10 Worst Monster Movies of All Time, Ranked

10 Worst Monster Movies of All Time, Ranked

Movies about giant monsters tend to be fun regardless of quality. Of course, those that have groundbreaking special effects and/or interesting human-focused storylines tend to be regarded among the best of the genre, but even the schlockier examples of this kind of film have their moments. Perhaps some fans of giant monster movies (sometimes called kaiju films) actually prefer it when things are a bit cheesy, but by that same token, there could also be such a thing as this kind of movie going too far in that direction.

Case in point, the following giant monster movies, all of which can be considered among the weaker examples of this genre. There might be traces of fun to be found in some of these, but at the same time, they can probably only be recommended to kaiju movie diehards or people who’ve already seen every genuinely good movie that features one or more big monsters. These sometimes intriguing and sometimes frustrating anti-classics are ranked below, starting with the not-very-good and ending with the genuinely disastrous.

10 ‘The Giant Claw’ (1957)

Director: Fred F. Sears

The Giant Claw - 1957
Image via Clover Productions

For better or worse, The Giant Claw does contain one of the most visually distinctive giant monsters in movie history, even if it ends up being horrific to look at for reasons both intentional and perhaps unintentional. Narratively, the film is about as simple as these sorts of monsters get, following the chaos that unfolds when the discovery of a UFO ends up actually being a giant bird that terrorizes the world’s population.

Look, the bird monster in The Giant Claw has an unforgettable design, and that’s enough to make the film somewhat memorable and not quite one of the very worst giant monster movies ever made. Yet assessing the thing as a whole, it’s very middle-of-the-road at best by the standards of 1950s B-movies, to the point where even though it’s only 74 minutes long, some sections of the film still prove patience-testing.

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9 ‘Godzilla’ (1998)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Godzilla - 1998
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

There have been some fun Godzilla movies not made in the series’ home of Japan, but 1998’s Godzilla is not one of them, even though it was the first wholly American Godzilla movie (excluding re-edits/re-dubs of earlier Japanese movies). It features the iconic monster in title only, really, as the beast that terrorizes New York City in this film is a different kind of beast to any iteration fans of the series are likely used to.

Roland Emmerich wasn’t the worst choice of a director to helm this, given Independence Day was a fun blockbuster and the filmmaker clearly knew how to take on sci-fi/action movies with considerable budgets. Yet 1998’s Godzilla just doesn’t really work, feels largely uninspired, is messily put together, and isn’t nearly as fun as a movie about a giant lizard rampaging around an American city should be.

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8 ‘The Meg’ (2018)

Director: Jon Turteltaub

The Meg - 2018
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Well, to the credit of The Meg, it does at least seem to understand that there’s no topping a shark movie as classic as Jaws, and so even if its basic premise is comparable, the approach it takes is wildly different tonally/genre-wise. It does revolve around people getting pitted against a giant shark, though it’s more action-focused than most other shark movies, and also stands out for its titular shark being a 75-foot-long megalodon.

This makes it more of a giant monster movie than any other shark movie featuring comparatively puny “great” white sharks, but that’s about where the praise for The Meg ends. It’s not that it’s cartoonish and stupid that’s the problem; it’s that it’s those things while also being boring and largely toothless, with its carnage and action being muted considerably by a PG-13 rating (even the PG-rated Jaws is much bloodier and more intense, though the 1970s was a different time, admittedly).

The Meg

Release Date
August 10, 2018

113 minutes

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7 ‘Godzilla: The Planet Eater’ (2018)

Directors: Kobun Shizuno, Hiroyuki Seshita

Godzilla The Planet Eater - 2018
Image via Toho Visual Entertainment

Yes, even the King of the Monsters, Godzilla, has been in some less-than-amazing movies that weren’t made in America/directed by Roland Emerich. Of these, one is surprisingly recent: 2018’s Godzilla: The Planet Eater, which concludes a trilogy of anime Godzilla films that had potential (and the first installment, 2017’s Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, isn’t terrible), but ultimately proved disappointing.

This trilogy should’ve felt fresh, as it travels to the distant future to tell a story about humanity trying to reclaim Earth from various recognizable giant monsters, and perhaps in an ideal world would have been the inverse of 2023’s Godzilla Minus One, which felt fresh by going back to the past. Each film in the trilogy feels less entertaining and inspired than the one before, with The Planet Eater being a wholly lackluster conclusion that doesn’t make use of its futuristic setting or the fact that it’s animated, and can therefore play around with scale and spectacle arguably even more than a live-action Godzilla film could. Avoid!

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6 ‘War of the God Monsters’ (1985)

Director: Kim Jeong-Yong

War Of The God Monsters - 1985 (1)
Image via Woosungsa Entertainment

Though it’s not as well-known as 1985’s Pulgasari, which was made in North Korea, War of the God Monsters is another kaiju movie made around the same area (well, in South Korea). Pulgasari has a fascinating behind-the-scenes story that kind of makes it an oddity that’s worth exploring, even if it’s not very good, while War of the God Monsters is just a bit boring, unfortunately.

