Above: Cthulhu

Below: Godzilla wrestling with Biollante

Below: the Night Walker from Princess Mononoke


Penelope Love
Q & A
Daikaiju! story: "The Unlawful Priest of Todesfall"

When did your interest in daikaiju and other giant monsters begin? What inspired it?

My interest began with the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and the Cthulhu mythos; "Not in the spaces that we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.” My interest in giant monster movies is because as good-bad entertainment they are right up there with Irwin Allen disaster movies.

Perhaps you can tell us something of your career to date.

I’ve had two fantasy novels published, Castle of Eyes (Chaosium, 1993) and The Widow's Tale ('A Novel of Glorantha', Tradetalk Inc. 2004). [http://www.tradetalk.de/english/index.php3]

I've also appeared in a handful of short stories anthologies and have written scenarios for the Call of Cthulhu and Elric role playing games (Chaosium USA). I’ve dabbled in writing for multimedia, computer games and educational materials.

Different people have different ideas as to why the giant monster genre holds such power. What is your take on it?

Since the ancient Greek tragedies we've all loved a good 'emotional catharsis', the heady emotional release inspired by tragedy and horror. By engaging with the protagonists in their struggle against overwhelming forces we purge our own emotions. The daikaiju movie safely mixes the cathartic (city is tragically destroyed) with the ludicrous (city is tragically destroyed by giant monster). Safe in the knowledge that this is never going to actually happen, we can sit back and let our worries be symbolically stomped on. Also, they have vim.

What is your favourite giant monster film? Why that one?

Godzilla vs Biollante, but that's a close tie with the original 1954 Japanese version of Godzilla. It's a tough call but I think the self-sacrificing Dr Serizawa and his oxygen destroyer is just edged out by a monster rose grown from a little girl's terminal cancer cells. If we interpret the genre more widely, Miyazaki's Nausicaa, and Princess Mononoke feature terrific daikaiju.

Are there any written stories or novels featuring giant monsters that you would particularly recommend?

Lovecraft's 'The Dunwich Horror' and 'The Call of Cthulhu'. Also in Lovecraft's  'The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath' the dauntless Raymond Carter notices mountains carved in the likeness of huge faces, and shortly after realizes the mountains are following him. That's pretty big. 'The Hog' (William Hope Hodgson) is a soul and world threatening pig-demon. The story manages to pull off the inherently laughable notion that the heroes only ever see its (giant) snout and yet it convinces the reader of its horror. 'The Colossus of Ylourgne' (Clark Ashton Smith) is an enormous walking cadaver made from rendered-down corpses.  Read the story, smell the corpses.

Can you tell us how you came to write your story for the DAIKAIJU! anthology? What thoughts lay behind it?

The DAIKAIJU! call for stories came at a perfect time for me. I’m currently working on a fantasy manuscript in which the characters look back to a semi-mythical event called the Dance of Death. I knew this event would end up being critically important to the plot. I had also figured out it was founded on a tragic twist. The problem was I didn't know what the tragedy was. Or the twist. When I read the DAIKAIJU! prospectus I got the idea (see story). This was helpful in shaping the narrative of the larger project. Creative collaborations rock, even when inadvertent. I am of course doubly grateful that the story made the final selection but for me it has already been a rewarding experience.

What would you say to those new to the idea of daikaiju films and stories?

Come on. Be serious. Are you telling me there is a deprived child somewhere on this planet who has not heard of King Kong?

February 2005


The anthology is published by Agog! Press.

You can email the editors at <daikaiju@roberthood.net>

but read this first!