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Film / Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

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"Listen, I've done some crazy things in my life, but I've never stuck my head inside of a hornet's nest!"
Yoshimura to Yata, in the Titan Productions dub of the Walter-Reade TV version.

Number seven in the long running Godzilla series, this film started life as a King Kong project until the proposal was rejected in favor of King Kong Escapes. Not wanting to put the script or monster costumes to waste, the film switched stars to Godzilla. Known in Japan as Gojira, Ebira, Mosura Nankai no Daikettō, in the States it was best known for many years as Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.

The film begins with a young man, Yata, becoming lost at sea. His brother Ryota, certain that he's still alive out there sets out on a stolen yacht with two friends and a bank robber to search for him. On their excursion, they narrowly avoid destruction at the hands of Ebirah, a colossal crustacean guarding an island base home to a terrorist syndicate called the Red Bamboo. Using a special chemical, the Red Bamboo are able to repel their ships from Ebirah's wrath and have enslaved the natives of nearby Infant Island to produce the stuff. Evading capture, Ryota and crew meet a young native woman Dayo, who brings them to a cave on the island where Godzilla is currently slumbering. A plan is hatched to wake Godzilla with a lightning rod in order to get rid of Ebirah and the Red Bamboo and the slaves to escape and summon Mothra in order to rescue them.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

Followed by Son of Godzilla.

