Hedorah, a toxic slime creature who resembles a 60 meter tumour with the burning red eyes of a habitual stoner, has arrived in Japan. Formed from many years of pollution pumped into the atmosphere, this gelatinous new Kaiju starts laying waste (pun intended) to every living thing in it’s path (even kittens) and huffs on smokestacks for additional strength like it’s a custom vape. As a scientist, disfigured by Hedorah while in it’s infant/tadpole form, and his young son figure out how to disperse the caustic creature, it’s down to Godzilla to physically face this new threat down, but can he hope to succeed against a villain that was essentially created by decades of our neglect?
While Hedorah is an admirable attempt to get the youth of Japan to take notice of what harm pollution is doing to the earth,
it is legitimately impossible to figure out who exactly this movie is supposed to be aimed at, too silly for adults yet loaded with surprisingly upsetting imagery such as Hedorah choking people to death with his acidic smoke or Godzilla, blind and screaming, being buried alive in a shallow grave of toxic muck.
The climactic fight is also surprisingly brutal with both creatures repeatedly trying to blind each other with acid or their own bare hands and Godzilla clawing at his throat, desperate to breathe while carrying numerous scars and burns from his encounter. In almost direct contrast to this, mere minutes later Godzilla performs one of the most infamous moments of his career where he tucks his tail between his legs and uses his radioactive breath to fly; a talent he’s never hinted at before or since! The scene really is the perfect metaphor for the deranged swings in tone. One second animated segments explain the plot to children, then those same little tots get traumatised as women and children are being reduced to skeletons in Hedorah’s wake. Inconsistent is an understatement and as a result the movie shoots itself in the foot. Who the hell is going to take the film’s super serious message seriously when Godzilla is buzzing across the landscape like a fucking idiot, but conversely the film is way too much of a bummer to take as a mindless giggle.
The film ends with a seriously depressed looking Godzilla wandering off into the sunrise, soberly mulling over endless footage of pollution while the lead child actor screams high pitched farewells at him.
The audience will feel much the same…