Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster

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61Ra51ZfSiL__SL500_AA300_.jpgA direct sequel to 1964's Mothra Vs. Godzilla (which I'll get around to reviewing someday),  Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (also released in Japan in 1964, and in the US a year later, as the respelled "Ghridrah") is the first of Toho Studios' "kaija eiga" (giant monster) films featuring more than two creatures.  It's also, in both it's domestic and English-language versions, an exciting, wild, funny and gripping film that never drags in it's pace.

 

While scientists are investigating an odd meteorite in the Japanese Alps that's causing strange changes in the weather, a Himalayan princess (Akikko Wakabayashi, later to appear in 1967's 007 film You Only Live Twice) is seemly killed after jumping off a plane.  Later on, however, she shows up warning the citizens of Toyko about impending doom and that what destroyed her home planet(!) Mars (Venus in the Japanese version) is on it's way here.  That turns out to be the title creature, Ghidorah, who has to be seen, as in this trailer, to be believed!  Only the combined talents of Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan can save the planet from Ghidorah.  But can the three monsters overcome their own personal differences first? 

Kaiju eiga veterans Shinichi Sekizawa (screenplay) and Ishiro Honda (director) add to this wacky mix a subplot involving Japanese goverment agents trying to stop assassins out to kill the princess, tossing in lots of tense and suspenseful moments in between the monster rally.  (The fate of the head assassin during the climax is hysterical!)  There's some great dialogue ("Huh,...You expect me to understand monster talk?"), and the human characters in this film aren't stick figures just around to propel the scenes. 

The Classic Media DVD, which you can reserve online here, features both the 85 minute dubbed American version and the 92 minute Japanese cut, with optional English subtitles, which includes some longer takes and slightly different musical cues.  Both versions look great, although the Japanese version is more brighter in appearance.  There's a still gallery of poster art and stills, a featurette on special efffects whiz Eiji Tsuburaya, a Japanese movie trailer, and a very enthusiastic and informative audio commentary on the American version by author David Kalat (The Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse).  Check your brains at the door and give this little gem of a film a chance to entertain you. 

 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed published on July 15, 2010 11:12 AM.

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