propelled torpedo with a remote detonator to be used against the creature – as long as they can find it. Turns out they don’t have too look too hard – as suddenly the creature decides to attack San Francisco, starting with the Golden Gate Bridge. In what is probably one of the greatest stop motion monster creature scenes, we get to see the creature in all it’s glory as it attacks and destroys a section of the iconic bridge. This is pure awesomeness. An shining example of a type of effect that is sorely disappearing. The man behind these effects is the great Ray Harryhausen who’s other works also include the Voyages of Sinbad and the 19814 classic, Clash of the Titans.
Soon the creature moves from the bridge to the bay and is soon attacking the Oakland ferry terminal and terrorizing the people there in another masterful stop motion scene. Using blow torches, the creature is then driven back into the bay where the waiting sub can deliver the waiting torpedo. Unfortunately, they have to free the sub which the creature has grabbed a hold of. The only way to do this is to have someone deliver a an explosicve charge to get the creature to let go – Commander Mathews takes this upon himself, but ultimately fails. Dr. Carter then decides to go out himself and deliver another charge, this one working and freeing the sub. Once free, the sub detonates the torpedo and destroys the monster.
Pretty silly stuff, sure – but this is an amazing example of the work of effects master Ray Harryhausen, and of the Atomic monster craze that gripped the movie industry at the dawn of the atomic age. The acting is a little wooden, but fun. I believe that this movie is an unsung masterpiece that deserves more credit than it gets. A must watch which is easy as it is available on Youtube (see that link below the trailer).
Here is the Trailer:
And here is the whole movie on Youtube: