5.18.2015

"Unseen" Godzilla Compilation Take 2 (1954-1980)

Since the last time I did something like this I just ended up dropping my documentation here and moved over to a new project with a wider scope for a number of reasons I'm not going to restate here. However this has ended up being counter-intuitive as the amount of time and effort put into that project means that progress on it is really slow, as it takes me probably something like a week, all things considered, to put together just one article in releasable form (which doesn't necessarily mean its finished) and other projects and priorities mean there are large gaps between the periods when I'm actually working on it, making a week turn into a month, etc.

However, what's I've found out is that since I wrote about Bride of Godzilla here on this blog it actually HAS gotten circulated, picked up by the wiki, which is kind of cute and heartwarming. Their page on it is what you'd expect it to be, a brief stub with confusingly stated stats seemingly written specifically to create rumors and misinformation, but it's still pretty cool regardless, and I attempted to help improve it although I can't say for sure whether my impact on it was positive or not. I'm usually not the most cheerful person.

BUT, if stuff is getting read, then me taking my sweet time writing up really in-depth down-to-the-minute articles isn't really helping all that much since there's still too much misinformation out there and still too many ideas that have gone completely ignored in the English-speaking world. So with that in mind I figured I'd cover, briefly, what I know NOW (and this changes often, as I find better sources and better translations, etc.) about everything, or at least all the things I can remember.

That said, this list has a much narrower scope than the last post I made like this. It's limited both to things directly ancestral to or involving Godzilla, and I'm also going to narrow it down to live action film. Also, I'm probably going to leave out illegal/fan stuff like Wolfman and Godzilla vs. Cleveland. But enough of that, here's the important stuff:



1952-1959

1952 - The Ghostly Whale That Came from the Sea to Attack Tokyo: A story pitch by Eiji Tsuburaya inspired by the recent Japanese theatrical re-release of King Kong, featuring a "ghostly" (exact meaning being having ghost-type qualities that I'm interpreting as an adverb and which skynet auto-translates to "spooky," I use "ghostly" here sense the Japanese word "bakemono" is used and it's not exactly privileged information that this is a ghost) whale rises from the... sea to... attack... Tokyo. Hmm.

1953 - "A giant octopus sinks Japanese whaling ships in the Indian Ocean": Not an obnoxiously descriptive title this time, this is actually a log line Tsuburaya dropped off in the writer's room expecting it to be developed, probably (I think the stance I take in the corresponding Godzilla Cycle article is "definitely") inspired by The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms' success. This is the first appearance of "Oodako" the giant octopus, who pre-dates Godzilla.

1954 - Late March - The Giant Monster from 20,000 Miles Under the Sea: This is Tomoyuki Tanaka's original pitch for the project that would replace the hole left by In the Shadow of Honor, which according to him had the log line (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact sentence) "a dinosaur sleeping on the sea floor near the Bikini Atoll is awakened by nuclear testing; destroys Tokyo." Iwao Mori says he'll approve it if Tsuburaya is on board, which of course he is because he's been trying to make a monster movie for two years now.

1954 - April to May 12 - Project G: The period between Tanaka's pitch and Kayama's story is filled with legend and rumor, and most of them revolve around what kind of monster the film would actually have. Tanaka maintains it was a dinosaur from the beginning, but this doesn't need to be a lie to assume Tsuburaya would have still tried to get him to make it an octopus instead, the two ideas aren't mutually exclusive and Tanaka's role as a producer probably just overturned the octopus thing. Meanwhile there's another legend floating around about the monster at one time being a literal "gorilla-whale," and it's said (notice how I'm not pointing out who said it? There's no hard interviews linking back to anyone involved in the production definitely having said this that I'm aware of, hence why I'm calling it a "legend") that this was what Kayama had in his head when writing his story. It is convenient that the physical description of the monster is so vague, then.

