Movies & TV / Columns

A Bloody Good Time 04.19.12: The Top Ten Godzilla Monsters (That Aren’t Godzilla)

April 19, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)

Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.

Last week I presented my choices for the best horror films in the public domain. There were some asking about some other films, and for those that missed it, They Live, The Invisible Man, Psycho and The Birds are all owned by Universal and Phantasm is still owned by MGM. If you see these on public domain sites, you should probably alert them that they are, in fact, not public domain, if you want that site to stick around. They Live in particular, a point of contention with one of you, just had a home video release from Universal in 2009 and they are working on a blu-ray.

I also asked about this week’s topic, but if you’re reading it you already know what we’re getting to. Let’s see the rest of the feedback first.

Bill Fn Murray wrote: You missed Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13 which went into public domain. Night of the Living Dead gave us the modern zombie. Coppola gave us the modern ax murderer. Dark, weird, and violent.

I didn’t miss it, I just didn’t care for it all that much. I can certainly see why others do, it just fell flat for me. Personal preference and all that. Love the direction and score, but the acting and pacing don’t work for me.

AndrewCrow replied: I prefer the version of Nosferatu with the Type O Negative soundtrack, personally. There’s just something about Peter Steele’s (RIP) depressingly sardonic and menacingly beautiful croon that fits perfectly with the theme of the picture.

I don’t think I’ve watched that one. There have been several different versions so I think I’ll have to look this up this weekend.

Norvic said: Good list. Nosferatu is a brilliant piece of film making, and even today it is still really creepy – especially on the stairs and getting off the ship. The lighting and acting was just fantastic. And, as a (very) unofficial adaption of quite a complicated book it was actually one of the better ones that have been done over the years, including talkies.

Pretty much, yeah. It still holds up almost 100 years later, a lot more than some films five years ago do. There’s a reason classic movies are classic movies.

AG Awesome: Wow, I was convinced you were going to have FREAKS on here somewhere! Very surprised. Nice list for the most part though.

I’m not 100% on this, but I’m fairly sure that Freaks is still owned by MGM. My only real evidence here is that it doesn’t appear with the other PD movies of that era on the multi-film sets so I could be completely wrong.

Before I get going with this week, I would like to say that if you’re a fan of horror and you haven’t seen Cabin in the Woods, do so. Without even getting into the fact it’s a really smart and funny film, every horror fan should be able to appreciate the insanity of that second half. Personally, I loved the Hellraiser references. Right now it’s my favorite film of the year in any genre.

Now, let’s talk about Godzilla. Actually, let’s not talk about Godzilla. This week’s list isn’t about the Big G himself, because it would make things incredibly obvious and this list itself would be pointless just for a conclusion like that. If I made a top ten Godzilla monsters list that included Godzilla, of course he’d be #1! I’m pretty sure I’d be lynched by a mob of Toho enthusiasts if I said otherwise. So to make the list a little more unpredictable (I hope), this will be a top ten list of Godzilla’s friends and enemies that have appeared in the series.

I will say that my picks tend to skew towards the Heisei series of films, so yours may vary if that’s not your favorite line of Godzilla movies.

#10: Jet Jaguar

And there goes all of the fans, leaving in droves. Wait, come back! Jet Jaguar is considered a joke by some, but as a kid, I thought he was the coolest guy ever. Which is why he still makes this list at #10. He was made during the really kid-friendly era of the Godzilla films and he was supposed to make kids want to buy toys of him. It worked, because who the hell wouldn’t want a man-sized robot that can grow gigantic and fight monsters. Unlike the T-Rex, you wouldn’t have to worry about Jet Jaguar eating you!

It’s sad that Jet Jaguar only appeared in Godzilla vs Megalon and nothing else. He was a cool robot and maybe could have helped Godzilla again. At the very least he could have showed up in Final Wars as a nod to the fans. He didn’t even get his own series to star in, even though Godzilla vs Megalon was originally intended to be Jet Jaguar vs Megalon. To all those who hate him, I present the best possible defense for this guy. His music:

#9: Rodan

Rodan’s one of the oldest of Toho’s monsters, appearing just two years after Godzilla did, in his own film no less. He’s fought Godzilla, and he’s fought with Godzilla. Rodan first appears to fight Godzilla, but is convinced by Mothra to work with him against Ghidorah. This caused both monsters to turn good, as before this Godzilla had been the bad guy. But considering how evil and destructive Ghidorah is, someone would have to turn good to save the world.

