Godzilla vs. The Thing
A Filmbook by Stephen Mark Rainey
(Originally published in THE MONSTER TIMES Issue #42 July 1975)
Revised 2002 by Stephen Mark Rainey
Mosura tai Gojira
Godzilla vs. The Thing
September 17, 1964
Executive Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Director: Ishiro Honda
Screenplay: Shinichi Sekizawa
Music: Akira Ifukube
Special Effects: Eiji Tsuburaya
Off the coast of Japan, a terrible typhoon rages. Buildings and houses are washed away as massive floods roar over the land. A huge barge is swept from the harbor and cast onto the shore as if it is nothing more than a great hunk of driftwood. The scene is one of total destruction, and all the inhabitants of the area can do is watch in helpless horror until the storm subsides.
By the following morning, reconstruction crews are already working on rebuilding the devastated area. The day is clear and sunny, and a number of reporters have gathered to observe the progress. Ichiro Sakai and Junko Nakanishi, a team from the Nagoya Shimbun, are trying to get a good story, but Junko has so far failed to live up to Sakai’s expectations as a photojournalist. As they survey the vast, ruined construction site, he says angrily to her, “I want to capture this! My articles are not enough. I must have photographs to go with them, and I want them today!”
The head of the project appears and begins shouting for the people to clear out of the way. He comes upon Sakai and excoriates the young reporter, “Young man, come here! What’s the idea of writing these articles?”
“Hurricane ‘A’ did demolish the industrialization project. That’s true, isn’t it?”
“That’s not what I mean! Your articles make it sound as if our deadline is hopeless. That’s not true, I tell you. It will be done.” The irate executive points to a series of huge nozzles sending torrents of water into a canal. “We will take all that seawater and pump it back into the ocean. That story was a lie!”
Unconvinced by the executive’s bluster, Sakai goes to find Junko, who is still trying to set up the camera on its tripod. “How many did you get?”
“None yet, this is my first.”
Sakai is exasperated. “Your first? This isn’t art you know. Just go ahead and shoot!” He nudges her away from the camera. “Let me show you how it’s done, Junko!” He looks through the viewfinder, only to see a colorful piece of mysterious matter floating close to shore. “What are you taking a picture of? What is that thing?”
“I’ve no idea, really,” Junko replies. “It’s very pretty, don’t you think? I like the contrast against the wreckage. You see, it will be a perfect picture!”
At the city desk, the editor of the paper, one Mr. Marota, answers the phone. “What?” he exclaims. “Right. I’ll send a man right away.” He turns to a young reporter named Tonamoa, who is happily eating a hardboiled egg. “Where’s Sakai?”
“He’s gone to Korada beach.”
“What are you doing at a time like this?”
“Enjoying an egg.”
Marota orders him to put it down. “There’s a big story unfolding at the beach.”
“About a monster egg!”
“A monster egg!”
Tonamoa holds up his own hardboiled egg and for a moment his face goes pale.
GODS GUARANTEE FISHERMEN’S SAFETY
Out in the ocean, a gigantic, multicolored oval object floats serenely on the ocean waves. The head man of the nearby village is attempting to convince a group of local fishermen to go out and retrieve the egg. However, many cries of protest immediately arise. “We’ll be killed!” they insist.
“Don’t you see,” says the head man, “this could mean something to us!”
“What’s the matter with you?” joins in an old priest. “The gods will protect you from any monster’s curse!”
The head man is quick to agree. “Bring it in. You’ll all be safe, thanks to the gods!”
After a few moments of hesitation, bolstered by their priest’s reassurance, the fishermen finally agree and eagerly set out in their boats to fetch the large–and possibly valuable–object.
From a helicopter, a number of reporters watch as the egg is towed to the shore. After the egg is beached, the eminent scientist, Professor Murai, arrives to examine it. Sakai attempts to ask Murai a few questions, but the professor says he is too busy. Suddenly, Junko snaps his picture, and the flashbulb momentarily blinds him.
Mortified by his associate’s unprofessional behavior, Sakai humbly bows to Murai. “I must apologize. She just began with us.”
“All right,” Murai says, admirably maintaining his patience. “Now, leave me alone, will you please? I’m busy.”
“One question,” Junko pleads. “Answer just one question.”
Deciding that relenting is the best way to rid himself of the reporters, Murai finally says, “All right.”
Junko bats Sakai on the arm, her smug expression indicating she believes she has redeemed herself for today. “He’s yours.”
Somewhat hesitantly, Sakai asks the professor, “Sir, is there a chance this egg might…explode, do you think?”
“I don’t know the answer.”
Suddenly, a portly man with a mustache arrives and orders a group of men with him to rope off the area. He shouts at Professor Murai. “You there, don’t touch that egg!”
“Who are you?”
“Since you ask, I’m Kumayama, the great entrepreneur.”
“Oh, you are?” Murai says dubiously.
Kumayama smiles. “I bought this egg. It belongs to my company now.”
“You bought it? Who sold it to you?”
The village head man suddenly speaks up. “I did. And I had every right to offer it for sale. The egg drifted into our waters.”
Murai, however, strenuously objects, saying that scientists should be able to observe it, instead of it being exploited as a tourist attraction. Sakai agrees. “Isn’t it more essential that scientists see it than the public?”
Kumayama smiles and replies, “For an essential charge, I’ll show it to them.” He then motions to Junko. “You’re a photographer, aren’t you? All right. Take my picture.”
Scowling, Junko focuses her camera on Kumayama. But as she snaps the photo, Kumayama blows smoke from his cigarette into the lens. “That picture ought to be excellent!” he laughs.
