And now, I continue my journey into rubber monster suit madness. In this next batch of Godzilla flicks, things get really weird.
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)
Story: Princess Selina Salno of Selgina is about to arrive in Japan, because shit is getting too hot in her home country. Her uncle is out to kill her and take control of their chief export: Victorian-era ruffled collars and mens’ blouses. He has his preferred assassin take care of things, but you’ll never take this guy seriously when you see him in his cool, dark shades and dressed like Little Lord Fondleguys. Fortunately, the Princess just happened to walk out of the plane mid-flight before it blows up, because a light told her to. I’ve dated crazier.
Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned any district-crushing monsters yet? Keep it in your pants, they’re coming.
So, the Princess shows up making strange predictions in Japan. She doesn’t remember anything and claims to be from Venus. Despite how batty everyone thinks she is, the reporters are eager to hear her out. I love a country where crazy homeless lady space-ranting is the day’s top story.
First, the Venusian predicts the return of Rodan, a pterodactyl-like monster that had his own movie before he started sucking up to Godzilla to get with the kinda-cute 7s that G-Dizzy passes on. Soon, Big Bird busts out of the mountain he was buried in to fly around menacingly.
Next, Princess Nutterbutter warns the visiting Infant Island twins (yep, Mothra is in this) not to get on a ship. Good call, because Godzilla finally shows up to blast it into Titanic toothpicks. The two monsters begin fucking with each other all over Japan. No one actually seems to notice.
Finally, from the calm quiet of her under-qualified psychiatrist’s office, the Venusian predicts the arrival of the space monster King Ghidorah, a three-headed, two-tailed, armless dragon. Every dull, monsterless moment in all of these movies is worth it to see this fucker flying around, waving his heads and tails like a spaz and blasting everything in every direction into rubble. Again, I’ve had crazier girlfriends.
Let’s skip to the good (?) stuff. The Japanese government doesn’t even bother with military strikes, they go straight to the talking twin dolls for help. Instead, they get another goddamn song. Larval Mothra returns, and actually tries to talk Godzilla and Rodan into a Marvel Team-Up. They laugh the giant Tootsie Roll off, and Mothra starts to get her segmented ass kicked around by Ghidorah. The other two decide to join in after all, beginning a trend of camaraderie and Earth-defending that will wilt our violence-erections for two decades.
Comment: Watch Rodan peck at Godzilla’s head, or Mothra spitting in their respective faces and try not to imagine this is exactly what the 1973 Gay Olympics were like, only with short shorts.
Also, the translation of dialogue from these now anthropomorphized monsters really takes away any respect you had for these terrible beings. I think that’s why I like Ghidorah; the only language he speaks is that weird ray gun sound and knocking you stupid with his three heads.
Weird Women: The Venusian reads Clinical Study of Acute Amnesia and Megalomania in the dark, split seconds after almost getting her throat slit and head blown off. She’s in an emotionless trance, no matter what insane destruction or bullshit is happening around her. Guys, if you don’t see the red flag in either of those statements, you deserve to wake up staring at a little pile of every mole and freckle that used to be on your body.
Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
A.K.A. Monster Zero
Story: Scientists discover a new planet behind Jupiter, so they ignore the Roman god naming convention and call it Planet X. Two brave astronauts are sent to explore: Fuji and Glenn, an American. They discover an underground community of Japanese New Wave pop stars that need help. They live below the surface to avoid the destruction of the terrible Monster Zero, who is revealed to be none other than three-headed lightning-breath King Ghidorah. 1965 moviegoers are pissed to find out they just got duped into seeing another damn Godzilla movie.
The Xians request Earth’s help in sending Ghidorah away by letting them have Godzilla and bird-brain Rodan, whom they imaginatively refer to as Monster Zero One and Monster Zero Two. They’re obviously of a superior intellect, what with the plan to eliminate their monster problem by adding two more of the giant jerkwads. In exchange, they offer us the cure for cancer. Fuji and Glenn have millionaire poker faces and act like this is a tough choice instead of being overcome by visions of all the candy striper tongue baths they’re going to receive for revolutionizing modern medicine and bitch-slapping that giant monster problem.
They return to Earth, and Glenn reunites with his hot girlfriend Namikawa. She just bought the rights to a screeching rape alarm invented by the boyfriend of Glenn’s sister. I only mention this because the Xians are weak to the noise it makes. They’re also weak to logic and their own dumbass need to over-explain their plans. They look as trustworthy as the guy on the bus you just caught staring at your fingers, only with Giordi La Forge sunglasses and bulge-revealing leotards. Oh, and they’ve had a secret group on Earth this whole time, by the way. These assholes make the Visitors in V look like harmless, wacky neighbors.
