You'll find that these films are of roughly the same vintage. We won't be discussing Jaws or Tentacles or Orca or Anaconda. And the B Monster reserves the right to ignore any title that begins with the words "Peter Benchley's ... "

10. Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956)
The Milner brothers, the production team responsible for this tedious outing, went on to produce at least one unimpeachable cult classic, From Hell It Came, all about a murderous walking tree stump with a snarling kisser. Quality notwithstanding, at least that film had snarling, murdering and walking. This film offers precious little to hold an audience's attention. Cathy Downs and Kent Taylor are convincing enough, but it's not their fault that nothing much really seems to happen between one or two fleeting shots of the murky submerged menace.

9. Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)
This is the semi-gory saga of a Black Lagoonesque creature, lured ashore by a lonely lighthouse keeper with scraps from the local butcher shop. Don Giant Gila Monster Sullivan and Jeanne Untamed Youth Carmen are the teen beach rompers who ultimately prove the beast's undoing. A memorably ferocious creature undermined by some interminably talky scenes.

8. She-Creature (1956)
The formidable femininity of Marla English is the main attraction, but Paul Blaisdell, outfitted in his most flamboyant costume, is likewise memorable. With snarling fangs and bobbing antenna, this scaly She Creature also sports flowing blonde hair and a set of Dolly Partonesque breasts. The timeworn plot centers around second-rate Svengali Chester Morris who is obsessed with Marla and resurrects her prehistoric ancestor by means of hypnotic regression.

7. The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965)
Slapped together with spit and suntan oil under the auspices of former matinee hunk Jon Hall, this one turned up on TV occasionally as Monster From the Surf. To keep his lackadaisical son from ignoring his studies in marine biology, scientist dad dons a scrappy rubber suit and sets about murdering twisting beach nymphs. Lots of stale surf footage and songs by Frank Sinatra Jr.

6. Horror of Party Beach (1964)
This one's the coolest, kookiest, sandiest shindig on the list. Filmed entirely on location in Stamford, Conn., Party Beach delivers the campy goods. Motorcycle gangs, knockdown beach fights, a swingin' teen combo that does "The Zombie Stomp," and mass-murdering amphibious creatures with dentures made of wobbling hot dogs. Don't dare miss this one.

5. It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)
FX maestro Ray Harryhausen maintains that production penny-pinching only allowed for a six-armed octopus. Take a closer look, as the giant sea-beast wraps its snaky tentacles around the Golden Gate Bridge. This flick's stop-motion work is still a grabber even in these days of digitally-produced demons. Hero Kenneth Tobey -- every casting director's idea of a no-nonsense military man -- takes charge as thousands stampede the city streets, fleeing a creature that can't even follow them on land.

4. Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
This film's admirable ingenuity and sultry soap opera subplot disguise the fact that it is unrelentingly grim. The big grunting slugs carry their victims to an underwater lair to feed on them at their leisure. Bulky Bruno Ve Sota as the cuckolded husband of tempting tart Yvette Vickers delivers screenwriter Leo Gordon's dialogue with tenderness and conviction. Despite the movie's cheapness, its sweaty, swampy atmosphere is quite palpable.

3. Atomic Submarine (1959)
What a cast! Arthur Franz, Tom Conway, Dick Foran, Bob Steele -- this must be an Alex Gordon production! The entertaining band of veterans is hot on the trail of a suspicious alien craft hiding beneath the polar ice cap, using the earth's magnetism as its source of power. Franz has it in for young pacifist Brett Halsey, but in the end, hatchets are buried, teamwork prevails and the saucer's pilot is exposed as a hairy, wormy, otherworldly cyclops.

2. Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
You'd think that gigantic, murderous crabs would be scary enough. But these flesh-craving crustaceans possess the power of speech and the ability to absorb the thoughts of their devoured victims. By night, they stalk the island-bound survivors, calling to them with the voices of the dead. Lovely Pamela Duncan and hunky Richard Garland lead a cast that includes Ed Nelson doing double duty as the various crabs.

1. Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
Defeating all challengers, the original Gill Man as portrayed by big Ben Chapman stands fin and shoulders above the competition. Producer William Alland and company fashioned not only one of the 1950's most identifiable film icons, but one of the most vividly realized characters in all horror. As enjoyable today as in its original 3-D release nearly 50 years ago.

Blood drips from the ceilings, bodiless heads talk
and the dead walk!"
House On Haunted Hill

"Filmed in the lab of death!"
Face of the Screaming Werewolf

"Scream at the ghastly fly-monster as he keeps a love tryst!"
The Fly

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