A Bloody Good Time 07.26.12: The Worst Godzilla Monsters
Posted by Joseph Lee on 07.26.2012
Godzilla's had some easy fights in his career...
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Last week I presented my top ten sci-fi/horror films. Here's what you had to say.
Michael L replied: Good lists, although I think even the people who made Aliens see it as less of a horror film and more sci-fi action. One film that I thought was underrated was Faculty, which was written by Kevin Williamson (Scream 1, 2 & 4). It does a good job of sending up the Body Snatchers plot while embracing it. About the only thing that keeps it from being better is the mediocre acting in some quarters (including Jon Stewart).
I did enjoy The Faculty, and it just missed the list, along with a handful of others. Robert Patrick is particularly entertaining in it.
Andrew Crow said: Really, really great list here, Lee. While I think Aliens is a Top 3 or 4 in terms of quality alone (I still prefer it over the original, but I won't argue anybody who prefers the original; they really are both just amazing movies), it being just out of the Top 5 due to its lack of legitimate horror is acceptable. I'm surprised Prince of Darkness wasn't on here. It's one of Carpenter's best for the things Carpenter does best (mood, dry "here it is" direction, constant building to a conclusion), and is a blend of sci-fi and religious horror that works very well.
Ahem...Prince of Darkness is pretty much the only John Carpenter film I haven't seen. It's on my Instant Queue though, if that means anything.
FCT in 3D complained: Your last 4 are a joke. You call mimic great because of the death scene involving the 2 kids?
I'm sure pretty much everyone would disagree with you. And no, I called Mimic great because "it's a solid thriller with amazing special effects." It was right there in the write-up.
LitasRevenge added: I'm a little disappointed you didn't include any George Romero in this. Granted "Night of The Living Dead" the black and white, the cheesy-ness of the effects, it is still more a social experiement in terror considering the era it was released in. Preyed upon the issues of the 60's. Still a pretty heart pounding movie for me to this day. A simple movie. Why can't movies be like that anymore?
I don't consider Romero's Dead films to be science fiction, and I think the general consensus would agree. There's no real "science" to be had (except in Day) as the dead just get up and walk. It's more supernatural than sci-fi, but I'll admit there's a real fine line there between the two.
This week I'm getting into something more lighthearted, as sort of a break for me. I've got some fun ideas ready for the next month though, two of which are by request! But let's go back to a discussion we had a few months ago about Godzilla. I looked at what I thought were the best of his opponents. This week, it's time to get nerdy again as we look at the dumbest, weakest and silliest of the Godzilla monsters.
Varan looks like Toho really wanted a flying squirrel monster, or someone wanted to use two Rodans in Destroy All Monsters but decided to use this little known monster (who came from Varan The Unbelievable) instead. Personally, I can't look at him without laughing. There are some dumb looking monsters on this list and there were even dumb ones on my best list (one of Godzilla's best opponents is a giant moth), but Varan really does take the cake.
The only reason he ranks this low is that he hasn't had much to do withe Godzilla series outside of his one and only appearance in Destroy All Monsters. Varan is so lame he didn't even get to participate in the fight against King Ghidorah. Let's put this into perspective. Godzilla's kid even got to blow smoke rings at it. You know you're in a bad spot when Godzilla's kid is getting in more damage to the biggest and baddest monster of them all than you are.
Speaking of lame monsters, Baragon looks like a mutated reptile dog. He walks like a dog, has giant floppy ears and doesn't really do much. Like Varan, he came from another film, that of Frankenstein Conquers The World, aka the one with the Toho sized Frankenstein monster that looks like a caveman. Baragon also doesn't do much in Destroy All Monsters, but I think he's higher than Varan on this list because he actually looks dumber. And by dumber, I mean he looks like he has a low IQ.
Baragon would get a much bigger role in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack as one of the three guardians of Earth. It's Mothra, King Ghidorah...and Baragon. Obviously they just wanted an easy opponent for Godzilla to kill off when he goes on a rampage, and Baragon was the one selected to get killed. His big powers are that he can dig and jump high. Is it any wonder he failed so quickly?
#8: Kamacuras & Kumonga
There's designing a stupid looking monster and then there's just being lazy. Creating a giant spider and giant praying mantis as opponents for Godzilla is lazy. The Kamacuras appear first, trying to eat Godzilla's son and are easily dispatched in Son of Godzilla. Then the Kumonga makes its appearance by eating a Kamacuras and (surprise) trying to eat Godzilla's son. Godzilla wins the battles without too much effort,
A giant spider is scary sure, but it's not really something that belongs in this series. Giant praying mantises (mantii?) are just silly, and as expected they aren't much of a threat to Godzilla, one of the reasons Son of Godzilla is one of the worst of the series. The insects and arachnid also show up in Destroy All Monsters and Final Wars, where they do a little more but aren't obviously the lesser of the gathered kaiju.