May 23, 1954 to July 20, 1955 - "Tokyo is Destroyed by Godzilla": Shigeru Kayama's original story, first published alongside the original story for Godzilla Raids Again in Godzilla: Tokyo and Osaka Edition, with many, many reprints to follow. The story's skeleton is the same, and a lot of the meat is too, but it has a spirit more like a traditional 50's sci-fi B movie. Godzilla is more animalistic and motivated by hunger, and Dr. Yamane is a classic mad scientist character who wears a cape, also there's no love triangle in this version. Godzilla here is definitely a bipedal creature with a tail, and at least in the published version does have a "death ray," and he also has large floppy ears. Stuff like this is why the word unseen in the title of this post is in quotes. Because this is a published, commercially available story, by no stretch of the imagination is it "unseen," however leaving it out would mean skipping a huge part of the development of the ideas for the film, which is the main thread I'm following.

December 20, 1954 to July 20, 1955 - "Godzilla and Anguirus": Shigeru Kayama's original story for the second film, Godzilla Raids Again, later published alongside the previous story in July. The changes between this and the final version aren't spoken of widely, and I'm assuming this is because there aren't many to speak of since the time frame was so short. What is known is that Anguirus was also able to shoot a "death ray" of his own, and the flipped up split carapace seen in the "Weird Angilas" marquette and much later the concept art for Godzilla 7 was actually intentional and even built into the suit. Anguirus had at least four suggested names, one of them, "Gyottos," came from Yoshio Tsuchiya. These names were re-used for original monsters in a Shigeru Sugiura promotional tie-in comic for the movie, which is how I know there's at least four of them. By the way, the titles given here for the two Kayama stories are their titles given in Tokyo and Osaka Edition and not necessarily what they were called when originally written.

1955 - June - Bride of Godzilla?: Yes, the question mark is part of the title. I've spoken at length about this one because I just love it so much. Here's the basic story: a new theory about Godzilla's origin posits him as living inside the Hollow Earth, and also this guy builds robots as well. It turns out he's correct, and an expedition discovers an underground world populated by kaiju mutated by a naturally occurring nuclear reactor (something that is real but wouldn't be discovered for almost 20 years), and include: Godzillas, Anguiruseses, "Archaeopteryx" (recall early concept art of Rodan and a similar creature from Godzilla 4 referred to as "Gigamoth C Type"), giant chameleons, mammoths, giant octopuseses, and a race of mermaids. The list changes every time someone tells the story so who knows. During a battle between a Godzilla and an Anguirus a giant, blood-sucking flea is dislodged from Anguirus, which is a prototype of Shokilas. This scientist guy (Dr. Shida) is building a giant robot (I've called her "Robomusume" as she's referred to as a robot daughter, but in the script she's called "Jinko Ningen" meaning "artificial person") who is pressed into action when Godzilla, Anguirus, Archaeopteryx, and a giant chameleon start rampaging across Kyushu. She successfully subdues Anguirus, and probably the other two, but the battle with Godzilla drags on. At last she manages to pull Godzilla back down into the Hollow Earth and EXPLODES because she's also a giant timed nuclear bomb, and this closes off the entrance to that no monsters will ever bother humanity again. The decision to do something besides a third Godzilla movie seems to be entirely based on legitimate artistic integrity.

1957 - May 7 - The Volcano Monsters: Power Rangers-style recontextualization of a pre-existing movie, which was the original plan for the far more drastically altered Godzilla Raids Again Americanization. The story has a second Godzilla and Anguirus being discovered on mainland Japan, and misidentified as being a Tyrannosaurus rex and an Ankylosaurus magniventris by what is perhaps one of the stupidest characters in film history in a bid to remove the characters from identification, something that, as proven with the eventual Americanization which changed Godzilla's name, is something no 1950's audience could ever have possibly fallen for. The two tear apart Little China in San Francisco in order to cover up that they're in Osaka, and new footage would be filmed of the monsters. New suits were built, called the Gigantis-Goji and, presumably, Gigantis-Angi. The '57 Godzilla is something of a missing link between the '55 and '62 designs, while Anguirus looks even further removed from the '68 version, with longer legs, a flatter carapace, and even tinier eyes.

1958 - King Kong vs. Frankenstein: Willis O'Brien, towards the end of his life, wrote up a story that he thought would pull him out of the dog house, and he relied on Kong to take him there. Between the two versions of this story some details get mixed up and I have a hard time remembering what's what. What I know for sure about this story is that Dr. Frankenstein's grandson (Peter or Frederick, depending on whether he changed his name at this point) is hiding out in Africa, and he constructs a monster from big game parts called the Ginko, and Carl Denham gets the bright idea to make an event out of a boxing match between the monster and either the original Kong revived by Frankenstein or a new one found in Africa.

