Monster Zero


1h 33m 1970
Monster Zero

Brief Synopsis

Godzilla teams up with Rodan and is sent to Planet X to destroy Monster Zero, but the aliens reprogram the monsters and send all three back to destroy Earth....

Film Details

Also Known As
Battle of the Astros, Invasion of Astro-Monsters, Invasion of the Astros, Kaiju daisenso
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Horror
Foreign
Sequel
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1970

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m

Synopsis

Aliens try to use Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan to take over the planet.

Videos

Movie Clip

Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965) - I Am The Controller Astronauts Glenn (NOT John) and Fuji (Nick Adams, Akira Takarada) landing on newfound Planet X, look to plant their “World Space Authority” flag, when they hear, unexpectedly, from Yoshio Tsuchiya, voice of “The Controller,” in the Japanese-made Invasion Of Astro-Monster, (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero)1965.
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965) - Are You Sure It's Safe? The “Controller” (Yoshio Tsuchiya) and humanoids from Planet X were not invited to Earth, but, having proven they can locate both Godzilla and Mothra, astronauts Fuji and Glenn (Akira Takarada, Nick Adams), checking in with sister and girlfriend (Keiko Sawai, Kumi Mizuno), agree they should travel back with them, in Invasion Of Astro-Monster, (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero)1965.
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965) - An Historical Battle Godzilla and Rodan, borrowed from Earth and accompanied by Glenn, Fuji and Sakurai (Nick Adams, Akira Takarada, Jun Tazaki), are sent straight into battle with the monster that’s been dominating The Controller (Yoshio Tsuchiya) and other Planet X weirdos, in Invasion Of Astro-Monster, (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero)1965.
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965) - I Will Show You Monster Zero Earth guys Glenn and Fuji (Nick Adams, Akira Takarada) are now underground on Planet X where “The Controller” (Yoshio Tsuchiya) and his posse explain about “Monster Zero” (which they recognize as “Ghidira” from the previous Toho Studio “Monster Rally” film), in Invasion Of Astro-Monster, (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero)1965.
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965) - World Space Authority A quick prologue, then Hollywood’s Nick Adams and Toho Studios/Godzilla regular Akira Takarada appear as “World Space Authority” astronauts, Jun Tazaki their boss, Keiko Sawai sister Haruno, Akira Kubo her boyfriend Tetsuo, in the Japanese-made Invasion Of Astro-Monster, (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero)1965.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Battle of the Astros, Invasion of Astro-Monsters, Invasion of the Astros, Kaiju daisenso
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Horror
Foreign
Sequel
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1970

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m

Articles

Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero


Monster Zero was the title that appeared onscreen and on movie posters, trailers, and television ads during the July, 1970 American release of Kaijû daisensô, the sixth feature film featuring Godzilla (Gojira); the movie was originally released in December, 1965 in Japan. When shown on American television and first released to home video, the title was lengthened to Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. The international title for the movie (and Toho's preferred English-language title today) is Invasion of Astro-Monster, although in some studio-sanctioned texts it appears as The Great Monster War - a more literal translation of the original title. By whichever name, this elaborate production was the second All-Star "Monster Rally" turned out by Toho Studio and it featured wild visuals, personable monsters, science fiction trappings, and a healthy dose of destruction, humor, and mild slapstick for the kiddie matinee market.

Monster Zero was a direct follow-up to Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (San daikaijû: Chikyû saidai no kessen, 1964), which had teamed Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra against a new menace - a three-headed space dragon (known as Ghidrah in America). Ghidorah was a hit in both Japan and America, so its tone and themes were expanded upon for Monster Zero; once again Japan's mightiest monsters were enlisted to defend a world against Ghidorah, but here that world is the mysterious Planet X. Alien invaders had been another mainstay of Toho Studio, in films such as The Mysterians (Chikyû Bôeigun, 1957) and Battle in Outer Space (Uchû daisensô, 1959); with Monster Zero the two genres would be thoroughly enmeshed and would set the pattern for many of the subsequent Godzilla films.

