Kaiju, The Last Film Genre

Inspiration at Work

I’m a big fan of movies. I’ll give just about any genre a try. It’s one of my biggest sources of inspiration. Typically my favorite films come from Science Fiction (Moon), Westerns (The Proposition), and Documentaries (Beautiful Losers). This isn’t counting such vague and voluminous categories like drama and comedy.

But aside from documentaries there are seldom many worthwhile entries over the course of a year. Which leaves me to explore many other kinds of films. I’ve dedicated whole months to Kung Fu, Exploitation, and Cult films. But there is one genre I have practically no experience with.

Kaiju

Most commonly this refers to Giant Monster films popular in Japan, and sometimes others countries. The most popular films belong to King Kong, Godzilla, and newer entries like Cloverfield and Gareth Edwards’ Monsters. Now, I’ve seen the US versions mentioned above, but when it comes to Kaiju, naturally Japan is the best place to start.

The obvious standout here being Godzilla, who has 28 films, and another US remake on the way. Surprise surprise. But there are dozens of others. To name a few Gamera, has 13 films (many of which mocked by Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and rightly so), Mothra, has 17 film appearances (many of which in Godzilla films), and King Kong, who has 7 films. There are many more, and the characters often cross over into each films, most famously, Godzilla vs. King Kong.

The genre varies wildly in tone and quality. In Godzilla alone, it goes from dark social commentary of the original (in 1954 Godzilla was used as commentary on the fear created from the Atomic Bomb. If you watch this make sure it’s the Japanese original. Not the US version. Trust me) to changing the character into a campy, kid-friendly, dancing dinosaur. Ready-made exploitation of parents hard earned dollars. Sound anything like a certain purple dinosaur?

With such a sizable group of films I’m excited to sift through the drivel and share the pearls. Check back for my findings, IF YOU DARE!!!

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