Saturday, December 20, 2014

Triple threat: fifty years of King Ghidorah

On this day(December 20th) way back in 1964 the kaiju "King Ghidorah" made his first cinematic appearance in Toho's Three Giant Monsters: The Greatest Battle On Earth. In the west we know this film by it's American(and international) title: Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster. King Ghidorah is an enormous, three headed and golden skinned space dragon who in this movie arrives to Earth inside a giant meteor. The monster escapes the confines of the meteorite in a giant fireball and begins an immediate rampage. Each of King Ghidorah's heads can discharge highly destructive, lightning like energy bolts and the space dragon uses these "gravity beams" to annihilate buildings while it's wings cause hurricane force winds as the creature flies overhead. Godzilla and Rodan, who have been fighting each other in this movie, eventually join forces with larval Mothra to fight the three headed space dragon. The combined might of Earth's three monsters succeeds in driving King Ghidorah away and back into space.

This film remains one of my all time favorite kaiju movies. King Ghidorah has gone on to appear in numerous other Toho kaiju films including Invasion Of The Astro Monsters(1965 -aka "Monster Zero"), Destroy All Monsters(1968), Godzilla vs Gigan(1972) and Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991). The three headed space monster also squares off against adult Mothra in the 1998 Toho fantasy film Mothra 3 - Invasion Of King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah has long been considered, and I think justifiably, as one of Godzilla's greatest and most powerful on screen rivals. It's been reported that King Ghidorah will appear in the planned, 2018 sequel to Legendary Pictures' film Godzilla(2014).

Check out the Toho trailer below to see King Ghidorah's first appearance in movies:

I own the 2012 Classic Media DVD release(R1) of Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster, still my favorite kaiju film featuring this grand and menacing monster. This release offers the movie in its 2:35.1 Tohoscope widescreen aspect ratio and in both English audio as well as the Toho version in Japanese language with English subtitles. To see this DVD for sale at Amazon click the link: GHIDRAH THE THREE HEADED MONSTER Classic Media DVD