Synopsis: Best-selling author Jeff Callum (Patrick Allen) and his wife Frankie (Sarah Lawson) own an inn called the Swan on England’s remote Faro Island. Even though it’s midwinter in the U. K., Faro Island is experiencing unprecedented stifling heat.
A young woman named Angela arrives on the island in her sports car, which soon overheats. When she finally makes it to the Swan she tells Frankie that she is Callum’s new secretary, sent by the temporary agency. But when Jeff Callum goes out to meet her he is furious — he had previously had an affair with Angela, and she’s clearly arrived in order to rekindle their relationship. Knowing that to dismiss Angela immediately would make Frankie suspicious, he decides to carry on under the pretense that she is simply his secretary.
Angela takes up residence in the cozy inn; the only other guest seems to be a very tall, humorless scientist named Hanson (Christopher Lee) who is quite rude and interested only in his experiments. He has lots of electronic instruments in his room and mucks around in the countryside with cameras and tripwires.
Meanwhile, the townspeople have been hearing an unusual sound in the village — a whirring, whining noise that grows closer and then fades away. And one by one, villagers turn up dead, their bodies burned to ashes.
No doubt intrigued by the exploitation possibilities of a title like Night of the Big Heat, the French home video distributor of this film shot some pornographic scenes using actresses who could pass as Jane Merrow and Sarah Lawson. I think we can chalk that up as another first for the Horror Incorporated Project.
Synopsis: Ichiro (Tomonori Yazaki) is a lonely schoolboy who lives in Tokyo. His parents work long hours and have little time to spend with him. He loves monster movies, and by far his favorite monster is Godzilla, whom he sees as almost infinitely powerful. Ichiro is constantly being harassed by a local bully named Gabara and his gang, and his only escape from this dreary existence is dreaming of being on Monster Island, where he watches powerful creatures engage in fierce battles. On the island he befriends Godzilla’s son Minya. Minya is about Ichiro’s size (though he can grow somewhat larger when he chooses to do so) and he can also speak. He tells Ichiro that he himself is being bullied by one of the young monsters on the island — a monster, coincidentally, that is also named Gabara.
Minya wants very much to be like his father, but he isn’t very big by juvenile monster standards; and he isn’t able to breath fire like his father either. In spite of his best efforts all he can do is puff out comical smoke rings.
Nevertheless, Godzilla has impressed upon his son the importance of standing up to bullies. Minya learns that he can defeat Gabara by being brave and standing his ground.
In the real world, Ichiro tries to take this lesson to heart. But he gets more than he bargained for when he’s kidnapped by a pair of bumbling bank robbers….
Comments: As a kid I was a big fan of Godzilla movies, and I still have a great deal of affection for them. But even as a small child I hated Godzilla’s Revenge, which is widely regarded as the worst Godzilla film ever made.
And with good reason. This movie is dreadful for lots of different reasons: it’s silly; it talks down to kids; there is little of importance at stake; the action in the movie is essentially a dream; and worst if all, it is (to borrow from the parlance of television) a clip show.
Most of the Monster Island footage was cobbled together from earlier pictures (even the scene where Godzilla tries to teach Minya how to breathe fire is taken from 1967’s not-quite-as-terrible Son of Godzilla). As a cheap and cynical way to wring a few more pennies out of dying franchise, it’s a great idea. As a way to maintain the viability of said franchise, not so much.
To be fair, Toho seemed confident that their kaiju films had run their course. 1968’s Destroy All Monsters was supposed to be the final film in a series that was becoming visibly threadbare. Series weren’t “rebooted” or “reimagined” in the way they are nowadays. Instead, studios just ran their franchises into the ground and walked away. But Godzilla wasn’t an ordinary character like Charlie Chan or Francis the Talking Mule; he had captured the imaginations of moviegoers and he would be back. The results weren’t always great, but they were usually interesting.
All the same, Godzilla’s Revenge is unquestionably the low point, the indisputable nadir of the franchise. And no matter how many more Godzilla movies are made, I’m confident you’ll still be able to say that.