The Xians tell us exactly where to find Godzilla and Rodan, and even capture them without incident. Fuji, Glenn, and Dr. Scientist travel with the aliens to witness the monsters smack Ghidorah around a little, followed by a victory Corky dance from Godzilla. Given a box with the cure for cancer and a spaceship exactly like theirs but better, the Earthlings return home victoriously.
The celebration is short-lived, because the reel-to-reel tape from the advanced space society that was supposed to cure Grandma instead announces their true intention: to conquer Earth. They have all three of the monsters under their control with the insane clown-confusing magic of magnetic waves. Fortunately, Earth’s scientists aren’t sub-moronic born-again rappers, and can figure out a way to counter the waves. Ghidorah is still a triple-dick, though. We’re treated to another underwater climax we can’t see, and the King flies off victorious. Happy ending? It is for Glenn. Though his girlfriend was incinerated earlier, he’s chosen to be an ambassador on a planet full of her identical sisters.
Comment: Slickster and former James Dean boy toy Nick Adams plays Glenn in one of the only starring roles an American has had in the Godzilla movies. Seeing the New Jersey-born Adams voiced over by a Japanese actor is about as natural as McNugget-flavored Fruit Roll-up, which might actually be a thing in Japan.
Also, alien threat is exactly what this series needed to make Godzilla into a good guy. Prepare for a lot of outer space nerds versus giant reptiles, kids.
Weird Women: Namikawa is revealed as an Xian when all the women on the planet turn up looking exactly like her. The type of girl I’m into got very specific after watching this movie in my formative years. When asked about romantic prospects, I tell nosey relatives I’m just looking for the right black vinyl-clad cloned Japanese space girl. I stopped getting invited to the reunion picnics.
Made-Up Powers: Godzilla fucking dances.
Story: Though the wreckage of the his brother’s ship was found weeks ago, young Ryota insists his sibling is still alive. So he goes to a dance marathon to try and win a boat to find him. Trust me, this isn’t even close to the dumbest leap of logic you’ll find in these flicks. Instead, he finds a couple goofballs who just dropped out of the competition. They take him to a nearby marina where they board a random sailboat, only to find a master lockpick hiding out with the millions he just stole. They seriously all decide to spend the night on the S.S. Contrived Plot, only to wake up the next morning adrift at sea because Ryota is determined to find his bro.
A violent storm wrecks the boat, or so they think. They wash ashore mysterious Devil’s Island, only to find the naval-themed Red Bamboo terrorist organization exploiting natives from nearby Infant Island. If you’ve been paying attention so far, you should know by now that means we’ll be seeing Mothra soon. With the help of an escaped island girl, this colorfully-clad group of misfits discover they are trapped on the island by a humongous lobster called Ebirah. They also come across post-bender Godzilla, crashed out within one of the island mountains. Apparently, a few too many Jagerbombs accomplished what nuclear ones cold not.
Ryota hops onto one of the Red Bamboo’s spy camera balloons and hitches a convenient ride to Infant Island, where he finds his missing brother living the sweet life of eating fruit and praying to a big-ass moth. Meanwhile, his pals decide creating a lightning rod to wake up Godzilla is the answer to their crustacean problems.
A stupid game of ball toss between G and the Nightmare from Bikini Bottom becomes an aquatic slapfest that sends Ebirah packing. Godzilla soon fights a giant condor, and then a squad of planes . There’s jangly surf guitar, and the fight is filmed like a scene from Gidget Does Long Beach. I know this is ridiculous as I type it out, but it’s getting difficult to take this rubber suit monster seriously.
Godzilla continues to wreck the base, and sets off the island self-destruct button. While everyone wonders why the crap anyone would even make such a thing, Ebirah takes another shot at the champ. It doesn’t go well for his major appendages. Mothra finally shows up to save her own villagers after requiring a full day of singing, dancing, and praying. That’s kind of a bitch thing to do.
Comment: Though not Godzilla’s most formidable enemy by a long shot, Ebirah did keep making my mouth water for a light butter sauce on a nice, big lobster tail. Next review: Thunderlips vs. Joe’s Crab Shack.
Fun Fact: Godzilla’s uncharacteristic traits, like boulder-throwing, drawing strength from electricity, and being extremely pussy-whipped, are due to the movie actually being written for King Kong. But that monkey don’t work cheap, and Godzilla will seemingly take any silly script his agent hands him. Oh shit, they’re already becoming real people in my brain.
