Monster of the Day #286

Well, it’s the week of the Godzilla convention here in Chicagoland, although the movies actually being shown at the Pickwick Theatre here feature but one Godzilla film. At least it’s a goodie, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, my favorite of the newer G movies. Other than that, we’ve got the original Mothra, three Gamera movies and an Ultraman picture.

Thursday’s the big day, four movies playing on a giant theater screen. Good times. For what it’s worth, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster was (sadly) the first Godzilla movie I ever saw in a theater, and I indeed saw it at the Pickwick as a youngster, there’s there’s some continuity there, anyway.

  • roger h

    My only Godzilla film in a theater (drive-in) now that I think about it.

    save the Earth!

  • The Rev.

    I like this one. It’s so trippy and odd and I think Hedorah is a great opponent. It takes a hell of an effort to defeat him. I mean, Godzilla has to break the laws of physics to do it!

    What Ultraman movie are they showing? I’m guessing a newer one?

    Speaking of Ultraman, has anyone ever seen the American-made series, Ultraman Powered? I thought Ultraman Great (the Australian one) was not terribly good, but holy cow. The clips of UP I’ve seen…I almost want to hunt down the series and see if it’s all as bad. If so, it might be a Jabootu-worthy project.

  • David Fullam

    The American Ultraman. An abortion of monumental proportions. Bad scripts, bad acting, bad FX. Worst Ultra ever!

  • John Campbell

    This is the first Godzilla movie that actually frightened me. Loved it. Always felt bad for the cat that got slimed on the steps.

    I think the second scariest was the rodan movie. The one with the giant worms eating people in the mine.

    I bought the full original ultraman for like $8-10 at best buy. I didn’t know there was an american (let alone australian) production!

    I grew up on ultraman…sigh those were the days.

    I especially love the english subtitles on the dvd. They give a more literal translation.

    Ken as always, you are the master of the five finger shark punch of death!

  • The Rev.

    I got that Ultraman collection for my birthday this year. I had intended to get through “Iron King” before starting it, but I couldn’t resist. I’m just about through the third disk, with one more to go. Great stuff.

    JC: The Australian one was released as “Ultraman: Towards the Future” in America, and came out in 1990. I remember seeing VCR tapes for it, and wanted to get them, but each tape only had one episode and were too pricey for me to get. You can find quite a few episodes on YouTube nowadays. It’s not very good, so I’m glad I didn’t buy those tapes. Ultraman Powered, aka “Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero,” came out in 1993 and was made in America but I never saw tapes or broadcasts or anything. Judging from the couple of clips I’ve seen (the monster stuff, no less, which should be my favorite part), it’s quite a bit worse than “U:TTF.” My understanding is that “U:TUH” is, far and away, considered the worst of the entire run of Ultraman shows, with “U:TTF” in second, and aren’t really considered a part of the mythology. In fact, Ultraman Great and Ultraman Powered didnt show up in anything for over a decade (almost two decades for GreaT) until 2009, when they had camoes in Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie in small cameos.

  • GalaxyJane

    Put me down as another one who found this to be the only movie with the Big G that scared her as a kid. Something about the blob eating the guy with the newspaper just gave me the heebie-jeebies. Oddly enough, the DC UHF station that showed it followed up with either one of the Ultraman composite features or possibly Godzilla vs. Megalon, but I missed the end of one and the beginning of the other, so for years I thought the Smog Monster must have been taken out at the end by the Giant Robot.

    And I too have seen one Godzilla movie in an actual theater, unfortunately it was “Godzilla 2000”.

  • Gamera

    Yay! Big-G shark punches the krap outta Hedora!!!

    Funny, I’ve never seen any kaiju film on the big screen. First ones I saw was a small local station ran a week of Gojira films, ‘Invasion of the Astro Monsters’, ‘Terror of Mechagodzilla’, ‘Godzilla’s Revenge’, and two others but I forgot which they were. They must have set me down the dark path to becoming a B movie fan.

  • Rock Baker

    On the American Ultraman series: Thanks to my brother and his thrist for all things Ultra, I got to see the entire series (which, despite being produced here in the States was never broadcast here). It was a mix of good things and bad things. In genreal, the acting was pretty poor (but the girls were cute!), although the series did feature the occasional actual actor in a cameo bit (one episode features a bit with Rose Marie, for example). The effects work was a mixed bag, but the monsters and the minatures tended to look pretty good. By use of forced perspective and outdoor filming under natural light, some of it looked downright spectacular! The scripts, meanwhile, weren’t anything to write home about. Most or all of them were remakes of earlier episodes of the origional Japanese series. The best element here is the suit for Ultraman himself. The cop from outer space never looked better in his life! Sadly, the thing that killed the show was the fight scenes. While the monsters looked good, the only way to keep the costs down was to use cheap and very light rubber. This meant any battle scenes couldn’t be very vigorous, or else the suits would fall apart. Thus, the fights involved a lot of shoving, but little more. This was the aspect that scuttled the show when it aired in Japan. Too bad. With a little more polish, it could have been a pretty decent science fiction series. (And thankfully, we dropped that dumb pollution angle from the Australlian series. Who did they think the series was about, Spectreman?) There were planned series to be produced by various other countries, but the idea lost steam pretty fast.

    As for Godzilla vs the Smog Monster: it could have used Ifukube music. Without a rousing score, the battle scenes seem so lifeless!

  • GJ — Will you be joining us in Dallas next month?

  • The Rev.

    Godzilla in theaters: I saw Godzilla ’85 as a young boy in the theater. It was quite a shock, as my previous Godzilla exposure had been that old Godzilla cartoon (the one with Godzooki, who even then I hated). However, I MUCH preferred this version of the Big G, and a lifetime fan was born. I later saw the American movie and G2K, and caught the reissue of the amazing, subtitled Gojira in ’04.

    Rock: That would square up with the bits I saw. The acting was bad, the costumes were great, that one redhead was awful pretty, and the fight scenes were a complete waste. (I’m not just saying that because there’s no way Dorako could take out Red King that easily, either!) That’s the whole reason you make an Ultraman show and they completely screwed the pooch on that.

  • Ericb

    I only saw one Godzilla movie in the theater, Destroy All Monsters around 1969 or so. It’s the first theater movie I have solid memories of.

  • GalaxyJane

    Ken, I will definitely be there, tickets are bought, etc. etc. The hubs and I will be getting in Thursday afternoon, and I think he’ll be joining us for he Fest itself. I’m just glad that I’ll have time to hang out for a change.

  • The Rev.

    YAY Mary! *does a little dance*