Directed by Ishiro Honda

Directed by Ishiro Honda

18 Episodes

The man who gave the world Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and more, Ishiro Honda was the wizard behind the Japanese monster-movie (kaiju eiga) craze that thrilled legions of international fans in the 1950s and ’60s. Turning the trauma of nuclear attack into larger-than-life pop spectacle, Honda created ferociously entertaining special-effects extravaganzas that doubled as resonant metaphors for the devastation of World War II. This tribute to Honda’s ever-imaginative artistry features the creature features for which he is best remembered as well as lesser-known cult favorites like the psychedelic horror freakout MATANGO.

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Directed by Ishiro Honda
  • Alex Cox on Ishiro Honda

    Episode 1

    This introduction by filmmaker Alex Cox was recorded in 2019.

  • Godzilla

    Episode 2

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1954 • Japan
    Starring Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata

    GODZILLA (a.k.a. GOJIRA) is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama, made in Japan at a time when the country was reeling from nuclear attack and...

  • Godzilla, King of the Monsters

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ishiro Honda and Terry O. Morse • 1956 • United States
    Starring Raymond Burr, Frank Iwanaga, Akira Takarada

    This 1956 feature film, codirected and edited by Terry Morse, is the famous American reworking of the original GODZILLA. It combines footage from the original 1954 production w...

  • Rodan

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1956 • Japan

    A small Japanese mining village is besieged by giant caterpillars and flying monsters.

  • The Mysterians

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1957 • Japan
    Starring Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Akihiko Hirata

    Comic-book colors and charmingly retro, space-age special effects are among the highlights of this pure-pleasure science-fiction fantasia in which a band of aliens arrive on Earth seemingly in peace. Bu...

  • Varan the Unbelievable

    Episode 6

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1958 • Japan
    Starring Kozo Nomura, Ayumi Sonoda, Koreya Senda

    Following in the wake of Godzilla and Rodan, Toho and director Ishiro Honda unleashed Varan, another monstrous manifestation of nature’s wrath. When they travel to a remote region of Japan to investigate the...

  • Atragon

    Episode 7

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1963 • Japan
    Starring Tadao Takashima, Yoko Fujiyama, Ken Uehara

    The imaginative work of legendary special-effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya is on display in this giddily entertaining science-fiction spectacle. Fearful that the humans who live on the Earth’s surface have b...

  • Matango

    Episode 8

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1963 • Japan
    Starring Hiroshi Koizumi, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara

    Leaving behind the kaiju genre for which he was best known, Ishiro Honda took a detour into hallucinogenic science fiction with this disturbing psychological survival thriller that stands as perhaps the d...

  • Dogora

    Episode 9

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1964 • Japan
    Starring Robert Dunham, Yosuke Natsuki, Yoko Fujiyama

    With DOGORA, Toho and director Ishiro Honda unleashed one of their wildest and weirdest creatures: a giant, jellyfish-like tentacled terror who descends from outer space and proceeds to consume the Eart...

  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

    Episode 10

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1964 • Japan

    After laying waste to an alien civilization on Venus, the three-headed, lightning-emitting space monster Ghidorah brings its insatiable thirst for destruction to Earth, where fierce foes Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra must join forces in order to deal with th...

  • Mothra vs. Godzilla

    Episode 11

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1964 • Japan

    Godzilla faces off against the benevolent insect monster-god Mothra in this clash of the titans, a crossover battle between two of Toho Studios’ most popular monsters—the last in which Godzilla would figure as a malevolent villain rather than a fearsome he...

  • Frankenstein vs. Baragon

    Episode 12

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1965 • Japan
    Starring Tadao Takashima, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno

    The legend of Mary Shelley’s mythic monster gets an offbeat update in this wild and weird, East-meets-West kaiju oddity. Fifteen years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, an American scientist (...

  • Invasion of Astro-Monster

    Episode 13

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1965 • Japan

    Aliens from Planet X make an irresistible offer to the people of Earth: let them borrow Godzilla and Rodan to help defeat King Ghidorah, and in return they will provide a cure for all known human disease. But the aliens’ duplicity is soon revealed, as they...

  • The War of the Gargantuas

    Episode 14

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1966 • Japan

    After escaping a laboratory, two giant ape-like humanoids battle it out over Tokyo.

  • Destroy All Monsters

    Episode 15

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1968 • Japan

    The original Godzilla team of director Ishiro Honda, special-effects supervisor Eiji Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube reunited for this kaiju extravaganza, which features no fewer than eleven monsters. Set in the remote future of 1999, when the people...

  • All Monsters Attack

    Episode 16

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1969 • Japan

    Director Ishiro Honda returned again for the first Godzilla movie expressly for children. Economizing by reusing effects shots from other films in the series, All Monster Attack tells the story of Ichiro, a lonely latchkey kid who finds solace in his dream...

  • Space Amoeba

    Episode 17

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1970 • Japan
    Starring Akira Kubo, Yukiko Kobayashi, Atsuko Takahashi

    Amoeba-like aliens crash-land on a far-flung island in the South Pacific. Their plan to conquer Earth? Generate towering versions of native sea creatures. Soon, a supersized squid, a colossal crab, an...

  • Terror of Mechagodzilla

    Episode 18

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1975 • Japan

    In Godzilla’s last gasp of the Showa era, aliens retrieve Mechagodzilla’s remains and rebuild it with the aid of an unhinged biologist (a scenery-chewing Akihiko Hirata), in hopes of defeating Godzilla for possession of planet Earth. This film marked the r...