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.
Followed by Godzilla vs. Gigan.
- Achilles' Heel: Hedorah is extremely strong and very hard to kill. However, it has a crippling weakness to electricity, which dries it out and kills it.
- 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."
- Art Shift: The cel animated segments depicting Hedorah's growth and the splitting of the atom.
- Bloody Murder: Hedorah's bodily fluids are just as corrosive as everything else he emits.
- Captain Obvious: No, a monster that feeds off pollution wouldn't be a good thing, as Dr. Yano clearly states.
- Death Glare: Godzilla appears to briefly direct one towards the humans after finally defeating Hedorah at the end of the film. He even appears to gesture towards them, as if to warn them that if they continue with their polluting ways and spawn another Hedorah, he will turn on them. Considering that one of the characters is shown reacting in fear (or at least being startled), it seems the message was received.
- 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.
- The End... Or Is It?: The point is hammered home at the end that continued pollution could easily bring Hedorah back.
- Evil Laugh: Some of Hedorah's gurgling roars appear to resemble deep-voiced laughter, and he appears to laugh several times during the occasions where he assumes his final form.
- Eye Beams: Hedorah's non-polution related attack.
- Eye Scream: Dr. Yano, Godzilla and Hedorah all suffer in this way. For the former two (who both lost an eye), it's the result of Hedorah's acid, but Hedorah suffers an injury to one of his eyes after Godzilla punches straight through it, and has to keep it closed to avoid losing it. Godzilla didn't really think this situation through however, as Hedorah closed his wounded eye over Godzilla's hand before he had a chance of pulling it out, ensuring that his acidic blood would burn all the flesh off the appendage. Once Godzilla and the electrodes begin to dry out Hedorah, the two orbs Godzilla rips out have been confirmed to be Hedorah's eyes, even though he's still seen possessing them in later shots.
- 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. In particular:
- Godzilla tries punching through one of Hedorah's eyes, only for the alien's acidic blood to burn all the flesh off his hand.
- Hedorah fires a chunk of his own body at one of Godzilla's eyes, causing it too to be burned away by the chemicals in Hedorah's flesh. An Eye for an Eye played out in quick succession.
- Hedorah hurls Godzilla into a pit, then begins discharging massive amounts of liquefied chemicals into the pit in an attempt to drown the King of the Monsters. He very nearly succeeds.
- Flying Firepower: Godzilla himself used his atomic breath as a form of propulsion. But only in this one film.
- Green Aesop: If Godzilla is a metaphor for the danger of nuclear warfare, then Hedorah is one for environmental 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!
- Meaningful Name: Ken calls the monster Hedorah because it lives in industrial sludge (hedoro) and polluted waters.
- Mood Whiplash: From intense fight against Hedorah and race against time to Godzilla flying backwards with upbeat music playing.
- Muck Monster: Hedorah is not an animal in the same way that the other Kaiju are. He's actually a living mineral alien.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: An infamous case where Godzilla uses his breath to fly. note
- No Animals Were Harmed: Played straight and averted. Averted in that Hedorah's presence in the sea kills millions upon millions of fish and other sea life. Played straight later on, in that right after killing several people playing cards in a nightclub on Mt. Fuji and oozing to the dance scene downstairs, thoroughly terrifying the partiers, Hedorah retreats to fight Godzilla, leaving a small cat covered in sludge but otherwise unharmed.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Godzilla dries Hedorah out till he's a husk, then rips out two things that appear to be eggs, dries those out, then when what's left of Hedorah escapes, Godzilla pursues, catches it, and drags it back at which point he rips it to shreds and makes very sure every last bit of him is electrocuted to dust. Justified, as due to Hedorah's nature more or less every last piece of him needs to be destroyed or he could come back.
- Non Sequitur: Miki randomly complements the Yano family's house in the international dub.
- 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.
- Psychic Radar: Ken has a vague mental connection with Godzilla that's never really addressed by any of the other characters.
- Sapient Building: The factory Hedorah eats in one of the animated sections is not only an actual character, but according to merchandise manufacturer Cast, who made an ornament out of it◊, the factory has a name too! Its name is 'Smog Factory', or Kogai Kojo in Japanese.
- 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.
- Too Dumb to Live: The teens organize an anti-pollution party on Mount Fuji. Okay, so far, so good. The idiocy shows when they drive their cars up to the spot (cars have been banned by the government in an attempt to reduce pollution) and light a huge bonfire in the middle of nowhere. Unsurprisingly, Hedorah shows up, no doubt attracted to the pollution the teens caused.
- They get even dumber when one of them randomly claims Hedorah's afraid of fire and they start flinging torches which are ridiculously tiny to the kaiju. Rather than run away when it's obvious the torches are doing nothing, they keep throwing them, which ends in Hedorah killing them all.
- Trash the Set: In addition to pouring ample amounts of chemical mixtures into miniatures and full-size sets, the 1965 Godzilla suit, first used in Invasion of Astro-Monster and used as a water scene suit since Son of Godzilla, was completely covered in sludge for the scene where Hedorah attempts to drown Godzilla. The suit was pulled out and cleaned up, but it had suffered so much damage through the years that it was finally given a well-deserved retirement.
- Walking Wasteland: Everywhere Hedorah goes becoming sludge infested and toxic.