Continuity: 20 Million Miles to Earth
Type: Giant monster
Gender: Male
Location: Italy; Venus
Born: 1956 [1]
Died: 1957 [2]
1st appearance: 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

Ymir is the name applied to an alien creature featured in the 1957 film 20 Million Miles to Earth. The special effects used to create Ymir were developed by famed stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Ymir was a semi-humanoid animal life form that originated on the planet Venus. In the late 1950s, the American government launched the first manned expedition to the planet Venus aboard a space vessel known as the XY-21. Expedition leader Colonel Robert Calder and a crew of seventeen astronauts and scientists made the twenty-million mile journey and collected mineral samples to bring back to Earth. One of the samples was a viscous fluid, which contained a Venusian life form in an embryonic state. It was Calder's hope that by studying the life form, scientists might be able to determine a way to make life on Venus possible for people from Earth. Thirteen months later, the XY-21 made its return voyage back to Earth, but its course was diverted after it was struck by a passing meteor. Rather than returning to the United States, the ship crash-landed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily. A passing fisherman and a young boy named Pepe found the XY-21 and helped the survivors make it back to shore. Pepe discovered the canister containing the Venusian and opened it. He then sold the organism to Doctor Leonardo of the Giardino Zoo of Rome.

Leonardo kept the organism inside of his trailer where it began to quickly grow in size and mass. It attacked Leonardo's daughter Marisa. Marisa survived the encounter and the creature hid inside of a nearby barn. Inside the barn, a farmer's dog began tormenting Ymir and it took off for higher ground for safety. Army soldiers burst into the barn and find Ymir skittering about through the rafters.

Ymir escaped once again and continued to grow until he was nearly the size of a normal human. Colonel Calder contacted local authorities as well as the military and warned them about the alien threat. He told them that the creature existed on a diet of sulfur and was susceptible to high volts of electricity. They radioed in for helicopters to drop bags of sulfur about the area in order to lure the creature to a predetermined location. Once doing so, they dropped an electrically charged net over top of him. Ymir struggled to break free, but ultimately, he was captured. Calder and the others packed him up and prepared to take him to Rome for further study.

Ymir stalks Italy.

Once he was at the Giardino zoo, the Venusian continued to grow to a size roughly thirty-five feet tall. The staff kept him sedated by way of electric jolts through his nervous system. Too much electricity would prove fatal to the Venusian, but too little threatened to awaken him. Ymir regained consciousness and tore through his bindings and began rampaging throughout the streets of Rome.

As he went out into the sunshine, an elephant broke loose and began attacking him. The two titans wrestled about through the streets of Rome, crushing anything that got into their way. Ymir grabbed the elephant and bit down hard into its neck, killing it. Colonel Calder arrived and tried stopping Ymir's advance by ramming it with his car, but this only succeeded in making the monster angrier. Ymir escaped into the nearby Tiber River.

The Italian police officials began bombing the river with grenades and mortar fire. The Venusian eventually came up through a bridge and started attacking people again. Soldiers chased him to the Roman Coliseum where they prepared for their final showdown with the monster. Ymir scaled the outer edges of the walls until he reached the top of the Coliseum. Army tanks and soldiers surrounded the area and opened fire on the alien. One soldier fired several shots with a bazooka, weakening the structure of the Coliseum. The stone around the Venusian's feet crumbled away, just enough to cause him to topple over, sending him falling to his doom.

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The original script treatment, as well as numerous reference books and reviews for 20 Million Miles to Earth have taken to calling the Venusian, Ymir. The name is never actually used in the movie however. The name Ymir is taken from a figure from Norse mythology. Harryhausen was reluctant to include the name in the film out of fear that viewers might mis-hear it as Emir, a royal title in Arabic culture.
  • Though the original movie was filmed in black and white, later visual representations of Ymir show him colored greenish-gray.
  • The sound effects used for the monster's roar are audio samples of a trumpeting elephant that are sped up and modulated at different rates and pitches. This sound effect was later used as a stock audio sample in various cartoon series throughout the 1960s and 70s. One of the best known uses of the "Ymir roar" was the flying dragon character Zok from the 1967-1969 animated series The Herculoids.
  • Ymir bears a strong physical resemblance to a later Harryhausen creation, the Kraken. The Kraken was featured in the 1981 fantasy film Clash of the Titans.
  • A 4 inch cold cast resin statue of Ymir lying on a table was produced by the Ray Harrhausen Film Library. In 2001, the X-Plus toy company produced a 12 inch limited edition vinyl action figure of Ymir with thirteen points of articulation. Only 6,000 of these particular figures were produced.
  • A figurine of Ymir was packaged as part of the Ray Harryhausen DVD Gift Set.
  • Ymir was also included in the 1990 Monsters in My Pocket toy line by Matchbox.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The astronauts spent thirteen months in space before finally returning to Earth. Assuming that the events from the film take place in the same year in which it was released, Ymir would have been born in either late 1955 or 1956.
  2. This database assumes that the events of the film take place in the same year in which it was released.

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