More Memorable Title: The One Where Godzilla is Really King Kong
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is kind of an oddball entry in the Godzilla canon. To start with, it wasn’t really set up for success. It was originally going to be a King Kong/Mothra crossover that also ties in with a 60’s Japanese cartoon based on King Kong. However, with Toho and the cartoon producers not coming to terms on what they wanted this film to be, they bailed on the project, taking the rights to King Kong with them, at the end of pre-production. Toho apparently still wanted to move forward with the project but not spend any extra time or money on it, so they just crossed out all instances of “King Kong” in the script and wrote in “Godzilla” with a green crayon, pulled an old Godzilla costume out of storage, and called it a day. Moreover, this film had like nothing for budget, so they had to scrounge the warehouse for all their special effects. And rather than being in the hands of Ishiro Honda, who had directed most of the previous Godzilla films, this movie would be helmed by Jun Fukuda, who would go on to produce a number of probably the goofiest Godzilla movies in the Showa era, and was never really satisfied with his work on this franchise. So, yeah. From the sounds of it, production was kind of a mess. All they had to go off was a hope and a dream, really. Let’s see how they did with it!
The opening of the movie runs about as fast as its possible to go. They waste zero time establishing things here, they want to get to the bulk of the plot as quickly as possible. So, there’s this total dweeb whose brother was in a shipwreck and lost at sea. Everyone thinks the brother is dead, but his mom goes to a psychic who says he’s still alive. So this dweeb goes to the police who are all like “Oh, a psychic says he’s alive?! We’ll totally send out all our resources for a massive manhunt right away because psychics are totally 100% accurate!” And then they do that and the movie’s over.
Oh, no, wait, they just toss him on his butt out the door. So the dweeb goes to the newspaper, who’s like “we’re a newspaper, what the heck are we supposed to do?” But then he sees a flyer for a marathon dance contests where the person who dances the longest wins a yacht. So he goes there and asks if he can enter and they’re like “We’ve already been doing this for three days, are you crazy?” So then he talks to these two guys who just lost the contest, rather than anyone who might actually have a yacht, and tells them he wants a yacht, so they just drive this random schmuck they just met down to the wharf, where they go into some random yacht, and start throwing a party. But then it turns out that the yacht is occupied, and its apparent owner, Mr. Safecracker, holds them up with a rifle before telling them for some unknown reason that they could crash there that night but they had to leave in the morning. But the dweeb just goes ahead and steals the boat.
In the morning, they find out that the rifle Mr. Safecracker has was just a toy, and that judging by an alert going out over the radio, the yacht wasn’t actually owned by Mr. Safecracker at all, and Mr. Safecracker is, in fact, is a Safecracker. In spite of the fact that nobody wants to go along with the dweeb, they don’t do anything about him taking them off to who knows where. And then one day there’s a big old storm and a giant claw comes out of the water and crushes their boat.
There. That’s the establishing events. It might have taken me longer to write that than it took the film to go through everything. It was really rapid fire.