Tag Archive: Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)

godzilla_2014_poster_51784To celebrate the release of the highly anticipated Godzilla film this weekend, here are the trailers of 29 previous Toho films. I don’t include non-Toho films here, especially the highly-despised 1998 Matthew Broderick version, and I’m not a kaiju-guru enough to know if this list is complete.  But it at least gets us a good start to appreciate Godzilla’s long heritage.

1.  Godzilla (Gojira), 1954

2. Godzilla Raids Again, 1955

3. King Kong vs. Godzilla, 1962

4. Godzilla vs. The Thing, 1964

5. Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster, 1964

6.  Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero), 1965

7. Ebirah, Monster of the Deep (Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster), 1966

8. Son of Godzilla, 1967

9. Destroy All Monsters, 1968

10. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster), 1971

11. Godzilla vs. Gigan, 1972

12. Godzilla vs. Megalon, 1973

13. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, 1974

14. Terror of Mechagodzilla, 1975

15. Return of Godzilla, 1984

16. Godzilla vs. Biollante, 1989

17. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, 1991

18. Godzilla vs. Mothra (Godzilla & Mothra: Battle For Earth), 1992

19. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2, 1993

20. Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, 1994

21. Godzilla vs. Destroyah, 1995

22. Godzilla 2000: Millennium, 1999

23. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, 2000

24. Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, 2001

25. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, 2002

26. Godzilla Tokyo SOS, 2003

27. Godzilla Final Wars, 2004

Round 1 was a great success–thanks to all who voted!–and the results are in: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Christine, She-Devils on Wheels, and Grizzly are all moving on, while Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Amityville Horror, Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, and Rattlers are done for this year.  Here are the official results:

Classic 50s Horror/Sci-Fi

  • Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)–8 votes (57%)
  • Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)–6 votes (43%)

80s Horror, or Close Enough

  • Christine (1983)–9 votes (69%)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)–4 votes (31%)

Schlock on Wheels

  • She-Devils on Wheels (1968)–7 votes (78%)
  • Chopper Chicks in Zombietown (1989)–2 votes (22%)

Animals On the Loose

  • Grizzly (1976)–9 votes (90%)
  • Rattlers (1976)–1 vote (10%)

Here are the next four contests–my schedule only allows me to do about four matches a week.  As I said on Twitter a bit ago, this is only going to get harder as we go on. . .

Battle of Crazy 70s Cult Leaders!

Here we get two similarly-themed films, with cult leaders led by sadists! Horace Bones v. Alan Ormsby!

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973)

A Troma Classic v. Vengeful Christmas Trees

One’s a classic Troma, another is destined to be a classic (but not from Troma).

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

Treevenge (2008)–full movie (it’s a 16-ish minute short, featuring a Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack!)

Horror: 1960s v. 1970s

Battle of the best horror decades! The 1960s and 1970s.  This is where things get tough.

Black Sunday (1960)–a very good intro sequence for its time.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Sci-Fi: 1950s v. 1960s

Two great classics a decade apart–which monsters will you choose?

Them (1954)

Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)–The original frenemies!

As with last time, I’ll allow a week to vote, and we’ll get into round three roughly this time next week!

Here, Mrs. I Love Terrible Movies and I put together a fun little 32-team bracket featuring bad guys/monsters/villains of horror and exploitation films I’ve seen in the past year or so.  In case you forgot who’s who, I’ve embedded the film trailers below.

Tweet me or comment on this post by a week from today (1 April) for your faves to advance to the Sweet 16.

Yeah, yeah, I know this is going to finish up well after “March Madness” will–sue me.

Klaatu vs. Gill-Man

From Outer Space … A Warning and an Ultimatum

Clawing Monster From A Lost Age strikes from the Amazon’s forbidden depths!

Asa Vajda vs. Dr. Phibes

The Undead Demons of Hell Terrorize the World in an Orgy of Stark Horror!

There are two sides to Dr. Phibes…..both of them EVIL!

Jaws Ripoff-a-Thon!

They’re waiting to slither you!

18 Feet of Man-Eating Terror!

The Man vs. Fuad Ramses

She Escaped Death. Now It Wants Her Back!

A Weird, Grisly Ancient Rite Horrendously Brought To Life In Blood Color!

 John Carpenter Face Off!

Man is The Warmest Place to Hide

It is night. It is cold. It is coming.

Birds vs. Lepuses

…And remember, the next scream you hear could be your own!

How many eyes does horror have? How many times will terror strike?

Mothra vs. Them!

SEE the armies of the world destroyed! SEE the BIRTH of the world’s most terrifying monster! SEE the war of the GIANTS!

A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the earth from mile-deep catacombs!

Jeff Morrow Slapfest!


Flying beast out of prehistoric skies!

Cars vs. Houses!

Body by Plymouth. Soul by Satan.

Houses Don’t Have Memories

Battle of the Nihlistic Cult Leaders!

Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head.

