Monday, July 28, 2014

GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH (1971) movie review

Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) (1971) d. Yoshimitsu Banno (Japan)

The wildest, most anachronistic feature in the entire G-canon showcases an extraterrestrial life form named Hedorah that lands upon Earth and immediately begins thriving upon our overflowing supply of pollution. This movie is so batcrap crazy, it’s hard to know where to begin. There's composer Riichiro Manabe's wonky, drunken horn-filled score, hippie kids hallucinating, psychedelic dream sequences, animated vignettes, dancing freakouts, housecats covered in sludge, rockin’ “Save the Earth” theme songs, senseless bonfire-centric protest parties, and Godzilla flying (backwards, no less!).

Then there is the continuously morphing muck monster, which trades off between its muddied mop-head-with-eyes guise and some kind of flying, laser-shooting, stingray-shaped poop pile. Wow. Just. . .wow.

Due to its ubiquity on television in the 1970s (thanks to executive producer and distributor Sam Arkoff's enterprising deal-making), the film has earned itself a sizable amount of goodwill among G-fans of a certain age. This doesn't necessarily make it good, but it's certainly memorable.

In a bit of inspired programming, AIP sent this out on a double bill with their 1972 “animals attack” eco-horror schlockfest, Frogs.

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