Archive: G-FEST XIX Movies
The G-FEST double double feature was back this year at the Pickwick Theater with a twist: “Godzilla’s Origins” were films that inspired the creators of the king of the monsters, while “Godzilla’s Rivals” were films that were influenced by his amazing success. These four films were shown on Thursday, July 12th, one pair in the afternoon and one pair in the evening, as well as our regular Friday and Saturday night features.
Opening to rave reviews in 1933, the original King Kong is still considered one of the greatest adventure movies of all time. It features the amazing stop-motion animation of Willis O’Brien, whose pioneering effects work would be a major influence on Eiji Tsuburaya, one of Godzilla’s co-creators. King Kong remains a timeless classic, and has been deemed “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Thursday afternoon, July 12th at 1:00 PM
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
Based on Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Fog Horn”, 1953’s The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms was one of the first monster movies to inspire the next generation of creature features tied to the fears and dangers of the atomic age. It features fantastic stop-motion effects work by Ray Harryhausen, a protégé of Willis O’Brien. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms may be considered an immediate precursor and influence on the creation of Godzilla. In desperate need of a film idea on short notice, Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka combined Beast’s rampaging monster angle with the infamous Lucky Dragon incident, leading to Toho’s greatest creation.
Thursday afternoon, July 12th at 3:00 PM
Released in 1961, Gorgo was Britain’s answer to Godzilla, and shares some elements with that film, as well as King Kong. Gorgo also followed Godzilla’s ‘footsteps’ in regard to special effects employing impressive suitmation, and scale miniature techniques with high speed photography.
Thursday evening, July 12th at 7:00 PM
Gammera the Invincible
Created in 1965 by the Daiei Motion Picture Company as a challenge to the success of Toho's kaiju films, Gammera (Gamera) is Godzilla’s most prominent and successful rival, and has achieved widespread popularity starring in numerous multi-era sequels. Gammera shares a similar origin with Godzilla (as well as many other 1950's and 1960's giant monsters) having been awakened by atomic bomb detonations.
Thursday evening, July 12th at 9:00 PM
Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
While purists may frown a bit on 1956’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in comparison to the original Japanese Gojira, this Americanized version is surprisingly effective. The film integrates new footage of actor Raymond Burr as the American reporter Steve Martin, who gives a first hand account of Godzilla’s destruction of Tokyo. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was a notable success at the American box office, opening the doors for more imported Japanese science-ficion and horror films. Burr’s Martin character would make a return nearly thirty years later in the Amercanized “Godzilla 1985”.
Friday evening, July 13th at 10:30 PM
Godzilla vs. Destroyah
Released in 1995, Godzilla vs. Destroyah would be the final film of the Heisei series. It was directed by Takao Okawara, his third Godzilla film at the time. Action packed yet dark and somber, Godzilla vs. Destroyah comes full circle by connecting the origins of the monster Destroyah with the Oxygen Destroyer from the original 1954 film. Making a cameo appearance, Momoko Kōchi reprises her role as Emiko Yamane. Akira Ifukube delivers an ominous, heavy score, the last work of his career.
Saturday evening, July 14th at 10:30 PM