Tag archive: Godzilla
A companion piece to my Werther’s reimagining.
This is why ad agencies should be paying me the big massive bucks. But they’re afraid. Too afraid…
The damn spineless & hidebound fools!
No more gif(t)s for you tomorrow. You’ve had enough.
The interweb may often be an ugly, querulous and hate-filled place, but one of its undeniable beauties is this. No matter how outré or perverse your particular enthusiasms are, you’re always only a click or two away from (virtually) rubbing up against some other soul who shares them. Suddenly no-one’s a weirdo…because everyone is.
It was not ever thus. I mean, consider the middle years of the nineteenth century. Top hats. Monocles. Fusty old patriarchs spoiling everyone’s fun. And, worst of all, they didn’t even have dial-up. Most people were lucky to have wind-up.
And so it was that the likes of Scots-Canadian James McIntyre (sometime poet and furniture maker) exercised their enthusiasms alone. Ostracised from their fellows by what probably seemed to them (interweb-less as they were) uniquely peculiar passions. Few pieces of verse have captured the isolating nature of maverickness and eccentricity better than McIntyre’s deliciously mature and creamy “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing over 7,000 Pounds”.
We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.
All gaily dressed soon you’ll go
To the great Provincial Show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.
Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.
May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great World’s show at Paris.
Of the youth beware of these,
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek, then songs or glees
We could not sing, oh! queen of cheese.
We’rt thou suspended from balloon,
You’d cast a shade even at noon,
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.
Ok. So the guy liked cheese. A lot. More than is (or, presumably, was) conventional. But so what? Is cheese less worthy a subject for rime than, say, love? Or death? Or heavenly cherubim flitting hither and yon ‘neath the arch of a beauteous rainbow?
This was, after all, no ordinary cheese. It was a four tonne behemoth deemed worthy of display (before an agog public) “at a Toronto exposition circa 1855″.
Anyway…the hour grows late-ish and I feel the muse swell within me. So before I slip into the sleeping bag of Morpheus I must away and pen some purple poesy on Yop, Monster Munch, Donkey Kong Jr, and all the other wonders that sometimes make life not totally suck.
The naming of those fantastic (and hideous) creatures that routinely crawl from the earth’s dark chasms or slither from the depths of its briny seas is a process both mysterious and (occasionally) spontaneous. Granted there are some, like this chap, who (after traversing the icy wastes of space) announce themselves to a petrified world…
Doubtless “Groot”, in a moment of vivid self-awareness, thought to himself, “I’m a root (well, sort of) and I’m giant…I SHALL BE GROOT!”. He then imposed this self-appointed moniker on those he set out to terrify and obliterate. It’s a bit rich really – like those tedious “characters” who tell you what they want their nickname to be.
Unlike the plucky little feller in the bottom left I’d have defied/antagonised Groot by continually getting his name wrong. Tree-Man-dous! Oak-God-Almighty! Plant Chap! He’d go mental.
The tactic adopted by many of the most memorable monsters, however, is simply to turn up, start opening cans of whupass, and let the fleeing hordes slap a label on you. For example:
This is standard practice in Godzilla movies, where exchanges like the following are par for the course -
A: Look there!
B: It’s a horse!
A: It’s enormous!
B: It’s Enormohorse!
Hat-Tip to my brother-in-law.
Not sure that the etymology behind “Droom” is as easy to pick apart as all that though.
Dinosaur + Doom?
Death + Room(y)?
Droom retains his secrets (rather than broadcasting them).
And then there are those behemoths that are actively sought out rather than enthusiastically avoided. Instead of dashing far away, or staying to stick out one’s jaw and defy, these are the monsters we just want to “know” (phnarr). We raise money, we organise, we form expeditions to track ‘em down. And then…
A classic “Oh shit…we’ve succeeded!” moment. The fury on the face of the Yeti (I use the less offensive term) can perhaps be understood when one considers the “abominable” tag that’s long attached itself to its good name:
Like the legend itself, the origin of the term “Abominable Snowman” is rather colourful. It began when Mr Henry Newman, a longtime contributor to The Statesman in Calcutta (using the pen name “Kim”), interviewed the porters of the “Everest Reconnaissance expedition” upon their return to Darjeeling. Newman mistranslated the word “metoh” as “filthy” or “dirty”, substituting the term “abominable”, perhaps out of artistic license.
If Tales to Astonish is anything to go by we’ll soon be blaming Newman’s “artistic licence” as the starting point for the 1000 year Yeti/Human war.
Fucking eejit (I call him).
Apologies if you’ve just spurted your precious morning coffee all over your keyboard, but the above graffito does indeed say what you think it says. Take another look. Yup, it’s still there.
To add an extra layer of intrigue (or, simply, seediness) I should point out that the piece was discovered beside a public toilet. Not only that, but it appears to have been written in nail varnish (a sample has been sent to the lab. Results not yet known).