WTF?: At one point, our heroes sneak around outside this heavily-guarded secret base hidden behind leaves. They pause when anyone is near, pretending to be island shrubbery. And it works perfectly.
Story: A group of scientists are creating a weather control machine on secluded Sollgel Island. A reporter parachutes in to see what they’re up to, and is begrudgingly included on the condition he becomes their housewife. Excited to create whimsical new dishes for the guys, Mr. Journalistic Integrity discovers the jungle is inhabited by (a) a beautiful, mysterious jungle girl and (b) big fucking praying mantises. Not Godzilla big, just WNBA big. And WNBA sexy, now that I made the comparison.
Not having learned any of the previous lessons concerning man tampering with power that he wasn’t meant to, the scientists fuck up the experiment and irradiate the entire island. Now all those Kamascuras (the mantis) are Godzilla big. Attracted to the strange waves that have been screwing everything up, the bugs dig up a huge egg and bang on it until it hatches to reveal a lumpy poo baby. They try to eat it, the nasty fuckers, but Godzilla shows up mega-pissed. He kills one and plays soccer with the other two. Interested in Australian cuisine, he uses his atomic breath to roast one.
The jungle girl shows up to sing at this creepy kid that looked like it could have used another week in the shell. But Godzilla takes responsibility for Minilla. There’s even a scene where Godzilla’s trying to take a nap and Minilla wants to play. It reminds me of my childhoood, only with way less freakishly huge monsters. Less drugs, too.
After enough frolicking to know the terror aspect of these movies is long gone, a giant spider called Kumonga is woken when the remaining Kamascuras attacks Minilla (are you still following this?).
Spidey webs them up, while Godzilla naps blissfully. Finally inclined to save his adoptive son, the King of Too Many Afternoon Beers throws a rock at the spider. Then it’s an unbalanced battle between webbing spray and atomic heat death… and webbing wins. The scientists finally get the weather machine working well enough to freeze all these assholes into hibernation moments after father and son have a bonding moment burning the corpse of their enemy.
Comment: I’m just going to come out and say it; I hate the whole concept of baby Godzilla. I’ve heard Godzilla superfans defend him every way possible, but I’m not buying it. Sure, I understand that Japanese filmmakers in the late 60s weren’t really looking to appease the snarky 30-year-old American audience four decades after the movie was made, but I can’t imagine the men that created one of film history’s most terrifying movies ever wanted to see their monster playing footsie ball and taking three siestas in 80 minutes. And we’re going to keep seeing the little bastard, folks. The only thing that I take solace in is the theory that he grows up to be the raging asshole Godzilla of the 80s.
When Minilla doesn’t want to learn how to breath atomic rays, Godzilla threatens to backhand him. Parenting used to be so simple.
Godzilla Suit: Now that Godzilla is unquestionably everyone’s friend, they’ve given him googly Muppet eyes. He looks like Cookie Monster survived a day in a microwave.
Weird Women: Saeko the jungle girl is every guy’s dream. Shy and beautiful, but with natural survival instincts. I can even forgive the weird jungle call. But when she makes herself known to the scientists, and they dress her up in a red floral print shirt, white slacks, and black belt… she just looks like every over-cheerful Hawaiian travel guide that is sick to fuck of answering your questions about the filming of Lost.
Story: Let’s leap ahead to the distant future world of 1999, the far-flung era Destroy All Monsters is set in. Man has finally captured all of Earth’s monsters, keeping them trapped on the obviously-named Monster Island for study. Remember when we used to vaporize these things? There are the mainstays Godzilla, Mothra (once again in larval form), and Rodan. But Anguirus (the Ankylosaurus from Godzilla Raids Again) returns. We’re introduced to Gorosaurus (a Tyrannosaurus Rex)… who looks pretty damn boring next to the crazy monster bastards we‘ve come to know and love. The baddest ass from Jurassic Park doesn’t even rank in Japan. At the same time, humans are regularly hanging out on the moon to study… I don’t know, moon dust? The best garish color for space suits?
The nerds on the island inexplicably release all of the relaxed monsters, who all snap out of their drug haze and go on a global monument-humping spree. Our moon explorers go to the island for answers, only to find the scientists are themselves being controlled by glitter space nuns with creepy, all-knowing expressions.