At the nearby hotel, Junko sits with Murai and Sakai, pouting about the incident at the beach. “I was insulted and you thought nothing of it,” she says accusingly to her partner.
Irritated by her self-pity, Sakai brushes Junko aside and turns his attention to Professor Murai. “Sir, if you go to the authorities, I promise to help you.”
Murai acknowledges the kind gesture, but then says he feels such an attempt would be useless. “You know the authorities. They’re notorious for delaying. And we have to face the fact that the transaction is not easily challenged.”
Feeling all but defeated, the trio finally heads downstairs in the direction of the bar. Suddenly, Sakai sees Kumayama and snaps his fingers. “I just got an idea. There’s got to be someone else in this!”
Determined to learn the truth, Sakai follows Kumayama to Room 10 and hides outside, within earshot of the furtive conversation. The room belongs to a man named Jiro Torohata, who is seated at his desk, and as Kumayama comes in, Torohata asks, “Were you able to get it at the price we discussed?”
“Yes, I was. Here is the contract. Happy Enterprises now owns the egg.”
Torohata is pleased. “Tell me. Do you have any idea how much we’ll realize?”
“I’d say, to be conservative…five million.”
Torohata chuckles. “You think too small. At least a billion!” He unrolls a set of blueprints for a huge, Plexiglas incubator for the egg, which he predicts will make a fabulous tourist attraction. “It’s perfect!” he quips.
“It’s wrong!” an unseen, feminine voice suddenly chimes in.
Shocked, the two men look around to see where the voice came from. “Spies!” Torohata says. They cover the plans, but gasp as they witness as unbelievable sight: the tiny Aelinas, the guardians of the monster Mothra, standing before them. The two miniscule girls speak in unison. “We beg you to return our egg. Return it!”
Torohata whispers to Kumayama, “Get hold of them.” But the diminutive duo easily eludes the entrepreneur’s clumsy attempt to grab them and slips behind an ornamental frame on a tabletop. Kumayama throws his coat over the frame, but when he carefully reaches in to grab the girls, he comes up empty-handed–again.
Sakai, having heard all, suddenly bursts into the room. “Did I hear a fight?” he inquires, rolling up his sleeves.
“This happens to be none of your business!” Kumayama belligerently says, and he and Torohata force Sakai back toward the door.
“Get out and stay out!”
Sakai makes a show of disappointment at being denied the opportunity to join a brawl, but then he quickly exits the hotel and hurries to meet Junko and Professor Murai at the edge of the nearby woods. He tells them about all he has learned. “Torohata is the brains behind Kumayama and Happy Enterprises. He hides behind the scenes. He has influence. He’s well acquainted with all the big politicians in the city.”
“I see, an exploiter,” Junko says with a nod. “He’s going to make a fortune out of that egg.”
Then, a new, tiny voice cries: “Please return the egg!”
Sakai looks curiously at Junko. “Did you say something, Junko?”
“I didn’t say anything!” Then she directs her gaze toward a tree branch and gasps. “Look! Look there!”
The two men follow her gaze and see the two Aelinas sitting on the branch. The girls are each less than 12 inches tall. “Please return the egg!” they cry together. “We come from Mothra’s island. Please return the egg. It belongs to us.”
“I’ve heard of your island,” Murai offers. “Weren’t atomic tests conducted there after the war?”
“Yes, they were!”
Sakai asks, “You say the egg belongs to you?”
“Yes, it belongs to Mothra.”
“Mothra!” cries Sakai.
“It lives on our island,” the twins reply as one. They then tell of the hurricane, which devastated a portion of the island, causing the egg to tumble into the ocean. “It was lost. Can you help us return it? The natives are praying that the egg be returned to the island.”
Murai says, “Unfortunately, Kumayama owns the egg.”
“We went to see Kumayama. He and his partner almost murdered us!”
Murai groans, saying that the two men would probably do anything to make a fortune. Then he addresses the girls. “What will happen if the egg is not returned?”
“Eventually, a larva will hatch. It will then return by itself. But first, it may cause all of you great trouble. It wouldn’t want to do anything wrong, but in searching for food, it could cause great damage.”
“Sakai,” Junko says, “you must try to return it.”
The Aelinas tell the group that Mothra–known as “the Thing”–wants the egg back, too.
Murai asks, “Where is the Thing?”
“Over there,” the girls reply.
Murai turns to peer deep into the woods, but he can see nothing.
“Look behind you, through the trees!”
Now, when the three look, they view in the distance the huge, winged figure of Mothra resting on top of a hill. As the giant creature lifts its wings, it screeches, and a gust of wind whips ominously through the trees toward the trio, nearly sweeping them off their feet.
THE INFANT ISLAND FAIRIES
“Ridiculous! You have no claim,” Kumayama says as Sakai, Junko, and Professor Murai face him in the offices of Happy Enterprises.
“And you, sir,” Sakai says to Torohata, seated behind his partner. “You’re the one who financed this. Can’t I persuade you to listen?”
“I’m sorry that I can be of no help to you. It’s my money, true, but really, Kumayama decides these things.”
“We know better than that!” Junko snaps.
“You may think whatever you like,” Torohata laughs. He then tells a wait pair of assistants to show them out of the room, but Sakai resists. Junko suddenly holds up a large, ornate sewing basket and opens it. Inside are the Aelinas.
“They came to reason with you!” she says.
