(Note: Picture below is an artist’s rendition of the Milpitas Monster from the film’s DVD cover. Sadly the Milpitas Monster doesn’t look even half as cool as the creature pictured here.)
THE MILPITAS MONSTER
Height: Approximately 50 – 60 feet
Weapons/Ablities: Has the power of flight; slumbers in polluted water by day before venturing out at night to feast on garbage!
First and Last Appearance: The Milpitas Monster (a.k.a. The Mutant Beast)
Origin: Due to excessive pollution in the local Milpitas, California landfill, the "Milpitas Monster" was born. This bipedal insectoid sleeps within the polluted waters near the landfill until dusk. After the sun sets, the Milpitas Monster ransacks the nearby town in order to devour the citizens’ bountiful number of trash cans and dumpsters. (On a side note, I’d like to point out that the Milpitas Monster was apparently dubbed over by Toho’s very own Rodan!)
In the 1970’s, the birth of the "ecological thriller/horror film" came about in response to the growing pollution across the world. In some of these films, mother nature would fight back by using hordes of vicious animals, from huge Great White sharks to legions of birds, and even in one case, an army of frogs. On the other side of the spectrum was the birth of giant monsters due to excessive pollution. While Japan (and several other Asian countries) have cornered the giant monster movie market, we shouldn’t forget the other giant monsters in this world that have been overshadowed by Godzilla and friends. Case in point, the Milpitas Monster, one of America’s unsung giant movie monsters. This unheard of beast threatened the small California town of Milpitas and caused a minor amount of havoc before its untimely demise. Apparently the local landfill became excessively overfilled with all manner of contaminants and chemicals. The vile stew somehow managed to mutate a simple fly (or similar insect) into a massive building-smashing, garbage-eating menace. However, despite its large size and tri-phibian abilities, the Milpitas Monster was easily dispatched after an ill-fated visit to the town’s TV transformer tower. Yes, in an ironic twist of fate, the giant insect monster was killed by an equally large "bug zapper!" (For those of you interested: Currently, "The Milpitas Monster" can be found on a bargain priced DVD under the new title of "The Mutant Beast." The audio/video quality is very poor, but for five or six bucks, you can’t really complain.)
THE CHIMAYO CREATURE (A.K.A. MONSTROID)
Weapons/Ablities: This creature is amphibious: Although it spends the majority of its life in water, it can and does travel onto dry land in search for food.
First and Last Appearance: It Came From the Lake (a.k.a. Monstroid, a.k.a. Toxic Monster, a.k.a. Monster, a.k.a. Monster: The Legend that Became a Terror.)
Origin: Once again pollution is the culprit in creating another giant monster. This time, the monster in question hails from Chimayo, Colombia. Due to excessive pollution at a nearby lake, the "Monstroid" was spawned. After snacking on several of the locals, the beast was finally stopped by several not-so-local heroes. Using a dead sheep stuffed with dynamite as bait, the brave men (and woman) involved in the operation managed to blow up the nefarious creature.
The Chimayo Creature is yet another (low-budget) pollution-spawned monster from the 1970’s. Its actual origins are still a mystery, but blame has fallen onto the shoulders of a foreign cement factory that was dumping pollutants into the nearby lake. After several deaths and disappearances, men from the cement factory and some local law enforcers teamed up to find a solution. What they discovered was a large reptilian creature that has been hiding in the lake for some time. With the superstitious locals looking on, the heroic group of people managed to bring the aquatic terror to the surface and feed it some explosive bait. It proved to be a messy end for the Chimayo Creature, but little did everyone know, that the creature was asexual. As the people of Chimayo celebrated the defeat of the monster, they failed to discover its massive nest full of hatching eggs! Will the Chimayo Creature’s brood rear their collective ugly heads in the future?! Only time will tell. (For those that are interested… God help you: "Monster" is out of print but can probably be found somewhere on eBay.)
HEDORAH (A.K.A. THE SMOG MONSTER)
Height: .1 millimeter to 60 meters (197 feet)
Mass: .001 metric ton to 48,000 metric tons (52,800 feet)
Weapons/Ablities: In its final stage of development, Hedorah can morph into a flying discus of sludge; Hedorah can also attack with a red laser beam from its eyes, acidic projectile sludge and a sulfuric acid mist that emanates from anywhere on its body.
Hedorah’s Complete Filmography: Godzilla vs. Hedorah (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster and Godzilla: Final Wars (Cameo Appearance.)
Origin: Japanese scientists believe that Hedorah hails from a distant galaxy, perhaps from a star made of some sort of sludge. What is known is that the massive amount of pollution in the waters surrounding Japan helped the alien creature grow from a tadpole into a bipedal beast of terror! With the combined might of Godzilla and humanity’s technology, Hedorah became nothing more than a dried husk!
