Saturday, March 7, 2009

Monster Mash: Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster(1964)

In the event that I live to be an old geezer I'm inclined to think there will be perhaps fifty or so films on DVD that I'll still fully cherish, and for no more than sentimental reasons. Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster, originally released in Japan to theaters in December of 1964, is one of these films. I have lost count of how many times I've watched it, either as a television broadcast, on VHS, and then DVD. This movie doesn't enthrall me like it did when I was a kid but still manages to cheer me up to some degree every time I watch it, in itself an achievement considering how stressed out and fatigued I often get from day to day aggravations in life.

Like other Sunday evenings I spent this one watching the original language, widescreen, English subtitled version on the Classic Media DVD.

Some observations, many of which may look familiar from earlier posts...and some that aren't-

Thumbs up:
1. each monster in this film, Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah, each have outstanding entrance scenes.

2. the gravity beams of Ghidrah, which have never looked as destructive as they do in this film. With each impact these beams absolutely blast buildings and other structures to bits.

3. the sequence in which Ghidrah forms in the airborne fireball

4. the onscreen rivalry of Godzilla and Rodan: despite my disdain for some effects flaws in the battle sequences between these two monsters, the rivalry and animosity these two leviathans share is never more evident than in this film.

5. many of the effects sequences in this movie, and during the kaiju battles, are all time favorites of mine, including:
-Godzilla attempting to square up on Ghidrah and being promptly driven back into the bridge
-Rodan lifting up Godzilla and then dropping his rival onto the electrical tower
-Rodan using himself as an airborne battering ram in colliding head on with
-Ghidrah's gravity beams blasting larval Mothra about, the smaller creature tossed upwards by the blasts like a ragdoll
-the initial assault by Ghidrah, from the air on the city, a nice combination of the destructive effects of the winds generated by the the monster's wings and the withering blasts from the Ghidrah's gravity beams

6. larval Mothra's solo assault on KG: obviously very brief and unsuccessful but give the monster credit for trying to take on an opponent despite virtually no chance to win

Thumbs down:
1. the various firearms employed by the bad guys, who are tasked with assassinating the Princess. While I didn't expect these guys to brandish .44 caliber revolvers their sidearms looked and sounded like pop guns.

2. the visibility of wires is fairly common in this movie, something that, for better or worse, only die hard G fans can probably tolerate without a lot of sniping.

3. the way the carrying case for the Infant Island fairies was often handled. From what I could see it would appear the pair of tiny women no doubt, and at times, had to hang on for dear life inside the case, which was not always exactly handled with their safety in mind by Naoko(the reporter)

4. Looking at Susumu Kurobe's skin complexion in this film makes me wonder if he spent some time poolside sunbathing just before the lensing of this movie.

5. the Rodan suit: the neck appeared to be overly long

6. Godzilla appeared to suffer from an overbite, judging by the head of the suit

7. various sequences where hand puppets were used: I'm not a fan of the puppetry arts and I'll leave it at that.

Overall: this movie still warms my heart. I suspect it will continue to do so for a long, long time.

The Toho trailer for Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster:

The American trailer: