Rebirth of Mothra II – 1997, Kunio Miyoshi – Japan


When Toho kicked off it’s brand new Mothra franchise, they really started off on the right foot. Rebirth of Mothra was an excellent kaiju adventure which was geared for kids, but remained entertaining for adults, and which managed to carry an effective message of environmental consciousness without coming across as too preachy or obnoxious. That’s a hard balance to strike, and they pulled it off; Rebirth of Mothra was a surprisingly solid effort which I really enjoyed. For Rebirth of Mothra II, we get the embarrassing dud we expected out of its prequel; and it sucks super, super hard. This thing fumbles at every turn, so strap yourself in for a rocket ride to dudsville, everybody.

THE PLOT~ Three school children Goonies their way into a grand adventure involving a lost, sunken temple, ancient cursed treasure, a big pollution monster, and magical furby pee. Then Mothra shows up and kills a boring sea dragon. Roll credits.

That’s about it. It feels slapped together, and the Mothra sequences feel tacked on. It’s so haphazard that it really could have been a non-Mothra script about a bunch of kids on some crazy adventure that just wasn’t panning out, so they slopped on a well known Kaiju and called it a sequel. The adventure angle makes this movie feel like a weird, sucky Atragon, but without the submarine, or really anything that made me love Atragon. It even references the Lost Continent of Mu, so clearly, the writers did have Atragon on their mind when they cobbled together this clown-party, but it’s not enough, and what we get is just a sham of a movie.

This time around, Mothra’s up against Dagahra, which is sort of a dragon/stingray combo type thing, but that sounds cooler than it is. He just doesn’t feel that special, or that well concepted. Apparently, his thing is that he eats up pollution (oh, that’s good, right?) and then poops out evil, murderous starfish creatures (there’s the catch, we don’t want those Starfish creatures around), so he totally needs to be stopped, obviously, but the movie does an extraordinarily poor job of establishing that the environment is even that polluted to begin with. This really needed to be conveyed SOMEHOW, and it just wasn’t. Not well. I don’t think it’s out of line to call this the single least effective environmental fable in the extended Zilla-Verse. Boo, Rebirth of Mothra II! Boo!

And then there is Mothra himself- that’s right HIMself. The Mothra in this film, I have learned, is Mothra Leo, the son of the Mothra we all know and love; making this the first mothra in Toho history which is expressly noted as being male. Honestly, this gender switch up sucks, Mothra being female was always a huge part of her charm, and this just feels like an unnecessary change that makes the character that much less unique. All these monsters are dudes, let’s leave at least ONE lady in the fray.

The worst part of the movie comes at the end, in the final showdown between Mothra and Dagahra. Mothra, like, morphs into what I call an X-Wing Mothra, and then splits off into countless tiny X-Wing Mothras, so he/they can fly into Dagahra’s mouth and zoom around until they reach the reactor core and target it with their photon torpedos. That may have been Return of the Jedi, actually, but the same exact thing happens in Rebirth of Mothra II, so what the fuck ever. Then, the squadron of X-Wing Mothras exit the exploding Death Star/Dragon/whatever, and rejoins to form normal X-Wing Mothra Leo, and then morphs back to non X-Wing Mothra, meaning that Mothra’s X Foils are not permanently locked in attack formation, he can apparently revert back and forth whenever the movie needs to get stupider. It’s fucking lame. Fun fact; people have liked Mothra since the 50’s, and we don’t need to have her transformed into a dude which is shaped like a spaceship. You ruined everything, Toho.

Our three kids, meanwhile, are tasked with surviving the bumbling antics of two adult thieves, who have become Belvera’s newest henchmen, but their actual purpose is to illustrate to us the evils of human greed, and consequences thereof. None of that matters, because this message is lost due to how horribly disinteresting and poorly done the film is. You’ll be happy it’s over, and you’ll take nothing with you, Rebirth Of Mothra II is boring, ineffective, and overly childish to the point of being obnoxious, and frankly, it damages Mothra’s proud legacy.


GZ backGZ next

Godzilla Vs. Megalon!

Godzilla VS Megalon ~ 1974, Jun Fukuda – Japan

godzilla-vs-megalon-japanese-posterEven the poster is lame.

The trajectory of the Godzilla franchise has never been a straight line. Sometimes these movies are real home runs… Other times Jet Jaguar shows up. Now, I don’t want to blame everything on Jet Jaguar, but 100% of the movies he shows up in suck. Anyway, moving on; one year after Godzilla VS. Gigan, we have Godzilla VS Megalon, another kinda sorta almost recycled Godzilla film, which is still much better than the full on totally definitely recycled Godzilla films we often see. This time, the aliens who use a monster to destroy us aren’t aliens, they’re humans, from the Earth’s core… So, kinda sorta new, but not really. This movie is pretty mediocre, and that’s probably being generous…

 Godzilla-Vs-Megalon-PosterTHAT’S a poster.

