In his 1912 silent film La Conquête du Pôle ("The Conquest of the Pole"), pioneering French director Georges Méliès introduced audiences to one of the most underrated monsters in movie history — the man-eating ice giant of the North Pole.

The film, which is based on Jules Verne's 1866 novel The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, follows a trajectory similar to that of Méliès's most famous film, 1902's Le Voyage Dans La Lune, which drew inspiration from Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. In La Conquête du Pôle, Professor Maboul (played by Méliès himself) leads an expedition to the North Pole, where his travelers run afoul of a hungry ice giant. Of course, Maboul's crew's first instinct is to pelt the creature with snowballs. Can you blame the giant for chowing down on them?

This scene is beyond awesome. I love how he slowly rises out of the ground like an old-school Nintendo boss. His gaze is so soulless and strange, and apparently he was a giant marionette.

You can watch the entire 30-minute film (including some gonzo flying sequences) over at Europa Film Treasures. Thanks for the link, Alain!

[Photo via MOMA]