Surprised by the unexpected turn of events, Torohata and Kumayama discuss something among themselves for a moment. Finally, goaded by his partner, Kumayama turns to Sakai. “We have an idea. We’ll buy the girls! You’ll get rich!”
“You’re crazy!” Sakai retorts. “What are you talking about?”
“Golden opportunity! The monster’s egg with these two tiny girls. We’ll give you 200,000 yen in advance.”
Disgusted, the three get up and prepare to leave. Kumayama follows, persistently trying to make a deal with them, but they will not accept the ludicrous offer.
Back at the hotel bar, Sakai, Murai, and Junko try to figure out some sort of plan to return the egg to the island. But then they find that the Aelinas have gotten out of the basket and disappeared. They crawl beneath the table in a vain search, and at last Murai says, “Perhaps they decided to return to their island.”
“That’s where they are!” Sakai exclaims, and as he rises, he bangs his head on the table. Shrugging off the pain, he runs with the others back toward the woods. Suddenly, the Aelinas’s voices can be heard bidding the group good-bye. Beating its gigantic, colorful wings, Mothra takes to the air, generating an angry wind that roars over the land with the force of a hurricane.
At the site of Happy Enterprises on Korada Beach, the huge, metal-framed incubator is under construction, enclosing the monstrous egg. Inside the office, a group of fishermen gather around Kumayama, who is seated at his desk. “You have given us almost nothing so far!” shouts one of them. “We demand that you pay us the rest of what you owe!”
“It’s not only for the monster egg that you owe! You haven’t given us the rent for this land. We want that too!” The other angry men, including the village head man, heatedly concur with that statement.
Kumayama says, “Our contract says the balance to what is owed will be paid on opening day. I intend to live up to that contract.”
“What if you can’t open? What do we do then?”
“What? Where did you get that idea?”
“We have heard rumors!”
In disgust, Kumayama tells the men to leave. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” he adds with a fatigued sigh.
“Do you really mean that?”
“Yes. Now get out!” Grumbling, the fishermen shamble out of the office, much to Kumayama’s relief. Once they are gone, he telephones the hotel. “Get me room 10. Mr. Torohata’s room.” When his partner finally answers, he says, “I’ve heard the exhibition has been delayed!”
“Ridiculous. It will open on schedule. I’ll take care of anyone who tries to interfere. What’s that? No money until later!”
Kumayama informs him about the incident with the fishermen. “They came here to ask for the rest of their money and so I thought that you could….”
Torohata cuts him off and flatly refuses; but then he offers: “No need to panic! Suppose I loan you a little; what do you say to putting up your stock in the company–as collateral?”
Kumayama is displeased with the prospect, but–unable to sway Torohata to his side–he finally accepts the deal, hanging up the phone with a grimace of fear that his opportunity of a lifetime is fast fading away.
Sakai is seated at a desk at the newspaper office with Marota and Tonamoa, lamenting the fact that his articles about the Aelinas’ plight seem to do nothing but give Happy Enterprises more publicity.
“You admit defeat then?” Marota asks.
“A newspaper has a limited capacity to reach people. It can’t enforce the law.”
“Very often, with the right style, we can influence and mold. To do that we have to judge,” Marota says consolingly, approving Sakai’s article to be run in the evening edition. Sakai is not convinced, but the ringing phone interrupts them. Marota picks it up, only to learn that the incubation has started.
Junko suddenly enters and tells Sakai that Professor Murai wants to see him–that it’s important. As they leave, Marota calls after them, “Where are you going?”
Sakai waves Marota off. “See you later.”
Annoyed, Marota turns to Tonamoa. “And just what are you doing?”
“I’m eating my egg.”
“Since you enjoy eggs so much, cover the monster egg!”
At Professor Murai’s laboratory, Junko and Sakai are placed inside a pair of closet-sized chambers and bathed with steam. When they come out, Sakai asks Murai, “Why did you put us in there?”
“You were radioactive. We have decontaminated you.”
Shocked by the revelation, Sakai is all the more startled when Murai shows them the multicolored object that Junko had originally found in the wreckage at Korada Beach. The scientist has no idea what it is, but it too is highly radioactive–and had contaminated the two journalists.
The three then go to the beach, where Sakai shows Murai the exact place where the thing was lying. However, when Murai scans the area with a Geiger counter, he can find no lingering radioactivity.
Several men on Murai’s team have begun to set up instruments to analyze the area, but the head of the construction project soon drives up in a jeep and appears nonplused at the sight of Murai and his equipment.
“What’s going on here? What are those?” he barks. When he sees Sakai, he appears disdainful. “Oh, it’s you.”
“I see the debris has been cleared,” Sakai remarks.
“We’re moving ahead in rapid strides. The land is cleared, the water’s been drained. It’s really progressing ahead of schedule.” With a laugh, he says, “And you can write a story about it.”
“I don’t need a story today.”
“What are you doing here?”
Murai answers, “Testing for radioactivity.”
“I’m building an industrial area,” the man says. “What is this radioactivity? What’s going on?” Murai states that he is conducting an important experiment, but the head man is unimpressed. He tells him to clear out, that they’re holding up production.
Seeing that the executive will not budge, Sakai goes to tell Junko to get her things together. But as he approaches, she holds up her camera and says to him, “I’m trying to get a shot of the area, but the land is moving! Look over there!” To Sakai’s surprise, he sees that, in the middle of a cleared area, the earth is stirring and rumbling. As the movement increases, a jet of steam erupts from a crack in the ground. And then, suddenly, a long, scaly, whip-like object rockets up from the crevice. A huge mound of earth slowly rises, gradually crumbling away to reveal the dreaded figure of…the giant monster Godzilla.
