On weekend trips to my cousins in New York City, I’d be so excited to say a quick hello to my uncles and aunts and cousins, zip by them to the back bedroom and turn on the twelve inch black and white Zenith TV, adjust the rabbit ears to WPIX Channel 11 and kick back for six hours of creature features. Now, on some visits, I’d be disappointed as it would be some Hammer film that, as a young boy, bored me to tears. A lot of Brits yapping while the stage blood seemed to be doled out in miniscule doses. Now, a few years later, I was mature enough to appreciate these films as the great things that they are, but back then, I needed mayhem. Pounds and pounds of mayhem. So when the bright Toho sunburst logo would come on the screen, I knew Nirvana arrived. Kaiju movies! Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Ghidrah, et al. So much fun! Being a fan of models, I loved as the winged three-headed Ghidrah would swoop down on his wires and destroy toy tanks, high-electrical towers and skyscrapers made of balsa wood. Awesome.
Of course, Toho and Hollywood has upped their game on the effects and overall production value of these movies. Some are worthy entrys, some simply miss the boat. But they all are fun to watch because monsters, well, they’re simply cool. They take me back to that time in the back bedroom of my cousins’ NYC brownstone when TV was exploding with danger and weirdness. When I’d go back to Hartford, it was back to boring midday movies starring Randolph Scott or soapers that Douglas Sirk would make (again, I was a young one - I’ve grown to appreciate his work also). So Kaiju movies have a special place in my heart, and many others - this I know to be true. It’s a chance for us to be kids again and watch things that we know are simply not real. We know there is some Japanese dude zipped up in there with Inohiro Honda saying, “Ok, now stomp that cardboard box, now shake your head, now step through that fishing wire”, etc. How cool to have that job. Maybe I should send in my resume.