THE PLOT~ The people of Earth have begun conducting all their nuclear bomb tests underground. They think this is totally no big deal, but unbeknownst to them, all these subterranean H-Bombs are really pissing off the people of Seatopia, a lost, Atlantis style civilization, which exists beneath the Earth’s crust. (Also, Seatopia looks like a “Ancient civilization” themed Las Vegas casino, and their leader is an aging swinger in a toga.) Seatopia has had enough of this surface people bullshit, so they launch their defender, Megalon, which is basically a giant humanoid cockroach with drill hands that can spit fire bombs. “That outta take care of it,” they think.

Meanwhile, up on the surface, we have our three human characters, Goro (Apparently before growing a pony tail and two extra arms) his constantly present, loyal, male companion Hiroshi (are these dudes a couple?) and their young child Rokuro, who they probably adopted together. When we meet these three, Goro and Hiroshi have brought Rokuro to a nearby lake for a nice afternoon of recreation, and Rokuro is out on the lake piloting what can only be called some sort of Aquatic Goof-Mobile.


Just then, a fissure opens in the lake bed, creating a whirling maelstrom of danger and death. Perhaps this was caused by Seatopia, the subterranean bomb tests, or perhaps the lake was just tired of something so stupid looking as Rokuro’s Goof-Mobile splashing about on it’s surface and chose to commit suicide. Regardless, just when it looks like his goose is cooked, Rokuro is saved by Goro and Hiroshi, who employ the use of a Liferope Gun that they had with them. LIFEROPE GUN!? What kind of technology is Japan holding out on us? They gave us Playstation, but not the Liferope Gun? Bizarre. Not only that, but check it out, Hiroshi and Goro have also built a humanoid robot called Jet Jaguar, presumably for sexual purposes. Jet Jaguar attracts the attention of some secret agents from Seatopia who are concerned that the robot might thwart their Megalon related plans. They must not know that Jet Jaguar is totally lame. Anyway, there are some twists, some turns, Jet Jaguar is highjacked by these spies briefly, but then escapes their control and somehow gains sentience. He then zooms off to Monster Island to ask Godzilla for help clobbering Megalon, and Godzilla happily agrees because by this point he has completely turned the corner from menace to hero. Anticipating Godzilla’s involvement, Seatopia sends for Gigan’s help, because they apparently work with whatever cosmic temp agency manages him, but they couldn’t afford Ghidorah. Jet Jaguar grows to kaiju size (he can do that, I guess), and the four players beat the shit out of each other for the rest of the movie. It’s not that awesome…

Monster role call!

  • 936full-godzilla-vs_-megalon-photoGODZILLA- Just a big ol’ softy. In this one, Godzilla’s head has been redesigned, 713875-vlcsnap_2010_10_31_12h22m27s8his eyes are much larger, and more frontal, which gives him a more humanoid and friendly appearance. Godzilla also observes different human customs, such as the shaking of hands, and feeling insulted when Megalon taunts him with his weird monster butt-slap dance. Things were getting a little Gamera by this point.
  • JET JAGUAR– A giant piece of garbage.
  • MEGALON– A giant bug.
  • GIGAN- Hey! Gigan’s back!Godzilla-Vs-Megalon-1973

So, yeah… The movie has like, several car chases in it, which is new. There’s also a lot more human on human violence, some of which is kind of goofy. The whole film is much more light and silly than recent entries, and this is the movie where Godzilla does his much despised flying missile kick, a fighting move so ridiculous it was immortalized in the opening of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a program designed to mock cinematic insolence. In fact, Godzilla VS Megalon, as a whole, was riffed left, right and center by MST3K in 1991.


GvM is a lull, an awkward misstep between the introduction of the relevant and much loved Gigan in the previous film, and the introduction of the relevant and much loved Mecha Godzilla in the sequel the following year. It’s a fumble, but it’s not super terrible. Really, GvM isn’t much of anything.


GZ backGZ next


Thankskilling ~ 2009, Jordan Downey


“WARNING: BOOBS IN THE FIRST SECOND!” – RIGHT ON THE COVER OF THE DVD!!! Right on the freaking cover. Clearly, this is thought to be a selling point. Well, I timed it, and it’s not even true. There is some text that actually kicks off the movie, just some backstory nonsense that nobody cares about, and depending where the film actually “begins,” the boobs (boy oh boy!) are actually between 16 to 18 seconds in, a far cry from literally the first second. As if you could even withstand further mammary related let-downs in your short, miserable life, these initial breasts are also the only boobs in the entire movie, which, I feel, is not at all the implication made by hyping boobs on the cover of your damn DVD. Really, that’s a good lesson for us all to learn right off the bat, because Thankskilling is all about promises that it doesn’t keep. Get ready for let-down after let-down, folks.

THE PLOT~ When a mismatched group of small-town youths head into the woods for a camping trip, they find themselves at ground zero for the return of a weird, talking turkey monster, which was summoned by Native Americans as a form of revenge against white settlers. It’s effective, that thing ruined a full 90’s minutes of my life! As the turkey begins to kill our characters one by one, they must band together, traditional teen slasher style, to defeat the killer critter, before it’s too late.

