Attack of the abnormally large
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Silliest giant monster movies

By Patrick Day and Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

In “Cloverfield,” there’s a huge -- something -- that’s causing havoc among the denizens of New York.

They’ve been keeping the monster under wraps. And perhaps it’s with good reason. Not all giant monsters are created equal. Giant lizards left us all quaking in our boots. Fifty-foot women? Well, maybe it scares Chris Matthews, but that’s about it. Here are some of the least frightening giant things ever to grace the silver screen:

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

Yes, it was a parody, and a cheap one at that, but writer-director John De Bello really tapped into something when he came up with the idea of having ordinary household tomatoes grow to Danny DeVito-like proportions and proceed to slaughter humanity. It was produced for less than $100,000 and reveled in its badness, but somehow it has managed to stay relevant with multiple sequels and an animated series for kids. It didn’t have the dream cast of its sequels (disgraced Congressman Gary Condit and George Clooney in the same movie?!?), but it had spunk. ()
Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958, 1993)

A revenge story, mostly, from 1958, centering on Nancy Archer -- a woman whose scumbag husband schemes to get her $50-million inheritance and run off with his mistress, Honey Parker. Nancy meets an alien, and the growing begins. Her growing is uncontrolled, and she meets a tragic end after killing Honey!

A bit more lighthearted, the 1993 remake stars Darryl Hannah. Hannah’s character’s growth was dependent upon her mood. She’s mad, she grows. The film centered more on female empowerment than revenge, though. Some called it a bit racy as Hannah’s character bathed in a swimming pool in one scene.

Even more lighthearted, to be kind, is “Attack of the 60-Foot Centerfolds” from 1995. Superficial, not super funny and super low-budget, especially on the effects side. (Cliff Lipson / HBO)
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

The man-eating plant of all man-eating plants, Audrey II is out to take over the world! And only needs the help of lowly social outcast Rick Moranis to do it. The oversized, outer-space Venus’ flytrap’s signature line -- “Feed me!” -- became a slight sensation for a while when the film was released. One of the funniest musicals ever. ()
Ghostbusters (1984)

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, that oversized sight gag that appears marching down Central Park West at the end of the film, may have instilled fear in the hearts of Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd, but it’s doubtful anyone lost any sleep worrying about death by giant marshmallow. If anything, the Marshmallow Man’s gooey demise, which resulted in hundreds of New Yorkers being covered in white foam, looked kind of fun. (Columbia Pictures)
The Giant Claw (1957)

The producers of this schlocky curio from the height of the ‘50s sci-fi boom got one thing right: They picked the single scary element of their film for the title. That claw is pretty scary. Unfortunately, it’s attached to one of the dopiest-looking bird puppets this side of Sid and Marty Krofft. The plot, about a giant bird from an antimatter galaxy, which starts off by attacking airplanes and finishes off with a double assault on the Empire State Building and the United Nations, is strictly Grade-Z. At least it didn’t poo on screen. That would have been frightening. ()
Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)

What’s up with Rick Moranis and films with oversized characters? In ’86, there was “Little Shop of Horrors,” then in 1992 -- after shrinking his kids -- he accidentally supersizes them with another of Wayne Szalinski’s wacky inventions.

Las Vegas may be an adult playground, but when you have a rampaging, giant (more than 100-foot) toddler, the bright lights probably seem like a lot of fun too. ()
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

This Japanese monster movie, in which the brain of Frankenstein’s monster somehow ends up in the body of a young boy running around post-World War II Japan and eating small animals, is an unholy blend of Eastern monsters meeting Western monsters.

The boy, who conveniently has a flat head and begins growing to an unusual size, eventually takes on a giant lizard creature -- no, it’s not Godzilla -- and saves Japan from all kinds of headaches. Critics in America trashed actor Nick Adams for his appearance in this film, but Japanese audiences found him to be one of their favorite actors from the West. (Toho)
Night of the Lepus (1972)

Giant man-eating rabbits terrorize a small town in the Southwest. Nothing scary about that. What is scary is that this film was actually adapted from a novel, “Year of the Angry Rabbit.” Somehow, we imagine this is one of those rare instances where the novel can’t possibly improve on the movie. ()
Starship Troopers (1997)

We, the dominant species on Earth, have an irrational fear of insects, the smallest species (discounting microbes and stuff). Our hero John Goodman helped fight this fear in “Arachnophobia.” And occasionally we make the fear cute as in “Bee Movie” or make the fear a really good speller as in “Charlotte’s Web.”

“Starship Troopers,” though, brought us back to our base with humanity battling for its very existence against extraterrestrial menaces that took on many bug forms. But Doogie Howser communicating with space bugs? You can’t get much better than that. (Columbia / TriStar)