The latest incarnation of Godzilla is stomping into theaters Friday.Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film stars Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as an outcast scientist who is dismissed as a lunatic for believing in Godzilla, at least until the less-than-jolly green giant rears his ugly head (and claws and tail).Godzilla — which was introduced to American audiences in 1956’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters — is more than a mindless destructive force. In this rejuvenation of the famous franchise, he “rises to restore [the] balance” of nature as “humanity stands defenseless,” the filmmakers say. In other words, he’s a monster on a mission.They say the best way to overcome fear is to stare it down, and that you should keep your enemies closer than your friends. In that case, we’d better take stock of how much we know about Godzilla and other giant movie monsters.To help prepare for the ensuing carnage, take this quiz and see how you scared — ahem, scored, at the end. 1. A classic of silent cinema, The Lost World (1925) is based on a novel by Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle. In the film, a brontosaurus rampages through London, destroying what iconic structure?A. The Sears TowerB. Tower BridgeC. The Eiffel TowerD. The Leaning Tower of Pisa 2. Everyone loves the original King Kong , which thrilled moviegoers in 1933 and is still entertaining audiences (via Blu-ray) today. Which scream queen played Kong’s beautiful captive?A. Fay WrayB. Clara BowC. Jean HarlowD. Evelyn Ankers 3. In the original Mighty Joe Young (1949), the titular giant ape lifts a woman over his head while she’s playing the piano. What song is she playing? Hint: It was composed by Stephen Foster.A. Beautiful DreamerB. The Yellow Rose of TexasC. Rock-a-Bye BabyD. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed 4. In The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953), a “Rhedosaurus,” awakened by atomic bomb testing, wreaks havoc in what Brooklyn amusement park?A. Six FlagsB. Disney WorldC. Coney IslandD. SeaWorld 5. In 1956, Godzilla, King of the Monsters, a recut of Japan’s original Gojira (1954), was released in the United States. Shoehorned into the film was a subplot about an American reporter in Tokyo. Which actor — a future TV lawyer — played that reporter?A. Andy GriffithB. William ShatnerC. Sam WaterstonD. Raymond Burr 6. Allison Hayes portrayed the king-size socialite in the 1958 low-budget cult film Attack of the 50 Foot Woman . Which splashy actress played the title character in the 1993 made-for-TV remake?A. Anna Nicole SmithB. Shannon TweedC. Daryl HannahD. Lucy Lawless 7. In 1962, Godzilla went toe-to-toe with King Kong in an epic for the ages, King Kong vs. Godzilla . During their first battle, King Kong throws what at Godzilla?A. A fallen treeB. A VolkswagenC. A sumo wrestlerD. A large boulder 8. The Valley of Gwangi , released in 1969, is a dinosaur film crossed with what genre?A. HorrorB. MysteryC. Science fictionD. Western 9. In what film did Godzilla use his patented atomic breath to fly in pursuit of his airborne enemy?A. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)B. Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)C. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)D. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) 10. In the original 1933 version of King Kong , the big fella climbed the Empire State Building. In the 1976 remake starring Jessica Lange, which skyscraper did he scale?A. The Sears TowerB. The Chrysler BuildingC. The World Trade CenterD. The New York Times Building 11. What does general store owner Walter Chang (Victor Wong) name the giant sandworms in Tremors , the 1990 feature starring Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward?A. MutantsB. GraboidsC. Sand creaturesD. Dirt demons 12. In Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster dino pic Jurassic Park (1993), a Tyrannosaurus rex gobbles up a lawyer who is sitting on what? A. A park benchB. A reclinerC. A toiletD. A motorcycle 13. In Starship Troopers (1997), the military sci-fi film based on the 1959 Robert Heinlein novel of the same name, futuristic soldiers battle giant ________.A. RobotsB. BugsC. ApesD. Lizards 14. Which actor played the chief protagonist in 1998’s widely panned Godzilla , a big-budget reimagining of the franchise?A. Steve GuttenbergB. Jon CryerC. Michael J. FoxD. Matthew Broderick 15. Disney’s John Carter (2012), which starred Taylor Kitsch ( Friday Night Lights) as the muscle-bound hero, is set on which planet?A. VenusB. EarthC. MarsD. Planet XAnswers: 1. B, Tower Bridge. After demolishing Tower Bridge, the creature swims away. 2. A, Fay Wray. She was told by director Merian C. Cooper that she would have “the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood.” 3. A, Beautiful Dreamer. After the song, the duo receives a standing ovation. 4. C, Coney Island. To get a good shot at the creature, a sharpshooter takes a ride on a roller coaster. 5. D, Raymond Burr. No stranger to B-movies, Raymond “Perry Mason” Burr also appeared in Bride of the Gorilla (1951) and Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953). 6. C, Daryl Hannah, who’s better known for playing the mermaid opposite Tom Hanks in Splash (1984). 7. D, a large boulder. Godzilla counters with a blast of atomic breath. 8. D, Western. The movie stars James Franciscus as a cowboy trying to capture a Tyrannosaurus rex for use in a Mexican circus. 9. A, Godzilla vs. Hedorah. The movie, which had an overt anti-pollution message, was released in the U.S. in 1972 as Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. 10. C, the World Trade Center. The twin towers were featured prominently on the movie poster. 11. B, Graboids, which terrorize the fictional desert town of Perfection, in Nevada. 12. C, a toilet. The unfortunate victim was played by Martin Ferrero, who once told USA Today that he will probably always be known as “the guy who died on the toilet.” 13. B, bugs. The creatures hail from a distant planet called Klendathu. 14. D, Matthew Broderick. Better known as the title character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Broderick portrayed nerdy scientist Dr. Niko “Nick” Tatopoulos. 15. C, Mars. The film is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1917 novel, A Princess of Mars.How did you score? 0-5 points: Stop what you’re doing at once and enroll in Monsters University. Or at least get a job at Monsters, Inc. 6-10: It was big of you to take this quiz, but this is nonetheless a rather monstrous score. 11-14: You know your giant monster movies, don’t you? Consider yourself the king of Kong. 15: Congratulations, a perfect score — praise Godzilla!
Brett Weiss is the author of the new book “Retro Pop Culture A to Z: From Atari 2600 to Zombie Films.”