April 13th, 2011: Kaiju Daisenso aka Monster Zero aka Invasion of the Astro-Monster aka Godzilla Versus Monster Zero

Cast and Crew: Ishiro Honda (Director); Shinichi Sekizawa (Writer); Akira Ifukube (Score); Eiji Tsuburaya (Special Effects); Akira Takarada, Akira Kubo

What It’s About: When a mysterious new planet is discovered, two astronauts are sent to investigate.  There they find the remnants of an advanced race living underground due to the threat of the enormous, three-headed, ray shooting monster Ghidorah, known to the aliens as Monster Zero.  The aliens ask to transport our monsters Rodan and Godzilla to their planet to defeat Ghidorah, and offer scientific and medical knowledge in return-but can we really trust them?

Why Watch it Today?: Nick Adams, one of the two leads of today’s film, was a successful television actor and relentlessly ambitious.  Today in 1964 his then unheard of campaigning for Best Supporting Oscar climaxed when he showed up 90 minutes early to practice walking down the aisle to accept his Oscar.  Adams didn’t win, and began a downward spiral that saw him moving briefly to Japan, where he starred in this film and Frankenstein Conquers the World as the “token Caucasian” and fell in love with co-star Kumi Mizuno even as he was reconciling with his wife.  Adams would die only a few years later of a drug overdose.  Adams awkward screen presence is part of the goofy charm of this product of Toho’s golden age of Kaiju films, a monster mash with aliens, three of Toho’s biggest monsters, and some wonderfully over-the-top campy dialog.

Where to Get It:   Netflix (rental only),  Amazon

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2 comments on “April 13th, 2011: Kaiju Daisenso aka Monster Zero aka Invasion of the Astro-Monster aka Godzilla Versus Monster Zero

  1. Psy says:

    Hell yeah! This one’s remained my favorite middle-60s monster movie since I was twelve and first taped it off TV. It has everything except Mothra and, since it replaced Mothra with aliens in wraparound visors, neck guards and head antennas, I’m actually glad of the old moth’s absence. (Besides, she came back the next flick.)

    It’s a synthesis film, is what it is: a distillation of every lesson learned by everyone involved, most of them ten-year genre veterans. It also feels kinda…poignant, really. After this the Jun Fukuda era came upon us all, with its plagues of stock footage and ever-increasing silliness.

    • professormortis says:

      I loved it as a kid, briefly flirted with preferring the more “serious” 90s iterations, then came back by the early years of college to loving this film.

      I love Mothra as much as the next guy, but occasionally you need a break. Also, this one features the all time greatest Toho Alien Costume.

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