Monster Mash: Rodan, Godzilla vs Kong and More
From The Real Bits
If Godzilla is the King of the Monsters, then arguably Rodan is the second born prince. In fact, the original Japanese title for his debut film (空の大怪獣 ラドン or Sora no Daikaijū) is where we get the now-ubiquitous term for “large monster.”
RODAN (or Giant Monster of the Sky: Rodan if you prefer) came just two years after Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla, but the filmmaker had been even more prolific than his frequent collaborator Akira Kurosawa in that time. Indeed, the six films he put out ranged from the comedic Love Makeup (1955) to the romantic short feature People of Tokyo, Goodbye (1956). There was also another kaiju film in this time: Half Human (1956), a largely forgettable monster snowman film Toho withdrew from circulation after it drew the ire of the Buraku Liberation League.
Honda’s creative partner on this enterprise, sci-fi writer Ken Kuronuma, drew on the unlikeliest of sources for his screenplay: the death of Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Captain Thomas F. Mantell in 1948, allegedly in pursuit of a UFO. Here’s it’s translated into a couple of missing miners, with one of them having presumptively killed the other. It soon comes to pass that the latter’s body turns up, and giant insect things start running amok in Kyushu.
Godzilla vs. Kong: Everything We Know (So Far)
From Screen Rant
Along with The Conjuring franchise and Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse, one of the only successful cinematic universes that have nothing to do with Marvel is Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse. Kicking off with the 2014 Godzilla reboot and continuing with 2017’s exotic, action-packed Kong: Skull Island, the MonsterVerse is about to cross over in a major way next year with Godzilla v. Kong, the franchise’s equivalent of The Avengers or Batman v Superman.
Adam Wingard, the director of the meta, darkly comic slasher movie You’re Next, is helming Godzilla v. Kong. This will be Wingard’s first major big-budget blockbuster, having mostly directed low-budget horror movies like The Guest, What Fun We Were Having, the Blair Witch reboot, and of course, You’re Next.
Low-budget filmmaking is what helps directors to figure out how to shoot creatively. They can’t just throw money at every single obstacle, and as a result, they learn how to craft great films. Hopefully, Wingard has learned the right lessons from his low-budget work that will carry into his big-budget work.
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla 16 x 20 Criterion Promotional Poster
illustration by Takashi Okazaki
Godzilla’s evil twin Mechagodzilla first reared its head in this Jun Fukuda–directed film. A robot designed by aliens to conquer Earth, the enduringly popular villain has since been resurrected by Toho Studios several times. With the help of earnest direction, spectacular pyrotechnics, and guest appearances by veteran genre actors, this film recaptures the feel of the sixties Godzilla movies.
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How Godzilla Changed From The 2014 Movie To King of the Monsters
When watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters, one may not immediately notice that the titular monster has evolved slightly since his appearance in the 2014 movie. While Godzilla is still the same monster, his design has gone through a few minor tweaks since his first solo outing in the MonsterVerse.
With director Gareth Edwards at the helm, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. reimagined the kaiju with 2014's Godzilla, which became the second American adaptation of the fan-favorite Toho monster. The movie gave Godzilla a new look, but at the same time was able to avoid the mistakes of Roland Emmerich's 1998 film by making sure Legendary's version was still recognizable as Godzilla. The MonsterVerse's take on Godzilla retains basic design, his blue atomic breath, and large dorsal fins running down his back and tail. His iconic roar also received an update.
One of the special features included in the home video release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, "Godzilla 2.0", reveals that the sequel actually made a few subtle changes to Godzilla's look. Apparently, Godzilla's size, which went from 108 meters to 119.8 meters in five years, isn't the only that King of the Monsters changed. Director Mike Dougherty revealed that one of the biggest changes is Godzilla's back spikes, which he tweaked to make them resemble the original 1954 Godzilla. According to Dougherty, Godzilla's original, longer back spikes looked like something that "nature could have crafted".