Though the world’s metropolitan areas are being razed, no one in Japan seems to really care until they get quadruple-teamed by Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and some serpentine dragon called Manda. I’d tell you what movie he’s originally from, but Godzilla isn’t in it. So who cares?
Our brave heroes find the controls to Earth’s monsters in the secret moon base the space hoochies hid under our own asses. They swipe the device, allowing us to control the monsters and attack the Mt. Fuji base of the alien dominatrix squad. This time, Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, and Gorosaurus are joined by lame little Minilla, the spider Kumanga, and a squat dino called Baragon in their attack on the base. But the smug seamstresses have a final weapon: King effin’ Ghidorah.
I’m not going to spoil who wins this awesome fight, but I will say I pity the poor schmuck that drew Ghidorah’s name out of the suit-assignment hat.
As a last-ditch effort, the sparkle tarts unleash the Fire Dragon, the lamest monster in any one of these flicks. Lamer than Minilla, even. It’s just an animated dot.
Comment: This one is regarded as a Godzilla classic, and the awesome fights and staggering number of monsters make it pretty legit. It has alien gals, new monsters from other Toho movies, and cool spaceships and moon vehicles. But the message of friendship between all Earth residents at the end is annoying, especially when we return to captivity the same creatures that just saved us from space poop.
If someone made Devo out of Legos, they would have created the astronaut uniforms in this movie.
Weird Women: Strange chicks is a common theme in the Godzilla movies. (Strong female leads are, too, but they’re less fun to razz). The Kilaaks are the queen weirdos of the G-Universe with those goddamn unsettling smirks and bedazzled cloaks that leave only their faces uncovered. Still hot, as long as you don’t mortally wound them so that they revert to their true form of a dook-slug wiggling into a rock.
Kids Review: Wow, this movie is great! There are so many monsters… even the Son of Godzilla, Minilla! And it’s cool how little Ichiro can go to Monster Island in his imagination whenever he gets lonely. I wish I could, too. Maybe I should try harder! Bullies are mean, and Ichiro helps Minilla fight his! Godzilla helped, too. And Ichiro stops thieves and beats up his own bully, because of Minilla’s fight. I like how even in Monster Island there are friends (even if there have to be dumb bullies, too.) Thanks for reading my review. Now it’s time to turn on our computers to contact Monster Island. COM-PU-TOR, COM-PU-TOR! LOL! Bye!
Adults Review: Did the kids leave? Good.
Holy. Fucking. Balls.
Most horses wouldn’t have survived the amount of drugs I had to take for my first viewing. But I wanted to experience this made-for-kids entry in the Godzilla series with a childlike wonder. And that can only be achieved with a severe mix of military-strength barbiturates in my Lucky Charms. Now that my bones have reformed, I can tell you in all honesty that you will never experience meganuts insanitude like this. I don’t care if you make a living shaving wild tiger asses for Scientology, you have still not experienced crazy until you’ve seen All Monsters Attack. I hate this movie because it destroys any intensity ever established within the series. But it’s also one of my favorites because I never believed in God, and this finally proves me right. Here’s some Great Moments In WTF?!:
Spastic kid Ichiro has few friends besides the creepy Amish toymaker that feeds him when his absentee mother is at her “hostess” job. This is the guy that invented a seriously industrial-looking “Kiddie Computer” and the popular Crawling Hand That Cries Rape. Do not trust this man as babysitter, or the next contact you have with your child will be finding a little yellow ball cap stuffed into an abandoned toolbox.
This kid has the best superpower of all time: if he thinks about something hard enough, he hallucinates it. If I could find a way to bottle that, I’d just buy Japan and make it my personal movie studio. And you’re damn right it would only make Godzilla movies.
When Minilla opens his mouth to talk, you’ll probably lose control of your bowels. The sound isn’t so bad if you’re okay with hearing a twenty-something woman encouraging you from inside a large suitcase.
When Ichiro defeats his bullies at the end of the movie, he becomes a little jerk himself. It’s a betrayal to the audience who was rooting for the pint-size space cadet, but is an important lesson to kids: screw that guy over fast, you need to be accepted amongst the cool kids before puberty hits.
Comments: Godzilla wishes he was the force of chaos this fucking kid is. The little shit humps a car while making up a song about it.
Oh, and Toho… you’re all bastards for recycling footage for almost every monster fight in this movie. The only new fights are with Gabara, who looks more like a fancy vibrator than a fearsome monster. Believe me, it takes this movie to all-new levels of uncomfortable, and I’m not even talking about the prolonged Minilla crotch-shot.
To be continued in Part 3!