Gojira tai Hedora
Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster
Godzilla vs. Hedorah / Frankensteins Kampf gegen die Teufelsmonster
Tomoyuki Tanaka for Toho
directed by Yoshimitsu Banno
starring Akira Yamauchi, Toshie Kimura, Hiroyuki Kawase, Keiko Mari, Toshio Shiba, Yukihiko Gondo, Eisaburo Komatsu, Tadashi Okabe, Wataru Omae, Susumu Okabe, Haruo Nakajima, Kenpachiro Satsuma (as Kengo Nakayama), Teruzo Okawa
written by Yoshimitsu Banno, Takeshi Kimura (as Kaoru Mabuchi), music by Riichiro Manabe, special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano
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An amphibian creature (that eventually also learns to fly) threatens
the coast of Japan, sinking many a ship, and soon scientist Yano (Akira
Yamauchi) and his son Ken (Hiroyuki Kawase), who can be no older than 8,
find out that the creature the boy soon dubs Hedorah feeds on pollution -
and is at one time actually seen sitting atop a factory sucking the smoke
from its chimney - and emmanates even more pollution, like toxic gasses
that not only kill instantly but also leaving behind no more than bones
Enter Godzilla, who has taken it upon himself to defend Japan once more
and fight Hedorah using his bare fists and radioactive breath - but at the
beginning, not even he seems to be a match for the creature, and he is
seen losing their first fight ...
All hope's gone ?
Nope, because scientist Yano and son find out they can destroy the
creature by completely dehydrating it. So the army builds some massive
electrodes to create an electric field and dry Hedorah out ... but then
the lines are cut during the Hedorah-Godzilla rematch, and when the army
has finally lured Hedorah right between the electrodes, there is no power
... enter Godzilla, who activates the electrodes by whiffing out his
famous radioactive death ray breath that activates the electrodes ... and
dries Hedorah to pure ashes.
So the monser is gone, but is pollution ?
Quite probably the weirdest movie of the Godzilla series,
and not one of the better ones (if certainly not the worst): Though it's
always a honourable endeavour to make films with an ecologic message,
monster movies are probably not quite the best genre for doing so,
especially if the message is carried as bluntly as it is here. Funny thing
is, the film uses quite a few techniques from avant garde cinema to
deliver its message - including psychedelic back-projections, interspersed
animated clips and split screen mosaiques - rather than just rely on genre
mainstays, which doesn't make the movie any better (in the traditional
sense) but certainly much more bizarre. Plus, in this film we can see
Godzilla fly for the first (and fortunately also the last) time, jet
propelled by his own radioactive breath - which looks quite ridiculous
because this way he can only fly backwards.
All in all, this film has been hated by Godzilla purists
for decades, and it's easy to see why, but as a fan of trash surrealism I
can't but recommend the film despite, or rather because of its
shortcomings. You just mustn't, I repeat, must not take it