GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER: Greatest Godzilla Movie Ever!
One in the eyes of God is a majority.
- Anonymous religious fanatic
I blogged the other day about a YouTube clip of the "Save the Earth" song from my favorite Godzilla film of all-time, Yoshimitsu Banno's formula-breaking 1971 masterpiece Gojira tai Hedorah (Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster). I love this film because it is unlike any other in the Godzilla canon. It has a European feel that is almost what I would call "artsy." It had hot young Japanese babes gyrating to psychedelic music in discos, hallucinatory scenes of people's faces tranforming into fish heads, Godzilla fire-propelling himself backwards (for the first time ever!). And, more importantly, it featured a little Japanese kid (Hiroyushi Kawase, who previously appeared in Gozilla Vs. Megallon) going "Bang! That's wild!" after his scientist father explained nuclear fission - a video clip that I never tired of using ad infinitum on my old public access show Atomic TV. I love this movie so much that I have at least 5 versions of it, including a Spanish-only dub because I wanted to hear what "Bang! That's wild!" soundly like en Espanol.
Little Hiro says "Bang! That's wild!"
An Inconvenient Truth: Smog Monster Rules
But that clearly disturbs some Godzilla purists. And there is no G-fan purer than John David Cawley, erstwhile rock star with Garage Sale, Berserk, the Nu-Beats, Order Now!, The Lumpies and (much to his shame) The Young Prufrock Alliance (who - besides everyone - can forget their magnum opus "I'm In a Study Group"?).
In fact, my affection for this film irked Big Dave Cawley (Founder, Godzilla Purists Preservation Society) so much that he left this message on my answering machine last night.
"Hey I was reading your blog today and, I'm sorry, but you walk in darkness! Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster is, like, the worst one! What's wrong with you? Get with the program! Almost every other Godzilla film is better than that one. I mean, the only one that possibly comes close is Godzilla's Revenge, but, c'mon. Ugh. Smog Monster is so lame!
And I'll have you know that Toho's head Ishiro Honda told the director of Smog Monster, Yoshimitsu Banno, that he would NEVER direct another Godzilla film for him!
You're the only one I know who likes that one. C'mon man, THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT! You have to stop! You can't champion that film! They're so many other worthy contenders!"
I obviously struck a nerve. There are just certain lines you don't cross with Dave. Like The Clash. Cilantro. Frank Zappa. And Michael Bolton. The untouchables. Like the Israelis when it comes to talking to terrorists, these are non-negotiable subjects.
After posting this blog, I ran across an album cover that probably best explains Dave Cawley's Hedorah loathing. It's Frank Zappa's Sleep Dirt (aka Hot Rats III), and it features a creature looking very much like Hedorah on the cover. An unholy union?