The creature shakes his immense body, dislodging the clinging earth from his hide. With a roar, he turns to regard the shocked spectators, who scream and flee as the great beast begins to wade from the pit where he had been cast by the terrible storm.
Soon, an emergency message is broadcast on radio and television.
“Emergency! Emergency! Just a few moments ago, Godzilla appeared at Korada beach. It is presently moving toward Nagoya. We will be issuing emergency instructions. Keep your television and radio turned on!”
In Nagoya, Godzilla starts lumbering through the city. He fires his radioactive ray, causing several buildings to burst into flame. A huge factory crumbles as he strides through its midst, sending panicked workers fleeing in all directions. Fire trucks speed through the streets and the army is quickly called out. Special messages are broadcast over public address systems as air raid sirens wail.
As Godzilla smashes his way through the streets, his tail entangles the framework of a tall radio tower, which teeters unsteadily and then falls, crashing across Godzilla’s back. Enraged, the beast unleashes a burst of blue fire, setting every nearby structure ablaze.
“Emergency! Emergency!” blare public address systems to the panicked populace. “Godzilla is approaching this district. You are advised to leave the danger area immediately. Emergency! Emergency! Godzilla is approaching!”
The giant monster thunders toward the ancient Nagoya castle in the heart of the city. As his huge feet crush everything in their path, a portion of ground crumbles beneath his weight, sending him stumbling into the ornate castle. The walls collapse, and the building begins to cave in upon itself. As Godzilla attempts to regain his balance, the castle crumbles into a huge mound of unrecognizable rubble, taking with it countless irreplaceable relics of Japan’s noble past. Godzilla rights himself, roars angrily, and once again sets off on a path of destruction.
An emergency meeting of the military has been called, which includes both Japanese and American officials. One of the American officers explains a new weapon, the Frontier Missile, which they intend to use on the monster. “They’re the newest and most powerful rocket that the unit has ever developed.”
An American Marine general says, “The problem we have is to find a suitable location from which to launch our attack on Godzilla–since the destructive power of the Frontier missile is so tremendous.”
“In this connection, gentlemen, great care must be exercised to protect the property and lives of the people affected.”
A courier enters the room and hands the Japanese general an urgent message from the commander at Nagoya. “All right,” he says, after cursorily scanning the note. “All forces will consolidate. We must attempt to hold this line, gentlemen. The Americans will have to send in their fleet.”
AMERICANS ENTER FRIGHT FRAY
Courtesy of the United States Navy, an impressive flotilla of rocket-equipped frigates sails toward the beach where Godzilla has been sighted. The commander peers through his binoculars, finally catching sight of Godzilla as he lumbers along the coastline. The commander orders the firing unit to prepare to attack.
“On target. Ready for firing.”
Volley after volley of rockets are fired from the ships, striking all around Godzilla–some appearing to make direct hits. The twilight sky is lit with the fires of countless explosions, and soon smoke and dust envelop the entire beach. On the bridge of the lead frigate, an officer asks the Marine general if the weapon was effective.
“Can’t tell, there’s too much smoke!”
But as the roiling smoke begins to clear, it becomes immediately apparent that the new weapon has failed. Godzilla thrashes violently on the beach as he attempts to right himself–all too clearly still alive. As he finally manages to stand upright, he roars his defiance, leaving the American fleet to retreat in abject failure.
At the newspaper office, Marota, Sakai, Junko, and Professor Murai are discussing possible plans to deal with the threat of Godzilla. A haggard-looking Tonamoa arrives, having barely escaped from the battered beach area. “I’m back,” he says. “How are you?”
“Be quiet,” orders an irritable Marota.
“What’s going on?”
“We’re discussing what to do.”
“With Godzilla? There is the Thing. It might defeat Godzilla.”
Marota scowls and berates Tonamoa for being silly. But then, he realizes the import of what Tonamoa has in mind. “That’s it!” he exclaims. “You’re a genius.”
“That’s what I think,” Tonamoa agrees. “Do you think I should get a raise?”
“How did you think of calling on Mothra?”
“The monster egg is what reminded me of it. I came here.”
Returning to his surly mood, Marota growls, “You shouldn’t have come here, Tonamoa. My orders were to stay in the beach area.”
“We couldn’t. Godzilla was coming. We left as fast as we could!”
“I suppose the egg ran too?”
“Eggs can’t run. You know that.”
“You should have remained there. Next time, you lose your job!”
Tonamoa appears taken aback by Marota’s attitude, but Professor Murai voices the opinion that Tonamoa’s idea is not absurd at all. He declares that he will go to Mothra’s island and ask the Aelinas to persuade Mothra to help them. But Junko warns that the islanders might not help, since they were not able to return Mothra’s egg.
“If we explain how much danger we’re in, they might listen.”
“How could they possibly understand?”
“We tried to return it, but we didn’t give the egg back to the island,” Murai says softly. “I’m willing to go there. Survival hangs on the kind of appeal we make, the arguments we use. I’ll beg them, if necessary. Yes–I’ll beg Mothra to help.”
THE GOD OF INFANT ISLAND
A seaplane carrying Murai, Sakai, and Junko nears Infant Island–home of the great Mothra. The seaplane lands, and the three paddle ashore in a small raft. As they reach the rocky, barren beach, they are amazed by the desolation caused by atomic testing, still evident after so many years. Numerous skeletons of animals litter the ground, reminding them that this ravaged wasteland was once a beautiful island. Suddenly, a group of shouting, scantily-clad natives leap from behind the cover of rocks and grab each member of the trio. Trying to fight back their panic, the three of them allow themselves to be led along a rocky path.
