GODZILLA vs. GIGAN (1972)
aka. Godzilla on Monster Island
Manga artist Gengo Kotaka (Hiroshi Ishikawa) is hired as a conceptual artist for a peace-themed children's amusement park. However, he soon comes to discover that his employers are actually alien cockroaches from Space Hunter Nebula-M who want to colonize Earth using the space monsters King Ghidorah and Gigan, whom they control by way of signals created from special audio tapes. Back on Monster Island, Godzilla and his sidekick Anguirus catch wind that something's wrong, and swim to Japan to investigate. As Gengo and his friends attempt to stop the aliens, Godzilla and Anguirus wage a bloody battle with Ghidorah and Gigan at the site of the amusement park where the aliens intend to use a devastating ray gun hidden inside a Godzilla-shaped tower to wipe out the opposing monsters.
|The monsters in a rare shot not pulled from stock footage|
|If any still best represented the tired, worn-out state of the Godzilla franchise, it's this one.|
Godzilla vs. Gigan, I'd argue, is an even worse film than the much maligned All Monsters Attack (1969). Unfortunately, it also marks the last time that suit actor Haruo Nakajima would play Godzilla, a role he had brought to life ever since Gojira's debut in 1954. Godzilla vs. Gigan's a flat note on which to end an iconic 18-year career, that's for sure. However, even if his last outing as Godzilla was in a lackluster movie, Nakajima continued to imbue that uncomfortable rubber costume with internationally-beloved personality.
|The Man Inside the Monster|
Usually, Godzilla movies tend to alternative between bad one year and then better the next, but the early 1970s were not kind to Godzilla. It was a continuous downward slide past mediocrity into sheer mind-numbing garbage. I wish I could say tomorrow's next installment of 30 Days of Godzilla is going to be an improvement over Godzilla vs. Gigan, but instead we're going to have to take a long hard look at the much derided GODZILLA vs. MEGALON.