Giant Monsters Slap Each Other

War of the Gargantuas

Gargantua is a really cool name for a monster. It implies size and likely temperament, and would look badass on a T-shirt, to say nothing of the logo on coffee cups, fanny packs or even the hood of my car.

War of the Gargantuas, released by Toho (Godzilla’s monster garage) in 1966 in Japan as Frankenstein’s Monsters: Sanda versus Gaira, is one of those “so weird it’s good” giant monster movies. If you’ve seen it, fist bump to you. If you haven’t, you’re missing out on one helluva freakfest with an underpinning of loss, sorrow and snacking on humans.

War of the Gargantuas

Downtown Hong Kong real estate is being “re-developed” by two gigantic man-creatures. One is brown, the other green, and they both have shaggy hair and big lips, looking like 100-foot tall Mick Jaggers.

A baby Gargantua escapes from a lab and grows to be the size of a billboard. [insert science guilt here.] A giant octopus (cool!) attacks a freighter, but the Gargantua kicks its tentacles and finishes the job, eating all but one of the salty sailors.

The military tracks it to the mountains of Japan where they blast it with lasers, which make that neato crackly sound. Right before its about to die, a second Gargantua appears out of friggin’ nowhere (it was probably hiding behind a billboard) and saves his “brother.”

War of the GargantuasRescued and rested, the hungry green monster resumes marauding and goes out for some fleeing citizens. A great moment in giant monster history happens here: A chick lounge singer is entertaining at the Haneda International Airport  lounge, performing “The Words Get Stuck In My Throat,” when Gaira crashes through the roof, grabs the warbling woman and is about to get her stuck in his throat. Or rather, she would have, but the sun coming out from behind the darkest of clouds stops him. He doesn’t like being in the spotlight. The singer does, though. (Historical note: Toho later added a shot of regurgitated clothes hitting the tarmac in the scene where Gaira chews before swallowing. Harsh.)

War of the Gargantuas

This sets off a running slapfest that stomps all over buildings, cars, and more than a few flower beds. The brown Gargantua (I call him “Nice-y”) knows what he has to do, which is to position themselves in such a way that the military can bomb the living crap outta them.

The Gargantua Brothers are friggin’ weird to look at as their facial expressions don’t really change. But their eyes tell their crushing sadness of being different from everyone else.

Sadly, Toho never made a sequel to War of the Gargantuas. Too bad – I would’ve liked to have seen Mom and Dad Gargantua come looking for their rowdy offspring, and bust up the place.

2 Responses to “Giant Monsters Slap Each Other”

  1. Man, that first picture looks like a cheesy ’80s punk album cover.

    I remember when Brad Pitt said this was the movie that got him into acting, best part of the entire Academy Awards.

    Great summary.

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