Since the first Godzilla and King Kong movies, there have been hundreds of other kaiju films that have been created and released throughout film history. However, only a handful of […]
Since the first Godzilla and King Kong movies, there have been hundreds of other kaiju films that have been created and released throughout film history. However, only a handful of these films have achieved cult status and become influential examples for more contemporary films and other media. One such film is 1966’s The War of the Gargantuas. Although it’s relatively unknown outside of kaiju fanatics and film historians, the film has inspired its fair share of superstar directors as well.
In a nutshell, The War of the Gargantuas revolves around two giant ape-like creatures escaping from a lab and battling it out in different parts of Tokyo. Its scenes of destruction, strange monsters, special effects, and unique blend of kaiju chaos have gone on to inspire some of the most prolific directors in cinema history.
Guillermo del Toro
HipHopWired.com claims Mexican director Guillermo del Toro cites The War as one of his top five kaiju movies. Also included in this list is Frankenstein Conquers the World, which was the predecessor to The War. In past interviews, del Toro has confessed to being inspired by The War when he created the opening sequence for Pacific Rim, his critically-acclaimed homage to the kaiju and mecha genres. Furthermore, his other films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy also betray the director’s deep obsession with movie monsters.
The War had some of the most primal battle scenes in kaiju film history. This may be due to the fact that both the battling giants are humanoid apes, which presented many opportunities for human-like fighting. In fact, these scenes inspired director Quentin Tarantino when he directed the final fight between The Bride (Uma Thurman) and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) in Kill Bill Vol. 2. Such references to old films and media are to be expected in Tarantino’s films. A feature on movie star hobbies by Poker.org outlines that Tarantino is well-known for taking inspiration from a wide range of material, particularly from his personal encyclopedic collection of not just films and music records but also board games. And while the director hasn’t yet made his own kaiju film, it’s easy to see how The War of the Gargantuas, alongside kaiju-themed board games, music, and other films, can drive Tarantino’s violent vision.
Out of the many contemporary kaiju films from the last decade, the creatures in Shinji Higuchi’s Attack on Titan are arguably the ones closest to the Gargantuas. In the Japanese filmmaking tradition, these monsters are known as kaijin – humanoid-like creatures with origins in early 20th century literature. While Higuchi didn’t create the Titans, he was the director who brought these modern kaijin to life on the silver screen. And in every terror-filled scene featuring the unsettling humanoid beasts, there is a lingering echo of the body horror that The War has permanently instilled into the kaiju genre.
As the director of Godzilla: King of Monsters, it should come as no surprise that Mike Dougherty considers The War as an inspiration. What might surprise you is that Dougherty has publicly expressed interest in rebooting the film as part of the still developing Monster-Verse, Legendary Pictures’ fictional universe for its contemporary, computer-generated kaiju.
In short, we could possibly be looking forward to a modern remake of one of the most influential kaiju films in history.