The folks at HOWL BOOKS are back at it again! Curated by the Church of Satan’s Peter H. Gilmore (who’s tumblr post on the most recent American Godzilla film is nothing short of epic) THE DEVIL’S REIGN III will be focusing on Kaiju- monsters from mythology, cinema or your own sketchbooks.
Andy and the gang at HOWL have put out some really great content so far, and this volume should be no different. So if you’d like to submit to the show/book: http://www.howlbooks.net/submissions-dr3/
A NOTE FROM THE CURATOR
THE DEVILS REIGN: DAIKAIJU
Since the dawn of our species, humans have been awed by the power and mystery of the grand forces of Nature under whose dominion we try and survive. Before the rise of science could explain the mechanisms behind storms, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, mankind personified these vast and indifferent phenomena as best they could, and the most mighty and terrifying aspects of the cosmos were deemed to arise from monstrous creatures. In Japanese “daikaiju” specifically means giant monsters, with strange and fantastic characteristics, so the terrors of past legends certainly are captured by this word.
Looking back through the myths of past cultures we find the Babylonian Tiamat, a chaos dragon, who was transmuted into Leviathan in the Hebrew sacred texts. The northern peoples imagined Jormungandr as the world serpent, and the Greeks were terrified by Typhon and Echidna, who spawned a host of lesser hideous beasts. Giant monsters have thus been a primal aspect of the human imagination for millennia.
In the 1950s, science fiction films dealt with the widespread fear engendered by the reality of nuclear weaponry by invoking oversized beasts, either resurrected from prehistoric times by bomb tests or mutated by the radioactive residue from atomic blasts. Harryhausen’s THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS was released from the polar cap and brought long-dormant disease to New York City. THE DEADLY MANTIS came down from those frigid regions to feast on humans and society had to combat rampaging huge ants, spiders, and locusts. Japan, having been the only nation subject to nuclear attack, became the birthplace for GOJIRA, a prehistoric marine reptile roused by the Pacific detonations to ravage Tokyo. He signified that when Nature is violated by mankind’s rash behavior, it may right the balances we’ve tipped with dreadful consequences to the human species.
The success of Toho’s GOJIRA spawned a stable of monstrosities that were allies or foes, including Rodan, Mothra, Anguiras, and King Ghidorah. Over the course of three film series these avatars of nature became camp and heroic and then swung back to embodying nature’s wrath. GORGO followed from the UK, a super-sized mother saving her exploited offspring. GAMERA arose with his collection of imaginative foes. KONGA and THE GIANT BEHEMOTH smashed London. Various child-oriented series from Japan have been busy conjuring all manner of peculiar giant monstrosities and heroic silver-toned figures to combat them.
Today we are in a renaissance of Giant Monster films. While CLOVERFIELD (2008) gave us a gripping experience capturing the terrors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it took the success of Legendary’s PACIFIC RIM (2013) and GODZILLA (2014) to re-ignite the genre. This studio now has a “shared universe” of giant monsters that will see a very large ape in KONG: SKULL ISLAND this year, and sequels to both previous films are in the works. Toho revived and reimagined Gojira in 2016’s SHIN GOJIRA and they have plans for more incarnations, both live action and animated. So now is a splendid time for celebrating Daikaiju.
For THE DEVILS REIGN: DAIKAIJU, we task you with crafting images of giant monsters. They may be renderings of the behemoths from past mythologies and movies or you may summon up new vast beasties from the primordial depths of your own imaginations. From horrific to humorous, the daikaiju you conjure must be shown in a context that emphasizes that they are gigantic, whether their actions are devastating or hilarious. We live in a new age of Gods and monsters, so let us capture them in all of their glory for this year’s book and exhibition. Have at it, you aficionados of the gargantuan!
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore
High Priest, The Church of Satan