Godzilla Goodness: GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER (1966)
By Witney Seibold on May 6, 2014
Day 8, and we’re up to that one with the giant lobster. #8: Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.
Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster is, even when compared to other Godzilla movies, pretty cheesy. This was the first Godzilla film that was not directed by series veteran Ishiro Honda (Jun Fukuda directed), and the shift in tone is noticeable. This film is oddly more laidback than the previous movies, and the monster mayhem is more subdued. You may have seen this one already, as it was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Another Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. Megalon, would also be featured on the show. They’re not the worst of the Godzilla films, but they are comparatively pretty bad.
So Mothra is back, although this time she’s a proper moth; in the previous films, she was a little brown larva. There is also the usual pair of pop duo twins in place to sing Mothra back to life. The Mothra song numbers in the Godzilla movies, by the way, look and feel a lot like karaoke videos. The twins are played by Pair Bambi. Almost all of the Mothra twins throughout Godzilla history will be pop duets, complete with their own records. I need to track down some of these records.
The bulk of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster takes place on a remote island, and a group of JDs, along with a bank thief (Akira Takarada again), discover a nuclear conspiracy and an evil giant lobster monster named Ebirah. This is the first Godzilla film since the original that bothers to draw nuclear analogies. An evil government organization called Red Bamboo has been enslaving the islanders, and forcing them to produce a buttery yellow liquid (only ever called “The Yellow Liquid”) which they use to repel Ebirah. I don’t recall if the liquid has any other function than to repel Ebirah.
Our JD heroes also discover that Godzilla is hibernating on this island, and they set up a lightning rob to awaken him so that he may fight Ebirah and stomp on the Red Bamboo’s nuclear buildings. Why does Godzilla fight Ebirah? Because of the eternal truth: Monsters gonna fight. The fights, by the way, are completely ridiculous. After the mayhem of the previous movies – wherein Godzilla would throw boulders, stomp of King Ghidorah’s neck, and breath his nuclear fire all over monsters’ faces – the fight with Ebirah looks more like a game of volleyball. Godzilla throws a rock, Ebirah bats it back. Godzilla bats it. Ebirah bats it. This goes on for a few seconds longer than it needs to.
Eventually, Godzilla rips Ebirah apart. With the yellow liquid in the water around Ebirah, it really looks like Godzilla is dunking pieces of lobster into drawn butter. Mothra will fly our heroes to safety, and the Red Bamboo will not be allowed to continue their tests. The slaves are freed. One of the natives was a hot young lady. Another was one of the main characters’ brother.
Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster is… not so great. It feels small and trifling and, well, a bit dumb. The one impressive thing: The monster suits are only improving. They are looking less flimsy all the time, and watching actors in the rubber monster suits fighting in waist-deep water is great to look at; Credit to actor Haruo Nakajima, who played Godzilla in most of these films, and probably had one of the more physically harrowing acting jobs in the industry’s history.
The next film will be a tough one, as it involves a monster named Minilla, which is a character many consider to be the Scrappy-Doo of the Godzilla universe.
Up next: Son of Godzilla (1967)