The film provides examples of

  • Actor Allusion: Akihiko Hirata played another eyepatch-wearing character in 1954, but is a tragic hero in that film. Here, he's a villain.
  • Antagonist Title: Ebirah is both the title character and the movie's chief kaiju antagonist.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Godzilla rips off Ebirah's claws during their second battle.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Literally! Godzilla is not on any side of the conflict, and is just a neutral third party tucked away in a deep sleep on the island. Once he wakes up, everything goes absolutely haywire for the previously untouchable Red Bamboo as neither they nor their shrimp are equipped to handle the radioactive dinosaur.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After being inactive for most of the film, Mothra finally acts in the climax, charging in to save the trapped heroes and islanders. It even squares off with Godzilla again in the process.
  • Bottle Episode: The bulk of the film takes place on an island with no huge city sets and the ocean. Though there is an enemy fortress for Godzilla to stomp on.
  • Breather Episode: The film takes place after the Darker and Edgier Invasion of Astro-Monster, and while the film does have its dark moments, it's not overshadowed by an Alien Invasion with three monsters, and two Star-Crossed Lovers ends in a tragedy (for the male's Love Interest).
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Yoshimura's lock pick, used to break into the Red Bamboo base.
    • The Infant Islander machete the group find shortly after washing ashore and the coil of wire Dayo takes from the Red Bamboo base to wear as a necklace, both of which are later used as a makeshift lightning rod to wake Godzilla up.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: According to Ryota, Yata always tries to help people who are in trouble.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Neither the Red Bamboo or Ebirah are referred to by name in the Titan dub.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: Or bird, in this case. Dayo brings along a captured bird as the group tries to sneak into the base, and releases it when one of the men stumbles, deceiving the wary guards.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Red Bamboo's forces don't stand a chance against Godzilla, and Ebirah fares little better.
  • The Dragon: Captain Ryuui to the Red Bamboo commander and Ebirah to the Red Bamboo.
    • Dragon-in-Chief: Ebirah is the main reason the Red Bamboo are even a threat to the main characters and fear of him is how they keep their slaves in line. After he kills the Red Bamboo's main commanders, he becomes a Dragon Ascendant.
  • Dressed to Oppress: Red Bamboo's leaders bear grey uniforms, white Commissar Caps, and in one case, a blinged-out Eyepatch of Power.
  • Dub Name Change: Captain Ryuui is renamed as "Commander Yamoto" in the English version.
  • Eye Patch Of Power: Captain Ryuui.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ebirah eventually kills the entire Red Bamboo when they're escaping on one of their own ships. Really should have double checked that repellant liquid, Captain...
  • Fearless Fool: Yota is so intent on helping the kidnapped Infant Islanders he charges in blindly without any sort of a plan. While Godzilla is attacking.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Ebirah, though he's more of a Giant Enemy Lobster, or if you go by the name itself, a shrimp.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The main characters decides to awaken Godzilla by using lightning in order to have him fight Ebirah and Red Bamboo. It arguably works too well as Godzilla goes trashing the base and nearly kills the slaves at one point by accident.
  • Helicopter Flyswatter: Every one of the Red Bamboo's jets is dispatched in this manner. Godzilla catches some with his hands, bats others with his head, and even swats one with his tail!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After their repellant liquid fails, the Red Bamboo are killed by their own pet monster Ebirah in exactly the same way they'd used it to dispatch any trespassers in their territory.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: None of the copious amount of bullets fired hit their target, with the exception of Captain Ryuui, who manages to shoot from some distance a rope tying down a balloon.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bank robber Yoshimura is abrasive, openly derides his new companions and makes no secret of hating the situation they're stuck in. However, as the movie goes on he begins to soften, taking charge of the efforts to defy the Red Bamboo, chasing after Yota to save him when he stupidly charges in to save the islanders and even commenting in the climax he'll go straight from now on.
  • Karmic Death: The Red Bamboo, a nuclear armed terrorist organization, are all destroyed either by the monster they controlled, another monster born from nuclear weapons tests, or their own bombs when they went off.
  • Living Macguffin: Ryota's determination to find his missing brother is what gets the movie started.
  • Mars Needs Women: Godzilla's apparent attraction to Dayo, a leftover element from when this was supposed to be a King Kong movie.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • The heroes collectively gasp in horror once they realize they happen to be sharing a cave with something far worse than either the Red Bamboo or the Giant Enemy Crab: Godzilla.
    • The Red Bamboo themselves react this way twice: First when Godzilla suddenly appears while they're chasing Dayo, and later when they realize the repellant liquid isn't working on Ebirah as they attempt to flee the island.
  • Master of Unlocking: Yoshimura. Justified as he's actually a bank robber, so picking locks is his stock in trade.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: The heroes adopt this strategy to sneak into the Red Bamboo base, aided by the additional ploy of bringing along a captive bird to release if anyone gets suspicious.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Dayo. She is so sexy that even the King of the Monsters himself is entranced by her. note 
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: The Red Bamboo. Beyond being nuclear-armed Far East Asian Terrorists that like to use slaves, nothing is really specified about them.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Or the posters for that matter. Godzilla tussles with Mothra briefly out of just being a curmudgeony jerk it seems, but there's no three way battle between the leading monsters.
  • Nominal Hero: Godzilla plays a big role in thwarting the villains, but only because they're an annoyance. The heroes' plight means nothing to him and he barely pays them any mind.
  • On Second Thought: When planning their first raid on the Red Bamboo base, Nita declares he's staying behind. Then he notices Godzilla is sleeping in the cave and says, "I'll go too!"
  • Out of Character: Godzilla's behavior patterns. This is clearly evident when he first sees Dayo, and he certainly did not care about humans since his first appearance in Godzilla Raids Again. His belligerence towards Mothra counts as well, since they were allies at this point in the series. Partly justified when the role was originally given to King Kong, whom had never met Mothra at all before. So in hindsight, Godzilla is playing as King Kong in this film.
    • This also extends to other actions scenes. The first fight with Ebirah has a sequence in which Godzilla is pulled underwater and the film plays this up as a threat. For Kong, drowning would be an issue. Not so much for the amphibious Godzilla.
  • Random Encounter: The giant condor comes out of literally nowhere with no indication before, or after, that it existed. The only reason it seems to be there is to give Godzilla one more thing to fight, and it’s such an unmemorable monster it doesn’t even have an official name.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: When Godzilla starts thrashing around the place, the bad guys set a nuclear detonator to destroy the entire island.
  • Ship Tease: Notable in that this is the only film where Godzilla ever displays interest in a human, but that's what happens when he catches sight of Dayo, turns docile immediately and nods off. Dayo herself takes a shine to the big guy from the incident and even expresses some rare sympathy for him at the end. This is mostly a holdover from the film's original vision as a King Kong vehicle.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The survivors and slaves can't hope to defeat Red Bamboo or Ebirah by themselves, so they awaken an even bigger monster to the job for them.
  • Super-Powered Shrimp: Ebirah is a kaiju-sized shrimp that is controlled by the Red Bamboo as a bodyguard and warden to keep their slaves on the island. Outside of its size, it has little else going for it, leaving it the victim of a Curb-Stomp Battle from Godzilla.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Downplayed in that he's more of an antihero in this film, but near the end, Dayo expresses feeling sympathy for Godzilla and not wishing to see him come to any harm when the island is set to explode. This prompts all the people to call to him to get off the island before it's too late while they're being carried away by Mothra, and they're happy when they see he does.
  • Tennis Boss: Godzilla and Ebirah volley a boulder back and forth at each other in their first encounter.
  • Villains Out Shopping: While not exactly villainous here, up until this point, Godzilla was a major threat to humanity. Here though, it can be interpreted that he's just taking a vacation since throughout the first half of us seeing him, he's just napping.
  • Waist-Deep Ocean: The fight between Godzilla and Ebirah alternates between taking place on the surface and underwater — with both kaiju alternating between being waist-deep and fully submerged.