Thursday, August 20, 2020


Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan, the movie we now know was Godzilla Vs. Gigan or possibly, if we saw it on TV, as Godzilla on Monster Island, was released in Japan on March 12, 1972. The TV title is misleading; only two or three brief scenes take place on Monster Island. Most of the action and exposition are set in Japan.

The movie took a long time to get to the United States. Somehow, it had a debut in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 19, 1975. It didn’t make it to the rest of the United States until August, 1977. I have not been able to find an exact date for its general release, but choose to go with the date from the G-Fan calendar.

Godzilla vs. Gigan had a short theatrical release before showing up on home video and television. I’ve started re-watching Godzilla films on or near their original release dates. For this viewing, I went with the Blu-ray from Kraken Releasing.

Godzilla vs. Gigan is one of my least favorite Godzilla movies. My disdain for the film is only surpassed by my sheer loathing for the tedious anime trilogy of recent years.

Here’s the IMDb intro summary:

A man begins to suspect something is wrong about his employers; meanwhile, Godzilla and Anguirus are alerted to something strange going on. 
Points for not giving anything away and for not even trying to make this cheap-ass movie sound exciting. Because this movie is bad on every level. From annoying human characters to crumbling creature costumes to an alien plot that makes little sense to the use of so much stock footage from other films that it’s embarrassing. If you watch the film closely, you’ll see quick shots of Mothra, Rodan and one of the Gargantuas, even though none of those monsters are part of this movie.

The first character we meet is wannabe manga artist Gengo Kotaka. He pitches a story about the monster of homework to an editor who rejects it soundly. I thought it was a ridiculous idea when I first saw the movie in the 1970s. I would later learn that manga is a lot weirder than I imagined back then. Indeed, I’m currently reading a manga featuring defeated Ultraman villains who are transported to another world and turned into high-school girls. And another about a girl who turns into a kaiju whenever she gets romantic about the boy she likes. I am not making this up.
Gengo then meets with the demanding Tomoko Tomoe, who has already arranged another interview with him. It’s never clear what she is to him. He bases another dumb monster - the monster of too strict mothers - on her, but she seems too young to be his mom. I always had the feeling they were brother and sister, but, on reflection, she might be his agent or his dominant lover. I mean, Gengo ain’t getting rich off his manga, so maybe he’s a kept man. Or maybe I’m just looking for anything to make this movie more interesting.

There are going to be SPOILERS AHEAD. I would consider them to be WARNINGS, but I’m not sure a guy who has seen this movie multiple times has any right to warn viewers away from it.

Gengo lands a job with World Children’s Land, an amusement complex dedicated to achieving perfect peace and which includes a Godzilla Tower museum of all monsters, old and new. They want to add Gengo’s silly monsters to the museum. Which only makes sense once you learn they are evil cockroaches from a dying planet posing as humans to conquer and transform our planet to better suit them. Their master plan doesn’t need Gengo’s monsters. They’re just messing with him because they are, you know, evil on every level.

If you think I’m taking a long time to get to the actual monsters, it’s because the movie doesn’t get to them until about an hour into its 89-minute running time. We get some glimpses of them prior to the creature clash, which includes Godzilla and Anguirus speaking to each other in English. Again, I’m not making this up. It made my head spin. The Japanese version is just as dumb in a different way. The monsters don’t speak, but word balloons appear over their heads as they communicate.

Let me try to speed this up. Gengo bumps into a girl fleeing from the city headquarters of World Children’s Land. She drops a tape. He grabs the tape. She escapes. Later, her and a friend who looks like a beatnik from a 1960s Teen Titans comic kidnap Gengo. They explain what’s going on.

The girl’s brother is a scientist who works for the cockroaches and has been out of touch for days. She fears the worse. The trio play the tape which alerts Godzilla to “something strange going on.” He sends Anguirus to investigate.

There are two tapes necessary to the plan of the cockroaches. And, for all their scientific prowess, the concept of back-ups has never occurred to them. When Gengo’s clumsy detective work arouses their suspicions, they trail him to where he and the others are plotting to rescue the imprisoned scientist.

Tomoko shows up to kick cockroaches asses with cool 1970s karate movies. The humans continue to make their plans. They get captured. The aliens get the tape and the monsters finally start getting down to monster business.

The aliens summon two space monsters. The first is Ghidorah, who’s looking pretty spiffy courtesy of a new suit. The other is Gigan, who has one red eye that doesn’t shoot out energy rays, a buzzsaw in his torso, and single claws for his hands and feet. It’s a dumb design, the platypus of kaiju evolution.

Godzilla and Anguirus don’t look so good. You can see pieces fall off their suits. Godzilla gets cut by Gigan and the spurting blood is off-putting. Anguirus gets a hole in his head, though that may not have been intentional given the condition of his suit.

The monsters proceed to bite and fight, bite and fight. Fight fight fight. Bite bite bite. Godzilla doesn’t use his heat ray for most of the fight. Special effects cost money.

The heroes escape. The cockroaches die in flames when their tower is destroyed with them in it. They perish bemoaning why everything they planned went wrong. Apparently, the well-known folly of man extends to alien cockroaches.

I’m getting dizzy writing about this movie. Bad acting. Incoherent master plans. Aliens so dumb they fire at a life-sized drawing of the humans and detonate boxes of TNT behind the drawing. And stock footage from earlier films that results in Godzilla, Anguirus and Ghidorah changing their appearances from scene to scene. The movie is a mess.

I see very little value in Godzilla Vs. Gigan. It’s so bad all on its own that making fun of it ala MST3K is too easy. I thought it might be useful for a drinking game, but that would likely result in alcohol poisoning.

I’d recommend not watching Godzilla Vs. Gigan, but it is the curse of Godzilla devotees that we have to watch all the Godzilla movies. Even this one. I ask only that you view it with friends in case any of you need medical attention.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella


  1. I love Godzilla movies! Even the stinky ones like this.

  2. Somehow MST3K seems to have missed Godzilla vs. Gigan. Perhaps this should be rectified.