Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Starring Yosuke Natsuki, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Emi & Yumi Ito
Directed by Inoshiro Honda
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After escaping an explosion aboard her plane, a royal princess claims to be an alien from the planet Mars, and predicts attacks by Godzilla, Rodan, and a terrifying new monster.

This was the first Toho monster rally to the best of my knowledge, which brings Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra together to battle an impressive new menace in Ghidrah, a three-headed flying dragon that spews destructive energy bolts from its mouths.  But before we're presented with the climactic battle, we're introduced to Wakabayashi as the princess who jumps out of her plane before it explodes after a warning from a mysterious voice, and then resurfaces claiming to be a Martian who can predict the future.  That's creative plotting to say the least!  Although there's assassins after the princess, and plenty of death and destruction, the film has a very light-hearted tone, reflected in Godzilla's unorthodox attempts to battle Ghidrah and Rodan by throwing and kicking rocks at them.  Eiji Tsuburaya's special effects are among the best I've seen in a Toho film, with the fast-striking and devastating Ghidrah the definite showpiece of the production.

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