You’re Invited To Orville’s “Coming-Out” Party…It’ll Be A Scream…YOURS!!!

Recent Zero-Budgets!

Why did the eagles and vultures attack?

Gobble, Gobble, Motherfucker!

The Devil You Say?

The beauty of woman, the demon of darkness, the unholy union of “The Devil’s Bride”

Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world. The world of darkness.

Vampire Madness!

His bite was outta sight!

It will cost you sweat and tears, and perhaps… a little blood.

Badass Bitches!

The most dreaded Nazi of them all!

Russ Meyer’s ode to the violence in women

Treevenge vs. Troma

The first Super-Hero… from New Jersey!

Badass Biker Babes!

They’re Looking for a Few Good Men.

See! Female Hellcats Ruling Their Men With Tire-Irons As Their Instruments Of Passion!

PosterAfter Cinema Catharsis mentioned The Flesh Eaters (1964) as an October 2013 quick pick, I knew I had to check it out.  It’s a nice early period gore flick that stands the test of time as a decent thriller.  Originally released in 1964, even though it was made in 1960-61, it was one of the follow-ups to box office smash The Blob (1958).  The behind-the-scenes lore of The Flesh Eaters also seems pretty well documented, and recapitulating some of that story seems like a nice way to celebrate its 50th anniversary: The Flesh Eaters’s premiere was 50 years ago yesterday.

First though, the film:

Arnold Drake wrote the screenplay for The Flesh Eaters

Arnold Drake wrote the screenplay for The Flesh Eaters

It would seem the most detailed, first-hand account of the making of this film comes from its screenwriter, Arnold Drake, who gave a lengthy interview in Tom Weaver’s book, Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers, published in 2003.  Drake was most renowned as a comic book writer–as a dyed-in-the-wool DC guy I am most fond of his creating “Deadman.”  Arnold passed away in 2007 at the age of 83.

A couple fun stories from the interview are worth paraphrasing: first, the film was funded in part with $70,000 acquired from producer-director Jack Curtis’s wife won on a rigged game show, High Low, in 1957.  It would appear that this would have been Curtis’s first wife, whom Drake named as “Terry,” not his later wife, Paulette Rubinstein, whom Curtis married in 1964.  The fact that the show was rigged in advance was a tightly kept secret by the Curtises for a number of years, even from Drake.

On a side note: Rubinstein apparently did some of the voice dubbing for early Godzilla films, including Godzilla vs. The Thing, which IMDB fails to mention.  Also, Jack and Paulette’s daughter, Liane Curtis starred in 16 Candles, Critters, and more recently in a one-off in season one of Sons of Anarchy.  

Barbara Wilkin, was little more than a pretty face in The Flesh Eaters, according to Drake.

Barbara Wilkin was little more than a pretty face,  according to Drake.  She apparently called it a career in 1968, and left film and television after only a decade.

Anyway, the second interesting tidbit from this interview was the story about how Frank Sinatra almost got into the movie–or not.  After they had cast Barbara Wilkin the fimmakers found an unnamed woman whom Drake says was much more attractive than Wilkin who had no acting experience, but she said her boyfriend would put up whatever funds were necessary to finish the film.

Following the money, Drake and Curtis meet the boyfriend–someone named “Chester”–in Chicago, where he was putting them up in a swanky hotel right on Lake Michigan.  After pitching the film–and emphasizing and re-emphasizing that this was a low budget film–Chester was convinced and announced “Frankie owes me, from way back,” and said it was settled–he’d call Sinatra and convince him to be in this picture, and the two filmmakers would be hearing from Chester’s people. This caused, as one would imagine, a huge panic: Sinatra was obviously a huge star, and this was not the movie for him or his entourage.  A full union crew would be needed for an A-lister like him, coming at the cost of an extra half-million dollars or more.  A few days afterwards they heard from Chester’s accountant who said: “We’ve decided not to go with this venture.”  No kidding.  They never heard from the beautiful wannabe actress again.  In any case, Wilkin did a fine job, though Drake wasn’t terribly impressed with her.

This film also forced the hand of the great George Romero and the titling of his best known film, Night of the Living Dead (1968).  Originally, Romero wanted his film to be called Night of the Flesh Eaters, but a lawyer contacted him to change his film’s name, presumably on behalf of Vulcan Productions, Curtis and Drake’s production company that made The Flesh Eaters.  At any rate, to avoid a lawsuit, Romero changed the name of his classic to Night of the Living Dead, according to Joe Kane’s book on the making of Romero’s film.

The legacy of The Flesh Eaters tends to be overshadowed, mainly by Hershell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast, which came out the year prior to Flesh Eaters–both experimented with being more gory depictions of violence, but Blood Feast was obviously more violent by an order of magnitude.  Also, Blood Feast was a color picture, which made the severed tongues and disembowlings all the more realistic.  Flesh Eaters seems to me to be among the last of the American “monster on the loose” pictures that were a staple of drive-ins of the previous decade, and it seems a fitting end as film straddles that mainly tame and harmless genre and the increasingly graphic horror of the 1960s and 1970s.

