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Cinematic Catastrophe: Terror of Mechagodzilla

This was the final film of the Showa (1954-1974) series of Godzilla films. By the 1970s Toho was focusing their films on the children’s market, which was the only market making consistent money. With the rise of TV viewership and the loss of 2,000+ theaters over the previous decade, Toho had decided with Terror of Mechagodzilla to make the film darker to hopefully revitalize the market. Sadly, Terror of Mechagodzilla ended up being the last film for 10 years, when Godzilla made his triumphant return in Return of Godzilla (1984) (known here as Godzilla 1985 (1985)).

That is one of the worst wigs ever.

At the end of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Godzilla ripped off Mechagodzilla’s head and chucked it into the ocean to end the monster’s reign of terror. At the beginning of Terror of Mechagodzilla we discover that the evil alien scientists have recovered the head. Also, a team of researchers are attacked by a mysterious whirlpool (created by the new villain Titanosaurus). More Scientists talk about things, lots of random events happen. There is a sub-plot about Interpol trying to stop a mad scientist. There is a love story between a hot robot (played by Tomoko Ai, future Pink film star) and one of the scientists. There is an evil scientist wearing an awful wig and mustache.

Besides all of the campyness, there is a current of seriousness throughout the film. An almost Frankenstein-like sub-plot about playing God. A subtext about using animals to further our gains and also that love conquers all. The film is filled with gritty violence and dark imagery and is solidly PG-13 material.

From a technical standpoint this film is great. There are two fantastic dolly shots used during the monster fights, a camera movement rarely used in the Showa series. The film was shot entirely in one month, a monstrous feat in its own right. All the miniature and monster work and the principle photography were shot in a little under 30 days, which would be unheard of today.

Sadly, even with the impressive model work, there are a few sloppy composite shots that make the monsters seem to be buried up to their thighs in the earth.

I would still recommend this film to anybody. However, the children should only see the English version, which omits the pair of fake breasts seen in one shot. The English version features the long lost narrated intro and besides the breasts is pretty much the same film.

Effects: 9 out of 10
Sound: 8 out of 10
Directing: 8 out of 10
Writing: 8 out of 10
Acting: 7 out of 10
Story: 8 out of 10
Supplements: 7 out of 10
Packaging: 7 out of 10
Final Average: 7.7 out of 10

About Skinslip

Skinslip is the pseudonym of Brandon Henriksen. He is a media maven, cult film historian, a horror hound, the Curator of Crap, and a kaiju expert. He co-hosts Movie [email protected] [email protected], Breaking the 4th Wall, and Saturday Night Insanity. He is a former professional gamer.

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