Most of the monster sequences in War of the God Monsters are taken from episodes of Ultraman, with the remaining bulk of the film being made up of uninteresting melodrama centered on humans who occasionally bear witness to the titular monsters. It’s certainly a weird giant monster movie that was clearly made on a budget, though it’s not low-budget in a charming or endearing sense, and instead feels cheap and thrown together in a bad/lazy way.

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5 ‘A*P*E’ (1976)

Director: Paul Leder

A*P*E - 1976
Image via Worldwide Entertainment

A*P*E is clearly trying to ape the success of King Kong and its various sequels/re-imaginings, and was released around the same time as 1976’s King Kong, which starred Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. No one would call the latter an amazing giant monster movie, but it’s still a good deal more consistent than A*P*E, which contains brief bursts of goofy fun, though is, for the most part, very dull.

Still, A*P*E does get off to a good start, with the titular giant ape causing a boat to explode before fighting a shark and slowly demolishing a handful of buildings, but then tedium sets in. There’s one more iconic scene where the ape destroys a helicopter before immediately flipping the bird to the wreckage of said bird, but otherwise, A*P*E is a chore to get through, and all but the most hardcore of giant monster movie fans should skip it (at least after maybe checking out the aforementioned highlights).

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4 ‘All Monsters Attack’ (1969)

Director: Ishirō Honda

Image via Toho

When it comes to picking the worst movie in the Godzilla series, it usually comes down to a choice between 1998’s Godzilla and 1969’s All Monsters Attack (with most people forgetting all about the anime films altogether). To the former’s credit, it is at least made up of all new footage and was, for the time, novel for being a non-Japanese take on the series. All Monsters Attack, on the other hand, is basically a glorified clip show.

Child-friendly kaiju movies aren’t inherently bad, but All Monsters Attack does happen to be a bad Godzilla movie that represents the series at its most kid-friendly. What little story there is here revolves around a bullied kid befriending Godzilla’s son, Minilla, who’s also bullied (many would say deservedly so). Just about all the other monster scenes, and the moments of action, are repurposed clips from other Godzilla movies, with the experience of seeing them in All Monsters Attack likely to make you wish you were watching just about any other old-school Godzilla movie instead.

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3 ‘Konga TNT’ (2020)

Director: Brett Kelly

Konga TNT - 2020
Image via Gray Chance Entertainment

There are plenty of giant monster movies that don’t have Godzilla or King Kong that are nevertheless still worth watching, but Konga TNT unfortunately can’t count itself as one of them. It was directed by Brett Kelly, who’s the mastermind behind other titles like Jurassic Shark, Raiders of the Lost Shark, and, of course, Ouija Shark, in case you want to know what’s being dealt with here.

The premise of Konga TNT sees an ape getting transformed into a giant beast after coming into contact with an alien formula, leading to chaos and destruction. There are low-budget movies, and then there’s Konga TNT, which looks like it was made for about $4.50. Its limits when it comes to production value can make one feel a little guilty about criticizing it too harshly, but again, it’s one of those schlocky and low-budget giant monster movies that’s not fun and doesn’t even seem bothered trying to be, making it one that should be avoided at all costs.

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2 ‘Gamera: Super Monster’ (1980)

Director: Noriaki Yuasa

Gamera Super Monster walking through city
Image via Daiei

Just like All Monsters Attack, Gamera: Super Monster feels like the worst Gamera movie by far because it’s mostly made up of clips from older movies in the series. On top of that, some would claim the Gamera series, at least prior to 1980, wasn’t all that great to begin with, feeling quite derivative of the Godzilla series (though most of them still have a certain degree of charm).

Charming isn’t a word that could be applied to Gamera: Super Monster, though, which recycles old footage to a frankly shameful extent, purportedly to make the titular monster have a series of “rematches” with old foes. Even children who are fans of the Gamera series are unlikely to fall for a film this lazy, and, similarly, die-hard fans of these movies are unlikely to find the patience to sit through all of Gamera: Super Monster.

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1 ‘Ape vs. Monster’ (2021)

Director: Daniel Lusko

Ape vs. Monster - 2021
Image via The Asylum

It remains to be seen whether the infamous The Asylum will ever become known for producing anything that isn’t a mockbuster, with 2021’s Ape vs. Monster being one of the film company’s worst productions so far. It’s a film that’s clearly trying to pass itself off as something that will be mistaken for Godzilla vs. Kong, with both being released in the first half of 2021.

Now, Godzilla vs. Kong isn’t Citizen Kane or anything (nor is it trying to be), but at least there’s dopey fun to be had watching a giant monkey and a giant lizard clash, all of it brought to life with impressive special effects. Ape vs. Monster is, of course, not spectacular in the slightest, feels like the cheapest of cash grabs imaginable, and is another title that casts shame on the mere existence of The Asylum. You could go your whole life without watching a single movie produced by The Asylum and die feeling content, so those seeking eternal happiness for the rest of their days should make a mental note to watch none of the company’s productions, Ape vs. Monster (definitely) included.

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NEXT: Classic ‘Godzilla’ Movies That Get Referenced in ‘Minus One’