But at least giant insects and spiders are threatening. Is there anyone that would be scared if giant shrimp showed up? Okay, yes, a giant anything showing up would be scary, but in this universe a giant shrimp is the equivalent of sending the Army against Godzilla. Actually, I think the Army actually gets better towards the end of the series, while Ebirah just dies and doesn't show up again until Final Wars, where he has to form a team with Hedorah just to pose any threat, and they still fail. Easily.
You know why a giant shrimp monster is a terrible idea? Because it can't do anything. It has claws and at one point throws rocks at Godzilla. They devoted an entire movie to this. Jet Jaguar only had one appearance ever, but Ebirah gets two and a whole movie about him on top of it. Luckily he was only used sparingly, and probably only brought back in Final Wars as a nod to continuity.
Hedorah is the smog monster. A monster made out of pollution, smog and sludge. I know that it has some fans but I am not one of them. For one, I think Godzilla vs The Smog Monster is one of the weaker Godzilla movies because of how bizarre it is. Also, it's just a dumb looking monster that seems like it would be more at home on Captain Planet than fighting the King of All Monsters.
Like Biollante or Destoroyah, Hedorah has several forms, but unlike them, they all suck. I know that the big message of the movie was Godzilla fights pollution, and that's a little too on the nose for a series that should just be big and dumb and full of monsters fighting each other. I want to see a badass monster show up and give Godzilla a hard time, not something that more or less defecates on him as a fighting maneuver.
The monsters get even lamer as Gabara is the main foe of the worst film in the entire series, Godzilla's Revenge, before never showing up again. He's more or less just a bully that picks on Minilla throughout the film and eventually the son of Godzilla stands up to him and kicks his ass. That's right. Gabara got his ass kicked by Minilla. When he comes back later for revenge, Godzilla has had enough and sends him packing.
It's probably good that Gabara was only the creation of some kid's dream, because I don't think he would last in the actual Godzilla universe. If Hedorah was the creation of anti-pollution propaganda, then Gabara was created to promote anti-bullying, years before it became the craze it is now. He probably should have learned how to be a star.
On appearances alone, Titanosaurus looks dumb but at least he resembles a dinosaur, and could potentially hold his own. But he's utterly useless (he only does any real damage with Mechagodzilla helping him) and has an incredibly annoying roar. Yes, some of the reasons I select these monsters are petty, but listen to this and tell me you'd want to hear that in anything, let alone during a monster battle.
Like Gabara, this one is so bad he only appeared once in the series, in Terror of Mechagodzilla. I'm not sure why they suddenly decided Mechagodzilla needed help from this thing but they did. It ended up hurting Toho in the long run, as it was the least attended of all of the films and effectively ended the Showa era, before the series was rebooted with Godzilla 1985. Titanosaurus killed the series for nine years.
#3: King Caesar
King Caesar is actually an ally of Godzilla's and teams with him against Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla. He doesn't fare well on his own against the robotic version and it's only when Godzilla returns from recharging that he's able to avoid being killed. He wouldn't return until Final Wars, where he teams with Anguirus and Rodan and still manages to get defeated. He's just lucky Godzilla didn't kill him.
King Caesar is built up to be much more important than he looks. A cross between a lion and a dog, he's proof that Toho monsters shouldn't be furry, as they don't look very good in this series. It's just a personal opinion of mine. Even Toho's King Kong looked kind of bad in the fur department. I chalk it up to the limitations of the costume design, but it doesn't change the fact that Caesar was one of my least favorite monsters.
You just knew this had to appear on this list somewhere. If we judged just from his appearance in Final Wars, he's a joke of a monster that Godzilla defeats with ease and shouldn't be mentioned again. But we can't, since he wouldn't have made it into the Toho series if he didn't first appear in the terrible remake of Godzilla. The reason he's called "Zilla"? Because the remake took the "God" out of the name, according to fans and Toho.
I've said many times that I'm not a fan of the remake, and I'm also not a fan of their version of Godzilla. There's an argument that if the movie wasn't named Godzilla, it'd be a perfectly acceptable monster movie. That's also not true because the monster just sucks in general. What respectable kaiju is actually killed by the military? He's also a lot smaller than other monsters in this series and that makes him less threatening.
If there's one thing I hate more than the American Godzilla, it's Godzilla's ugly and stupid kid. The Showa series hit its low point after Minilla was introduced and it never really took off again, outside of the introduction of Mechagodzilla. He's dumb looking, completely useless and there only for comedic relief. The problem is that his appearances are never funny. He also gets to talk in Godzilla's Revenge and while his voice isn't what you'd expect, it's somehow worse.
Toho had some guts in putting in a son for Godzilla again in their Heisei series. One of the incarnations actually looks like Minilla some and I believe it blows smoke rings at one point. But at least that version actually gets to grow up and become a threatening Godzilla in its own right, instead of playing hopscotch with his father's tail and getting picked on by Gabara.
That's it for me. Who is your least favorite Godzilla monster? Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, by fan request, I'm going to rank the Alien and Predator films collectively. You probably already know the top three if you were here the last two weeks. But hey, you could see me trash Alien vs Predator: Requiem, and who doesn't love a good movie trashing?
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