CineSavant Column

Saturday September 10, 2022



The weather is keeping us guessing here in Los Angeles: today’s overcast heat and humidity are more like tropical South America than sunny, desert-adjacent Southern California. That’s part of our excuse for an abbreviated column today — the Sidney Falco item hopper is almost empty, and we haven’t the energy to even fake anything.

A few weeks back, helpful Malcolm Ayala came through with some odd behind-the-scenes shots from a certain Japanese science fiction film. I wasn’t sure how to use them.

The critter on view is a Mysterian robot, whose name keeps getting re-spelled in English. I knew him as Moguera. He’s a fanciful robotic Godzilla — Toho’s series producer knew that every fantasy needed at least one ‘monster.’ Although the shots showing him digging were cut from American prints, we found out later that Moguera robots did the Mysterians’ tunnelling work. His design makes little practical sense, but a kid might associate his torso with tractor treads, his nose as a drill, and his back as a buzzsaw. We just thought he looked like a metallic samurai.

Where were the tie-in Moguera toys, Toho?  At age 7, this guy was actually scary on a big screen.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson