Over the course of the 32 Godzilla films that have been made, we’ve seen some pretty weird stuff. We’ve seen Godzilla abruptly begin talking to a giant moth. We’ve seen Godzilla’s son helping a child gain self-esteem. We’ve seen multiple films about Godzilla’s psychic link with a teenage girl. The latest live-action Godzilla film ends with mutated Godzilla people growing out of Godzilla’s tail. You might see that as a spoiler, but I see that as encouragement: Shin Godzilla ends with Godzilla sprouts coming out of his rear end. So go see it right now.
That said, we haven’t even gotten past the tip of the weirdness iceberg. There are plenty of unmade Godzilla films that seem less like real plots and more like attempted pranks on theatergoers. Then again, there are others that I wish, every day, that we’d gotten to witness. So here are the best five, five unmade films that you come up with when the only two things you know are Godzilla and the screams in your own skull.
Godzilla Almost Fought A Giant Woman
Most of the enemies in Godzilla films are either aliens (King Ghidorah) or fellow monsters that are just pissed at him for trespassing on their turf (Rodan). Sometimes Godzilla fights (or teams up with) robots, and they’re usually shaped like him. But in 1956, screenwriter Hideo Unagami had a different plan. We’d already had two Godzilla films, and they were fairly straightforward. Unagami had also written two science fiction films himself, and THEY were pretty straightforward, too.
And so, in what I can only imagine was a plan to change Godzilla into a Gilmore Girls-esque franchise where we sit in suspense over whether Godzilla will choose to date the hunky Anguirus or the bad boy Mothra, Unagami penned Bride of Godzilla.
Unagami wanted Godzilla to fight a robot, all right, but this one would be shaped like a woman. No, not a monster woman, but a real human lady. In the movie, a scientist builds a robot that looks like his own foster daughter, not because his foster daughter is dead and he wants to be reminded of her, but because he just needs SOMETHING to fight Godzilla with. Some people go buy a bunch of eggs and milk when they hear a snow is coming, and this guy builds a giant robot daughter because Godzilla might be hanging around later. Helps to be prepared, I guess.
(On a side note, I would be pretty embarrassed if I were the daughter. Like, thanks for the thought, Dad, but maybe just get me a gift card or something. You don’t have to emblazon my face on a killer robot that could literally eat the neighborhood.)
Over the course of the movie, the scientist gets to ogle mermaids at the earth’s core, and the robot daughter goes on a monster murdering spree. Godzilla is a pretty effective peacekeeper for Japan, but he does not compare to the robot daughter, who slaughters anything over 100 feet tall. Godzilla, smitten in the same way that you get a weird crush when you see a girl open a beer bottle with her teeth, quickly grows to adore the robot daughter. She, in the biggest “It’s not you, it’s me” breakup move I’ve ever heard of, uses her internal hydrogen bomb to blow up Godzilla at the center of the earth.
Ah, young love. Nothing like it.
Godzilla Absolutely Should Have Tackled Adam West
In the 1960s, two pop culture franchises were booming. Batman was one of the most popular shows on TV. It was campy, witty, and action-packed, with funny performances and impeccably wild set designs. In Japan, the Godzilla film series reached its peak. No longer a beast that comes out of the water to take a giant dump on humanity, Godzilla had become a lovable, scaly pro wrestler, eager to suplex anything that lived near the Pacific Ocean. So naturally, they should’ve fought. NATURALLY.
And they almost did. In a treatment entitled Batman Meets Godzilla, an evil meteorologist threatens the world with natural disasters, and so Batman and Robin take the case after spending their whole careers just beating up men in color-coded outfits. But this isn’t Batman Meets a Hurricane, so the unscrupulous meteorologist then reveals that he ACTUALLY controls Godzilla. Batman spends a decent chunk of this movie getting into various non-Godzilla fights and chases throughout Japan, while Godzilla gets the hots for Batgirl. Batman sees this one-sided romance and comes up with a plan to finally take out the King of the Monsters.
The original plan, which was apparently vigorously scratched through in the treatment, is to build a female Godzilla that would lure Godzilla to the ocean. I imagine that Batman thought that Godzilla would be too busy dry-humping a mechanical version of himself to attack Tokyo ever again, but that’s almost the worst option for the people of earth. I’d much rather have to figure out a way to stop Godzilla every few years than wonder where Godzilla is and remember that he’s eternally fornicating with a leathery bag of steel out in the harbor.
The revised plan is just to use a mating call, which distracts Godzilla so long that Batman is able to climb Godzilla and detonate a bomb off the side of the Big G’s head. And because this is '60s Batman, the follow-up is not to kill Godzilla, no, never to kill, but to build a rocket around Godzilla’s unconscious body and blast him off into space forever. This works, and so Godzilla just orbits around earth until the end of time. Meanwhile, Batman’s job is probably over, as I doubt anyone would ever challenge the guy that turned Godzilla into a space station again.
And there we go. Godzilla is beaten, crime is solved, and Bruce Wayne can teach Dick Grayson the piano in peace like he always wanted.
Godzilla In Glorious '80s 3D
While it by no means was taking over the world, the '80s marked a return for 3D movies, which ranged from horror films like Friday the 13th Part 3 and Jaws 3, to comedies like The Man Who Wasn’t There. And if it hadn’t been axed for being “too expensive,” we could’ve added Godzilla to that list. The man who directed the aforementioned Friday the 13th film, along with Part 2, was interested in doing a Godzilla film.