THE STAR SIGNS OF GODZILLA
From SyFy Wire
Sara: Like every story, Godzilla teaches us a moral. The moral of every Godzilla story is that people just need to leave Godzilla the hell alone.
Clare: ABSOLUTE TRUTH. Godzilla’s not a bad guy or a bad guy; he just wants to relax at home in his underwater valley but HUMANITY CONTINUES TO SUCK. It’s just so relatable.
Sara: The humans killed his wife and baby by nuking the world, so taking a sharp vengeance upon us is pretty understandable. As an Aries, our guy has the ability to act, and, as an Aries, maybe sometimes takes his anger out on the wrong planet. In short, Japan probably didn’t deserve all that. Don’t you know that vengeance just creates a world of victims?
Clare: What I find fascinating about Godzilla is that he’s not really a villain. He’s just a giant lizard who just wants to be left alone in his ocean valley and freaks out when people come to bug him when he’s trying to relax at home. Which... same. All I ever want to do is get back to my own swamp and play Nintendo. But at the same time, he doesn’t really… hate all humanity enough to try and exterminate them.
Godzilla 12″ Head to Tail NECA Action Figure (King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962 Movie)
NECA continues to celebrate the most famous kaiju in the world in action figure form!
This version of the beloved monster is based on the 1962 movie King Kong vs. Godzilla. The figure measures 6″ tall and 12” long from head to tail. It features over 30 points of articulation, including an articulated tail, and comes with an attachable blast effect!
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The Best Horror Movie of 1954: Godzilla
From Paste Magazine
The intermingling of horror and science fiction cinema is in full swing here in 1954, as the two genres combine to create some of the features we think of as being most indelibly tied to the imagery of “1950s monster movies.” The most prominent and long-lasting in its appeal and impact is of course Godzilla, given that it’s been receiving sequels for more than 65 years now, including 2019’s King of the Monsters. It’s hard to overstate what a persistent and foundational presence Godzilla has been in both Japanese and American pop culture, informing on some level every other representation of giant monsters in the years that followed.
In the moment, however, there’s little doubt that in the American market, the most immediately influential horror film of the year was Them! This tale of radioactive, giant ants laid the foundation for so many of the “big bug” and “radioactive monster” films that quickly followed that it was practically a complete template for every subsequent offering, from The Deadly Mantis to The Black Scorpion, The Giant Gila Monster and Empire of the Ants. These films weren’t exactly delicate in their nuclear age paranoia, and were less than scientific in their depiction of the effect of radiation on living tissue, but when you really get down to it, there’s nothing here any less realistic than the content of comparable, modern B movies like Birdemic or Geostorm. In any era, there will be audience members who would prefer to be titillated by the fantastically anthropomorphized worst case scenarios of current pop cultural fears, like giant monsters, rather than grapple with the reality of how things like nuclear proliferation or climate change might genuinely mean mankind’s destruction. In 1954, it was simply easier to dismiss a giant ant puppet than it was to dismiss the reality of Kruschev amassing an ever-growing nuclear arsenal. As ever, movies represented a brief respite from such harsh truths.
Other notables from 1954 include Alfred Hitchcock’s relentlessly entertaining, single-location thriller Rear Window, which is certainly horror adjacent but difficult to give the top spot in any kind of proper horror count-down; Gog, which set plenty of the tropes for future “killer robots on the loose” movies such as Chopping Mall; and Creature From the Black Lagoon, the oft-forgotten last proper entry in the original Universal Monsters cycle, filmed in 3D but largely presented in 2D thanks to the gimmick’s popularity fading into obscurity relatively quickly. Although the titular Creature, also referred to as “Gill-Man,” is typically counted among the earlier Universal Monsters, the film itself feels like something of an outlier—a would-be science fiction horror film with hints of an ecological message, hampered by dated tone and structure that feel straight out of the early 1940s. Thanks to the sight of the radiant Julie Adams in her iconic white bathing suit, though, the film has managed to retain a certain vivid place in the collective memories of those who came of age in the 1950s.
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