Like cans of soda on the grocery shelves, the giant monsters of Japan are colorful, overwhelmingly numerous, and (despite being largely interchangeable) dominated by two forces. On one side stands Godzilla, the Kaiju world's Coca-Cola. Ubiquitous and influential, Godzilla was the one that really got the ball rolling. On the other side stands Gamera, the Pepsi-esqe rival that quickly evolved from mere imitator into an enduring pop-culture presence in its own right. In between the two are scores and scores of lesser known creatures, equally adept at smashing skyscrapers and crunching tanks beneath their giant feet, but unable to reach the fame that the aforementioned reptiles have achieved. These are the Shastas and the RC Colas and the Faygos; basically as fun but often overlooked.
With that said, meet the newest Monster of the Month: Guilala, the X from Outer Space.
First appearing in the 1968 film Uchū Daikaijū Girara (which translates to "Big Space Monster Guilala") the X from Outer Space was originally a spore that attached itself to the underside of a rocket vessel returning to Earth. The spore promptly grows into a monster and heads off to Tokyo in order to swat at some jets and smash buildings. As you probably guessed, Guilala is eventually defeated but not before causing millions of dollars in property damage.
We at the Hyper Kitchen could not help but fall in love Guilala thanks to its bizarre design. Its head, resembling a UFO with a chicken beak, sports two marshmallow-topped antennae and red compound eyes. Its reptilian tail terminates in a big red lobster claw that is sadly never used in the movie.
Released by Shochiku Co. Ltd., a film studio hoping to create a monster to compete the big names, Uchū Daikaijū Girara was only a modest success and never launched the endless sequels and spin-offs that Godzilla did. However, Guilala was did have something of a rebirth more than forty years down the road. The beast first appeared in a series of American TV ads (although never fully identified) and its renewed popularity led to a new film called Girara no Gyakushū: Tōya-ko Samitto Kiki Ippatsu, in which it attacks the 2008 G8 summit. The reviews were decidedly mixed, but there is a rumored sequel in the works that would pit the X from Outer Space against the Gappa the Triphibian. We urge you to review your giant monster spending habits, and perhaps consider Guilala for your next city-crushing flick.
Guilala deserves your dollars.
Would you like to know more?
-You can buy a VHS copy on the Internet!