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Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (DVD)

Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster DVD (click for larger image)Starring Akihiko Hirata, Yuriko Hoshi, Emi Ito, Hisaya Ito, Yumi Ito

Directed by Ishiro Honda

Distributed by Classic Media


I remember simpler times. Growing up as a child of the Seventies and Eighties, few things were as delightful as kicking back and watching my favorite old Japanese monster movies. Who needs a thought-provoking story when you have guys running around in rubber suits?!? Up until around a year ago it seemed as if we were stuck watching these flicks on the usual sub-standard bare bones DVD releases. Then along came the fine folks at Classic Media. They love this shit as much as any fan out there, and it shows. Their latest release, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, crashes onto DVD with all the silliness and kaiju vigor we ever could have hoped for.

After an Asian princess is spared an airborne death sentence, she re-emerges as a prophet from the planet Venus, and man, is she laying on the doomsday stuff thick. Her predictions start proving true as cataclysmic events befall Tokyo in the shape of Godzilla, Rodan, and the movie’s namesake, Ghidorah. As if one massively destructive beast weren’t enough, we now have an end of days scenario at hand as each creature bashes cities and themselves. Who could bring an end to such chaos? Two little twin fairies from Infant Island and their web-shooting caterpillar Mothra of course! Faster than you can sing Mosura-yah the worm with a plan convinces Godzilla and Rodan to help her defeat Ghidorah before he destroys the Earth, thus leaving all of the monsters homeless. What follows is all manner of silly looking mayhem with a James Bond type subplot sprinkled in for good measure. What more could you ask for?

Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster DVD (click for larger image)Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster is hit and miss. At times things drag on for way too long, and the battle royale itself is as cheesy as could be. It’s as if the makers of this film just didn’t care how bad the effects looked. Suspension wires can be seen anytime a monster is on screen, ludicrous looking hand puppets battle it out in a few sequences, and worst of all, Godzilla doesn’t even breathe fire in this! He shoots some sort of weird fog machine like smoke that does zero damage to anything that it hits. What the fuck? Still, we’re not looking at this as if it were Star Wars. This is a bad B-movie that revels in its cheese. Once you accept its shortcomings, you’ll learn to love it.

As always Classic Media has included two variations of the film to choose from: the eighty-four-minute English dubbed version and the ninety-three-minute Japanese cut. Honestly, the dubbed version plays a lot better than its Far East counterpart as it eliminates a good deal of slow-moving exposition. Plus the English version also features a fairly entertaining commentary by film enthusiast and author David Kalat. There’s no question this dude knows his Godzilla! No matter how you slice it, this is worth a listen if only for the history lesson!

Also included within the supplemental material is a seven-minute featurette detailing the life and career of Japanese F/X pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya, the original Japanese trailer, and an image gallery and slide show of movie posters. Pretty nifty!

There’s a reason these films have endured so long and are as beloved as they are today — they’re fun. I cannot stress enough how cool it is to have them come to DVD in such top form! Collectors waiting to own the entire Godzilla library have reason to be excited. While not the best of the bunch, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster is a big dumb blast of unintentional hilarity! Dig it!

Special Features
Two cuts of the film
Audio commentary by David Kalat
Eiji Tsuburaya biography featurette
Original Japanese trailer
Poster slide show
Image gallery

Film:

3 out of 5

Special Features:

3 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.