Godzilla vs. Gigan, released in Japan as and also known as Godzilla on Monster Island when first released to U.S. theaters, is a 1972 tokusatsu film. The 12th of the Toho Studio's Godzilla series, it was directed by Jun Fukuda with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. In the U.S., Cinema Shares released the film in 1977. When released to video in the 1980s, the title reverted to Godzilla vs. Gigan.
The monsters featured in this film are Godzilla, Anguirus, King Ghidorah and a new monster, Gigan. Featured via stock footage (from previous Godzilla films) are Kamacuras, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Kumonga, Manda and Gorosaurus. Also, due to re-use of stock footage, Gaira the green Gargantua is seen during the maser tank scene.
Godzilla fans usually do not hold the film in high esteem. It had a lower budget than most of the other Godzilla films and depends heavily on stock footage from earlier Toho kaiju movies, such as Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Rodan, War of the Gargantuas, Destroy All Monsters, and Invasion of Astro-Monster (which causes it to change from night to day and back during the monster battle scene, as well as Godzilla's appearance repeatedly changing). However, because of the film's low-budget, the special-effects crew could not have completed the movie without the use of the older footage. Some fans do enjoy the film for its lengthy four-way fight between the monsters at the finale.
The music is credited to Akira Ifukube, who composed the scores for most of the Godzilla films of the 1960s. Ifukube, however, did not write any new music for this movie; the score was patched together from his earlier Toho scores, most notably Battle in Outer Space and Frankenstein vs. Baragon, as well as the main suite composed for the Expo '70 Mitsubishi Pavilion film, The Japanese Archipelago, for the main title music.
In Japan, the film sold approximately 1,780,000 tickets.
In 1977, CinemaShares, the company responsible for the North American distribution of Godzilla vs. Megalon, released a dubbed and slightly cut version of Godzilla vs. Gigan in North America. This version was re-titled Godzilla on Monster Island despite the fact that very little of the action actually takes place on Monster Island.
Several short scenes were cut to obtain a G-rating from the MPAA:(Note: These were brought back in the DVD release.
This version also including a different opening titles sequence and a different "The End" card. This version of Godzilla vs. Gigan was shown once or twice on Sci-fi channel before 2002. The current Sony DVD restores these cuts.
Also, the original Japanese version, instead of having the monsters talk, reportedly had the monsters communicate via cartoon speech bubbles. The monsters' dialogue in the North American version is from Toho's "International Version" acquired by CinemaShares, and not an alteration by CinemaShares. This is proof from the Sony DVD of this movie as it is Toho's "International Version" not the US version.