1959 - King Kong vs. Prometheus: A new draft written by George Worthing Yates replaced Ginko with a similar monster called Prometheus V (I believe this is a reference to all the previous filmed modern Promethei, the original Universal monster, the Universal bride, the first Hammer monster, and the second Hammer monster, making this the fifth Frankenstein monster to appear on film, at least in the movies that anyone pays attention to). In addition his identification with Frankenstein is missing (although calling the monster "Prometheus" is kind of suspicious), and this monster is controlled via radio by the doctor. However! It turns out that not only was he secretly a Frankenstein the entire time, but the monster was only pretending to be remote controlled to lull the doctor into a false sense of security, and kills him after getting to San Francisco, leaving it up to King Kong (who in this version is definitely a second one from Africa) to stop him. This is the story eventually sold to John Beck, which then became King Kong vs. Godzilla.

1962-1964

1962/1963 - King Kong vs. Godzilla II: An extremely frustrating bit of history since there are pages of it online, yet I still don't really know anything about it. The text is really small and blurry, but it stands to reason that if there's a picture of it someone knows what's up. What's more, in the 2010 book which revealed an an enormous amount of information on a huge number of projects, this story is listed in the contents, so there should be some info on it, I just can't find it yet. This bugs me so much is because even though this sounds, on the surface, to be a pretty boring idea that we're all better without, Sekizawa was pretty damn good at writing, so it's more than a little likely that he found a way to make the rematch interesting and cool... but I just don't know how.

1963 - February 20 - Frankenstein vs. the Human Vapor: The adaption of Frankenstein into the Tohoverse after King Kong vs. Prometheus is a little rockier, and the end result didn't include Godzilla, but since it did at one point I'll cover it briefly. This is a story by Sekizawa about, as I understand it, the Vape-meister asking Dr. Frankenstein to bring his dead bride back to life.

1963 - Frankenstein vs. the Giant Devilfish: I don't know is this is a real thing. It's well known now that the background of the appearance of Oodako in FCTW is because Henry G. Saperstein really loved the creature in KKvsG, but it was cut out upon seeing the odd sequence in context of the rest of the film, from both versions. Stories circulated among English magazines at the time take Saperstein's fanaticism even further by suggesting he pitched an idea to Toho about Frankenstein (the monster, although the idea of seeing a giant doctor fighting an octopus is pretty intense I must say) fighting the monster as his main opponent. There are those in the English-speaking world who've dismissed this as a rumor, however the Japanese fans have gone a step further and there's even a writer attached, Jerry Sohl, although this may be part of the rumor in English and I'm just not aware. You'd have to assume each side is going to be bad at fact-checking each other's stories based on the language barrier, but what I find interesting here is that the story on both sides is consistent regardless of whether the whole script about this was written or not. Saperstein really did basically beg Tsuburaya to use the octopus again, it's just that for some the story ends there, and for other its tendrils go further back. Stranger still, it's said that Sekizawa abruptly abandoned writing Frankenstein vs. the Human Vapor for... something... hmm.

1963 - December 31 - Mothra Against Godzilla: Literally on the last day of the year the first draft of Mothra vs. Godzilla was finished. The early version features only the first Mothra, with Godzilla's body standing in for the egg, which both makes the story tighter and also adds a lot of weirdness as trying to turn Godzilla's not-even-sure-if-it's-a-corpse-he'll-probably-wake-up-and-kill-everyone into a tourist trap is just... stupid.

1964 - July 3 - Frankenstein vs. Godzilla: Rueben Bercovitch and Takeshi Kimura are credited as writers and Jerry Sohl, whom the Giant Devilfish story is attributed to, is credited with a "synopsis." The story is that he wrote the basic framework, but the monster kept changing, so FCTW with Oodako became FCTW with Godzilla which finally became the FCTW we have now Baragon. Whatever the case with that is, the story does not fit Godzilla at all, where the nuclear terror is treated as the lesser of two evils against a giant teenager and conflicts are resolved by timely natural disasters and Godzilla clumsily falling down a lot. It's pretty terrible and by reading the story you realize just how badly they're trying to shoehorn Godzilla into a role he doesn't belong in, and the story needs to be altered to fit him or a new monster needs to be created. Of course they went with the latter.

