Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Godzilla (1978): "The Breeder Beast"

In “The Breeder Beast,” the Calico encounters a strange blob monster, “some strange poisonous substance” and “oozing mass of nitroglycerin.”

After the creature feeds on a natural gas pipeline and grows to extraordinary size, it heads inland to Washington D.C., where it wreaks havoc, nearly destroying the Capitol Dome.

Quinn and the others summon Godzilla to help defeat the creature, but if his laser eyes strike the monster’s glowing nucleus, a nuclear explosion could wipe out the whole coast-line.

 “The Breeder Beast” is a fun, if not overly original or inspired episode of the 1978 Hanna-Barbera animated Godzilla series.

In this case, the Big Green Guy goes up against a “pollution mutation,” but must fight with one hand ties behind his back, metaphorically-speaking, because if the creature explodes, millions of humans will die.

Two qualities elevate this episode above average fare.

First, it’s cool to see Godzilla stomping through Washington D.C., and the episode takes him to the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Mint. There’s even a nice shot of traffic stopped-up on I-95.  Another moment sees the monsters throwing the Capitol Dome at one another.

Beyond the good location, the monster of the week is pretty neat too. It can absorb objects (like an anchor) through its glowing red nucleus, and at one point, Godzooky can’t extricate himself from the sticky, blob-like monster. For a while, it looks like he could be absorbed.

Also worthwhile here is the notion that only Godzilla can stop the monster but that some powers (fire breath and laser eyes) must remain off-limits to him, because their use could spark wide-scale destruction in the human world. 

Godzilla refrains from using either beam, but still saves the day. To me, this development suggests he is pretty intelligent, and understands what the scientists tell him, not just in general terms, but specifically. The key to the breeder beast’s destruction is a shot straight to his nucleus, a shot that transforms the beast into its component parts of rock, oil, gold, silver and – tellingly – pollution.

Next week: “The Sub-Zero Terror.”

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