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The Saturday Day Thread is HEDORAH’S! (May 1, 2021)

The birds and the fish, where have they gone?

Mercury, cobalt, cadmium, lead, sulphuric acid, oxidants

Polluted seas and skies

All life is gone

The fields and mountains are silent

There’s no one left on Earth

No one to even shed a tear

Give it all back! Give back the blue sea! Give it all back!

“An ever evolving alien life-form from the Dark Gaseous Nebula arrives to consume rampant pollution. Spewing mists of sulfuric acid and corrosive sludge, neither humanity or Godzilla may be able to defeat this toxic menace.”

Today’s thread is dedicated to Hedorah! The smog monster was introduced in the 1971 film Godzilla vs Hedorah, written and directed by Yoshimitsu Banno. It was his directorial debut, and he was given little over a month to complete it on a vastly reduced budget in comparison to previous films in the series.

Just as Godzilla himself was a creation of humanity’s warlike meddling with the atom, the alien tadpole Hedorah grows larger and stronger because of our destruction of nature through pollution. Named after hedoro (へどろ), the Japanese word for “sludge, slime, and chemical ooze”, Hedorah was intended to be a physical embodiment of “Yokkaichi asthma”, which was caused by urban pollution. A formidable enemy, Hedorah is immune to Godzilla’s usual violent attacks, whilst itself can rain down acid and shoot laser beams from it’s eyes (and costs Godzilla one of his own!).

Hedorah was played by long-time Godzilla actor Kenpachiro Satsuma, who tried to avoid portraying him as an animal and tried to make him seem “spooky and grotesque” instead. The costume weighed over three hundred and thirty pounds and was a struggle for him to wear.

Godzilla vs The Smog Monster received mixed reviews upon release. When the producer of the Godzilla films, Tomoyuki Tanaka, who had been hospitalised during the production of the film finally saw it, he told Banno that he had “ruined the series”! The director was banished from the franchise and a planned sequel set in Africa was never to be made.

I think this is a rather fun instalment of the Godzilla series; if you can get over the understandably cheap special effects there are some fun visual sequences and daffy moments. The subject matter is admirable and Hedorah a memorable monster (inspired, apparently, by Banno’s eurotophobia), and Riichiro Manabe’s soundtrack is psychedelically jazzy!

Have a great weekend Avocado and remember – the one place where there’s no pollution, is in our hearts!