Film: Godzilla vs. Hedorah

"Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, also known as Godzilla vs. Hedorah, follows in the line of Godzillas Revenge, targeting it towards kids. Little kids. Little kids who get hopped up on sugar to the point that their brains operate on higher levels of existence and their super-sensory nerves subject them to a fantasy world that exceeds that of an adult on the most powerful narcotics known to science! Basically, I'm just trying to say this movie's really weird.... This movie's a mixture of horror, children's movie, '70s psychedelic exploitation, and... Godzilla."
James Rolfe, Godzillathon #11

Number 11 in the Godzilla series, Godzilla vs Hedorah (Gojira tai Hedora), also known as Godzilla vs the Smog Monster is one of the more surreal entries in the series.

Rampant pollution off the coast of Japan, combined with a mysterious lifeform that came on a meteorite, has created a monstrous pile of pollution. A researcher, Dr. Yano and his young son Ken are stricken by the creature's poisons upon discovering the creature, who begins making trouble on Japan's coast. The creature is named "Hedorah", after hedoro, the Japanese word for sludge. Ken keeps receiving visions that Godzilla has decided to take the matter in his own hands and is making his way to fight the creature. Though beaten back into the sea on their first encounter, Hedorah quickly adapts and grows in power, choking the streets with his creeping sludge and skeletonizing people where they stand with toxic gases left in his flying wake, and he even brings Godzilla to his knees. With the situation looking dire, a group of teenage hippies plan one final celebration of life on the slopes of Mount Fuji and Dr. Yano manages to find a weakness in Hedorah. Using giant electrodes, the creature can be killed by drying out. Though Hedorah manages to interfere with the power, Godzilla arrives to power them on with his atomic breath and fights harder to make sure Hedorah is Killed Off for Real even resorting to flying in pursuit using his atomic breath.

Tropes:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 0. Just about every major Japanese city gets choked up by Hedorah's sulfuric acid death clouds.
    "More than 16,000 dead have been reported, while other casualties are expected to exceed 30,000."
  • Bloody Murder: Hedorah's bodily fluids are just as corrosive as everything else he emits.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: There are a number of psychedelic instances in this film. They range from animation sequences with living factories to a guy hallucinating fish heads on other humans.
  • Eye Scream: Both Dr. Yano and Godzilla get half-blinded by Hedorah and then Hedorah gets a taste of it via Godzilla's fist.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: People being reduced to bones from Hedorah's sulfuric acid mist.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Godzilla's injuries at the hands of Hedorah.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The point is hammered home at the end that continued pollution could easily bring Hedorah back.See What Could Have Been on the Trivia page for more info
  • Green Aesop: If Godzilla is a metaphor for the danger of nuclear warfare, then Hedorah is one for enviromental damage. He was born of pollution, hurls sludge, and emits poison gas.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Hedorah is a very powerful and particularly gruesome monster, even by the series standards, and he nearly succeeds in killing Godzilla!
  • Muck Monster: Hedorah is not an animal in the same way that the other Kaiju are. He's actually a living mineral.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: An infamous case where Godzilla uses his breath to fly. note 
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Right after killing several people playing cards in a nightclub and oozing to the dance scene downstairs, thoroughly terrifying the partiers, Hedorah retreated, leaving a small cat covered in sludge but otherwise unharmed.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The characters in the Titan Productions dub (the 1972 U.S. theatrical release) insist on pronouncing Hedorah as Hee-drah. It gets confusing after a while.
  • Reality Ensues: No, a monster that feeds off pollution wouldn't be a good thing, as Dr. Yano clearly state.
  • Reactionary Fantasy: The story was written as a result of writer/director Yoshimitsu Banno reading Silent Spring.
  • Shout-Out: Hedorah makes an appearance on the cover of Sleep Dirt (1978) by Frank Zappa, designed by Gary Panter.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Newscasts throughout the film show just what kind of damage a monster attack has.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The victims of Hedorah and even Godzilla. His right hand is rendered partially skeletal after gouging out Hedorah's eye.
  • Walking Wasteland: Everywhere Hedorah goes becoming sludge infested and toxic.