In the vein of vintage NYC weekly monster movie TV programs such as Creature Features or the shlock shows of the American drive-in theater, Disreputable Cinema presents a creature double feature starring the King of the Monsters, Godzilla!
Gojira. Dir. Ishiro Honda. 1954, 98 mins. Restored DCP. Japanese with English Subtitles. With Takashi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata. The horrors of nuclear destruction were rendered B-movie poetry in this landmark Japanese mega-hit that launched the legendary Godzilla series and gave birth to the fantastical kaiju eiga (monster movie) and tokusatsu (special effects) genres of film. Awakened by the blasts of H-bomb tests, the prehistoric, flame-spewing Godzilla rises from the ocean floor for an epic rampage through the streets of Tokyo. While the Americanization of this picture (starring Raymond Burr) was a favorite amongst monster kids for decades, it was always a low budget afterthought in the minds of many film critics. However, opinions quickly changed when the original, uncut Gojira finally arrived in the U.S. in 2004 for Godzilla’s 50th anniversary. Since then, 1954’s Gojira has rightfully been considered a masterpiece and remains unmatched in its urgency, poignancy, and the boldness with which it recreates images of mass destruction and chaos that echo Japan’s devastation in World War II.
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. Dir. Ishiro Honda. 1965, 94 mins. 35mm. With Nick Adams, Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo. When an alien race from Planet X request help in ridding them of the fear of King Ghidorah (codename: Monster Zero), the Earth gladly exchanges Godzilla and Rodan for a miracle cure for all disease. However, when the aliens return to Earth with all three kaiju under their control, they reveal their true intentions of global conquest! What will humanity do? Originally released in Japan under the title Kaiju Daisenso (the Great Monster War), Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is considered by to be the pinnacle of the Godzilla franchise. In the history of the series, this film is landmark as the full transformation of the King of the Monsters from atomic abomination to saurian superhero. While some critics have bemoaned this character development, and the film’s lighter, cheesier tone, G-fans champion it for the likeable cast, inventive story, and colorful kaiju antics that all make for one of the grandest spectacles in science fiction history.
About DISREPUTABLE CINEMA:
Some of the most distinctive and beloved works of cinema exist well apart from the mainstream. Often called cult or underground, these films comprise a subculture of hidden gems and alternative classics that often challenge the norms of art and entertainment. The new monthly series Disreputable Cinema will celebrate unusual films that both exemplify and challenge various notions of genre, from grindhouse manifestos to foreign fringe frenzies to bold new re-imaginings and mashups. Resistance to mainstream acceptance or approval remains part of the appeal for these works of disreputable cinema, yet the series aims to welcome both fans and discoverers, the diehards and the curious.
Organized by guest curators Jesse Berberich and Justin Rodriguez.