He’s a mutated pteradon and has all sorts of neat abilities. He’s got spikes on his chest, he can fly at supersonic speeds and can let out sonic booms or hurricane winds. He may just look like a flying nuisance to the untrained eye, but Rodan would not have lasted this long if he couldn’t hold his own. Fire Rodan’s even cooler, as he’s stronger and can fire a heat beam from his mouth, among other things.

#8: SpaceGodzilla

At first glance, SpaceGodzilla is just regular Godzilla, but from space. But that makes sense, because he likely came from Godzilla’s cells, either through Mothra or Biollante going into space. Not only does this crystal-shouldered behemoth have most of Godzilla’s own abilities, but he can fly and control gravity. He can also create crystals that come out of the grown to charge his powers and can be used as projectile weapons.

This is where my Heisei bias starts to come into focus because to most fans, there’s no real reason why SpaceGodzilla should rank. He only appears in one film and is soundly defeated by Godzilla. But he did provide Godzilla with a tough opponent while he was alive, and is one of the monsters that is pure evil. He only exists to kill Godzilla. He even kidnaps his offspring at one point! He’s a worthy adversary that will hopefully make appearances in the future.

#7: Mothra

There is no other monster on this list that can make the claim of being the Guardian of Earth, but Mothra can. Mothra has never been portrayed as evil, at least from what I’ve seen, and the only reason she ever attacks Tokyo is because of some evil businessman decided to keep her twin messengers. She was just trying to get what was hers back. From then on she’s been portrayed as a force for good and usually either teams with Godzilla or fights him, depending on which side he’s on at the time.

Since Mothra is a giant moth, she also has a larvae stage with two twin caterpillars. The insects are babies, but still able to fight on their own and have actually defeated Godzilla before. The larvae have a better success rate against Godzilla than Mothra does, because she’s actually been killed by him twice. Mothra is also the monster to turn Godzilla good for the first time, as pointed out above. She makes this list not because she’s good, but because she wins so much. She has one of the highest win rates of any of the Toho monsters!

#6: Biollante

Here’s another monster from the Heisei series that for some reason never made another appearance. I find this odd considering Biollante not only defeated Godzilla, but took off afterwards and left the character available for more appearances. It’s not often that Godzilla is defeated and doesn’t at least get a rematch against the foe to prove himself. But that happened with Biollante.

Like SpaceGodzilla, this creature was made with tissue samples from Godzilla after he destroyed Tokyo. He used his daughter’s DNA, combined with plants and Godzilla’s DNA to unknowingly create this bizarre monstrosity. Godzilla actually defeated the early rose form of Biollante, only for the more evil-looking version to spring forth and smack him around for daring to rise against her. It’s not every day you get a monster that can actually eat Godzilla, as the poster for this film showed the creature attempting to do.

#5: King Kong

This is for Toho’s version of Kong, because otherwise he’d probably be much higher. Kong is another monster to defeat Godzilla and then go his own way, but at least he would return in his own Toho films, even if he never crossed paths with Godzilla again. King Kong in the Toho films is able to conduct electricity (and is also immune to it) and he stands much much taller than any American version of the beast.

He also has the attributes that an ape would, such as the strength and ability to grab and throw things. This helps when he’s launching giant boulders at his opponent. Godzilla’s not even the only monster that Kong faces, as before that colossal fight he makes a giant octopus run away. Kong, like Godzilla would become later, is a force of nature with no real allegiance one way or another. He’s just an animal. So the Japanese government decides that instead of letting him destroy Tokyo, they’ll put him in the path of the (at the time) evil Godzilla and let them finish each other off.

