Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Godzilla in books

Back when I was a kid, I loved books about monsters movies.  There weren't a lot of them, but they were there.  If you were a fan of US monster movies, especially the Universal Classics, these books were great.  However, if you also loved Japanese fantastic films...

... you usually were disappointed and sometimes a little angry, since the movies were almost always derided as "cheap" and "poorly acted" and full of "bad effects".  It was very frustrating, because I loved those movies so much and there was such scant information about them that I wanted more all the time.  Heck, I even just wanted to see more pictures, since that was also a very cool event.  I can't think of how many Famous Monsters mags I bought just because it had a picture from a Japanese monster movie in it that I had never seen before.
Aside from calling the movies "far and away, the worst of the lot" many times, most of the books got basic information about the films wrong.  Varan was described as a flying squirrel, Gyaos was a fox-monster and plot information was routinely wrong.  I know back then it was hard to find information about the movies, but it smacks of laziness, and thinking your audience wouldn't know if it was true or not.

I had the above book, and if I remember correctly, it was kinder to the Japanese movies than normal, but it also heaped praise on GORGO.  Go figure.

I did buy just about every monster paperback book I could find though.  I also found some cool books at the library to read, which sometimes had interesting and mysterious names for movies... GAPPA, THE TRIPHIBIAN MONSTER, or EBIRAH, HORROR OF THE DEEP.  They would show lobby cards or posters for such movies, but never provide information about them.  You'd think there was another Gappa movie, and you'd never know that Godzilla vs the Sea Monster had two dubs, plus some extra scenes in Britain.

I did always know that Gyaos was not a fox and Varan was not a squirrel.

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