Saturday, January 03, 2009
IT'S A GIANT MONSTER NEW YEAR!!!
At that point in the movie (about a half hour in) when I first saw GORGO as a kid during one of THE 4:30 MOVIE’s “Monster Week” festivals, I asked myself if that’s all there was and if so, why did GORGO have such a major rep when there were many other “urban renewal via leviathan” movies in which the title monster actually got down to the business of seriously fucking shit up? Well, GORGO turned out to be a clever exercise in patience because the title character isn’t the one to lay down the “skyscraper bump” (and at a mere thirty feet tall he didn’t stand much of a chance of that anyway): his fucking enormous mother is the lumbering, rubber-suited engine of destruction, and her rampage in search of her baby is one of the most unstoppable and memorable in the entire genre’s history. Plus it’s alluded to that Mama Gorgo may be the mythic “Orga,” a sea spirit known to those Irish islanders, and that bit of info helps us buy the monster’s utter imperviousness when faced with manmade weaponry. And, much like the following year’s MOTHRA (in my humble opinion the very best of the Japanese giant monster epics), once she achieves her objective, Mama Gorgo herds her young back to the depths of the sea, utterly ignoring man as the insignificant speck that he is (meanwhile, London lays smoldering in abject ruin, an open-air graveyard of rubble and crushed human bodies). THE END.
Seeing GORGO again, especially in such a gorgeous widescreen edition, brought me back to a happy moment from my childhood, and while the thrill of these city-demolishing monster flicks has taken on a much darker aspect since witnessing the horror of 9/11 with my own eyes, GORGO still remains untarnished and innocent, a cautionary tale about having the sense not to fuck with things man was not meant to have truck with, and was the perfect way for me to kiss the miserable year of 2008 a none-too-fond “adios.”
Then, on New Year’s Day, I called my old friend Lanei, a philosophy professor at Duquesne University, who has been a willing audience to many movies I’ve recommended over the years. I was delighted to find her watching the original KING KONG on Turner Classic Movies, finally filling in one of the glaring omissions in her filmic education and allowing her to understand just why that particular flick stands above all others in my estimation.
So the new year has begun with a return to three of my favorite monster movies and a dear friend discovering two of them and getting quite a kick out of them. I’m warm and fuzzy all over, and if that ain’t the way to start 2009 then I don’t know what is.
Posted by Bunche (pop culture ronin) at Saturday, January 03, 2009