A legend is born! As we count down to Gareth Edwards' big American remake of Godzilla, we turn our attention to the monster's origins in his surprisingly emotional, sad, and haunting Japanese debut.
While the invention of the atomic bomb ignited the American imagination and unleashed monsters across its 1950s pop-culture landscape, in Japan the very real horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- less than a decade old -- still lingered over the nation. At the same time that giant atomic creatures began to dominate the silver screen in North American double features, such sci-fi horror fantasy was rare if not unheard of in cinemas in Japan. And can you blame them? The international post-war arms race was heating up, and everyone was packing nukes, but Japan -- the victim of nuclear devastation -- was only slowly recovering as a nation and shrugging off the censorship and propaganda that marked the 1940s Japanese film industry. But it wouldn't be long before American pop-culture's fascination with giant monsters began to creep into post-war Japan.
|While tonally antithetical to Gojira, The Beast from 20, 000 Fathoms was a monstrous influence on Toho's now iconic King of the Monsters.|
|Gojira's dark cinematography and ominous shadows not only helped hide flaws in the effects but also struck at the tragic heart of the film's anti-nuclear allegory and horror elements.|
It's also one of the greatest monster movies of all time.