#4: Destoroyah

Just look at this thing. If we were ranking this list on looks alone, Destoroyah would be #1. Thie creature just looks like it could seriously mess any of these other monsters up, and it does almost kill Godzilla in what was to be the final film of the Heisei series and Godzilla’s final film for four years, when the Millennium series began. Destoroyah is one of the strongest villains Godzilla’s ever faced, and that’s why he’s ranked as high as he was. Really, if it wasn’t for the Japan Self-Defense Forces and The Super X-III, Destoroyah may have ended up killing Godzilla, who was already suffering from a meltdown.

Destoroyah has several different forms over the course of his movie. He has his crab form, which when exposed to the same Oxygen Destroyer that killed the original Godzilla, turn him into a series of grotesque monsters. The Juvenile form is man sized, and there were several of them, killing many humans in the streets. They threw themselves together and created a new form, before turning into a flying form and then finally the power plant irradiated version you see above. There’s no doubt that this monster had what it took to take down Godzilla if he didn’t have help.

#3: Gigan

Gigan has all the tools necessary to defeat any monster, because he was built that way. The creature is not only a cyborg, but an alien cyborg and comes equipped with a buzzsaw chest and giant hooks for hands, as well as eye beams and the ability to fly. Gigan can also teleport (in the games), fire grappling cables and razor discs. And that’s before he gets chainsaw arms in Final Wars. There’s not many of Godzilla’s foes that are as dangerous as Gigan. Unlike Destoroyah, he also has the advantage of making several appearances in the film series.

Gigan made his first appearance in Godzilla vs Gigan, where he teamed with King Ghidorah against Godzilla and Anguirus. I’m still not sure how Anguirus was able to help defeat the pair, because Anguirus generally sucks. But when he was teamed with Megalon in the next movie, only another robot in Jet Jaguar could stop him. Yeah, Jet Jaguar defeated Gigan. Don’t ever question him being on this list. Final Wars is when the monster was at his most powerful, which is probably why he’s at #3. If it were just his earlier appearances, his defeats even when teamed with powerful allies may have knocked him off.

#2: Mechagodzilla

If we’re talking about mechanized beings that fight Godzilla, you can’t go wrong with Godzilla’s robotic counterpart. When this creation first appeared, it was actually wearing a disguise to make everyone believe Godzilla had become evil again. Of course Anguirus tried to stop him, but then Anguirus got his jaw broken and had to run away. Only Godzilla himself could stop this threat, and even then he needed…King Caesar. Okay let’s just strike that from the record, it makes everyone look bad.

Mechagodzilla appeared in five Godzilla films, and he wasn’t always a force for evil. In the Millennium series, he was called Kiyru and was a force for good against an evil Godzilla, harboring a skeleton of the original Godzilla inside. He was also designed by the government in the Heisei series to destroy monsters as well. These versions tend to be more popular with some fans. I could list all of Mechagodzilla’s powers, but it would take a long, long time. He’s had various tools and gadgets over the course of the series. Missiles, laser beams, shock cables, plasma grenades, this thing has it all.

#1: King Ghidorah

Three heads, gold skin, the strongest and most prevalent of all of Godzilla’s enemies. Ghidorah is a monster so powerful that in Destroy All Monsters it took ten monsters to defeat him, including Big G. No other monster on this list can claim that. Sure, some of the monsters happened to be Anguirus, and minor threats like Kumonga, but it counts! Ghidorah comes from space, like Gigan, but he’s way more powerful. He’s appeared in six Godzilla films, not including Keizer Ghidorah in Final Wars.

Why is this monster so awesome? Could it be the fact that he’s a three-headed golden dragon? Could it be the fact he shoots lightning from his mouths? The answer is yes. Ghidorah is the ultimate Godzilla villain and it usually takes more than one monster to defeat him. If you do manage to defeat him, good luck because he’ll probably come back stronger or with an ally. My favorite version is the Heisei version, because then we get Mecha-Ghidorah. Two dragon heads, one robot head, lots of destruction.

That’s it for me. Which monster is your favorite? Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week sees the actual release of The Raven, so I’m finally doing the Poe column. See you then.

Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)

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Joseph Lee

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