And it would’ve been so cool.
First off, the main plot revolved around a Navy colonel with an eye patch and his own archenemy, a KGB agent with a knife for a hand. Now, there are plenty of human villains in Godzilla films, but never like this. The human villains are always the dudes that get so involved with their real estate schemes that they don’t notice a giant foot coming in to crush them. They’re rarely a match for anyone, much less a protagonist with an eye patch. So it would’ve been different to see this, and could’ve possibly opened up ideas for the sequel, Godzilla vs This Guy With A Dang Ol’ Knife For A Hand.
Other than that, the story is pretty standard:
Act 1: I hear that this Godzilla exists.
Act 2: Yeah, okay, whatever, dude. He MIGHT exist.
Act 3: Well, damn. There he is.
In the middle of this plot, a little Godzilla carcass washes ashore to throw you off a bit, kind of like when Batman gets shot by the two crooks and falls at the beginning of Tim Burton’s Batman. Like, oh, man. I bet that’s not it. And it isn’t, because the main Godzilla shows up later and destroys San Francisco, only to have missiles shot down his throat. This kills Godzilla, but not before he saves a little boy from falling to his death. While this is nice, I’m not sure this would elicit the intended sympathetic feelings. I do feel sorry for Godzilla, but only because he’s a giant, lonely beast that is hated by the world. I don’t feel sorry for him because he saved one child after incinerating half the population of the 13th-most populated city in the United States.
Godzilla can save kids all he wants. Doesn’t mean that we’re going to instantly forgive him when he mindlessly trudges into their parents’ houses.
Godzilla Vs King Kong…Well, King Kong’s Robot
After having just two installments in the '80s, the '90s were a period of renewed enthusiasm in Godzilla, with a movie coming out every year in the first half of the decade. And many of these movies featured Godzilla fighting updated versions of his old foes – King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan, and MechaGodzilla. But Toho, the production company behind the Godzilla films, wanted the biggest name, the name that had cemented Godzilla’s success back in the '60s. They wanted King Kong.
“Well, ACTUALLY…” Universal Pictures said. “You can’t just HAVE King Kong. You have to pay us first because we, ya know, own King Kong.”
Toho was not down with paying whatever Universal wanted to use the King Kong character, and so they opted for Mechani Kong, the metal Kong that showed up in the Japanese studio's 1967 film King Kong Escapes. This would’ve been fairly bizarre, mainly because, if there’s no King Kong, why build a Mechani Kong? That also brings up the question of “Why use a giant robot at all? There are way more efficient options out there.” But we’re using kaiju movie logic here. When you want to stop a dinosaur, you build a dinosaur android that looks just like him. It’s tradition and it’s the way we do things ‘round these parts. So if there’s no King Kong, there’s no Mechani Kong.
“Hmmmm, Mechani Kong looks and sounds an AWFUL LOT like ‘King Kong,’ don’t you think?” Universal inquired, and Toho discovered that they in no way were going to get a Kong on screen. Universal had recently gotten pissed off at Nintendo when Donkey Kong came out, so they would be damned if someone else was gonna be putting a giant gorilla in their stuff without giving Universal their proper cut.
And so Godzilla vs Any Kind Of Kong was scrapped, and maybe it’s for the better. Though I would like to see the movie reasoning as to why the only thing that can stop Godzilla this time is a robot based on an ape that no one, including Godzilla, has ever heard of.
The Worst Idea For Godzilla Ever
People didn’t really dig the 1998 American Godzilla film and it’s easy to see why. It feels kind of like a neutered Jurassic Park sequel with its inability to maintain any kind of consistent tone. It wants us to be in awe of Godzilla, and then cuts the legs out from under that idea by shoving in random bits of “realistic” science-ey garbage. It asks that we be excited about Godzilla, but not TOO excited about Godzilla. And that’s definitely how it played out when it came time to critique this film, as most of the reviews consist of “Yeah, that’s Godzilla, and no, I do not like it.”
But even with the disappointing reaction, Sony initially planned to go ahead with a sequel. In it, the Matthew Broderick character returns, imprints on the last remaining baby Godzilla, and then becomes Mr. Mom to the monster. This Godzilla ends up having a bunch of kids as well, but just like in the last film, most of them are annihilated. And this is all before Godzilla fights a giant bug that’s nicknamed “QUEEN BITCH.”
I can’t think of a less appetizing name for a monster than “Queen Bitch.” It’s either a tragic attempt at comedy or a comedic attempt at making sure that the actors in the film never work again. Because once you’ve been forced to say “Look, the QUEEN BITCH!” while pointing at a giant mass of CGI, your next few gigs are either going to be direct-to-DVD movies where you play second fiddle to talking dogs, or guest starring in a TV show where you annoy a group of thirty-somethings in NYC.
Out of all of these films, this is the one that I feel deserved its death the most. Because while the rest of these would’ve been fun in a fun way, or fun in a confusing way, Godzilla 2 seems like the kind of movie that would only be fun twenty years after it was made. Twenty years later, we could look back on it and say “Man, thank god we don’t make Godzilla movies like THAT anymore.” But in the year that it was actually supposed to be released, all we would feel is despair.