Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is a 1964 follow up to Godzilla against Mothra the fifth film in Japan cinema’s Godzilla marathon and its directed by Ishirō Honda, and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya . If you were to ask an even a non-fan of these movies to name a Godzilla villain more than likely the answer would be Ghidorah. Ghidorah is by far the strongest and most iconic villain in the series apart from Godzilla himself, keep in mind Godzilla has been the antagonist in all the preceding films. It is also the second Godzilla film produced in 1964 coming out only several months after Godzilla against Mothra. Notably this was the film where the decision to turn Godzilla from a villain into a hero in the original series took place. All together it features Godzilla, Mothra, Ghidorah, and Rodan a giant pterodactyl previously featured in Rodan. It’s a little fuzzy in my memory but I am pretty sure this was my very first Godzilla movie and very possibly my first foreign movie period so the nostalgia level is high.
Police detective Shindo is assigned to guard Princess Selina during her stay in Japan due to a suspected assassination plot. While flying to Japan her plane explodes during a meteor shower that a professor is studying with a team of scientists. To Shindo’s surprise, Selina turns up in Japan, claiming to be from mars, and preaching to skeptical crowds of forthcoming disaster. She predicts Rodan will emerge from Aso’s crater and Godzilla will rise from the sea. Both of these events happen in quick session. Some more assassins attempt to take out Selina but their attempts are thwarted when Godzilla and Rodan happen upon each other and engage in a brutal fight.
Selina reveals her final prophecy—that Mars’ once thriving civilization was destroyed by a three-headed dragon named King Ghidorah, and that Ghidorah himself has already arrived on Earth. No sooner has she revealed this than Professor Murai and his team at the meteor site receives a surprise—the “meteor” is actually an egg, which hatches into King Ghidorah who’s extremely deadly and powerful. Japan is going to hell and the cities are being torn apart by all three monsters. The fairies from the last movie are enlisted to get Mothra to convince the Godzilla and Rodan to work together against Ghidorah. The rest of the movie is Mothra trying to get them to work against the invincible force of Ghidorah, leading to one of the best finales in the original series.
Ghidorah the three headed monster is one of the very best, it’s full of tension, more monsters than ever before, great characters, an interesting subplot, well timed comedy, and of course the best fights in the series to date. Most the other Godzilla human subplots are a little dull but this movie I guess took a look at itself in the mirror and said, “hey let’s let the entire movie be insane this time”. It’s really amusing watching the Martians mind control the princess while she is being pursued by the assassins, and the entire time your left worrying about her safety and it works to immediately involve you in the movie. Also why exactly would the Martians pick a woman in such danger to deliver their important message not very well planned guys.
One of the best scenes in Godzilla history takes place in this movie, to get the attention of Godzilla and Rodan, Mothra sprays them each with web. In a hilarious shot Godzilla looks very disgruntled to have the web on him (he must remember how the last movie ended) but then Godzilla laughs his ass off when Rodan gets webbed. There’s also a truly unique scene where the twin fairies are translating a conversation between Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla. Apparently Godzilla uses terrible language to describe his past troubles with humans and initially refuses to help them. After he sees Ghidorahs destruction first hand though there’s a moment. An incredible moment that makes you want to cheer, Godzilla looks at the damage looks at Ghidorah and becomes the hero, charging Ghidorah head on. The four way fight is the high light of the movie and shows off Eiji Tsuburaya finest work yet he was sincerely a master at making these unbelievable things look amazing. All in all this film is a solid entry in the series and a must see.
Best moment of Destruction: In Ghidorah’s first scene he flies over a city with each head blasting fire and the entire city is destroyed in seconds this effect is worth the price of admission alone.