The plot is pure space opera, and it is the first Godzilla film set in the near future rather than the present. Scientist Dr. Sakurai (Jun Tazaki) of the United Nations Space Authority has discovered a previously unknown planet beyond the orbit of Jupiter, which he dubs Planet X. Astronauts Glenn Amer (Nick Adams) and K. Fuji (Akira Takarada) are sent to investigate the strong radio waves emanating from the new world, which Sakurai theorizes are causing terrible atmospheric disturbances on Earth. Amer and Fuji arrive in their Gemini-styled spacecraft and are immediately held by the Controller (Yoshio Tsuchiya in a vivid performance), the apparent leader of the humanoids of the planet. His superior race now lives underground, driven there by frequent attacks by Ghidorah the space dragon, called "Monster Zero" by the inhabitants of Planet X. The Controller offers to rid the Earth of all disease if they will loan Godzilla and Rodan to them to vanquish King Ghidorah. Meanwhile, Fuji's sister Haruno (Keiko Sawai) is dating a goofy young inventor named Tetsuo Teri (Akira Kubo). Tetsuo has invented a small device which emits a shrieking sound; this catches the attention of Miss Namikawa (Kumi Mizuno), the representative of a large, mysterious corporation. Coincidentally, Miss Namikawa has also just started dating Glenn the astronaut. Spaceships from Planet X appear on Earth and collect the sleeping Godzilla and Rodan to transport them for battle on their planet; soon after the fight with Ghidorah it becomes obvious that the Controller has no intention of living up to his part of the bargain with the people of Earth.

In producing Monster Zero, Toho Studio worked with an American co-producer, Henry G. Saperstein. In the early 1960s Saperstein bought the American animation studio UPA, which had flourished in the 1950s producing commercials for television and theatrical shorts for distribution by Columbia Pictures. With the decline of theatrical cartoons, Saperstein shifted focus to television and found success with the Mr. Magoo series and specials. Saperstein sought out new theatrical opportunities and was specifically interested in Japanese monsters. In the audio commentary for the 2007 DVD release, Stuart Galbraith IV notes that Saperstein first acquired the American distribution rights to Mothra vs. Godzilla (Mosura tai Gojira, 1964), but sold the rights to American International Pictures after failing to secure proper distribution. Saperstein threw himself into learning Japanese business etiquette, and took courses at UCLA to learn the language. His first co-production with Toho was Frankenstein Conquers the World (Furankenshutain tai chitei kaijû Baragon, 1965), for which he brought on American actor Nick Adams as the lead protagonist. AIP also distributed this film in the United States, but it was Saperstein's attempt to break away from AIP which led to the nearly five-year delay in exhibiting Monster Zero in America. Saperstein had a falling-out with Sam Arkoff of AIP over the release of What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), the Woody Allen-scripted comedy redubbing of the Toho crime thriller Kagi No Kagi (1964). Monster Zero was eventually distributed by the small Maron Films as a co-feature with The War of the Gargantuas (Furankenshutain no kaijû: Sanda tai Gaira, 1968), another Toho-Saperstein co-production.

Monster Zero was the second kaiju film that American actor Nick Adams made in Japan. Adams had been acting in films since the early 1950s, had starred in the TV series The Rebel (1959-1961), and in 1964 was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in the courtroom drama Twilight of Honor (1963). He was not able to parlay that acclaim into more American film roles, however. Following several parts in episodic TV, Adams made Frankenstein Conquers the World for producer Saperstein and Toho, followed by Monster Zero. Adams saw a future for himself in Japanese film roles, and he made a study of the film industry in Japan and also immersed himself in Japanese culture. The result was a film he co-produced himself, the crime thriller The Killing Bottle (Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Zettai zetsumei, 1967), which received very little play in the West. Toho actress and cult film favorite Kumi Mizuno co-starred in all three of Adams' films in Japan and, according to Galbraith, the two shared an off-screen relationship which led to a separation of Adams and his wife.

