The Campiest Kaiju Films
Kaiju films are on a vast spectrum from intense social commentary (i.e. Godzilla from 1954 and The Host from 2006) to some of the campiest and silliest creature features of all time. Last week, we highlighted some of our favorite and impactful Kaiju films, but today, we want to talk about some of the most fun films in this genre, here are the campiest kaiju films.
Son of Godzilla (1967) This film is largely about Godzilla coming to terms with being a father, and the introduction of his son, Minilla. This film is often thought to be one of the least scary or intense films in the franchise. It has wholesome and funny moments as Godzilla and Minilla learn how to navigate each other and co-exist. If you've listened to our podcast episode on the history of the Godzilla franchise, you know how much we love this film.
Infra-Man (1975) Though not an absolute Kaiju film, Infra-Man still plays with the themes of strange creatures (though not extra gigantic ones), action heroes, and martial arts. Filmed in Hong Kong, Infra-Man may not be firmly within the Kaiju genre, but it’s still worth a watch if you’re looking for a campy film experience.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) Godzilla meets time travel in this early 90s masterpiece of camp. We also get a bit of an origin story for Godzilla in this film, in the form of a Godzillasaurus who will eventually become Godzilla. Need I say more?
Godzilla vs. Hedora (1971) Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno, Godzilla vs. Hedora is an allegory about pollution. You can see how on the nose the monster design is for a pollution monster. Obviously, being part of the Godzilla franchise, Hedora has become a cult classic among superfans despite its over-the-top/campy nature.
Gamera: Super Monster (1980) This is the last film in the Gamera franchise. Though Gamera may be less known in the United States, it’s one of the most important Kaiju franchises in Japan. This film is interesting because much of it is actually footage from previous Gamera films in the franchise. Weird! Notably, there are about 15 minutes of new footage in this movie.
War of the Gargantuas (1966) A Frankenstein Kaiju film!? This truly wild film was directed by Ishiro Honda but is nothing like the haunting allegory we find in the first Godzilla film. Though it is a similar allegory. For starters, its alternative title is Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira. The film features two huge creatures known as Gargantuas, which are created from matter shed by the original creature from Toho's earlier film Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965) (which also deserves a spot on this list). In that film, the Frankenstein creature was exposed to the effects of radiation from the atomic bomb, which resulted in its massive growth and aggression.