1964 - August 27 - Three Giant Monsters: Earth's Greatest Battle: I only know of one major change over the drafts of Ghidorah, and that's the appearance of both Mothra twins from the previous movie, with one of them being an adult and one still a larva.

1965-1969

November, 1965 to 1966 - Batman vs. Godzilla or Godzilla vs. Batman or Batman Meets Godzilla: Imagine how elated I was when I discovered what appeared to be entire treatment of the American stage of development of one of the craziest crossovers of all time. Now, imagine what it feels like when, before downloading it you realize there is little evidence to guarantee its authenticity, and once you start reading anwyas, you realize that every single element, beat for beat, is exactly the same thing you've heard for all these years originated from the Sekizawa version of the story. Now, I'm not saying the whole thing is a lie, in fact it makes a lot of sense to consider the possibility that either this was a hoax written with knowledge of what Sekizawa's story was, or it is totally legit and the result of Toho moving forward with the project more than anyone ever realized, going so far as to get into talks with DC and the TV show guys, and that it fell apart for other reasons. Either way, Sekizawa definitely wrote at least three drafts of the story, and the fact that every single time I see any details about it, in any language, the same story is there (Godzilla being mind controlled by a super villain, Batman joined by Robin and Batgirl, takes place in Japan, a weather control device, a bunch of Bat-themed super weapons, etc.) suggests this information is still legit, regardless of what's going on with that English pdf.

1966 - May 9 - Giant Monster Assault: This is the very first version of the story that would become 1970's Space Amoeba, giving the film a whopping 4 year development period. Still not as long as Boyhood, though, did you know that Boyhood took 12 years to make? This was written as part of the AIP collaboration period, and would have been produced in place of War of the Gargantuas, I assume, but the weird thing is that it's listed on Wikipedia as being a draft of a movie that features Godzilla. I've looked and looked by I can't find a damn thing about the story other than the part where it's a precursor to Space Amoeba. Was Godzilla going to fight Gezora, or... is this just a mistake? I don't really know, I'm including it here in the interest of virtual completeness.

1966 - Two Godzillas: Japan S.O.S.!: A prototype of Son of Godzilla which takes place in mainland Japan rather than on an isolated tropical island, a setting obviously changed for budgetary reasons. Both adult and child Godzillas approach Japan, stuff gets destroyed, and the weather control device reappears here as well, probably as a means of stopping Godzilla's rampage. There is a scene where the baby Godzilla (the name Minilla didn't exist yet, and it doesn't even exist in the actual movie Son of Godzilla either) stomps around on a race track that closed down like a year later.

1967 - Monster Chushingura: In the absolute beginning, Destroy All Monsters was named after the story of the 47 Ronin, but with giant monsters. Were there 47 monsters in it? Heck, at this rate maybe. Ishiro Honda has said that the idea behind Monsterland was that all of the monsters live there, in addition to the new kinds of sea life being bred for research of world hunger problems (the double finned Ogasawara whales are an example, these are actually in the finished film if you squint). I've read statements from... was it Ragone? I think it was August Ragone on Monster Classic Horror Kid Movie Thriller Killer Theater 3000 or w/e the fuck the name of that forum is, that in the earliest days King Kong, Gaira, and Sanda were part of the menagerie, but dropped because the license ran out. According to Wikipedia Toho had King Kong's license until 1967, so this checks out. Also Ragone tends to know what he's talking about.

1967 - November 22 - Total Monster Attack Directive: This is the draft of DAM everyone seems to know pretty well, with 10 monsters: Godzilla, Rodan, Varan, Mothra, Magma, Manda, Baragon, Ebirah, Kumonga, and King Ghidorah. So I think here it works out like, when the monsters are first sent out Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and Manda go to New York, Moscow, Beijing, and London as usual, and Baragon goes to Paris. The first four appear in Tokyo, and it's discovered this was a ruse to pull attention away from the Izu springs, where Magma was discovered, and where the Kilaak base probably is. Magma, Ebirah, and Rodan defend the base. All of the monsters contribute to the final battle in some way.

