Rhedosaurus is the scientific name of the carnivorous man-eating dinosaur-like monster from the 1953 film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The Rhedosaurus in the film was one of the last surviving members of its species, awakened by a nuclear test in the Arctic. It made its way down the North American coast, destroying everything in its path and ending up in New York, its original home. Attempts to kill it were complicated by an ancient disease it carried; spilling its blood freed the plague, which was almost as deadly as the dinosaur itself. The Rhedosaurus was eventually killed at Coney Island when a radioactive isotope was shot into a wound on its neck, both fatally wounding it and also neutralizing the disease. The radiation also incinerated it, causing it to burn the island.
Sixty-five million years ago, the world belonged to the fearsome reptiles. Dinosaurs of countless shapes and sizes ruled the lands until a catastrophic event drove them into extinction. However, some species were frozen in the thick ice of the arctic circle in a form of suspended animation. As mankind became the dominant species, their obsession with nuclear power and destruction resulted in the testing of a highly powerful atomic bomb in the frozen wasteland. In the gigantic fireball, the ice began to melt and unleashed one of the tyrant lizards from its frozen tomb. The Rhedosaurus roared its return to the world. Only one man, Lee Hunter, witnessed the beast and, unfortunately for him, nobody would believe his outstanding story until it was too late.
The gigantic reptile was on the move, trekking across the Atlantic Ocean in order to reach its ancient territory in what is now New York City! Sinking fishing boats and demolishing a lighthouse, the creature left few survivors in each attack. Like Lee, the stories told by those whom saw the beast were scoffed at.
However, Lee managed to gain support from a famous paleontologist whom helped spread his fantastic claim and reveal how such a creature could still exist. During a diving expedition, Professor Nesbitt’s submersible was destroyed by the creature. No longer was Lee’s story shrugged off. It was now a known fact: something big was heading toward New York City!
The reptile emerged from the bay and attacked, lashing out against humanity with ferocity! Thousands fled for their lives as the gigantic Rhedosaurus crumbled buildings and fed on fleeing civilians. Gunshots had no effect on its scaly hide and by the time the defense forces arrived, the beast had vanished in the heart of Manhattan! When it was finally located, the creature was hit by a bazooka. Reeling in pain and spilling blood, the Rhedosaurus retreated once more.
However, as soldiers patrolled the streets, numerous men began to drop. The beast’s blood was toxic! In order to prevent spread of the prehistoric germ, they’d have to kill it without blowing the beast to bits or burning it. The answer came in the form of a radioactive isotope, but getting it into the creature’s body was a completely different task. As the ancient monster ripped the Coney Island amusement park apart, setting fire to the gigantic roller coaster in the process, the isotope was launched into its body by a military sharpshooter. Screaming in agony, the dinosaur collapsed, its insides burning. The fearsome Rhedosaurus breathed its last before dying, bring his kind to extinction once again.
- The Rhedosaurus was one of the main inspirations for Godzilla.
- The Rhedosaurus puppet was used again in the film, Planet of The Dinosaurs where it played a Rhedosaurus again that was doomed to be killed by the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- The Rhedosaurus appeared in the 6th episode of the 2nd Season of ABC's Whose Line Is It Anyway?