Copyright by Gary L. Pullman
In Godzilla (1954), a radioactive, fire-breathing, dragon-like monster attacks Tokyo. After being transported to New York City, King Kong attacks The Big Apple. Other creatures, gigantic and otherwise, have likewise run amok in other big cities. In The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), an escaped Tyrannosaurus rex attacks San Diego. To be a resident of any such metropolis at the time of an attack by such monsters would, indeed, be terrifying.
Big cities aren't usually isolated from the assistance that police, medical personnel, firefighters, and other emergency services provide, and they are often homes to a variety of experts upon whose knowledge and experience endangered citizens can rely. In fact, since, typically, big cities are served by airports, railroads, interstate highways, and, sometimes, ports, the deployment of military troops is often quick and easy. Such cities as Tokyo, New York, and San Diego may suffer some loss of life and damage, but, in the end, it's likely that the likes of Godzilla, King Kong, and T-rex are going down and staying down.
Villages, which lack the size, population, infrastructure, technological assets, expertise, and protective firepower of large cities and are often isolated in difficult-to-reach terrain are a different story altogether. If a gigantic monster—or a monster of any size—were to attack, I'd rather take my chances in a big city than a village, any day.
Beginning of the End (1957, clearly shows how a small town, Ludlow, Illinois, fares—or fared—against the attack of gigantic monsters—in this case, radioactive mutant grasshoppers. Apparently before it could sound an alarm, Ludlow was annihilated. Its entire population of 150 residents, who are nowhere to be found, are presumed to be dead. The only clue to what happened to Ludlow's townspeople is the barrenness of the surrounding farmlands, which look as though their crops were devoured by a swarm of locusts.
The monstrous grasshoppers do not fare well when their swarm attacks Chicago. Botanist Dr. Ed Wainwright has gathered intelligence concerning the attackers. He knows locusts have eaten radioactive grain stored in a nearby silo, and he has heard of mysterious incidents in nearby communities. When he discovers the gigantic grasshoppers, he realizes that they have devoured the region's crops and are now seeking human prey. He provides the expertise that the United States military forces need to exterminate the grasshoppers. An electronic mating call is devised from test-tone oscillators, and the warm-blooded predators are lured to Lake Michigan, where the cold water incapacitates them, and they drown.
Unlike Ludlow, Chicago survives, because it is a large city that can provide the scientific and military resources needed to eliminate the threat posed by the gigantic, predatory grasshoppers.
The Black Scorpion (1957) is similar to Beginning of the End in its contrast of a helpless village the residents of which are attacked and injured or killed by gigantic insects—the scorpions to which the film's title alludes—while a big city is saved from the predators' threat of mass destruction. Troops under the command of Major Cosio arrive in the Mexican town, San Lorenzo, to provide disaster relief in the aftermath of a nearby volcano's eruption. However, their soldiers' weapons prove ineffective against the gigantic scorpions, and the villagers remain unprotected. Military might, this movie suggests, is not enough; it must be applied in a fashion made possible only by scientists or other experts.
Fortunately for the humans whose lives are at stake, the largest of the gigantic scorpions kills the others. Now, it is up to Dr. Velasco, an etymologist, to determine an effective way to destroy the remaining scorpion. It is only after he provides the information necessary to destroy the insects, as the scorpions approach Mexico City, that the military can stop them. Using meat as bait, Velasco and his team lure the insect into a stadium, and the army attacks it with larger, more lethal weapons, such as tanks and helicopters, than those that were used by Major Cosio's men. Nevertheless, the tactic fails, and it is only when geologist Dr. Hank Scott fires a spear attached to an electric cable into the scorpion's throat—its only vulnerable spot—and electrocutes the gigantic insect that the predator is killed and Mexico City is saved.
Unlike the village of San Lorenzo, Mexico City provided such assets as a stadium, military aircraft and tanks, and the combined expertise of an etymologist and a pair of geologists, Scott and Dr. Arturo Ramos. Scientific knowledge combined with military might and the architecture of the big city were enough, combined, to defeat the scorpion.