1968 - January 9 - Total Monster Attack: Just in case you haven't figured this out, when the title is the same as the final version, I'm using literal translations. This, the third and final draft of the screenplay that film is supposed to be based on, differs in a number of important ways. First of all, the obvious stuff that had to be changed because of prop problems: Baragon and Varan aren't really in the movie at all. Varan, along with all the other monsters, was at the very least supposed to be a part of the final battle, as was Baragon, but Baragon was also supposed to appear in Paris and repel the attack on the Izu base, but showed up for neither. But we at least get to see him some, Varan doesn't even get that. There's another bit in the script, which is just a single line, but is kind of a huge deal and it's no wonder why it never showed up in the final draft. As the Earth monsters mobilize for their final assault on the Kilaak base, the action description reads this:

ゴジラの後方に第二陣のモスラ、ラドン、アンギラス。その遥か後方尾根に勢揃いした マンダ、バラゴン以下十数匹の怪獣 」 とありますので「怪獣総進撃

Which translates into something like this:

Godzilla's rear support line is Mothra, Rodan, and Anguirus. Far behind that is an array of Manda and Baragon followed by a dozen monsters.

So, with the 6 named monsters there, and King Ghidorah, that makes a total of 19, meaning an additional 8 monsters other than the named characters in the rest of the script. These might be something like Ooumihebi, Oodako, Ookondoru, Kamacuras, Gaira, Sanda, Magma, and Ebirah, which at that point really would be all the monsters, or at least the Earth monsters who would be reasonably expected to be in Monsterland. It's especially interesting because it illustrates that the 11 monsters in the screenplay having actual roles as opposed to the 8 ones we only ever see as spectators cresting a hill, and the reality of the film is such that two of the monsters who were supposed to actually be a part of the story ended up... well, just being spectators cresting a hill.

1969 - All Monsters Great Attack: Before the stock footage, there were plans for a more focused cast and filming more than one new fight sequence with Godzilla. In this version six monsters appear: Godzilla, Minilla, Gabara, Rodan, Oodako, and Kumonga. Rodan would have filled Kamacuras' role of chasing Ichiro around, and Oodako would have fought Godzilla (!!!) at the point where the stock footage battle with Ebirah is, this of course means new footage because Godzilla has never fought Oodako in live action before.

1970-1974

1970 - September 17 - Godzilla vs. Hedoron: The earliest drafts of Hedorah had a different name for the monster. I don't know how different the monster actually was from the final version, but I think the reason its name changed is because the very first monster ever fought by Spectreman just happened to be a pollution eating sludge creature named Hedoron. The first draft to use the name Hedorah was dated December 17 and the first episode of Spectreman aired January 2, so I'm pretty sure there's a connection here, especially since the monsters are so similar.

1971 - Godzilla vs. Hedorah 2: There are three stories about what this story is about. I'm willing to bet only one is true. One of them is about Hedorah's reappearance in Africa. One of them is about a starfish-like Hedorah or near-Hedorah. The one that's definitely true is the revival of Hedorah due to a disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Remember, this was written in 1971, by the same guy who co-wrote Prophecies of Nostradamus. Coincidence? Probably, but it's still kind of creepy.

1971 - August - Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah: Earth Attack Directive: This is the earliest stage of the development process that ultimately resulted in Godzilla vs. Gigan, and I can't say I know much about it. Anything I assume about it is based on other, more well known drafts.

1971 - The Return of King Ghidorah: In this version, the evil space brain Miko controls three airborne space monsters, King Ghidorah, Gigan, and Mog, and is challenged by Godzilla and his two flying buddies Rodan and Varan. This story introduces a bunch of elements that carry over to the subsequent drafts but don't make it to the final film.

1971 - September 18 - Godzilla vs. the Space Monsters: Earth Defense Directive: The plot structure of Godzilla vs. Gigan appears here but the specifics are carried over from the Mog version. Here we have King Ghidorah, Gigan, and Megalon (this version he has the ability to spew poisonous smog) being controlled by Miko, who plans to use a statue to rule the world. Godzilla and Angilas travel from Monster Island to stop him, but when Gigan cuts into the statue, it bleeds, awakening Majin Toul and evening up the sides.

