Review of “Destroy All Monsters” (1968)

really, you gotta watch this trailer.

This is our pizza and bad movie offering for this week, one that squeezes just about every Japanese monster into a single flick.


By 1999, the United Nations Scientific Committee (UNSC) has established an exploratory base on the moon. Spacecraft come and go between earth and the moon daily.

Why, the rocket ship Moonlight SY-3 is blasting off now, piloted by Captain Katsuo Yamabe (Akira Kubo). He and his crew of five are dressed in yellow space suits and helmets that bring to mind the minions from Despicable Me.

Meanwhile, on one of the Ogasawara Islands (a real place), an underwater base has been established for the study of marine life. On land, all of Earth’s monsters have been collected and live on an island called Monsterland.

What could go wrong? It’s not what you think. You’ll have to wait for Jurassic Park for that.

As a heliocopter flies over the island, the narrator names Godzilla, Rodan, Angilius (?), Mothra, and Gorosaurus. Later, other monsters will show up.

Dr. Otani (Yoshio Tsuchiya) shows newbie Kyoko Manabe (Yukiko Kobayashi) around the underground station, telling her her job will be to help him study the monsters. He calls them “cute.”

She receives a call from her sweetheart, Captain Yamabe, and is surprised to hear he’s on the moon. Their call is interrupted. Yamabe is unable to raise the base on Ogasawara again.

Emergency alerts sound on Ogasawara station. A yellowish-orangish gas seeps in through the door, knocking out the researchers. The same gas appears above ground, knocking out the monsters.

While Dr. Yoshido (Jun Tazaki) at the UNSC meeting in Tokyo is trying to raise the suddenly (and ominously) silent Ogasawara Island, a bulletin comes in that Rodan is attacking Moscow—but Rodan is supposed to be confined to Monsterland. What has happened? The UNSC orders Captain Yamabe back from the moon to investigate what’s happening on at Monsterland.

They arrive (in record time) to find the monsters gone and the researchers alive but acting oddly. The researchers ask for the “cooperation” of Yamabe and his crew and introduce them to the Kilaak Queen (Kyôko Ai), an alien who controls the minds of the researchers and the monsters. She appears in a white sequined hood and cloak that made me think she was about to peel it off and jump into a pool for a musical number with Ethel Merman. (Kids, ask your grandparents.)

Unless the earth people cooperate, the Queen says, the monsters will continue to destroy the major cities: Gorosaurus (or maybe Baragon?) takes down the Arc de Triomphe, Mothra destroys Beijing, Manda flattens London, Godzilla fries the UN. Why isn’t anyone attacking Tokyo, despite its proximity to Monsterland? Uh-oh. They’re saving the best for last…


There’s a whole lot to cram into one little movie—eleven different monsters, plus a three-headed monster from space, invading aliens who want to take over the earth, alien-controlled humans, a rocket ship that travels to and from the moon as if the satellite were no farther away than Peoria, and so much more.

It was fun to watch the monsters destroy different models, sometimes with fire and sometimes with their feet or by other destructive means. Monthra broke through a subway exit, for example.

However, I was surprised this earned a “G” rating. There was no sex but a lot of violence, including a man shot in the forehead, another man jumping to his death from a hotel window (transforming into a dummy on the way down and back to a human when he lands on the beach, BTW), and a man ripping earrings from a woman’s ears. The last was for her own good, of course. The earrings were the aliens’ means controlling her.

In this crowded field, there are delightful little gems, too. Alien-controlled Kyoko walks through Tokyo with a smirk on her face as various monsters attack the city, and panicked people run in the opposite direction from her. She’s wearing a bright orange dress with a short orange jacket and a huge bow, giving off a Sailor Moon vibe. The earrings controlling her dangle from her earlobes—until heroic Captain Yamabe later rips them out, of course.

Another smirk plays across the face of the Kilaak Queen until things start going bad for her and her crew. In a screen close-up, the smirk disappears when she realizes her plans for conquering the earth (or whatever they were) have gone down the toilet.

And then there is the final monster battle—a lot of flames, a lot of Godzilla roars, and a lot of earth-shattering thumps. What fun.

This is not a movie that will challenge your intellect. It’s not a movie for deep thought, or that calls for philosophical insight. It’s one for setting the phone on vibrate, ordering some pizza, and opening a bottle of prosecco. It’s silly, and I enjoyed it.

Destroy all Monsters can be watched here Free with ads

Title: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Directed by
Ishirô Honda
Jun Fukuda… (earlier film clips) (uncredited)

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order
Ishirô Honda…(writer)
Takeshi Kimura…(as Kaoru Mabuchi)

Cast (in credits order)
Akira Kubo…SY-3 Captain Katsuo Yamabe
Jun Tazaki…Dr. Yoshido
Yukiko Kobayashi…Kyoko Manabe
Yoshio Tsuchiya…Dr. Otani
Kyôko Ai…Kilaak Queen
Andrew Hughes…Dr. Stevenson

Released: 1968
Length: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Rated: G

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

8 thoughts on “Review of “Destroy All Monsters” (1968)

    1. It’s good old American Puritanism at work.

      I won’t tell you that I’m not too fond of action movies with violent content. I am, but they must be well-written and, often, based on historical events. This means I favor war movies over, say, Die Hard.

      However, I also like movies with (tastefully filmed and well-written) scenes with sex and nudity. Both are part of the human condition. To pretend otherwise is immature and unrealistic.

      Unfortunately, I fear that many people in this country are immature and unrealistic.

      1. Yeah we got three near us, one strictly retro, one with 2 screens (one with R rated/ the other with PG 13, PG, G), Back in the 70’s-80’s they played Porn & one 1 screen strictly family films.

      2. My brother experienced drive in porn, the year i got my drivers licsence they went legit 😅, although i will admit to going to a seedy porn theater in my neighborhood the following year

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