In the Spooklight: GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO

Since my fellow CINEMA KNIFE FIGHTER L.L. Soares and I will be reviewing SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD this weekend, my mind has wandered to movie battles I’d rather be seeing. I’ve chosen this column from 2009 for that reason, so here’s my “In the Spooklight” column on GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO (1966), featuring everyone’s favorite kick-ass giant monster, Godzilla, kicking more giant monster butt.  Enjoy the destruction!

—Michael Arruda, 8/13/2010

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT: GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO
by Michael Arruda

He’s the biggest, baddest monster on the planet.  Yet, just how seriously can we take Godzilla?  And how seriously can we take a film with the title:  GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO (1966)?

These days, we can take Godzilla very seriously.  For the last 20 years, the Godzilla movies have become increasingly more adult.  But, alas, this wasn’t always the case.

In the 1960s and 70s, Godzilla was reduced to a friendly super monster, battling “bad” monsters and saving the human race from all sorts of evils time and time again.  Many of these movies were downright silly, including today’s “In the Spooklight” feature, GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO (also known as MONSTER ZERO).

Can such a movie be anything more than fun for the kiddies on a rainy Saturday?

Let’s find out.

In GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO, beings from another planet seek Earth’s assistance in defeating the evil monster King Ghidrah.  The aliens request that we give them the monsters Godzilla and Rodan to help them destroy Ghidrah.

But these aliens wear funny dark goggles and never smile, sure signs that they shouldn’t be trusted, and they soon turn all three monsters against humankind.  Not to worry, the resourceful humans find a way to break the aliens’ hold on Godzilla and Rodan, setting the stage for a climactic battle between these monsters and Ghidrah.

GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO is one of the few Godzilla movies in the series to include an American actor, Nick Adams, whose scenes weren’t inserted later, a la Raymond Burr in the American release of the original GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS! (1954).  Nick Adams was actually in Japan and actually appeared in the Japanese version as well.  Adams also starred in the Japanese Frankenstein film, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965).  Adams is quite entertaining here as the token American tough guy.  Tragically, Adams died of an accidental prescription drug overdose in 1968 at the age of 36.  He was a fine actor who appeared in several genre films, including the Boris Karloff movie DIE MONSTER DIE! (1965).

The special effects in GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO are OK.  There’s been better in the series, and there’s been worse.

It’s also directed by the man who directed the original GODZILLA movie, Ishiro Honda.

But what about Godzilla?  How does the “big guy” fare in this flick?  Well, for starters, he could have used more screen time.  More Godzilla and fewer aliens would have been a good idea.  His fight scenes are entertaining enough, as he gets to share the “good guy” role here with flying buddy Rodan.

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO is one silly movie.  So, why in the world would you watch this movie?  Why would I watch it?  Why did I watch it?  And heck— why am I writing about it?

Because Godzilla is a gigantic part of horror movie lore.  If you’re into horror movies, you just can’t ignore Godzilla, or at least you shouldn’t.

Plus, there’s no denying that there’s something fun about watching Godzilla kick some bad monster’s butt.  And hey, you’ve got to dig those mini toy tanks that teeter along those miniature roads in those miniature cities!

So, how seriously can we take Godzilla?  Well, in GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO, about as seriously as we take Scooby Doo and Shaggy throwing cheeseburgers with the works at some masked phantom.

But that’s okay.  Sometimes you have to kick back and be a kid again.

So grab yourself an ice cream soda and some candy and indulge in the battle for giant monster supremacy in GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO.

—END—

© Copyright 2009 by Michael Arruda


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One Response to “In the Spooklight: GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO”

  1. One of my all time faves!

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