1971 - September 22 - Godzilla vs. Gigan: the Return of King Ghidorah: Majin Toul was replaced by Godzilla Tower, and it's destruction severs the metaphorical brain, the action tapes that control the space monsters rather than an actual evil brain from outer space. This isn't the Godzilla vs. Gigan we know, though, on the space monster side Megalon is still there, so a new third hero monster is needed, and for that purpose the fourth Mothra, the larva we know from the future world of 1999 appears to help Godzilla and Angilas. How much help she'll be I have no clue... but she's there!

1972 - Jet Jaguar vs. Megalon: This is an English-only thing, I can't find a single reference for it in Japanese anywhere. However, despite Wikipedia blaming the quick addition of Godzilla and Gigan for the end result, Megalon had just as much time in the writing stages as any other Godzilla movie of the time, with the earliest known draft being written sometime before September 5th. Jun Fukuda wrote the damn thing himself because Sekizawa was too busy with his lyrics nonsense, and only got in a log line "undersea people are angry at nuclear testing and send a monster." However, to really put a nail in the coffin you'd have to know when the contest that generated Red Alone ended. If it was in June or earlier, then I guess there's time for a JJvsMeg to develop, but any later than that and you're pushing it. Personally I think going from original drafts featuring 3 vs. 3 to one that goes 1 vs. 1, LESS than the final film, is a little odd.

1972 - Toho Monster TV Film Project: Zone the Meteor Man: The first write-up was apparently something of a series outline. The basic formula is here, including all the main characters except their cool Earthling friend who knows Kung-Fu (YOU'RE SO COOL KUNG-FU!!!), but only Fighter and Angel could transform, and both could turn giant, although they'd need to shake hands with another Zone. Angel also had a cool monster friend called Pandaran who was a stuffed panda that could grow to human size if Angel was threatened. Also, Zone Angel was apparently going to use RYUSEIIII DYNO-MIGHTO as a finishing move.

1972 - Toho Special Effects Terror-Beast Series: Zone the Meteor Man: The first draft for the pilot episode, which is the same except it features Godzilla and Gigan. That would bring it up to a total of three monsters appearing in the pilot, leaving it an unbalanced Zone and Godzilla vs. Red Spark, Jikiro, and Gigan, which seems both unfair and a little ridiculous.

1973 - Godzilla • Redmoon • Erabus • Hafun: Extraterrestrial Monsters: This one has jumped all over the place, but in the end the key to its placement in which Godzilla movie it was a draft of came in one detail: Okinawa. A moon monster (from the moon) comes down to Earth to mate with another monster, and I don't know what's up with that, but it sounds like an artsy metaphor or something. They have a child, Hafun, but its accidentally killed, sending Redmoon and Erabus into a rage and it's up to Godzilla to stop them. This was imagined as a Toho-Tsuburaya Coproduction, and because Daigoro vs. Goliath was also that, there's an expectation that this was developed for the littlest tiniest babbies, even younger than Megalon, but I don't know if that's actually the case or just a guilt-by-association sort of thing. As in, I'm not sure if "and then the baby monster was murdered" is the sort of thing you see a lot of in Barney episodes.

1973 - Giant Monsters Converge on Okinawa: Showdown in Zanpamisaki: Aliens! Again! Gargans (a liiiiittle too close to Garogans for my taste) invade the Earth with the giant mechanical monster Garganta. Oh, um, the way kana works is you're not really supposed to over-enunciate the "u," so "Garugan" is actually pronounced "Gargan," and skynet auto-translates this to "Garganta," which makes a lot of sense because now it actually means something, you can tell it's a shortened form of "gargantuan" which isn't the case with just Gargan, and they added an extra letter to the end of Megalo, so why not call him Garganta? Anwyas, the story is basically the same as Mechagodzilla only instead of having the Okinawan princess or w/e wake up King Caesar we've got Mothra, this time the adult surviving Mothra twin I think, but it might also be the fourth Mothra in larval form.

1973 - Showdown in Zanpamisaki: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla: The generic robo-monster Garganta is replaced with a robo-doppelganger Mechagodzilla who, along with Gigan who either has an extra life or maybe it's just a second Gigan, are used as weapons of war in the invasion of Earth by the aliens from Planet R. Planet R, by the way, has its origins in a much earlier Toho sci-fi screenplay from 1969 that was also never filmed, about the first humans on a new planet after relocating due to wars/pollution/etc. So maybe the Planet R aliens are also futurians? Man that would be wild. Opposing Mechagodzilla, Gigan, and the Adam of the Stars are Godzilla, Anguirus, and King Vulcan, a crimson/bronze golem-like monster with horns and the ability to reflect beam weapons back at his opponents. So, in some other words, King Caesar with horns and red highlights.

