Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero (1965)
aka Invasion of Astro Monster and who knows how many other marketable titles.
With Japan’s biggest export back in movie houses the world over it’s time to look back and recall some childhood memories. Cause when it comes to film that’s what we love to do.
This Toho entry in the Godzilla series played quite often in the seventies/eighties on a television station out of Buffalo. Once or twice a year they would have a Japanese monster week and play this along with a few other favorites at 4 p.m. allowing for us kiddies to get home in time to enjoy the carnage inflicted on f/x wizard Eiji Tsuburaya’s model cities, trains, planes and planet surfaces.
Joining in the festivities is American Nick Adams who I am sure Toho hired to help out with international sales. Adams and Godzilla regular Akira Takarada are astronauts on a mission to the newly discovered planet X.
It is here that they meet an alien race wearing cool leather outfits, caps and designer sun glasses. It seems they have in their possession King Ghidorah who has wreaked havoc on the planet surface. They have a proposal for us Earthlings. They wish to borrow Rodan and the big guy, Godzilla to fight and defeat the 3 headed behemoth allowing them to live on the surface of their once thriving planet.
Don’t believe everything you see and hear from an alien race in a science fiction film. With a hint of The Invaders and beautiful Kumi Mizuno as Nick Adams girlfriend, this has a few plot twists back on planet Earth. Then of course we also get the trio of monsters doing battle while taking down a city or two towards the fadeout where one wonders if they big boys have been killed off or will they return in the next sequel to once again destroy Tokyo Tower.
Ishiro (Inoshiro) Honda directed this entry in the famed series. Honda was behind the camera for the first film in 1954 and countless other Kaiju efforts for the studio including Rodan and Matango. Nick Adams appeared in this and Frankenstein Conquers the World for Toho before passing away at the early age of 36. I’ll have to look for Akira Takarada in the new American version as the makers have cast him in what I assume to be a cameo “tip of the hat”. If you recognize the elder statesman playing the scientist here, his name is Jun Tazaki. He seemed to always be showing up in these monster epics alternately playing a general or a respected man of science. Our leading lady Kumi Mizuno will always be the woman who tried to save the brown gargantua for me in what might be my favorite non-Godzilla Kaiju Toho film, War of the Gargantuas.
I am not sure if I have a series favorite but this is one that I fondly recall looking back. How about you? Any series favorite or other Japanese monster epic from the famed studio? Attack of the Mushroom People? Varan? King Kong Escapes?