Ray Harryhausen helped kicked start the giant monster craze of the 1950’s with the classic 1953 movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Afterwards Harryhausen was hired by Columbia to do the effects for the 1955 low budget Sam Katzman produced sci-fi horror It Came from Beneath the Sea.
A nuclear submarine runs into something big on the radar. The sub struggles but manages to get away and back to port. Once it docks a shocking discovery is made. There’s a chunk of animal material lodged in the propeller. After analyzing the material it’s discovered that it came from an octopus, a very very very large octopus. The military scoff at the conclusion but soon there’s reports of boat attacks and missing swimmers. The two scientists who examined the piece of octopus have deduced that atomic testing has made the giant octopus radioactive and has driven off the beast’s food supply. Now the creature is searching for food.
Eventually the military is convinced and the octopus makes it’s way to San Francisco where the Navy tries to kill the creature. The film was made on pretty low budget and Harryhausen was limited to what he could animate. The studio wouldn’t pay him enough to animate eight legs so the octopus only has six, though Harryhausen tries to hide it. The film was the first time Harryhausen worked with producer Charles H. Schneer who then went on to produced most of Harryhausen’s movies afterwards. The movie isn’t as good as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms but it’s still a lot of fun and the octopus attack on the Golden Gate Bridge is excellent.