Though the message may seem garishly clear, the inclusion of the (author’s?) name “Cathal” gives us some pause for thought and reflection.
The stray “V” in the middle of the photo could be interpreted as “Versus”. If that’s the case then we’re left with “Cathal Vs. Vaginas are Cool” – a Dadaist spin on the likes of Godzilla Vs. King Kong.
Following on from last Thursday’s discussion of “pen-testing paper” graffiti, I also present the following (obtained from the same source):
Alvaro, it seems, has both a passionate admirer and a (possibly psychotic) nemesis. While the handwriting (and choice of implement) suggests two separate individuals, one can’t rule out a multiple personality, love/hate scenario.
Alvaro I love you! Alvaro u Must Die! – It’s an Almodóvar film waiting to happen.
[Disclaimer: This week's Manky Toy offering involves a little bit of descriptive looseness. First of all, I bought not one but two toys. Second of all, they really aren't that manky…in fact they're rather good. Be that as it may, I still kept under my 5 Euro a week limit, and still bought them in the "Euro 2" shop (it really is a bottomless pit of manky goodness). Anyway, on with the show.]
Of the many dazzling and literate fan-boy/girl discussions that abound on the web, two types stand out as particularly engrossing.
Type 1 involves witty, erudite debates about the degree to which a particular cultural product “sucks” or “rocks” . A thesis is suggested, i.e. “MATRIX ROCKS!!!”, before a stunning antithesis is proffered, i.e. “NO WAY DUDE. MATRIX SUCKS!!”. Dazzling stuff entirely.
Type 2 (and the one that concerns us here) attempts to grapple with age-old, playground questions like: “Who would win in a fight between Godzilla & SuperTed?” (or He-man & Charlie Landsborough, or…Leatherface & Catweazle etc, etc.). Yes folks, what we’re talking about here is the “Versus” phenomenon – an established (and thriving) subgenre of Horror and Science Fiction.
Where once the ambiguous “meet(s)” was used to describe horror/comedic crossovers and encounters – Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man , Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy  etc. – the rise of the Gojira (Godzilla) movies saw the more confrontational word “versus” (or “tai” in Japanese) come increasingly to the fore. Notable slugfests involving the Big G include – Mosura tai Gojira (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. Mothra) , Gojira tai Hedorâ (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)  , and (most relevant to this week’s Manky Toy Monday) Kingu Kongu tai Gojira (a.k.a – obviously enough – King Kong vs. Godzilla) .
Though I’ve yet to watch Kingu Kongu tai Gojira all the way through (it’s tough going), I have read an admirably detailed analysis of it in Ray Morton’s King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon. While Morton admits it’s hardly classic stuff (in the way the original King Kong was), he does highlight the fundamental appeal of such films:
No matter how badly done, it is still fun to watch two giant monsters throwing one another around and smashing miniature sets to pieces (Morton, 150).
Amen to that. For a sample of same check out the hilariously oversold American trailer below:
“So Gigantic in Scope, It Dwarfs Every Wonder the Screen Has Ever Shown Before!”: A slight case of raising unrealistic expectations methinks.
Anyway, it’s safe to say that today’s toys were inspired/influenced by both the above monster slobberknocker and Kong’s battle with a T-Rex style dinosaur in the original (1933) King Kong. The title of the “series” is (as the post heading makes clear) “King Kong Vs. Dinosaur” and here’s the hairy fella in his box:
A few things to note.
1) The box excitedly proclaims (a la Pokemon) “Collect Them All!”. This might, at first, seem like a challenge until one realizes that there are but two items in the series and both of them will (no doubt) be located next to each other in one’s local Pound/Euro shop. In other words, “collecting them all” should take approximately 20 seconds and set you back no more than 4 Euro.
2) Kong comes pre-chained. A bit unfair really and something that puts him at quite a disadvantage…unless of course he uses said chains to strangle his nemesis.
3) While Kong gets a groovy name, the dinosaur is simply referred to as “Dinosaur”. This absence of a definite personality makes “Dinosaur” a bit hard to root for in a fight.
4) Not only is Kong pre-chained, but both monsters come “pre-wounded”. It’s almost as if they’ve already been kicking/biting lumps out of each other, prior to being boxed. Now that’s animosity.
5) The box clearly shows Kong (and this is a very Godzilla-esque touch) clutching a rocket. One might think that this is intended to restore the advantage he loses by being chained but careful inspection of the box’s contents reveal a sad absence of rockets. “Dinosaur” will no doubt be relieved.
Contravening another of Manky Toy Monday‘s rules I’ve decided not to return these two titans to a charity shop. As the image at the top of this post shows, they just look too cool and too at home in our back garden. There they shall stay…at least until our cats pull them apart in a bit of classic “Versus” carnage.