Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Know Your Monster: 14


Hedorah is the Japanese word for sludge or slime. Thus, it’s easy to understand why this kaiju is also known as “the Smog Monster.” An alien from Outer Space, the Hedorah feeds on pollution, the nastier the better. It whiffs the fumes straight off smokestacks and can swallow sulfuric acid without a chaser, spraying out a lethal mist that instantly destroys whole towns, factories, anything within its reach.

The Hedorah goes through different phases in life, shifting shapes as it grows. At infancy, it sort of looks like a giant, mutant, misshapen tadpole. But later, it takes on more reptilian qualities and eventually starts walking upright. Some have called it humanoid. While it is bipedal at this mature stage, it hardly resembles a person, more like a walking pile of toxic goo.

Besides its poisonous spray, the Hedorah shoots out lethal bolts from its eyes and burns anything it touches. He appeared one time only in the 1971 movie Godzilla Vs. Hedorah, released in the United States as Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster. There, he proved to be one of the deadliest monsters Godzilla ever battled. The Big G wins their grueling showdown near Mt. Fuji, but he loses an eye and one of his arms becomes shriveled and disfigured. In retaliation, Godzilla steers the Hedorah into a couple of electrodes that fry him and, just for good measure, rips out the Hedorah’s guts. At the end of the picture, we’re shown a second Hedorah rising out of the sea, and a caption reads, “And yet another one?” The implied sequel never materialized.

Here’s the English-language trailer for Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster.

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Tomorrow’s featured monster: Jiger

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