The Godzilla on view in Monster Zero is the hero-of-mankind persona that first appeared in the earlier Ghidorah film. Making him even more appealing to the kid audience, the Godzilla suit was further softened, with less pointy dorsal fins and larger, more expressive eyes. The most controversial shot of the film occurs when Ghidorah is trounced on Planet X - Godzilla indulges in a victory jig, forever dividing fans of the series between those who prefer the menacing and malevolent monster of the earlier titles in the series and those who enjoyed the friendlier, goofy nature of the later entries. The dance seen in the film was called the "Jumping Shie", and was (according to Godzilla lore) suggested by actor Yoshio Tsuchiya to special effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya, on the assumption that it would humanize the Godzilla character and increase his audience appeal. In August Ragone's Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters (Chronicle Books, 2007) the author says that "this comical maneuver was inspired by Fujio Akatsuka's popular slapstick manga [comic book] Oso Matsu-kun, whose main character would jump up in a peculiar pose while shouting 'Shie!' Despite complaints that this might undermine the picture's credibility, Tsuburaya thought quite the opposite, believing this moment would add character to Godzilla and make audiences roar with laughter and applause - which it did."

Monster Zero saw some advances in the special effects over the previous entry in the series. Ragone makes note of the "...breathtaking optical composites by Yukio Manoda and Hiroshi Mukoyama. These high-resolution composites are exceptionally clean, with nearly flawless matte sync for their time." There were a number of different scale models created of the monsters, such as sleeping versions of Godzilla and Rodan, and small mechanical puppets used in long shots. Of special note, Tsuburaya and the effects team created a 6.5-foot-tall mockup of Godzilla's leg and foot, built especially to crush larger-than-normal model buildings for added impact in close-ups. Although the prop leg caused the crew a lot of trouble, it resulted in some spectacular destruction shots. Although much time and effort was spent on new effects, the film borrowed some stock destruction footage from the earlier Rodan (Sora no daikaijû Radon, 1956) and Mothra (Mosura, 1961). Monster Zero would be the last film to utilize the entire Toho visual effects staff that had been built up since Gojira. As contracts expired, many of the in-demand personnel left Toho to form their own companies and sometimes work on competing monster pictures.

For American fans, Monster Zero threw the natural evolution of Godzilla films out of whack once it finally reached the screen. Three subsequently-produced Toho films had been seen by Western audiences by the summer of 1968; Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster (Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto, 1966) and Son of Godzilla (Kaijûtô no kessen: Gojira no musuko, 1967) had both been on television, and an even bigger Monster Rally, Destroy All Monsters (Kaijû sôshingeki, 1968) had hit the drive-ins.

Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Director: Ishirô Honda
Screenplay: Shinichi Sekizawa
Cinematography: Hajime Koizumi
Special Effects Director: Eiji Tsuburaya
Art Direction: Takeo Kita
Music: Akira Ifukube
Film Editing: Ryohei Fujii
Cast: Nick Adams (Astronaut Glenn Amer), Akira Takarada (Astronaut K. Fuji), Jun Tazaki (Dr. Sakurai), Akira Kubo (Tetsuo Teri), Kumi Mizuno (Miss Namikawa), Keiko Sawai (Haruno Fuji), Yoshio Tsuchiya (Controller of Planet X), Takamaru Sasaki (Chairman of Earth Committee), Gen Shimizu (Minister of Defense), Kenzo Tabu (Commander from Planet X)
C-81m.