“Do you think they’ll hurt us?” Junko asks nervously.
“I’m sure they hate us for what happened here. The nuclear tests,” Murai says ominously.
Soon, the three find themselves within a huge cavern, and the native chief–an old man wearing an intricate headdress–approaches them. “The drink,” he growls.
The three are presented with small bowls of clear liquid and ordered to drink it.
“We better do it,” Sakai whispers.
“I suppose we might as well,” says Professor Murai with a sigh of resignation.
Reluctantly, the three swallow the unknown, bitter-tasting potion. The chief appears satisfied.
“The drink has cleansed you. Evil spirits are dispelled. Now answer me. Why have you come?”
“Sir, we have need of your assistance,” Professor Murai says.
The natives vehemently shake their heads, and the chief glares at Murai, “We will not help. And do not look to Mothra for assistance.”
“Sir, we are desperate. We had hoped that the Thing could help us.”
“The gods are punishing you because you have defied them. What happens to you is no concern of ours. Our island has been cruelly used. Our people stricken with disease. And you…you played with the fires of the gods. Do you expect us to trust you after what you’ve done? We asked you to return the Thing’s egg to us. You refused us. Your people are being punished. Their time has come. May your land be ruined like ours!”
A soft, mellow song begins to waft through the cavern, and the three realize that it is the Aelinas singing. Unhindered by the natives, Sakai, Junko, and Murai follow a long passageway, suddenly emerging before a clear pool fed by a small waterfall, surrounded by lush greenery. The two tiny girls are seated upon a large rock, singing reverently to their god Mothra. When their song is complete, they turn to the three newcomers.
“This spot here is the only green on the island.”
“Girls,” begins Junko, “We are here to ask–”
The Aelinas interrupt her. “The goodness of life has granted us extraordinary powers. The greatest of these is mental telepathy. You came here to ask us to send Mothra to you. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes. Will you help us?”
“You didn’t help us. Because of that, no one here will help you. Things would have been different if you had returned our egg.”
“But we did try,” Murai says. “Can’t you at least trust us?”
“We cannot trust you–because your people have offended us.”
Sighing in defeat, Murai turns away. “Our mission has failed.”
Junko refuses to give up. “Please listen,” she says. “We do understand. But do not blame every one of us for what has happened. The monster is killing everyone. The good are being killed as well as the evil. Are you going to let innocent men die alongside of guilty men? You have no right to decide that. That right is sacred. My friends and I appeal to you with the utmost humility. Our people have not been able to stop Godzilla. We would truly like to help you, but we need your help first. Refuse us…and everyone will die.” She turns away with tears in her eyes.
“Just as you distrust us, so we distrust others as well,” Sakai says sternly. “It’s wrong. We’re all human. We are related. Refuse us and you abandon your brothers.”
Suddenly, there is a commotion in the distance, and Mothra’s screech rings through the hollow. The Aelinas turn to the trio and say, “Please…come with us.”
The tiny twins lead the three through another series of passages, finally emerging before a great outcropping of stone–upon which the giant Mothra rests with wings outspread.
The Aelinas kneel and begin singing to their god. When their song ends, they turn again and say, “We have persuaded the Thing to help you.”
“Is it true?” Sakai asks excitedly.
“With what little power it has left,” they say sadly. “It is dying. We are afraid it has only a short time left. It is waiting in the temple–waiting to die. If it goes with you…it will not have the strength to return. But it will not be the end of Mothra. When the egg hatches…it will again be born!”
The military leaders have gathered to finalize another series of plans in an effort to stop Godzilla. The Japanese general explains that, first, using planes and tanks, the monster is to be herded into a restricted area, where powerful generators will then attempt to electrocute him with artificial lightning. Next, helicopters will drop a number of metal nets on top of him, which will conduct lethal currents of electricity.
“Will it work?” asks a dubious officer.
“I don’t know,” the general admits. But he gives the order to proceed with the project, aware that, if it fails, the entire country will be left at the mercy of the raging Godzilla.
Back from Infant Island, the Sakai, Junko, and Murai observe Korada Beach from a vantage point–a hillside above the site of Happy Enterprises–awaiting the appearance. Mothra. Tonamoa soon arrives, telling them he has come to see Godzilla. But Sakai tells him that it is foolish to remain while Godzilla is so near.
“Unless I keep my eyes on the monster, I’ll ‘be fired, the editor said.”
“But you’re crazy if you don’t go,” Junko protests. “Godzilla will kill you!”
“I’m not as afraid of Godzilla as I am of editor,” says Tonamoa. “He’s meaner!”
Sakai asks where Kumayama is, but Tonamoa does not know. “When Godzilla started to attack, he disappeared!”
At the hotel, Kumayama bursts into Torohata’s room, shouting for his partner to come out and face him.
“What are you doing here?” the indignant Torohata asks.
Kumayama furiously says, “My fortune. Everything! I lost everything I had because I listened to you.”
“Sorry to hear it, but that’s hardly my concern.” Torohata starts to light a cigar, but Kumayama slaps it out of his mouth.
“You crook! I shouldn’t have listened. I’d get rich, you said. I want everything back that you’ve taken. Everything. Or I’ll kill you!” He grabs Torohata by the collar and forces him to the ground. “You took everything I had, and then you dared to say we were partners.”
“We are! You know that!”
“Swine! You took everything and made me borrow my own money–and then you charged interest! I’ll kill you!”