1974 - July 1 - Mechagodzilla's Counterattack: As far as I know, the only change from Yukiko Takayama's original story was that she originally had two monsters, the Titans, one terrestrial and one marine, and they would somehow fuse together and turn into the amphibious monster Titanosaurus. This sounds... kind of insane and awesome, if not a little grotesque, but from a story perspective it doesn't make much sense and there's no reason for it, so deleting it was probably the right choice.

1976-1980

1976 - S.O.S. Japan! Godzilla's Suicide Strategy: Planned as the 7th original Godzilla film for the Champion Festival, this story carries on in the same "monster of justice" tradition, and in fact depends on it for the plot. Aliens from Titan are pissed off that their secret agent Yukiko Takayama's script had their cool Titan monsters deleted from it, and in a bid for revenge have sent Gigan (AGAIN!) and a new monster Chamelegon to invade the Earth. That, or maybe they're trying to get away from the Xiliens who keep stealing all their ice. Unlike other alien invaders, though, their plan is actually really damn smart: they use Chamelegon, who is made from a strange space metal that only Godzilla's tetrachrome eyes can see, to frame the monster of justice and make human believe that he has returned to his old ways of wanton destruction! Sort of like what the Simeons tried to do except not easily thwarted as soon as Godzilla shows up anywhere. The invisible thing is an obvious sign of budget restrictions, but despite that they came up with an interesting way to make those restrictions work. Elements of this story would later appear in episodes 6 and 8 of the first season of the Godzilla cartoon.

Late 1970's - Gods of Godzilla: It's a bit of a weird title but "Kamigami no Gojira" actually kinda does make sense a little bit to me. Anwyas, in this story Godzilla returns to his destructive roots, and a new wave of scientists and researchers finally discover why, and the truth behind Godzilla's origins. It turns out he's the creation of a super ancient civilization designed to punish those who harm the planet. Apparently these aliens (yes, the super ancient civilization was also aliens because of course it is) were something like preservationists and arrived at a much wilder point in Earth's history, maybe the Jurassic or Cretaceous, and wanted to make no one ever fucked it up, so they built a monster that fed off nuclear energy in case any alien or domestic civilizations ever threatened it, which explains why Godzilla is both for and against humans. Now, a lot of that last sentence is "speculation" on my part, in quotes because I'm just filling out what I do know a little more. The bare facts as they are are more like: Godzilla is like a punishment from the gods because of man's mistreatment of nature. Knowing that, though, the story basically writes itself. Also there's a scene where Godzilla attacks a nuclear power plant and absorbs energy directly from the reactor, a scene which later appeared in Return of Godzilla. After the film version fell through, Aramaki Yoshio wrote it up as a novella and was going to have it published, but for some reason this never materialized.

June 22, 1977 to October 22, 1978 - King of the Monsters: Resurrection of Godzilla: Tomoyuki Tanaka had it up to here with the monster of justice stuff, and wanted to go back to Godzilla's roots. However he may have wanted it too much, as the result was a straight remake of the original film, except in color. Oddly enough, the first draft was finished the same year that Cozzilla was made. Coincidence? Or did one directly inspire the other? Who knows? All I know is that remakes are fucking stupid bullshit and this waste of everyone's time can rot in hell where it belongs.

1978 - U.S.-Japan Coproduction Godzilla: Two long and powerful rumors continue to this very day about this mysterious, minimal entry in a brochure of Toho's upcoming movies for 1978 that slipped into the night as quickly as it appeared: Godzilla vs. the Gargantuas and Godzilla vs. the Devil. I'm of the opinion that it was nothing more than an attempt to fund Resurrection of Godzilla as a blockbuster tentpole on the scale of Submersion of Japan. Where Gargantuas and Devil come from and how much truth there is to them is a whole other topic that I won't delve into here, but I will say this: both are unconfirmed rumors, although I believe both may have been suggested at some point and disagreements with Tanaka resulted in Coproduction falling apart. Saperstein wanted something new and hip, Tanaka wanted to get back to the roots, because otherwise why in the hell would Saperstein not make a big budget hollywood Godzilla movie? Hasn't that been his dream ever since he got into it with the monster?