by John M. Miller

Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero

Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero

Monster Zero was the title that appeared onscreen and on movie posters, trailers, and television ads during the July, 1970 American release of Kaijû daisensô, the sixth feature film featuring Godzilla (Gojira); the movie was originally released in December, 1965 in Japan. When shown on American television and first released to home video, the title was lengthened to Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. The international title for the movie (and Toho's preferred English-language title today) is Invasion of Astro-Monster, although in some studio-sanctioned texts it appears as The Great Monster War - a more literal translation of the original title. By whichever name, this elaborate production was the second All-Star "Monster Rally" turned out by Toho Studio and it featured wild visuals, personable monsters, science fiction trappings, and a healthy dose of destruction, humor, and mild slapstick for the kiddie matinee market. Monster Zero was a direct follow-up to Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (San daikaijû: Chikyû saidai no kessen, 1964), which had teamed Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra against a new menace - a three-headed space dragon (known as Ghidrah in America). Ghidorah was a hit in both Japan and America, so its tone and themes were expanded upon for Monster Zero; once again Japan's mightiest monsters were enlisted to defend a world against Ghidorah, but here that world is the mysterious Planet X. Alien invaders had been another mainstay of Toho Studio, in films such as The Mysterians (Chikyû Bôeigun, 1957) and Battle in Outer Space (Uchû daisensô, 1959); with Monster Zero the two genres would be thoroughly enmeshed and would set the pattern for many of the subsequent Godzilla films. The plot is pure space opera, and it is the first Godzilla film set in the near future rather than the present. Scientist Dr. Sakurai (Jun Tazaki) of the United Nations Space Authority has discovered a previously unknown planet beyond the orbit of Jupiter, which he dubs Planet X. Astronauts Glenn Amer (Nick Adams) and K. Fuji (Akira Takarada) are sent to investigate the strong radio waves emanating from the new world, which Sakurai theorizes are causing terrible atmospheric disturbances on Earth. Amer and Fuji arrive in their Gemini-styled spacecraft and are immediately held by the Controller (Yoshio Tsuchiya in a vivid performance), the apparent leader of the humanoids of the planet. His superior race now lives underground, driven there by frequent attacks by Ghidorah the space dragon, called "Monster Zero" by the inhabitants of Planet X. The Controller offers to rid the Earth of all disease if they will loan Godzilla and Rodan to them to vanquish King Ghidorah. Meanwhile, Fuji's sister Haruno (Keiko Sawai) is dating a goofy young inventor named Tetsuo Teri (Akira Kubo). Tetsuo has invented a small device which emits a shrieking sound; this catches the attention of Miss Namikawa (Kumi Mizuno), the representative of a large, mysterious corporation. Coincidentally, Miss Namikawa has also just started dating Glenn the astronaut. Spaceships from Planet X appear on Earth and collect the sleeping Godzilla and Rodan to transport them for battle on their planet; soon after the fight with Ghidorah it becomes obvious that the Controller has no intention of living up to his part of the bargain with the people of Earth. In producing Monster Zero, Toho Studio worked with an American co-producer, Henry G. Saperstein. In the early 1960s Saperstein bought the American animation studio UPA, which had flourished in the 1950s producing commercials for television and theatrical shorts for distribution by Columbia Pictures. With the decline of theatrical cartoons, Saperstein shifted focus to television and found success with the Mr. Magoo series and specials. Saperstein sought out new theatrical opportunities and was specifically interested in Japanese monsters. In the audio commentary for the 2007 DVD release, Stuart Galbraith IV notes that Saperstein first acquired the American distribution rights to Mothra vs. Godzilla (Mosura tai Gojira, 1964), but sold the rights to American International Pictures after failing to secure proper distribution. Saperstein threw himself into learning Japanese business etiquette, and took courses at UCLA to learn the language. His first co-production with Toho was Frankenstein Conquers the World (Furankenshutain tai chitei kaijû Baragon, 1965), for which he brought on American actor Nick Adams as the lead protagonist. AIP also distributed this film in the United States, but it was Saperstein's attempt to break away from AIP which led to the nearly five-year delay in exhibiting Monster Zero in America. Saperstein had a falling-out with Sam Arkoff of AIP over the release of What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), the Woody Allen-scripted comedy redubbing of the Toho crime thriller Kagi No Kagi (1964). Monster Zero was eventually distributed by the small Maron Films as a co-feature with The War of the Gargantuas (Furankenshutain no kaijû: Sanda tai Gaira, 1968), another Toho-Saperstein co-production. Monster Zero was the second kaiju film that American