Monster of the Day #1358

This actually fits the film, although sadly the poster is a lot better than the movie itself. I was pretty disappointed as a kid when this was the first G-Film I saw in a theater.

  • bgbear_rnh


    I think this is the only Godzilla film I have ever seen in a theater and it was a drive-in. I knew it as “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster”.

    Now I am going to have the “Save the Earth” song stuck in my head.

  • Flangepart

    I’d recommend the Japanese version…for variety if nothing else.

  • I want to say this was either the first or second Godzilla I saw in theaters; it happened when I was very young and slightly less beautiful. It confirmed early on how bad my taste in movies would become as I loved it to pieces.

    Meanwhile my parents, who naturally saw it with me (very young) started planning family events around me not seeing it and inflicting further harm upon their psyche. Which is hilarious when you consider my Mother’s “Hot Sticker” phase of movie rental, when she’d pick up any horrible thing with a Hot Sticker on it. Hello R.O.T.O.R.

    The really sad thing is that Smog Monster by rights should have been an excellent movie. It’s the first real Godzilla movie that doesn’t have an alien/army influence on the bad monster. The plot itself (not the script, which has questionable moments galore, but the plot) is rather decent if standard fair, with the Big Guy almost unnecessary to the proceedings. Hedorah himself is one of the best villains in the series history, being larger and more powerful than Our Hero. It really could have worked. At least worked better than it did.

    The problem, I think, lies with Director Banno. There’s too much psychedelic imagery. That and the wildness in tone. We have super serious, cover babies in much Hedorah on one side, goof old Godzilla doing silly things on the other. Godzilla is, in fact, the worse possible choice to face a pollution causing monster, what with all the radiation he gives off. For the whole thing to work, it needed a more experienced hand, which Banno hadn’t acquired.

    In my own little way of measuring these things, Smog Monster is third worse in the original series, with Megalon and Godzilla’s Revenge edging it out by a wide margin. Some viewings I like it, some viewings I don’t.

  • The Rev.

    Maybe it’s because my second G movie was vs. Megalon, but I have a great fondness for the wacky ’70s entries, probably more than anyone else walking the planet. And not in a “oh these are so bad LOL” way, either (well, maybe just a little in a some cases). I unabashedly love the weird characters in vs. Gigan and vs. Megalon along with the outrageous stuff going on; and the Mechagodzilla movies are IMO among the best of the entire film series and a nice close to the Showa run.

    The subject today was the second-to-last Showa one I saw (unsurprisingly DAM was the last). I won’t deny there are some problems, but Hedorah is frankly terrifying at times and a great opponent, the arty/trippy scenes appeal to me, and overall I enjoy it. Besides some pacing issues in the middle of the movie, the biggest issue is there really aren’t any memorable characters. I mean, look at the other four movies I mentioned:

    -a manga artist who creates the worst kaiju in history, a karate-kicking cutie in a mini-dress, and a corn-eating hippie versus alien cockroaches wearing the skins of dead people and their giant cyborg chicken with claw hands and a belly saw
    -two gay bachelors, their son, and their Jack Nicholson-looking robot fighting a faaaaaabulous underground empire that loves dance numbers and their giant pet beetle with drill hands and the ability to spit explosive rocks and energy bolts
    -a scientist with an electromagnetic pipe, a cool spy, and a girl that can summon a gigantic fu dog battling green Planet of the Apesrejects with pressurized black blood, a taste for torture, and a Godzilla-bot with an amazing arsenal
    -a misanthropic mad scientist, his hot android daughter, a two-fisted marine biologist, and those green monkey aliens again with their war machine and Titanosaurus, the monster who doesn’t want to fight but is tragically forced to by the aliens

    This movie gives us a scientist I only remember because Hedorah burns his face and a bunch of lame hippies singing on Mount Fuji, not one of which eats corn on the cob. At least we get a triphibian, smoke-sucking, acid-spraying sludge heap with laser eyes.

  • God, I love Gigan. Especially in Megalon. The moment things go south for his team, he’s off, leaving that poor dumb giant bug to be brutalized by Godzilla and Jet Jaguar. I wish I loved the rest of the movie the way I do that one fight, but it’s just a chore.

    The two MechaGodzilla are decent enough fun, and a far better ending for the series than what poor Gamera got. I want my money back for Space Monster Gamera and I watched that on commercial television.

  • Rock Baker

    Pop has stated a few times that he’d love to have a 16mm print that could be trimmed of it’s weaker elements (the bulk of the nightclub scene, the trippy cartoons, the flying scene, etc) and shaped into a much firmer feature.

    Whatever the film’s problems (and I contend the largest is the score -watch the Japanese trailer which is scored with Ifukube tracks and you’ll see a much more exciting confrontation), it’s place in history is nicely secure. It was the last Godzilla movie to get the full AIP treatment. Cinema Shares would take over the bulk of the following films for US distribution, and they were too small a company to afford those superior Titra Sound Studio dub tracks. In it’s own way, GODZILLA VS THE SMOG MONSTER represents the end of an era. It closes Godzilla’s Golden Age, if you will.

  • Wade Harrell

    I liked this one a lot as a kid, I never saw it as an adult and I’m not sure I’d want to because it would ruin my memories of it. I already made that mistake with Omega Man as well as The Last Dinosaur, both of which I loved when I saw them the first time, but later…yikes!

    I have to say the Poles knocked this poster out of the park!

  • Eric Hinkle

    Even when I was a kid desperate for any Godzilla movie action (this was way back before affordable VCRs and the like), I would shudder when I saw this one was running.

    I’d still WATCH it, mind, but I’d shudder.

  • My dream as a kid was to see every Godzilla movie ever made. I still can’t believe I’ve done it.

  • Eric Hinkle

    Congratulations on your accomplishment, sir!

  • Ken_Begg

    Speaking of, G-Fest is coming here from July 15th to July 17th. I usually skip the con these days (especially with less vacation with the ‘new’ job), but I do hit the movies that play at the Pickwick. All they’ve announced so far is Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and King Kong Escapes. The latter is a fun theater movie.

  • The Rev.

    Hey, that’s where I saw SMG, too! I didn’t hate it, since it’s mostly just a greatest hits of Gamera fights (when I saw it I’d only seen about half of the series previously so quite a bit was new to me), and the inability of the superheroes to do a damn thing because of that omnipresent Star Destroyer always makes me laugh…but yeah, it’s definitely a slog when it isn’t showcasing past monster battles.

    There’s so much crazy stuff happening in vs. Megalon that I can’t see how anyone can find it a chore, but obviously I can’t speak for everyone. Naturally I loved it unironically as a kid, but even today my love for it is genuine, even if I do tend to watch the “MST3K” version nowadays.

  • The Rev.

    Did we use KKE as the closer for T-Fest yet? I want to say we may have…

    I’ve only made it to one G-Fest, way back in ’95 or ’96. Maybe someday in soon I’ll come back.