“Please, please don’t kill me!”
“You deserve it after what you did to me!” Overcome by anger, Kumayama pounds Torohata in the face, breaking his nose and bloodying his mouth. Pulling himself off his near-unconscious victim, he says, “Now, I’m going to get my money back. I’m taking what’s mine!” Leaving Torohata on the floor, he goes to the safe and opens it. To his delight, he discovers that it is fully of money. He pulls off his coat, spreads it on the floor, and begins pulling the stacks of bills into it.
With a supreme effort, Torohata manages to reach his former partner and tries to drag him away from the safe. But Kumayama knocks him back down and greedily resumes his task. As Torohata struggles to maintain consciousness, he glances toward the window and–to his horror–sees the gigantic figure of Godzilla in the distance, lumbering toward the hotel. Shocked into full awareness, he crawls to his desk drawer and removes a pistol–which he trains on the preoccupied Kumayama. As Godzilla draws nearer, Torohata makes his decision and pulls the trigger.
A bullet in his brain, Kumayama slumps to the floor, his open coat nearly filled with stacks of bills from the safe.
Torohata grabs the coat, drops a few more bills into it, and then hurries into the hallway, carrying his bundle. The building begins to shake as Godzilla’s heavy footsteps grow louder and louder.
A hotel porter is directing guests through the hallway to the fire stairs. Thinking the floor is vacated, the porter turns to run, but Torohata comes around the corner with the coat full of money. Suddenly, Godzilla’s tail swings and smashes into a portion of the building. Several beams crash down perilously close to Torohata, but he carefully picks his way through the rubble. However, Godzilla’s full bulk smashes into the building and it collapses, burying the hapless Torohata beneath tons of concrete and steel.
Unmindful of the death and destruction he has wrought, Godzilla continues on, inexorably moving closer to the beach where Mothra’s egg sits helplessly inside its giant incubator.
Sakai, Junko, Murai, and Tonamoa watch for Mothra as Godzilla appears on the beach. For a moment, the behemoth regards the great incubator with apparent puzzlement; then he begins smashing the steel and Plexiglas structure, sending twisted wreckage flying into the air.
“The Egg! It’s going to be…it’s going to be smashed!” Tonamoa cries.
But then, Junko points to the sky. “Look! The Thing!”
With a rush of its mighty wings, Mothra appears in the sky and begins circling Godzilla’s head, in attempt to lure him away from the egg. The hurricane-force wind prompts the group to drop to the ground to keep from being blown off their feet.
Suddenly, the Aelinas appear before them.
“Well, hello,” Sakai says. “We’re very glad to see you.”
“We always keep our promises,” the twins say. They watch together as the two giant monsters begin their duel in earnest. Mothra continually bats its wings, the wind keeping Godzilla at a safe distance. But the fierce gale tears apart the remaining portion of the incubator and sends the egg rolling towards a cluster of boulders near the waterfront; it crashes into them but is not damaged.
Mothra now closes in and claws at Godzilla’s head with its six legs, succeeding only in angering the giant creature. Godzilla attempts to bat his tormentor from the sky with his powerful tail, but with remarkable dexterity, Mothra manages to grab the end of his tail with its legs. Now, with tremendous effort, Mothra drags Godzilla away from its egg, while the great reptile futilely claws at the earth in attempt to halt his movement.
Unable to withstand Godzilla’s strength, Mothra releases him and begins scratching at its wings with its legs, releasing a spray of thick, yellow powder. The substance rains down on the fallen Godzilla, covering him with a thick, clinging film.
“What is that yellow powder?” Murai asks.
The Aelinas tell them it is the last weapon Mothra has–a poison they hope will be fatal to him. But again, Mothra only succeeds at angering Godzilla, who finally maneuvers his head into position and breathes his lethal fire at his adversary. The blue-white stream sets one of its wings ablaze, and Mothra screeches in agony, soaring away from Godzilla and retreating toward the egg.
“Where is it heading?” Tonamoa cries. “It must kill Godzilla!”
“Why is the Thing running away?” Sakai asks.
“It isn’t. You’re mistaken,” the Aelinas sadly say. “It has spent all its strength. Mothra, the mighty Thing, is going to die.”
The mortally wounded creature lands next to the egg, letting its injured wing drape protectively over it. A few moments later, the great moth lies motionless, its life extinguished.
Now, with their last hope dead, the group of policemen gathered nearby begin to evacuate. Tonamoa runs after them, crying, “Wait a minute!”, grabbing hold of a jeep just as it pulls away.
“The police are all running away now that the Thing is dead,” Sakai mutters.
But then the Aelinas speak up. “Friends, we must go.”
“Godzilla must die. You will be saved by the egg. It can be hatched today!”
The military’s bombardment begins, with waves of JSDF F-86 Saber jets diving in to release their missiles and napalm bombs at Godzilla, who has now begun moving along the coast again. A tank battalion joins in, opening fire at point-blank range. A series of direct hits with the napalm sets the monster’s head and neck ablaze; but the assault only serves to anger him, and he relentlessly continues on his path toward more destruction–right into the trap set by the military.
Godzilla approaches several tall towers whose apexes have been fitted with giant electrodes. As he moves into range, the power is turned on, and several blinding arcs of electricity streak across the sky and strike the monster’s body. He roars angrily, lunging forward and toppling one of the towers. It crashes to the ground, the break in the circuit momentarily offering him a reprieve from the painful onslaught.
