Director: Jun Fukuda
Writer: Shinichi Sekizawa
Cast: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Chotaro Togin, Hideo Sunazuka, Toru Ibuki, Akihiko Hirata, Jun Tazaki, Toru Watanabe, Ikio Sawamura, Pair Bambi, Hideyo Amamoto, Hisaya Ito, Tadashi Okabe, Kazuo Suzuki, Shoichi Hirose, Noriko Honma, Chieko Nakakita, Seiji Ikeda, Yutaka Sada, Wataru Omae, Kenichiro Maruyama, Shigeki Ishida, Rinsaku Ogata, Yoshio Katsube, Haruo Nakajima, Yu Sekita, and Hideo Shibuya
Composer: Masaru Sato
Release Date: 12/17/1966
MPAA Rating: PG
Searching for his brother, Yata (Toru Ibuki), Ryota (Toru Watanabe) commandeers a boat with the assistance of two teenagers and a bank robber. Shortly thereafter, the passengers arrive on Letchi Island—a place where the Red Bamboo, a terrorist organization, has enslaved the native inhabitants of Infant Island (the birthplace of Mothra). Only with the aid of Godzilla—now slumbering in a giant cavern—can Ryota and his friends defeat Ebirah, a terrible sea creature guarding the island for the Red Bamboo.
Combining the narrative structure of a James Bond feature with the stylized monster action of a typical kaiju film, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (better known as Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster) is an incongruous entry in the Godzilla franchise. The adventure-themed subject matter of this production may, however, appeal to enthusiasts of the original King Kong (an early draft of Shinichi Sekizawa’s screenplay was in fact written with Kong in mind).
Hoping to defeat the Red Bamboo, the protagonists awaken Godzilla by channeling a bolt of lightning through his body. A possible homage to Frankenstein, the “resurrection” sequence on Letchi Island will likely captivate fans of Universal Studios’ iconic monster series.
For failing to complement the onscreen action at any given time, the musical choices for this film should be criticized. In one scene, for example, surfer music can be heard while Godzilla is attacked by a squadron of fighter planes—a decidedly inappropriate combination.
Also problematic are the monsters (i.e. a giant lobster and a giant condor) introduced in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, both of which lack the fighting prowess, physical strength, and motor coordination to present a formidable challenge to Godzilla—much in contrast to Gigan, King Ghidorah, and Mechagodzilla, all of whom possess certain abilities that, if utilized in a fair match, could realistically destroy the king of monsters.
As opposed to Gojira, Mothra, and Rodan (three kaiju films that explore the potential consequences of nuclear testing), Ebirah, Horror of the Deep employs the monster theme for entertainment purposes only, offering no serious commentary on real-world affairs.
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is a campy, underwhelming installment in the kaiju eiga series. Especially disappointing are the creature battles featured in this film, which, in addition to being rather brief, are a step-down from prior clashes involving Godzilla, Mothra, and other monsters included in Toho’s daikaiju line-up.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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