Ishirô Honda – Gojira AKA Godzilla (1954)

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One of the longest-running series in film history began with Ishiro Honda’s grim, black-and-white allegory for the devastation wrought on Japan by the atomic bomb. As his visual metaphor, Honda uses a 400-foot tall mutant dinosaur called Gojira, awakened from the depths of the sea as a rampaging nuclear nightmare, complete with glowing dorsal fins and fiery, radioactive breath. Crushing ships, villages, and buildings in his wake, Gojira marches toward Tokyo, bringing all of the country’s worst nightmares back until an evil more terrible bomb — capable of sucking all the oxygen from the sea — returns the monster to its watery grave. The original film is chilling, despite some rather unconvincing man-in-a-suit special effects, and brimming with explicitly-stated anti-American sentiment. All of that was removed for the U.S. release directed by Terry Morse. It was replaced with bad dubbing and tedious added footage starring Raymond Burr. The resulting edit was just another monster movie, but was still popular enough to assure future Toho Studios monster films a wide American release. Gojira No Gyakushu (1955) was next in the series. Continue reading

Motoyoshi Oda – Gojira no gyakushu aka Gigantis the Fire Monster (1955)

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“…Two spotter pilots for a Japanese fish canning plant crash land on a deserted island where both Godzilla and
Anguirus are already engaged in mortal combat. During the fight the two titans plunge into the sea and
disappear leaving the two onlookers amazed at what they had both witnessed. Would anybody believe their
amazing tale?

The Japanese scientific community could take no chances. The two pilots were questioned thoroughly and
asked to identify the monsters from a pile of sketches of known prehistoric creatures. The scientist’s worst fears
would become reality. One of the creatures was indeed another Godzilla and the other an equally beast
Anguirus. Tokyo was destroyed by just one of these monsters. How could Japan defend itself against two…”
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Ishirô Honda – Mekagojira no gyakushu AKA Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

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Plot Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
A race of malevolent aliens bent on world domination unleash the ultimate weapon of destruction on mankind, leaving them with no hope for survival but the power of the mighty Godzilla. Their galaxy dying, the endangered aliens discover a planet that could save them from extinction if it wasn’t already populated. In order to solve that significant problem, the scheming extraterrestrials construct Mechagodzilla, a 400 foot destroyer of worlds armed with powerful lasers and guided missiles. As Godzilla prepares to face off against his powerful intergalactic doppelganger, the traitorous Professor Mafuni lends his genius to the aliens to create the mighty Titanosauraus. Titanosauraus is a massive amphibious dinosaur that Professor Controls via a biomechanical connection with his android daughter Katsura. But just as it begins to appear as if all hope has been lost for both Godzilla and the human race, Interpol agents discover that Titanosauraus has one weakness that may give the Godzilla the crucial edge that he needs in order to emerge victorious. Continue reading

Ishirô Honda – Chikyu Boeigun AKA The Mysterians (1957)

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Aliens arrive on Earth and ask permission to be given a certain tract of land for their people to live on. But when they are discovered to be invaders, responsible for the giant robot that is destroying cities, the armed forces attempt to stop them with every weapon available. -imdb

Review:
We have always enjoyed the early Japanese Fantasy Films circa 1954-1963. During this time they took themselves and there subjects seriously. What ever their technical short comings were you could see they were in earnest. Basically after this period starting with KING KONG -vs- GODZILLA the slide down to kiddy fare began just a step above STARMAN. Continue reading

Ishirô Honda & Terry Morse – Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)

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American reporter Steve Martin, on his way to Cairo for an assignment, has a stop over in Tokyo. During the layover, he decides to visit his old friend Dr. Daisuke Serizawa. However, the night before he lands, his plane passes over an area where a ship suddenly exploded and caught fire killing all hands. Continue reading