But now a formation of helicopters approaches the area, carrying a huge metal net suspended on cables between them. “Squadron XY, alert,” comes the alert from headquarters. “The net is lined up. Squadron XY, the net is lined up!”
As the helicopters position themselves directly above Godzilla, they release the net, and it slowly floats downward, finally draping itself over Godzilla’s upper body. The electricity is turned on again, and the remaining towers unleash their bolts of artificial lightning, causing Godzilla to shriek furiously. Another formation of helicopters drops a second net, and he begins to obviously weaken. A third net falls over him, and the unit commander orders that the power be turned up.
“Captain, we’re registering too much voltage through the meters now!” the chief engineer calls back.
“Increase voltage!” the captain hisses angrily, watching as Godzilla thrashes in furious agony on the ground.
As the intensified electrical power paralyzes the monster, the generators begin to overheat. The wires leading to the electrodes begin to glow and finally snap, cutting all power. Taking advantage of the moment, Godzilla manages to tear his head free from the nets and unleashes a burst of his white-hot fire. The towers wilt into masses of twisted, molten metal, and Godzilla, shredding the now-useless nets, struggles back to his feet. Roaring his triumph, he destroys the remaining towers.
At the nearby harbor, a warning bell signals the approach of the vengeful giant. People run in all directions, and the crews of several fishing boats secure their vessels and evacuate the area. An elderly man, however, pushes his way through the crowd and runs desperately to one of the boats. “Please, take the boat out!” he begs its skipper.
The irate captain replies, “I’m not going out there. This vessel wouldn’t have a chance against Godzilla!”
“I’ve got to get out there!” the old man says, almost weeping. “They’re my responsibility! Somebody has to got to save them!”
A policeman runs to the aid of the captain, thinking the old man must be deranged. “Get off this boat!”
“There’s a group of children out there on the island,” the old man wails, pointing to the dark hump of Iwa Island, a rocky mass of land not far out to sea. “There are children on the island, and teachers! They mustn’t stay there. We’ve got to rescue them!”
Suddenly, Godzilla’s head appears above the hillside, glaring angrily at the puny humans below. He begins lumbering toward the harbor, and the policeman cries, “It’s too late! We’ll be killed. Let’s get out of here!”
The remaining inhabitants frantically vacate the village–and just in time, for Godzilla tramples the entire dock area, then sets out into the water. As if drawn by the helplessness of the trapped children and their caretakers, the giant monster wades toward Iwa Island, leaving yet more death and destruction in his wake.
Back at Korada Beach, the Aelinas are chanting fervently to the monster egg as Murai, Sakai, and Junko watch anxiously. On Infant Island, the natives chant and dance energetically in harmony with the song, their will telepathically transmitted to the Aelinas on the mainland. As the music reaches its crescendo, the egg appears to glow from within–and then it begins to crack. With a deafening boom, the shell splits, and the head of a tremendous, red-eyed caterpillar forces its way out. Suddenly, a second one appears alongside the first.
Junko exclaims, “Look at that! There are two!”
As the two larvae emerge from their egg, a land rover approaches the trio. Tonamoa calls out to them, informing them that Godzilla is nearing Iwa Island–and that children and teachers are trapped there. “Come on, let’s go!”
On Iwa Island, the children manage to climb to the top of the island, led by their teacher, Miss Kobayashi. They scramble even faster when they hear Godzilla’s roar echoing through the wooded hills. They scurry toward a series of caves, which they hope will provide them some protection. “Hurry, children, hurry!” Miss Kobayashi cries.
Godzilla moves closer and closer.
Sakai, Junko, Murai, Tonamoa, and the Aelinas arrive in the land rover at the devastated harbor. As they make their way through the wreckage left by Godzilla, they come upon the old school headmaster, half-buried in the rubble of the docks. As they pull the man free, he points toward Iwa Island.
“The children! They’ll all be killed!”
In the distance, they can see Godzilla make landfall. But a few moments later, the two caterpillars appear in the ocean, swimming rapidly toward Iwa Island.
“We can save the children now!” Sakai says excitedly. “While Godzilla is fighting, we’ll go around the island!”
They find an undamaged boat and board it, setting a course to the island as fast as it will carry them.
On the island, Godzilla destroys a number of ramshackle buildings as the two caterpillars reach the shore behind him. He turns and fires his ray, which ignites the foliage and rubble, raising a barrier of flame between him and his pursuers. But the caterpillars veer around the wall of fire and continue after him as he trudges toward the barren, far side of the island.
One of the caterpillars moves past the cavern opening where Miss Kobayashi and the children have taken shelter. Using his tail like a club, Godzilla sends a number of boulders raining down on the larvae; but as he turns, one of them manages to clamp its jaws onto the end of his tail; however, the giant reptile simply smashes it against violently against the rocks, easily dislodging it. The other one opens its mandibles and unleashes a spray of cocoon silk, which strikes Godzilla in the face, partially blinding him. Taking up a position behind several boulders, the other one also sprays the huge beast, until most of his head has been covered by the silk.
Now furious, Godzilla blasts the terrain with his ray, melting huge rocks into lumps of smoldering magma. The pair of larvae continue to dodge his attacks by hiding behind the rocks and alternately coming forth to spray their streams of silk at him.
Having reached the island at last, Sakai, Junko, and Professor Murai clamber onto the giant rocks near the entrance of the caverns. They call Miss Kobayashi’s name, hoping to locate them in their shelter.
“Where are you?”
“Here!” her weak voice finally echoes from the darkness. “In here!”