Godzilla gettin' his warface on

Godzilla gettin’ his warface on

Godzilla and Mothra are, IMHO, the best dynamic duo pair of the kaiju eiga (Japanese giant monster) movies.  I hope Godzilla, as just about everyone’s top movie monster of all time, needs no introduction.   He first appeared in Gojira in 1954, which was recut, and had some scenes added with Raymond Burr to make the (modified) story accessible to American audiences in Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956).  A new Godzilla movie comes every few years in Japan, and he returns just in time for the 60th anniversary of the franchise in a new American blockbuster next year.  There are about 30 Godzilla movies to date.

mothra_480_posterMothra was the first of several kaiju monsters to be introduced into these films, starting in 1961, which is why she’s the other half of this dynamic duo. She also has the most interesting relationship with Godzilla.  She’s Godzilla’s frenemy–sometimes an enemy, sometimes a friend.  In her debut, Godzilla vs The Thing (1964), the two are definitely enemies, as the human protagonists make an appeal to Mothra’s people who worship her as a deity to enlist dying the giant moth in their fight for survival against the marauding Godzilla.  Other times, such as in Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster (1965) Godzilla and Mothra, with Rodan have put their differences aside to take care of Ghidrah:

Emi & Yumi Ito as the Shobijin in Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964).

Emi & Yumi Ito as the Shobijin in Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964).

You can watch Mothra in seventeen films since then, not all of which feature Godzilla.  Her most recent outing was Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004, the franchise’s 50th anniversary film.  The thing about Mothra that makes her unique in the kaiju menagerie are these freaky-deaky priestess-fairies that are never far from the giant moth.  These Shobijin (“small beauties”) are maybe 6 inches tall for no particular reason, and have that odd and unnerving need to sing and speak in unison.  They are Mothra’s only way to communicate directly to the human world–the shobijin are telepathically linked to the beast on behalf of a previously undiscovered, but thoroughly irradiated civilization, apparently living on a Polynesian island close enough to the old US and French nuclear test range.

BugsBunny3C_LongShotCOLORBack to what the interplay and relationship between this dynamic duo brings to the overall story–and I should mention before going too much further that the occasion to think about this is the “Dynamic Duo” blogathon hosted by the Classic Movie Hub and Once Upon a Screen blogs–I see the introduction of Mothra into the emerging Godzilla franchise as sort of a transitional phase for Godzilla–Mothra is the character overseeing the movement of the franchise becoming more marketed to kids, which was in process by 1965, and reached its full flower in 1969’s All Monsters Attack (also known as Godzilla’s Revenge) about a kid finding the confidence in himself to stand up to local bullies by imagining how make-believe in the Godzilla world in which Godzilla’s (talking) son Minilla has the same sorts of troubles with Gabara.  Needless to say the franchise’s intended audience has changed over the years, and it soon returned to making movies targeted at adults.

Mothra’s origins–on screen, and the resonances of Japanese culture she carries–are another unique feature that give her a special relationship to Godzilla among the the other kaiju.  Mothra’s modus vivendi with humanity is rooted in ancient Japanese fables with the  shobijin playing the role of keeping lines of communication open between the human world and the monster world.  This gives the much more recently nuclear-created Godzilla, depending on which origin story you go with, a certain connection to the mystical realm, which I’m sure the fanfic community is all over, but this connection fades in light of so many non-mystical kaiju creations and the mundane political purposes the kaiju are put to.  For instance, in Invasion of the Astro-Monster (or, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero) from 1970, Godzilla, Rodan, and Ghidrah all fall victim to mind control of aliens seeking to take control over the Earth.  This is a fun political yarn illustrated by great monsters, but not one with the mystical overtones that Mothra’s sensibility brings to the table.

21696_537142606307955_2048925905_nI’ll finish with a couple illustrations of how the broader culture has apparently internalized the Godzilla-Mothra relationship, both in the realm of politics, interestingly.  Exhibit A: a short news article in the Talking Points Memo editor’s blog a couple years back in which the Fox News Channel  was interviewing some dingbat Islamist staging protests in favor of bringing “sharia law” to the US, a marginal issue, that Fox predictably glommed onto.  This was framed on TPM through the lens of the Godzilla-Mothra relationship as “two cartoonish clowns [Fox News and the Islamist protester] doing battle and the only problem is you don’t know who to root for because they’re both so ridiculous.”  The author also implied that enjoying these films showed “unrefined tastes,” which I might take some exception to (ahem).

GodzillaMothraExhibit B is the minor meme that came with last year’s presidential campaign here in the US. The Godzilla-Mothra presidential ticket strikes a fun nerve–and party activists are currently prepping for 2016, according to their Facebook page, but note we didn’t see Godzilla paired with any other potential kaiju running mate, though a Godzilla-Ghidrah ticket would have me collecting signatures on my block.