Some of my earliest memories of being a kid are of going to the local Blockbuster Video with my mother every Thursday. My father worked during the week and my mother didn’t drive so we usually walked there and back. The route there, the streets and the one bike track through the woods that came out between a used car lot and a bowling alley, are still vivid in my mind. So is the seedy strip mall the Blockbuster was located on the outer edge of, the one with the Supersaver Megastore that was full of mutants and the parking lot that housed Batshit Pete, the possibly extraterrestrial meth addict slash salesmen who gave me weekly recommendations of movies that didn’t exist.
When I was about four or five I was absolutely obsessed with the original Toho Studios Godzilla films. I first saw the 1956 American re-edit of the original 1954 Japanese film where they spliced a few scenes of Raymond Burr in to make it more palatable to Western audiences, then I saw the original (and far superior) version. Every week after that I took home another one of the vs movies: King Kong, Mothra, Ghidorah, Astro-Monster, Hedorah, Son of Godzilla, Gigan, Megalon, Mechagodzilla; I loved them all, even if today I couldn’t tell you one from the other. One weekend around this time I went to a computer fair with my father and came out with just one purchase: a Godzilla Movie Studio Tour CD-Rom which is probably still buried somewhere in my parents’ house. The CD had a virtual movie studio where you could find all the old Godzilla movie posters, clips from some of the movies, and an interactive encyclopaedia of all the different monsters. But best of all were the Film Studio, Sound Studio, and Publicity Department sections, where you could edit together your own Frankenstein bastard film using clips from different Godzilla movies, layer it with your own soundtrack and sound effects, and then photoshop your own movie poster to go with it. All up there was probably less than half an hour’s worth of footage on there but I spent a thousand times that obsessing over that CD.
When I heard there was a new Godzilla movie coming out, a big budget American one, that would actually play in theatres, it was about the most excited I could be until I hit sexual maturity. The hype machine was in overload. Godzilla marketing was everywhere, on TV, on the radio, on billboards, in food packaging. I ate more two minute noodles than at any other time in my life in order to collect all the limited edition Godzilla trading cards that came with them. I watched the behind the scenes specials that aired on TV in the lead up to the film’s premiere, and I devoured the novelisation that came out a few weeks before.
Finally Godzilla came out, and I was first in line right beside my ever-suffering mother. You all know how that movie turned out. Ferris Bueller, the Professional, a couple of Simpsons voice actors, that chick that looked like a cross between Anne Heche and Leslie Mann but wasn’t either and was never seen in another movie again, and a fuckload of fish, all in a kaiju-sized turd directed by the guys that would later go on to produce such illustrious fare as 2012, 10 000 BC and Eight Legged Freaks. Was I crushed that America had once again shit all over this movie series I cherished so much? Hell no. I was six. I loved Godzilla.