Paleontologists investigate a prehistoric cavern, unearthed in the eruption of Japan's Noshiro Volcano. Inside, the scientists discover two enormous dinosaurs, theorized to be related to tyrannosaurus rex and ankylosaurus, both still living thanks to a specific mixture of volcanic gases. Arrangements are made for the dinosaurs and the gases to be studied at a university laboratory in San Francisco. En route, however, the tyrannosaur is lost at sea during a turbulent storm.
No longer subdued by the volcanic gas, the ankylosaur awakens and heads for the Golden Gate Bay, where the tyrannosaur has surfaced. Being prehistoric rivals, the monsters resume their ancient battle and destroy the city's Chinatown. The tyrannosaur kills its opponent and returns to the sea. Some time later, it surfaces at an island in the Arctic Ocean, where scientists theorize that the monster will lay its eggs. U.S. Navy jets bombard the island, trapping the dinosaur under tons of ice, where it will be preserved for scientists to study.
Meanwhile, a monstrous claw emerges from the Noshiro cavern.
After the successful release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in 1956, a group of Hollywood producers, including Harry Rybnick, Edward Barison, and Paul Schreibman[note 1], acquired certain distribution rights to Toho's Godzilla Raids Again. The producers, unhappy with the film's story, hired screenwriters Ib Melchior and Ed Watson to craft an original screenplay around as much of the existing film's special effects sequences as possible.[note 2] The writers delivered a final draft, titled The Volcano Monsters, on May 7, 1957, and AB-PT Pictures, Corp., was approached to produce. Additionally, to aid in the production of the new special effects scenes in the screenplay, Toho built and shipped to Hollywood new Godzilla and Anguirus costumes.
Before production on The Volcano Monsters could begin, however, AB-PT abruptly ceased operations. Instead of restarting the project at another studio, Rybnick and Barison sold the film to a group of investors headed by Paul Schreibman. Under Schreibman's direction, Godzilla Raids Again was reworked into Gigantis, the Fire Monster, eventually released by Warner Bros. in 1959.
In May 1957, while working as an assistant to Paul Blaisdell on the filming of Invasion of the Saucer Men at the Howard Anderson Company's special effects studio, Bob Burns inspected the Godzilla and Anguirus costumes sent by Toho for use in The Volcano Monsters. The fate of both costumes after this is unknown.
- Since Godzilla and Anguirus were merely meant to represent dinosaurs, neither monster would have been named in the final film. The script, likewise, never refers to either monster by its original name.
- When interviewed by Steve Ryfle, Schreibman wasn't aware of The Volcano Monsters. In an interview with Brett Homenick, however, Ib Melchior recalled that Schreibman was one of the producers who hired him to write the screenplay.
- Footage of Godzilla using his atomic breath was to have been deleted.
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