Probably the most famous of the three pollution-spawned monsters, Hedorah is by far the most creatively concocted of the bunch. This walking pile of sludge first appeared in 1971’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah. In the film, Hedorah starts out as a giant tadpole-like creature that causes some trouble in the Japanese shipping lanes. Eventually the pollution in the water allows it to grow and evolve into a sort of frog-like creature that takes "bong-hits" from factory smokestacks. (Must be seen to be believed.) After that it finally matures into an ugly bipedal pile of slime and sludge and continues to grow. The only thing that can stop Hedorah now is the sheer power and might of Godzilla, the one and only (as far as I’m concerned) King of the Monsters. Though this film is regarded as one of the worst in the Godzilla series (though I have a soft spot for it), Hedorah has become extremely popular in recent years.
Unlike the two monsters above, Hedorah actually showcases a personality, albeit an evil and downright sadistic one, especially during its brawls with the Big-G. There’s even a few moments where Hedorah even laughs at Godzilla’s misfortunes during their main battle! (And on top of that, Hedorah mercilessly wipes out hundreds of human beings with its sulfuric acid mist and acidic sludge attacks! Its as if the creature enjoys decimating innocent lives! Egads!) Eventually a solution is found: Hedorah is merely a walking dung-heap that can easily be dried out with the use of a powerful electric current. With the creature’s weakness discovered, the Japanese military sets up a blatantly obvious trap using two gigantic panels that sit on opposite sides of a vast field. Once Hedorah walks through, they will turn on the juice and the electric current bouncing back and forth between the panels should turn the giant monster to dust. Naturally all does not go as planned so its up to Godzilla to save the day! In the end, Godzilla takes flight using his atomic breath ray (Again, must be seen to be believed!) and chases down a weakened Hedorah. Once the "Smog Monster" is taken down, Godzilla literally guts it and turns the once mighty being of sludge into adobe bricks!
Since its appearance in 1971, Hedorah has found its way into a few Godzilla video games namely the "Godzilla" puzzle-game for Nintendo Gameboy, in which Hedorah is invincible and doggedly chases you around the mazes. Hedorah also appears every now and then in the original "Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee" when you pick up a certain "power-up item." Hedorah has also made cameos in Marc Cerasini’s novel "Godzilla At World’s End" and more recently, Ryuhei Kitamura’s hate-it or love-it film, "Godzilla: Final Wars." In Cerasini’s book, Hedorah was created by an alien entity as a weapon against mankind and once again ends up getting torched by the Big-G! In "Godzilla: Final Wars," Hedorah makes a very brief appearance, mere seconds before being incinerated by Godzilla. (It seems like there’s a pattern developing here… hmmm….) Currently Hedorah is set to make a comeback in a new child-oriented 3-D Godzilla film directed by "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" director, Yoshimitsu Banno. This may come as a shock to any and all G-Fans reading this for two reasons: First off, it was believed that "Godzilla: Final Wars" was to be the last Godzilla film for quite a while. Secondly, because Banno is being allowed to direct it.
Rumors were rampant about Banno being banned from making a Godzilla film (or any film) ever again, because the producers hated his film and thought that "he ruined Godzilla." In a recent article in G-Fan (issue #73 I believe), Banno was interviewed and questioned about this rumor (which even I believed was the God’s honest truth) and balked at it. He agreed that yes, they didn’t particularly like "Godzilla vs. Hedorah," but he wasn’t banned from making films, especially Godzilla films. However, while this rumor was put to rest the information about his upcoming planned "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" 3-D film is troubling. Apparently the film will be aimed at children and will feature a female Godzilla(?!) who will battle "Deathla" (a new version of Hedorah) to save the Earth and its ecosystem, or some such mess. Even though I fear the worst, I’m still a devoted Godzilla fan and I’ll just have to take the bad with the good I suppose. In any case, we have yet to see anything further about this project so maybe there is nothing to worry about. (Cross your fingers!)
Well that’s another edition of Kaiju One-Hit Wonders in the bag! Which giant creatures will be the highlight of next month’s kaiju-related article? You’ll just have to come to Rogue Cinema and find out, because at this point I’m not even sure. There’s still so many giant monsters out there to write about that it makes my head spin! And in case you have any comments about this article or any suggestions as to what you’d like me to write about in the future, then please contact me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear what you have to say and wouldn’t mind catering to my "adoring public" in the least! See you next month kaiju fans!
Pictures courtesy of Toho Kingdom and Badmovies.Org.