After a long, long wait, Godzilla vs. Kong has arrived in theaters and on HBO Max and film fans are loving it. The movie has been a promise in the making for many years now from Legendary and Warner Bros., and it's also racking up huge box office returns plus getting a very warm reception from critics and audiences. Even though it seems like this might be the last movie in the MonsterVerse series, there are still decades of monster movies that fans can dig into, especially if you were engrossed by what director Adam Eingard did with his kaiju beat-em-up.
Below are 10 of our picks for great monster movies to try out if you enjoyed what was going on in Godzilla vs Kong. These choices range from recent Hollywood monster movies to Toho classics that don't feature Godzilla, plus some of the various Toho reboots of the king of the monsters and even Japanese independent features clearly influenced by kaiju movies of the 1970s. The good news is that if you really want to explore the giant monster subgenre there are a lot of different flavors for you, the bad news is that some of these movies are quite old and are difficult to find in the streaming era. But keep this list handy and hunt down these beasts for a good time!
Godzilla vs. Kong is now streaming on HBO Max.
Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Director Shusuke Kaneko, fresh off of his reinvention of Gamera (more on him later), was tasked by Godzilla owners Toho to reinvent their monster for the big screen having turned their only major competition into a huge success. Minimal knowledge of the preceding Godzilla movies is required since "GMK" creates its own mythology, delivering a world where the only other canon movie is the 1954 original. In this version Godzilla is revived and possessed by the souls of dead World War II soldiers, using the beast to seek revenge against Japan. The nation has one hope though, "The Guardian Monsters" including Baragon, Mothra, and (shockingly) King Ghidorah. You want kaiju fights? You got 'em here.prevnext
King Kong Escapes
To scratch that Kong itch that Godzilla vs Kong might have given you, King Kong Escapes was Toho's second and final movie featuring the giant ape. The film is more of a live-action remake of the cartoon series "The King Kong Show," and it shows. Not only do characters from that series make an appearance but the tone is light-hearted and sillier than many other Toho productions. Though not actively a sequel to the original King Kong vs. Godzilla, the film features the same goofy looking suit as that version so prepare for a silly looking Kong.prevnext
Not to be confused with the animated series, the film manages to combine the vibes of Cloverfield with a tone that finds the balance of playful and scary that keeps things moving. André Øvredal's feature also doesn't Blair Witch the concept of the Norweigian myths, making sure you get your entire moneys worth for every troll you expect to see and then some. Unlike Godzilla vs Kong this one does maintain the found footage aesthetic throughout though so don't expect in major forced perspective shots like we see in skyscrapers in the MonsterVerse.prevnext
Godzilla vs Destroyah
The culmination of the "Heisei era" of Godzilla movies, this film is notable for tying itself into the larger continuity of the franchise but also pushing it into surprising and unique directions. Not only does the film offer major narrative stakes for the human characters, but their actions directly effect the outcome for Godzilla and even the creation of what many fans consider his greatest adversary. It's also worth noting that this movie was the source of inspiration for many elements used in the MonsterVerse, in particular the idea of Godzilla "melting down" which was the entire crux of the plot in Godzilla vs Destroyah but was boiled down to a superpower in 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters.prevnext
Frankenstein Conquers the World
Also known as Frankenstein vs. Baragon, the film was directed by Godzilla creator Ishiro Honda and released between two of the bigger entries in that series (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of Astro-Monster). Notable for its unique take on the Frankenstein monster, and the introduction of previously mentioned kaiju Baragon, the film has a naturally narrative throughline that keeps the momentum going as the Frankesntein monster is studied by the human characters and begins to grow to an unnatural size. Despite a kaiju that looks more man that monster, the film does a great job of keeping the miniatures and perspective in check. In the end it's a worthy watch specifically for how classic it is.prevnext
The War of the Gargantuas
A sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World, well, at least it was intended as such, The War of the Gargantuas is a quintessential kaiju feature down to the two grown men tussling across multiple sets and leaving ruined tiny buildings in their wake. It might be two big hairy dudes throwing each other around but you can't argue that it's not fun. Modern audiences might struggle with the film's goofy "guys in a suit" pastiche, especially since like its predecessor the kaiju are more human-like than monster, but the charms of the movie overall work more than any slights in the filmmaking.prevnext
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
Originally starting as a competitor to Godzilla, with varied levels of success in the Showa era, the Friend of All Children returned in the '90s with an iconic reinvention of the character. The film makes great use of the advancements in effects compared to its predecessors, fitting in with the Toho reboots of Godzilla that arrived at the same time. "Guardian of the Universe" also takes the franchise that was marked by its appeal to children and elevates it into a feature that makes the concept worthy of audiences of all ages. There's also two sequels if you find yourself cheering as you watch the turtle fly around the sky.prevnext
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla
If watching MechaGodzilla in Godzilla vs Kong got you hyped, the good news is there are some other killer movies featuring the robot. Like many other Godzilla movies on this list this one only acknowledges the 1954 original movie but takes the 1970s concept of a robo-counter part to the king of the monsters in a new direction. If the concept of the GvK MechaGodzilla being controlled by Ghidorah's conciousness was intriguing to you, this film literally builds its MechaGodzilla around the skeleton of the original Godzilla. As you can expect that causes some....interesting issues.prevnext
Less monster action than you get in Godzilla vs Kong but what those two movies have in common is their relentless pacing and their in-and-out quickness in getting the narrative out there. That's not to say that there isn't any monster action in the film, in fact the conclusion of this one features one of the most wicked big screen monsters when it comes to big screen features from American Studios. Buckle up though because once this starts it doesn't stop.prevnext
We must clarify at first that this is an ugly movie, not visually, but literally, there are a lot of off-putting make-up effects within. The entire feature is preposterous and amateurish throughout, so your enjoyment mileage may vary entirely, but if you start picking up what this movie is putting down then you're going to have the wildest ride of your life. What makes Death Kappa such a satisfying watch is that you literally never know what's going to happen next and also that it doesn't take itself too seriously, attested by the final monster fight playing out literally like a professional wrestling match at times. Even when the absurd effects are laughable it doesn't sway from the film's relentless enthusiasm for what it's trying to do.prev