actor Nick Adams made in Japan. Adams had been acting in films since the early 1950s, had starred in the TV series The Rebel (1959-1961), and in 1964 was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in the courtroom drama Twilight of Honor (1963). He was not able to parlay that acclaim into more American film roles, however. Following several parts in episodic TV, Adams made Frankenstein Conquers the World for producer Saperstein and Toho, followed by Monster Zero. Adams saw a future for himself in Japanese film roles, and he made a study of the film industry in Japan and also immersed himself in Japanese culture. The result was a film he co-produced himself, the crime thriller The Killing Bottle (Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Zettai zetsumei, 1967), which received very little play in the West. Toho actress and cult film favorite Kumi Mizuno co-starred in all three of Adams' films in Japan and, according to Galbraith, the two shared an off-screen relationship which led to a separation of Adams and his wife. The Godzilla on view in Monster Zero is the hero-of-mankind persona that first appeared in the earlier Ghidorah film. Making him even more appealing to the kid audience, the Godzilla suit was further softened, with less pointy dorsal fins and larger, more expressive eyes. The most controversial shot of the film occurs when Ghidorah is trounced on Planet X - Godzilla indulges in a victory jig, forever dividing fans of the series between those who prefer the menacing and malevolent monster of the earlier titles in the series and those who enjoyed the friendlier, goofy nature of the later entries. The dance seen in the film was called the "Jumping Shie", and was (according to Godzilla lore) suggested by actor Yoshio Tsuchiya to special effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya, on the assumption that it would humanize the Godzilla character and increase his audience appeal. In August Ragone's Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters (Chronicle Books, 2007) the author says that "this comical maneuver was inspired by Fujio Akatsuka's popular slapstick manga [comic book] Oso Matsu-kun, whose main character would jump up in a peculiar pose while shouting 'Shie!' Despite complaints that this might undermine the picture's credibility, Tsuburaya thought quite the opposite, believing this moment would add character to Godzilla and make audiences roar with laughter and applause - which it did." Monster Zero saw some advances in the special effects over the previous entry in the series. Ragone makes note of the "...breathtaking optical composites by Yukio Manoda and Hiroshi Mukoyama. These high-resolution composites are exceptionally clean, with nearly flawless matte sync for their time." There were a number of different scale models created of the monsters, such as sleeping versions of Godzilla and Rodan, and small mechanical puppets used in long shots. Of special note, Tsuburaya and the effects team created a 6.5-foot-tall mockup of Godzilla's leg and foot, built especially to crush larger-than-normal model buildings for added impact in close-ups. Although the prop leg caused the crew a lot of trouble, it resulted in some spectacular destruction shots. Although much time and effort was spent on new effects, the film borrowed some stock destruction footage from the earlier Rodan (Sora no daikaijû Radon, 1956) and Mothra (Mosura, 1961). Monster Zero would be the last film to utilize the entire Toho visual effects staff that had been built up since Gojira. As contracts expired, many of the in-demand personnel left Toho to form their own companies and sometimes work on competing monster pictures. For American fans, Monster Zero threw the natural evolution of Godzilla films out of whack once it finally reached the screen. Three subsequently-produced Toho films had been seen by Western audiences by the summer of 1968; Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster (Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto, 1966) and Son of Godzilla (Kaijûtô no kessen: Gojira no musuko, 1967) had both been on television, and an even bigger Monster Rally, Destroy All Monsters (Kaijû sôshingeki, 1968) had hit the drive-ins. Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka Director: Ishirô Honda Screenplay: Shinichi Sekizawa Cinematography: Hajime Koizumi Special Effects Director: Eiji Tsuburaya Art Direction: Takeo Kita Music: Akira Ifukube Film Editing: Ryohei Fujii Cast: Nick Adams (Astronaut Glenn Amer), Akira Takarada (Astronaut K. Fuji), Jun Tazaki (Dr. Sakurai), Akira Kubo (Tetsuo Teri), Kumi Mizuno (Miss Namikawa), Keiko Sawai (Haruno Fuji), Yoshio Tsuchiya (Controller of Planet X), Takamaru Sasaki (Chairman of Earth Committee), Gen Shimizu (Minister of Defense), Kenzo Tabu (Commander from Planet X) C-81m. by John M. Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Released in Japan in 1966 as Kaiju daisenso; running time: 96 min. Also known as Invasion of Astro-Monsters, Battle of the Astros, and Invasion of the Astros.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1970

Released in United States on Video June 27, 1995

Another entry in the successful "Godzilla" movie franchise.

dubbed English

Tohoscope

Released in United States 1970

Released in United States on Video June 27, 1995