I love movie posters that lie. There’s nothing better than seeing a poster for a movie you’ve seen and thinking: “hang on… that doesn’t happen in the film!” It never fails to amuse me how misleading marketing infuriates some of my fellow movie nerd pals. They spit out words like “trash” and “cheap” at the sight of a dodgy poster. And yes, they are cheap trash. And that’s why they’re so flipping great! I was planning to make this article about movie posters in general, but, after a quick internet search, I realised I’d been beaten to the punch by sites liked Cracked. So instead, I’m going to get really specific. The Godzilla franchise is ripe with questionable marketing. You’d think in promoting movies about giant monsters they’d have enough outrageous material to fill a poster. But no, Godzilla posters are terrible perpetrators of misleading moviegoers – sometimes it’s obnoxious, sometimes it’s just downright odd. I’ve omitted any Polish posters, as “misleading” is not the right word for them.
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA (1964)
Okay, so they gave Mothra vs. Godzilla a new title in the US. They called it Godzilla vs. The Thing. Not a big deal. I mean yes, that is a pretty stupid name for Mothra, but at least they did right in putting Godzilla’s name before Mothra. The poster is also really well designed. I love the way Godzilla is holding onto the giant question mark. Wait. That’s not Godzilla! It looks more like the horrible American version of Godzilla seen in the 1998 movie than the big guy we know and love! You’d think that after three Godzilla movies poster designers would have a better idea of what Godzilla looks like!
GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (1955)
Why did they change Godzilla to Gigantis for the second Godzilla film? It makes no sense. This poster for Godzilla Raids Again (or Gigantis the Fire Monster – the seriously inferior American version) is very cool, but its bombardment of insane, unfounded claims is a bit intense. First of all, “giant fire monsters” seems like a weird description of Godzilla and Anguirus. I mean sure, Godzilla breathes radioactive breath, which causes things to catch on fire… but really? I love the text that screams “THEY’RE BOTH ALIVE!” – I guess I can’t accuse that of being misleading.
What the fuck is that?! Godzilla looks like he’s been eating buildings instead of destroying them! Kaijū Alive! I thought America’s failed attempt at Godzilla in their Mothra vs. Godzilla poster was bad! The X-rated “Adult’s Only” labeling also makes me very nervous when placed next to Britain’s very special incarnation of Godzilla.
EBIRAH, HORROR OF THE DEEP (1966)
I don’t know why, but the Germans decided to call Godzilla “Frankenstein” for a while. Was this a marketing ploy to cash in on the Frankenstein name? I guess, but they couldn’t have chosen a less appropriate movie. To confuse things further, they also seem to refer to Mechagodzilla as “King Kong” in some titles. What do they call King Kong and Frankenstein?!
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA (1964)
Wow, I love this poster. This was used for an 80s re-release of Mothra vs. Godzilla. I’m guessing they were aiming this one at very young kids. While its a great poster, it makes Godzilla look like a really nice, gentle guy. (He’s not, for the record.) He’s also white for some reason. And what is that on the bottom left corner? Is that… Mothra?
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962)
I’ll let this one speak for itself.
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA (1975)
And the Italians prove their position as kings of bullshit movie marketing. This one is just incomprehensible in its deception. Apparently – I really find it hard to believe – this is a poster for Terror of Mechagodzilla. Let me put this bluntly: there is no King Kong in Terror of Mechagodzilla. There’s also no jet fighters. Notice that Godzilla’s name does not even appear in the title. What the hell, Italy?!
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA (1984)
Yes, I’ve posted this one before in my Pakistani movie posters entry, but it had to be on this list. Where do I even begin? There is nothing right about this poster. From the guy holding the shotgun to the man (who we can only assume is a giant) hanging out of Godzilla’s mouth, it’s total chaos. Additionally questions raised: “Who is that man without a head?”; “Why is he headless?”; and “Is that an explosion coming out of his head?” Thanks, Pakistan.
GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973)
And yes, I’ve posted this one before too. But any movie that implies that a battle will take place in New York on top of the World Trade Center – when in reality the film’s final battle takes place in a fucking desert in Japan – deserves a second posting.
GAMERA VS. GUIRON (1969)
or KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962)?
And finally, Italy swoops in and wins the shit-smeared prize for this atrocity. This is actually a poster for Gamera vs. Guiron, not for King Kong vs. Godzilla. So yes, this is not necessarily a misleading Godzilla poster. But I couldn’t resist posting something that misleads both Godzilla fans and Gamera fans! You’ve gotta love the Italians – they chosen the two biggest monster names they could think of and slapped them down without any consideration that this film has nothing to do with them. Also, I haven’t seen Gamera vs. Guiron, but I’m going to guess that ape is not in it. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll leave you with an awesome clip from Gamera vs. Guiron…