Grateful to be found, the young teacher and the children emerge from the cave and run with their rescuers toward the waiting boat as the battle rages uncomfortably close at hand. They watch as Godzilla and the two caterpillars attempt to gain the upper hand on the other. Godzilla’s upper body has by now been completely covered by the clinging white silk. He thrashes his arms wildly, trying to rip the silken strait-jacket, and for a moment, it appears that he is about to free himself. But the caterpillars continue to relentlessly spray him, the silk gradually pinioning his arms. Godzilla breathes his ray several more times, but is no longer able to see his attackers.
As the battle rages, the Aelinas sing excitedly, inciting their guardian creatures to press on fearlessly. Now, staggering blindly, Godzilla teeters for a moment at the edge of the cliff and then topples, falling into the sea and sending up a massive geyser of water. The pair of larvae crawl to the precipice and peer into the depths, trilling loudly in victory. For a few moments, the ocean churns and bubbles, and then–finally– all is quiet.
The children and their teacher are finally returned safely to the mainland. “The children are all fine,” Sakai says with satisfaction, as they disembark from the rescue boat.
“Yes, let’s go!”
Murai, Sakai, and Junko hurry to the top of a hill that overlooks the ocean. They see the two caterpillars swimming out to sea, heading for Infant Island, their home, carrying the Aelinas with them. The trio waves happily to the young Mothras, who swim on and on, and are soon out of sight.
With the success of King Kong vs. Godzilla, Toho immediately went into production on Godzilla’s next adventure. For this outing Godzilla was pitted against one of Toho’s most popular kaiju, Mothra. Once again guided by the winning trio of Honda, Tsuburaya, and Ifukube, the contrast between the two creatures, Godzilla, ugly, dark and brutal, Mothra bright and elegant, could not have been more striking. As with the previous two entries in the series Godzilla was once again redesigned to look slimmer and darker, with more expressive, evil-looking eyes. For the first time since the original film, Godzilla is depicted as a destructive force of nature, moving unstoppably across the countryside. This aspect of Godzilla’s nature is expressed through a succession of failed military operations, all of which do little to stop the creature. The confrontation between Godzilla and the military is an important theme of this film, Godzilla’s destructive energies are unfettered as he tramples Nagoya, menaces Mothra’s egg, and thwarts the military’s attempts to overcome him.
Another recurring theme featured within the film is the theme of metamorphosis. In Godzilla vs. The Thing, Mothra as in the original Mothra, is presented in both her larval and adult stages. Unlike in the first film, where the larval form of Mothra was achieved by having several suitmation actors in the costume (Haruo Nakajima leading the way), for Godzilla vs. The Thing the effect was achieved through the use of two articulated puppets. The adult winged Mothra, however, was filmed using five marionettes of various sizes, with the largest of the props sporting a wingspan of 15 feet.
Akira Takarada, Ogata in Godzilla, King of the Monsters, and Hiroshi Koizumi, Tsukioka in Gigantis the Fire Monster, both star as newspaper reporter Sakai and Professor Miura respectfully. Both Yoshibumi Tajima and Kenji Sahara give fine performances as the films villains; Kumayama and Torohata, and returning in their roles as the Twin Fairies of Infant Island were the very popular singing duo, The Peanuts, Emi and Yumi Ito.
To convey convincing fight sequences, especially between the frail Mothra and mighty Godzilla, Tsuburaya devised a series of battle tactics all of which took advantage of Mothra’s natural abilities. Blinded by Mothra’s wings, buffeted by her wind blast, choked by her poison powder, Godzilla is completely over come (it is only a direct hit from Godzilla’s atomic breath which does her in). It is the newly hatched larva however, that seal Godzilla in a cocoon, dumping him into the ocean and saving mankind.
While choreographing convincing special effects sequences always posed a great challenge for which Tsuburaya was always up for, two of the most exciting scenes were actually on camera accidents. The first occurred while filming the sequence of Godzilla attacking Nagoya Castle. With his sight limited due to the confines of the costume, (the actor’s head is actually in the neck section of the suit), Nakajima slipped and slammed against the scale model, breaking the upper lip of the suit (this gave the upper jaw its distinct side to side movement noticeable throughout most of the film). Honda ordered another take, and this time the castle fell, with the help of an off-screen technician.
The second “mistake” occurred during the filming of the army’s attack on Godzilla in the Japanese countryside. Military aircraft drop bombs on Godzilla, exploding around the King of the Monsters. It was during this sequence that a large blast ignited the head of the suit. The flames burned for a number of seconds before going out, but Tsuburaya thought that the sequence look so good that he decided to leave the mistake in the final print.
The music for the film was once again composed by Akira Ifukube who had scored both Godzilla, King of the Monsters and King Kong vs. Godzilla (Gigantis the Fire Monster was scored by Masaru Sato). Yuji Koseki’s Mothra themes, which played a large part in the success of the original Mothra, were retained and re-worked into the score by Ifukube.
Godzilla vs. The Thing was also the only Godzilla film to have a special sequence for American release filmed by Toho in Japan (American scenes in Godzilla, King of the Monsters and King Kong vs. Godzilla being filmed in the U.S.). The Frontier Missile sequence did not appear in the Japanese version of the film.
Godzilla vs. The Thing did very well on both sides of the Pacific. All the best attributes of a Godzilla film; good acting; serious story; good direction; well executed special effects; combined with good dubbing in the American version to create one of the best films in the entire series, still popular almost 40 years after its original release.
Filmbook © 1974, 2002 by Stephen Mark Rainey. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Commentary © 2002 by John Rocco Roberto/Visagraph Films International.