Godzilla movies aren’t know for their intricate pots, amazing special effects and captivating character development. What we expect when we tune into a Godzilla movie is to see two guys in monster suits whacking the hell out of each other and stepping on cardboard buildings while screaming Japanese flee in terror. We know Godzilla is cool, from his laughable but endearing early years, where his rubbery jaw flapped freely in the breeze, to his more recent films where he looked much more dangerous but was nonetheless cheered on by viewers as he destroyed poor Tokyo once again. The big variables in a Godzilla movie are the monsters he fights and pals around with. When the likes of King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Rodan or Gigan show up, you know that Godzilla is about have a showdown with his equals. But some of the other monsters he’s faced over the years — even some of the popular ones — range from odd but awesome, to strange and amusing, to bizarre and embarrassing.
14) Hedorah, a.k.a. The Smog Monster
Hedorah was pretty darn bizarre — it was a monster made of pollution that looked like a pile of gloop. But Hedorah was so powerful and terrifying that it nearly gets a pass. It killed thousands of people, dissolving some of them down to the skeletons. Godzilla won the battle, but not without losing an eye and having a hand eaten away to the bone. Yikes! This is also the movie where Godzilla decided to reveal he could fly. *sigh*
This lame, mutated iguana — better known as the “star” of the utterly horrible Godzilla American remake with Matthew Broderick — was laughably beaten in mere seconds by Godzilla in Final Wars, tail-whipped into the Sydney Opera House and then roasted with atomic breath. Meet the true King of the Monsters, Hollywood!
Gabara had the misfortune to star in probably the most bizarre Godzilla movie of all time, All Monsters Attack (a.k.a. Godzilla’s Revenge). He wasn’t even real; the whole movie was a child’s revenge fantasy in which Gabara was the stand-in for the bully who was picking on the kid. With a goofy face, orange hair, long neck and an annoying, laugh-like roar, it’s no surprise Godzilla entered Imaginationland to kick Gabara’s scaly ass.
Mothra is one of Godzilla’s oldest enemies/allies, and is well-loved. But let’s face facts. She’s just a giant moth in a world of radioactive-powered dinosaurs. She is always promoted as being this amazing protector of the Earth, especially by her creepy twin fairies, but her grand entrance is generally followed a few minutes later by Mothra, ablaze in atomic breath, crashing into the Japanese countryside. The big advantage she does have is that she’s like a phoenix, constantly being born again so she can come back and take more of Godzilla’s abuse.
Hey, know what’s a lot less cool than Mechagodzilla? A Mechagodzilla rip-off that looks like a portly weevil and gets defeated twice by SpaceGodzilla, then destroyed by Godzilla, who M.O.G.U.E.R.A. was trying to help! Great going, G-Force.
If Godzilla ever gets a craving for Red Lobster, Ebirah best scutter away as fast as his yummy legs can take him. Does butter come in water tower-sized containers? Okay, so maybe Ebirah was actually a shrimp, but that doesn’t make him any less delicious with a bit of drawn butter.
Megalon, a giant cockroach thing, is reviled by some for starring in one of the lamest Godzilla films and for not living up to the already low standards of Toho movie monsters. One thing that can he said for him is that he stands out among the crowd of dinosaur-like mutants that often crossed Godzilla’s destructive path. He was also the unfortunate recipient of one of Godzilla’s most infamous mind-boggling offensive moves — the floating dropkick!
Part lizard and part flying squirrel, the not-so-fearsome Varan appeared in Destroy All Monsters for about three seconds. However, he had his own film years before that, in which he was appropriately touted as Varan the Unbelievable. 6) King Caesar
According to intensive Wikipedia research, King Caesar, the protector of Okinawa, is a monster that looks like a cross between a lion and chihuahua. I’m not sure how anything else I write can top the goofiness of that image. King Caesar had one hell of a soccer kick, though.
He’s just like Godzilla, only with enormous spikes on his shoulders and a giant ball of spikes he flies around with. And he was from space. And he was a real dick for kidnapping Baby Godzilla.
Godzilla vs. Biollante was a good Godzilla movie, and Biollante herself looked pretty awesome, but the premise behind her was pretty damned ridiculous. If you ever wanted to see Godzilla fight Audrey II, this is your movie. A scientist had the brilliant idea to splice Godzilla DNA into a rose, resulting of course in a monster that was part plant, part giant,Tokyo-stomping lizard that spat radioactive sap.
3) Minya, a.k.a. Minilla
Apparently, a baby Godzilla is a sickeningly cute, rotund cherub that looks like its made of Play-Doh. Baby is also a lot friendlier to children and seemingly more intelligent than the elder Godzilla. Minya was cute, but would be depicted as a slightly more reptilian creature in later years that was no less adorable. And he blew smoke rings instead of fire! And gave Godzilla a chance to be paternal/maternal! Awww!! And then he would grow up to be just as badass as his father/mother. Yes!
2) Jet Jaguar
Jet Jaguar was exactly the kind of Ultraman-inspired hero that was not needed in a Godzilla movie. This goofy-ass, totally out of place robot, as the boys and bots at MST3K pointed out, had a face that resembled Jack Nicholson, He was able to increase his size to fight monsters (although Godzilla was needed to save him from a total butt-whooping) and then could shrink back down to human size so he could play with his children friends. Who cares what the upbeat song about him that plays at the end of Godzilla vs. Megalon is actually saying, because MST3K‘s lyrics were much better.
1) Mothra’s Larvae
Mothra’s larval offspring were responsible for Godzilla’s most embarrassing moment. The underwhelming finale of Mothra vs. Godzilla had the King of Monsters get whooped by a pair of giant silkworms. Not only did he get beaten, he was visibly shaken as the larvae unloaded their streams of white goo all over him. Silk, of course, but we imagine most people would be similarly grossed out.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.