It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

it came from beneath the sea poster 1955 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic Harryhausen effects

Godzilla rip-off

Movie Info

Movie Name:  It Came from Beneath the Sea

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movies

Release Date(s):  July 1955

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

it came from beneath the sea giant octopus attacks golden gate bridge ray harryhausen

A giant octopus attack is a real vacation buzzkill

Something has been unleashed in the Pacific. Captain Peter Mathews (Kenneth Tobey) and marine biologists Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and John Carter (Donald Curtis) are called in to investigate what is attacking ships and discover an octopus of immense size is loose.  With the shipping lanes shut down and the octopus attacking the coast, a trap is set in the San Francisco Bay.  It is up to Carter, Lesley, and Peter to come up with a plan to stop the octopus before it kills more.

Directed by Robert Gordon and with special effects by Ray Harryhausen, It Came from Beneath the Sea is a black-and-white science fiction B-Movie.  The special effects received critical acclaim and the film was originally released as a double feature with Creature with the Atom Brain.

it came from beneath the sea kenneth tobey faith domergue donald curtis

Gee…I hope we have more love triangle plot and less octopus (said no one)

It Came from Beneath the Sea was part of the giant-creature attack series after the nuclear testing along the lines of Godzilla.  I loved movies like these as a kid since they tapped into a kid’s imagination and were often as close to horror movies as you could get if you were little.

It Came from Beneath the Sea has a pretty weak and generic script.  It is almost laughable how the narrator would jump in every time they needed to save money or explain what was going on.  With the release of Gojira in 1954, this feels like a pretty blatant rip-off of the movie.  Gojira (or Godzilla) really didn’t come out in the United States for a number of years (the American version Godzilla:  King of the Monsters came out in 1956) so many viewers at the time probably didn’t realize it.

Like many movies of this vein, the cast is not the high point.  The acting and characters are rather bland and with the special effects taking so long and part of a big budget, it means a lot of these characters until the action starts happening.

it came from beneath the sea ferry building san francisco giant octopus

Fortunately, San Francisco decided to rebuild

The film now is mostly remembered for Ray Harryhausen’s special effects.  He had previously worked on Mighty Joe Young as an assistant and did the special effects of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, but It Came from Beneath the Sea forced him to create a giant creature that everyone had seen.  The octopus has to move like a real octopus and resemble a real octopus…this caused some problems when Harryhausen could only use six tentacles and he had to manipulate the model in a way that wasn’t evident.  It does become amusing how easy it is to drive back the octopus with the flamethrowers and how the people operating the flamethrowers seem so nonchalant about it.

It Came from Beneath the Sea might not be the best sci-fi movie ever but it is very typical of ’50s sci-fi.  The only strange thing I found about it was the Faith Domergue gives what would usually be reserved for the last line of the film in the middle of the film by warning there could be other giant octopi and that only the future can tell.  With Ray Harryhausen effects, It Came from Beneath the Sea is raised from average film to a must for genre fans, but even Harryhausen made much better films as his skill developed.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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