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The Absolute Best Kaiju Movie Of All Time, According To Reddit

Reddit's r/horror community, also known as Dreadit, has weighed in before on the best in horror movies — not just the best overall, but the best subcategories of the genre, too, from horror-comedy to horror guilty pleasures. These folks know their stuff, and they've created plenty of lists for those of us who could use some extra education in the genre. And for everyone who loves the intersection of giant Japanese monsters and the potential destruction of humanity, Dreadit's list of the top kaiju movies (not strictly a horror category, it's true) from earlier this year is a must-see. 

These top movie lists are the result of voting threads in which people nominate their favorites and others vote and comment on the choices. In this case, the list appears to feature a more inclusive definition of kaiju, as it features movies that have monsters without the personality some think of as being central to the best films in the category. For example, Japanese kaiju purists might not accept Pacific Rim or movies like The Blob as strictly kaiju films. No one will argue, though, that Gojira (1954) was the first kaiju film and belongs on any best-of list because, hello, Godzilla. But you might be surprised at the film that came in at No. 1.

Cloverfield comes in first place

The winner of the best kaiju movie vote is a distinctly American project. Cloverfield, from 2008, came from producer J.J. Abrams and director Matt Reeves and was presented in a found footage style that inspired critic Roger Ebert to call it "Godzilla meets the Queasy-Cam." It tells the story of six yuppies in New York City and how they react to a monstrous invasion of their city, starting with the main character, Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who's leaving for a job in Japan. it's during his farewell party that things start to happen. We're talking death, destruction, and mayhem, including trouble at the skyscraper where Rob's romantic interest, Beth (Odette Yustman), is located. 

Cloverfield was actually very influential. According to Cinema Blend, its marketing was developed in a "mystery box" style that withheld key information in the name of building up suspense and generating excitement, followed by a viral campaign that turned a movie with a $25 million budget into a $170 million windfall. The movie itself has a mostly positive 78 percent Tomatometer score at Rotten Tomatoes, but its Audience Score stands at 68 percent — so viewers overall didn't like it as much as critics seemed to. 

On Dreadit, one voter did express surprise and disappointment that Cloverfield beat out so many others, but it apparently got the most votes and stands at No. 1, beating out the original Godzilla from 1954 at No. 2.

The rest of the list is dominated by Godzilla and King Kong

Coming in at third place was 2013's Pacific Rim, followed by 2006's The Host and Shin Godzilla from 2016. In fact, Godzilla appears a total of seven times on the Top 20 list, with 2014's Godzilla at No. 14; 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars at No. 15; 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters at No. 17; Destroy All Monsters at No. 19; and Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidora: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack at No. 20. Also getting votes were a couple of King Kong movies: the 1933 original came in at No. 9, while 2017's Kong: Skull Island took 10th place.

As for the rest of the list, Trollhunter came in sixth place, Tremors was seventh, and The Mist was eighth. The Ritual and The Blob followed at No. 11 and No. 12, with another J.J. Abrams film, Super 8, taking the 13th spot. Rounding out the top 20 were Monsters at No. 16 and the 1954 classic Them! at No. 18.

It remains to be seen how HBO Max's Godzilla vs. Kong, the newest entry in the kaiju genre, stacks up against the others listed here. Unfortunately, Looper's reviewer found the new film less than satisfying, which may mean that Dreadit's list can stand as-is for a little while longer, at least.