Saturday, October 9, 2010

31 Monsters of October, Day 9: Godzilla

Real World Origin:
Film, Gojira/Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1954)

In-Universe Description:
Pacific nuclear tests wake a prehistoric monster who quickly starts destroying shipping and island villages. Villagers name the creature Gojira (Godzilla in the English version). Eventually Godzilla comes ashore and lays waste to Tokyo. His enormous bulk and radioactive breath leave behind thousands of dead and wounded. Although this Godzilla would be disintegrated by a weapon called the Oxygen Destroyer, other members of the same species (also called "Godzilla") would show up to destroy major Japanese cities and to battle various giant monsters.

Godzilla's origin story (i.e., prehistoric monster goes on a rampage after nuclear tests wake it up) may sound familiar; it was borrowed from the previous year's The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

Movies made in the 1990s would slightly revise Godzilla's origin. Whereas the '50s movies suggested that Godzilla was already huge and that the atomic testing simply woke him up and made him radioactive, 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah revealed that Godzilla started life as a T-rex sized godzillasaurus. Apparently a small population of godzillasaurs on a remote Pacific island had survived the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event that killed the other dinosaurs. At least one of these was living on the island when the American H-bomb tests were performed in the region. The resulting radioactive fallout produced Godzilla (and King Ghidorah, thanks to the interference of some time travelers).

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