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Above: Ghoulardi

Below: Gamera dances with Legion


Doug Wood
Q & A
Daikaiju! story: "Lullabye"

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

A: Cleveland has a long history of horror movie hosts, starting with a now legendary character named "Ghoulardi" in the early 1960s. At one point in my childhood, I literally could spend an entire weekend watching Universal and Hammer horror movies, 50's sci-fi B-films, and monster movies with Godzilla or Gamera. And, being a kid, most of the time I did.

Q: How many giant monsters stories have you written/had published?

A: I've mostly written fanfiction for fanzines and various websites, some of which are now defunct as happens with alarming frequency on the web.

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

A: While I love the movies, when it comes to writing I'm more interested in the human aspect, the side we don't see much (if at all). In a lot of my stories, the characters are struggling with personal problems and the feelings of helplessness that come with them. Whether it's a child trapped in the middle of a messy divorce or a seminary student having a crisis of faith, the monsters in my stories are sort of external avatars for their inner turmoil.

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

A: Shusuke Kaneko's Gamera 2: Advent of Legion is a crackin' good, bust out the popcorn, sci-fi flick that actually succeeds in recapturing the feel of Godzilla's Golden Age from the 1960s.

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

A: Bradbury's "The Fog Horn" is a classic. "Rock God" by Harlan Ellison. "In the Hills, the Cities" by Clive Barker. There isn't that much. It's really unexplored territory.

Q: What lies ahead for you?

A: Well, I don't lack for ideas. The problem is deciding which one is worth the effort. Right now, I'm working on a children's fantasy novel I hope to get published.

Q: The daikaiju genre (such as it is) has been very film-focussed to date. Did this prove a problem when you came to writing your story?

A: Since I've written nearly two dozen stories in this genre, fanfics or otherwise, I guess the answer is no. Writing the monsters, the mechanics of it, is easy; it's "the human heart in conflict with itself" that's the real challenge.

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

If you want to write about them, think outside the box. Don't be limited to a formula. One of the disappointing aspects of the fanfiction side is that too many fans are stuck in the "Monster A versus Monster B" mindset. It's boring. And frustrating that anyone would willingly submit to a limit. The films often may be formulaic, but your stories can be about anything you want.

February 2005



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