Thankskilling is a comedy wrapped up in the trappings of a horror movie. Therefore, by order of priority, you would expect it to be funny first, and scary second. You’d expect wrong, Thankskilling is the furthest thing from scary, and it’s painfully unfunny to boot. Lame, one dimensional jokes are doled out in great abundance from the very first scene, and they will absolutely let you down. I went into this with genuine, foolish optimism, but after the first botched one liner I felt my heart sink, and I thought, “oh…. So, this movie sucks ass, then…”

Yes, it does.

The killer Turkey is our first problem. As the only asset this franchise possesses of even minor, passing value, he really needed to be great, but damn, he isn’t. Turkie, as he is known, is a typical one-liner oriented movie monster, but he has absolutely no charisma, and his one liners totally suck. Now, this is something that demands clarification; cheesy one liners are awesome. Please, do not misunderstand; I’m not saying I don’t like one liners, or even stupid one liners, but there is a way to do one-liners right, and a way to do them wrong. Here, let’s use the 2002 micro-budget movie Scarecrow as an example:

In Scarecrow, there’s a one liner where our murderous scarecrow guy backflips into frame, looks a character in the face (somebody’s dad), says “Heads up, daddy-o!” And then decapitates his screaming, probably confused victim, with a sickle. Awesome. Now, that is just wonderful. Excellent work, Scarecrow. I don’t want to have to break down why this is an actual one-liner and why that flies when Thankskilling’s jokes cannot, truthfully, this is just how one-liners work. What we have in Thankskilling are ineffective one-liners that do not work. Let’s take a look at an example:

…The very first one liner in the movie: Our topless pilgrim woman (topless for no reason at all) is confronted by our killer turkey. He says “Nice tits, bitch!” and then he kills her. That’s it.


That’s not really a one-liner… That’s just like… A statement… A vulgar, ugly statement… And it’s really, really lame. This is not an isolated thing, I kept track, Downey manages to pull off two one-liners this entire movie, and that’s two that worked and dozens that didn’t. In summation, Jordan Downey decided to make a one-liner movie, but he apparently doesn’t understand what a one-liner even is, and let’s face it, this shit ain’t rocket science. If you can’t match the wit of Arnold Schwarzenegger, then maybe comedy isn’t your thing.

In general, the jokes in Thankskilling are pretty clear examples of humor written by someone who isn’t funny, and who has confused humor with vulgarity. Now, vulgarity can be funny, but you still have to do it right. This is the sort of hasty, excited vulgarity you get from someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing, but retains an enthusiasm you would have to assume is rooted in ignorance. It’s kind of like a sixth grader who’s just starting to use profanity for the first time. Eyes bright like a kid on Christmas morning, face twisted into a joyful smile, F-bombs ploppin’ out of his pubescent maw with no articulation or purpose, that’s what the jokes in Thankskilling feel like. That’s the vibe, it really comes across. Tactless and witless, yet enthusiastically vulgar. “WEINER!” Giggle giggle. That kind of thing.

Oddly enough, the movie does start to pick up steam a little more towards the end, as if Downey wrote the first half at the age of eleven and picked it up again while in college. One or two of the jokes in the third act approach legitimate comedy, including the two successful one-liners I mentioned before. Here, we’ve been rough on this movie, let’s be nice and walk you through one of the film’s fully functioning one-liners. Seems only fair. My favorite one goes like this: When one of our human protagonists is bending over to look into a refrigerator, Turkie jumps up behind him and stabs his butt with a meat thermometer, at which point he quips “You’re done!” Good job Downey, you did it! That’s a real live one-liner! Did you get help from your parents?!

It’s still pretty much too little too late. Thankskilling managed to succeed financially because of how bonkers it was. After all, this is a movie where a murderous turkey says “Gobble gobble, mother fucker,” and kills people, it’s easy to see how people would want to enjoy that experience. I sure wanted to. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to not love a movie about a murderous turkey puppet ?! I tried, man!!

But try as I might, I couldn’t ignore how painfully mediocre Thankskilling really is. For a lot of people, the premise is still going to be enough, no matter how shitty the execution was. I really want to stress this, however; you don’t HAVE to watch Thankskilling if you want that “no budget/I can’t believe someone made this movie/holy shit” type experience. So, so many movies have already come and gone and done it better, and there’s no shortage of flicks I’d lump into this category that are ACTUALLY FUNNY. Don’t waste your time, I would recommend you instead check out The Taint, Blood Car, Yeti: A Gay Love Story, and Coons: Dark Night of the Bandits of the Night, as well as just about anything by Chris Seaver, most especially I Spit Chew on Your Grave, Ski-Wolf, Terror at Blood Fart Lake, and Sexsquatch. If you want a Thanksgiving themed horror movie, that’s a little harder to come by. You should just watch Thanksgiving, the faux trailer Eli Roth did in Grindhouse. Watch it fifteen times before you watch Thankskilling even once.