December 7, 2008

G.H.I.D.R.A.H. W.U.R.F. IV: "Drop Your Cynical Brainwaves into the Dimensional Gap"


It's time again for the monthly G.H.I.D.R.A.H. Wholesale Urban Renewal Festival!

So a bit of background for the confused: G.H.I.D.R.A.H. (Georgia's High-Interest Daikaiju Radical Appreciation Homies) is a group of four giant monster fans from Georgia (including myself and fellow Let's Watch Movies! contributor DanteCWB) who like to get together and geek out about our favorite past-time: watching giant monsters smash shit. To further support this we created the Wholesale Urban Renewal Festivals, W.U.R.F.s for short.* Basically they are movie nights where we get together and watch a bunch of giant monsters. Smashing shit. Oh yes.

* Because our second favorite past-time seems to be creating silly acronyms.

Anyway, this weekend (Saturday, the 13th of December) we will be holding our fourth monster movie night! Let's take a look at what we'll be watching this month, shall we?

Godzilla
Gojira (1954)


Opening the night is the Toho classic that started the Godzilla series: the original, Japanese Godzilla. This film is markedly different from the twenty-seven films that would follow in its wake. While they exhibit a variety of tones ranging from serious and straightforward to silly to downright bizarre, Godzilla is a somber, tragic story that speaks out against the horrors of war and the dangers of atomic weapons. It is inspired both by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as by the Lucky Dragon No. 5 incident where a fishing boat caught in the fallout of an American Hydrogen bomb test in 1954 resulted in several cases of radiation poisoning and the release of irradiated tuna onto the Japanese fish market, causing a nationwide panic.

If you only ever see one Godzilla film in your life, make it this one. If you have any interest in the genre, Japan's first-hand experience with the atomic age, or Japan in general, see this film. We mean it.

You can read an even more in-depth article about my thoughts and feelings on this film here.

Starring:
Akira Takarada
Momoko Kochi
Akihiko Hirata
Takashi Skimura

Written by:
Ishiro Honda
Shigeru Kayama
Takeo Murata

Music by: Akira Ifukube

Special Effects Directed by: Eiji Tsuburaya

Directed by: Ishiro Honda


Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster
San daikaij├╗: Chiky├╗ saidai no kessen
(1964)


Following Godzilla we're showing the classic 1960s-era film that first introduced Godzilla's famous arch-enemy (and our namesake), the golden-scaled, three-headed King Ghidorah*! While this installment features a Godzilla far removed from the nuclear destroyer of the previous selection and the gloom and doom of the original film is nowhere to be found, the creators have instead ramped up the sheer fun and creativity that make us love these movies so much. Here you will see science fiction, political intrigue, aliens, assassins, shoot-outs, and a beautiful musical number performed by the Peanuts in their last appearance as Mothra's Shobijin (tiny beauties). To top it all off, the climactic final battle features not one, not two, but three giant monsters duking it out against King Ghidorah in defense of the Earth.

* called Ghidrah in the American dub.

It's my personal favorite of the loose "trilogy" formed by Mothra Vs. Godzilla, this movie, and Monster Zero so you know I recommend it and it comes with hearty approval from the rest of the G.H.I.D.R.A.H. members as well.

Starring:
Yosuke Natsuki
Yuriko Hoshi
Hiroshi Koizumi
Akiko Wakabayashi
The Peanuts (Emi & Yumi Ito)
Akihiko Hirata
Hisaya Ito


Written by: Shinichi Sekizawa

Music by: Akira Ifukube

Special Effects Directed by: Eiji Tsuburaya

Directed by: Ishiro Honda

The War in Space
Wakusei Daisensou (1977)


War in Space is a bit of a wild card here in our lineup as none of us have ever actually seen this one. It was made in 1977 to capitalize on the impending Japanese release of Star Wars. Since George Lucas' space opera wasn't slated to open in Japan until the following year but was already extremely well-known through magazines and word-of-mouth, Toho thought to rush their own version into production. I want to say that the main production for this film lasted for all of two months but I could be wrong. In any case, it made a killing at the box-office.

Reviews for this one are generally unflattering but then so are the reviews for G.H.I.D.R.A.H.'s personal favorite Godzilla movie, Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972), so we're not really sure what to expect on this one. Our best guess is that it will probably be ridiculous fun, if nothing else.

Starring:
Kensaku Morita
Yuko Asano
Ryo Ikebe
Masaya Oki
Hiroshi Miyauchi
Goro Mutsumi

Written by:
Shuichi Nagahara
Ryuzo Nakanishi

Music by: Toshiaki Tsushima

Special Effects Directed by: Teruyoshi Nakano

Directed by: Jun Fukuda

* * *

G.H.I.D.R.A.H. W.U.R.F. IV: "Drop Your Cynical Brainwaves into the Dimensional Gap" will be held Saturday, December 13th, with the first film starting at around 7 or 8 PM. We're flexible.

It is a private affair so I'm not going to be announcing the location of it here. However, if you are interested (and we hope you are!), live in Georgia, and can somehow get in contact with the parties involved, please feel free to drop one of us a line by instant message, private message, e-mail, comment, Facebook, MySpace, phone call, etc. because we'd love to have more people join us. Keep in mind though that space is limited - even with the makeshift balcony seating we've implemented.

Well I think that about covers everything that needs to be said. Here's to a successful W.U.R.F.!

- DaiKamonohashi

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