It’s a strange world.
After all, there is our long history of encounters with Kaiju, those pesky giant monsters who have emerged from the Earth after disasters and nuclear war, or whom we’ve found while exploring other worlds.
…And in case we had any trouble deciding just which strange world we’re supposed to be in, the characters all have Japanese names and speak with obviously dubbed voices.
Only that isn’t quite it, either.
After all, the actors are not Japanese. Nor are they even pretending to be.
What’s more, they are all very familiar.
At least, that is, to those who’ve seen a lot Polonia Brothers films.
So it should come as little surprise that Zillafoot is the first Feature-length (almost) film by Mark Polonia’s son Anthony.
In fact, Anthony is doing almost everything on this one — writing, directing, producing, cinematography, playing a small part, both under his own name and as “Anthony Thomas” — with a little help from his dad and long time family friend, “Uncle Brett” Piper.
I have to admit that it has always amazed me, the close bond between Brett, the meticulous craftsman and King of the B movies, and the wild and slapdash efforts of Mark and John Polonia. So one does have to wonder which of Anthony’s cinematic influences he would resemble.
Anthony has done a lot of effects work on his father’s recent films and created a number of props, models, and creatures. In fact one recognizes quite a few props — the spaceship from Empire of the Apes and the human/ape hybrid’s mask from Revolt of the Empire of the Apes (and is Zillafoot‘s heavily muscled body the same suit that looked absolutely terrible on the wrong sized actor in Bigfoot vs. Zombies?).
Perhaps the best bits are some of the extra little touches — The series of giant suitmation Kaiju attacks during the opening narration, and the big centipede thing shown in some old movie showing on TV. My favorite moment is the all too brief glimpse of a huge, shadowy creature, which might be some sort of living tree thing.
But Anthony is his father’s son, so we get several scenes of people walking around in the woods, talking;a lot of badly integrated subplots and characters; and a small town background which sure as heck looks like Wellsboro, Pa.
For those of us who love giant monster and tokusatsu movies,, Zillafoot is almost an embarrassment of riches, from the trio of Gyaos-like creatures attacking Tokyo in the beginning, to Zillafoot tossing tanks around, to a member of the “Ultra Squad” arriving to fight the titular beast.
But this film is more the idea of a giant monster movie than an actual giant monster movie. There are so many familiar Kaiju Eiga tropes here — the genius scientists, the alien invaders, the secret super weapon, the Ultra team and so forth — that the film is basically an hour (almost. Well counting the trailers…) of set up without a story to go with it.
It even ends with “to be continued,” just as a devastating explosion changes the whole story.
…Or at least, one particular isolated thread which has little to do with anything else in the film.
Still, it’s short and often clever, and honors one of my favorite sub genres:
The giant monster movie.
So, as you’ve probably guessed, I’m all in favor.
Although it would help if “Part 2” ultimately gives us a kick-ass story to go with that lengthy build-up!