Saturday, November 22, 2014

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

1965 ***1/2

Here are two things that have been kicking around in my head.  One:  we should start a Horrorthon Glossary.  Two:  one thing that glossary needs is a term for the non-monster characters in giant monster movies, the human actors that -- despite all my wishes -- make or break any monster movie.  "Rodeo Clowns?"  Because they're like rodeo clowns that somehow took over the rodeo?  I don't know.

I'm getting into this because this movie is particularly dominated by the rodeo clowns but I kind of asked for it -- I specifically screened this because of the bad guys' wardrobe.  They're aliens from Planet X and among their enviable technological achievements is the development of an outfit so perfect they all wear it.

As you can see, there's the added bonus of time-spanking both Geordie LaForge and DEVO.

It takes a lot to have an antenna sticking out of your head and keep your cool; I imagine in real life that would be a constant inconvenience.  Once their brains were wired together they discovered they were all into Asian chicks so they developed the perfect one of those and just made a whole bunch of her.  

Although you get a choice of metallic slabs.

The one thing that sucks about Planet X is that Monster Zero (known as King Gedorah on Earth) flies around zapping everything with lightning breath all the time, and so the whole planet is a bunch of crummy mountains.  That and they're a race of computer-controlled robot beings or something.

The guy on the right apparently just heard about this.

Rounding out the rodeo clowns is a perfectly charming bunch of Japanese people plus actor Nick Adams.  I may have to do a Nick Adams film festival some day, as he is the perfect Obnoxious American, punching his way through alien deception with his mitts and New York accent.  (I may have already done that film festival, as he's in Die, Monster, Die! and Frankenstein Conquers the World and maybe nothing else Horrorthon worthy.  Guy's a real actor, was in Rebel Without a Cause and stuff).

"Just try to computer control my BULLETS, you... Planet X guys!"

The Planet X guys ask Earth if they can borrow a couple of monsters in exchange for the cure for all diseases, which you have to admit sounds like a win-win scenario.  Then they come with their 1950's light fixture flying saucers and take the sleeping Godzilla and Rodan away in space bubbles, which they totally could have done -- and do -- without any human cooperation.

"For God's sake, Ron, do NOT play your damn Rush tape right now."

Nick Adams and a couple of buddies go to Planet X to make the trade.  Godzilla and Rodan gang up on Monster Zero and he flies away.  When the humans leave with their prize, they note that the monsters look kind of pissed, and who can blame them?

"Yo where the hell are all the tiny cars and buildings???  This planet looks like piles of poop!  This sucks!"

Next there's an adorable scene in which a room full of people sit down to listen to the massive reel-to-reel tape the aliens gave them that has the cure for all diseases on it.  And it's a fake!  The tape instead says all Earth people have 24 hour to surrender or they'll get stomped by all three monsters.  Goddamn aliens!

Fortunately Nick Adams does a James Bond and turns one of the alien women by showing her true love.  She's zapped for her trouble but not before she slips a note in his pocket that tells him Planet X guys are really vulnerable to a certain horrible noise.  As a matter of fact, the aliens have imprisoned a human inventor who they captured because he invented a device that makes that exact noise.

So Nick Adams and the inventor are in alien jail and the inventor finds the note in Nick Adams' pocket and then looks in his own pocket in which he's been carrying around his prototype noisemaker.  He presses the button and all the aliens writhe around dying and so they escape.  Then a plan is hatched to play the annoying sound on every radio everywhere and the aliens lose control of the monsters and their ships explode.

So the message of the movie is:  If you're taking over a planet and you've captured the two guys who are any threat to you... check their pockets.  Der.

Check their what now?

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is also known as Invasion of the Astro Monster and sometimes just Monster Zero.  It's light on kaiju action but this gang of rodeo clowns did a decent job holding my interest.  The real star of this movie is the mid-60's design, from the blinky alien control rooms to the aformentioned fan-freaking-tastic outfits.  Good fun.


JPX said...

It's not my kind of movie but, damn, Octo, nice, crisp screen-grabs! As silly as the movie sounds it has a terrific look to it. I love the outfits and the colors. Funny as always.

What do you mean by "Glossery"? Do you mean something that would enable us to look up all monster movies, for example? I don't think I every appreciated how many of these films were made. You seem to have an endless pile of them to slog through.

Octopunk said...

Godzilla alone has been in 28 movies! Someday I will have watched them all. That may be sooner rather than later, as this Horrorthon I inadvertently turned Zack into a total Godzilla groupie.

For the glossary I was more thinking of terms we Horrorthonners use amongst ourselves, like "biddy." It's possible that "biddy" is the only such term that's really in general use, but I often tout the Obnoxious American and as of this review, Rodeo Clowns (maybe). That may be as good a place as any to log all the subgenres.

AC said...

Another great review! Wish I enjoyed these films more, but they do not tend to hold my interest at all. :(

Catfreeek said...

This was my absolute favorite Godzilla flick when I was a kid back in the channel 56 creature feature days. Great review and PITA (pipe in the ass) would be another glossary term.