January 1979 or possibly as early as 1978 to April 1979 - A Space Godzilla: My personal favroite thing ever. Apparently pitched as a film by Nobuhiko Obayashi, things fell through and the faux credits is the last vestige of this. So here's the story: Godzilla washes up on shore, dying of diabetes. Using the latest in brain scanning technology, scientists are able to determine some amazing things. Godzilla's name is actually Rozan (or Rozanne), and is female, and pregnant, and is also an alien from the Planet Godzilla. While the victims of Godzilla's rampages gather to protest, work is made to turn Godz- sorry, Rozanne's body into a spaceship so she can return to her home planet. Her child, Lilin, is born (turns out she has a womb, too, so I guess Minilla isn't from the same planet), and before the two make their journey back, a little human child gives Lilin a parting gift of a pair of little red boots. End part 1. Part 2 begins with Rozanne and Lilin traveling through space before they arrive back home and reunite with husband and father Curnin (Kounin? Cuunin? Kunin? The kana is Ku, then a carried vowel thing, Ni, and N, so you figure it out), but they couldn't have picked a worse time. Just as they arrive home Planet Godzilla is under attack by the Sunerians, an alien race of Sphinx-like creatures. Curnin and Lilin join the resistance and challenge the Sunerian Shogun, who is a totally different looking monster, whose name is either Gamony or Gamora depending on what you're looking at, though I tend to always call her Gamony since it's less easily confused for something else. Curnin and Lilin have some interesting new powers, such as fire-breathing breasts and swastika navel shurikens, but Gamony isn't unarmed, she has the ability to fire spiderwebs out of her fucking eyes. Although the film never materialized, when the story was published in comic/prose form (part 1 in February and part 2 in April) it caused quite a bit of controversy among Japanese fans... gee, I wonder why? I can't find anything unusual about it... meh, some people are just too picky. u.u

1979 - Godzilla Legend: Asuka Fortress: There's very little information on this one, and, naturally, what there is in English and Japanese contradict each other. Japanese sources say the movie is a kind of prototype of Robot Army with Asuka being a super computer and the Asuka Fortress being a gigantic mobile weapons platform it controls, and there are also comparisons made to Superman 3 where Richard Pryor programs a cyber-brain or some stupid crap. The English story is totally different, revolving around some sort of revolutionary plot point (maybe like an anti-big brother thing?) and Godzilla's opponent is actually a humanoid super robot. I wish there was a way to rationalize both of these stories, like maybe they were different draft or the anti-big brother thing comes about because the surveillance AI has gone out of control and maybe Godzilla fights both a fortress and a mecha, because that sounds awesome, but I'm not sure how the pieces fit together here.

1980 - Resurrection of Godzilla: Take the finished film Return of Godzilla and give it a Godzilla Raids Again style complete screeching halt right in the second act where something totally unrelated to the rest of the story happens that's way more interesting and as soon as it's over the audience will tune out. What do you get? You get this. The film starts with the reappearance of Godzilla and the discovery of the giant sea louse Shokilas which have grown huge and mutated by parasitizing Godzilla. THEN a totally different movie starts about an ancient monster named Bakan (no, not Bagan, BaKan, and yes this is a much subtler difference in Japanese, which is probably why the English-speaking world has always called this monster Bagan, translation quirks) which is the combination of three monster gods, a fish, ape, and dragon. Also they're all the same creature, just different stages, but once he changes into his final, combined form, he can't switch out, and this is how the damage accumulates and Godzilla is able to kill him. After this, Return of Godzilla resumes as usual with some minor differences. Bakan has become known colloquially in English as "Totem Bagan," but I'm not sure if its actually known for sure whether in the script Bakan's final form had the same "stacked" appearance as in Hurricane Ryu's fan art of him. Whether he does or not, it's still pretty damn cool looking.

Meh, I'm tired. Guess I will split this up after all. Well, I've got nothing else going on, so I guess I'll take a nap and... write more of this junk!

1 comment:

  1. This has been a fascinating read and I hope there is more to come.

    ReplyDelete