by General Zod
Arthouse (n) [art'howss]: (1) a film playing in cheap, rundown theaters inside the urban cores of major cities; often foreign or made independently of the Hollywood Studio financing System. May be retroactively applied to films made within the Hollywood Studio System, and film-making techniques used by those in the System’s employ, that the speaker particularly likes, but never as a pejorative. For the pejorative usage, see definition (2)
(2) A pejorative term for boring films made by even more boring film school graduates steeped in arcane theory and purposefully obtuse jargon-speak, because sounding smart is much easier than being smart. And if people were smart, we wouldn’t need terms like “arthouse.” See definition (3)
(3) A branding label for a lifestyle demographic that (like all demographics) is the largely-imaginary composite construct of marketing executives at distant advertising companies who don’t give a fuck about you, or any of the Actually Important Questions. Like, “What is art? What, therefore, is ‘arthouse’?” Who cares? There’s money to be made off the poor suckers and rich fools who think the source of their movies matters more than the movies themselves. (“People like that exist?” Yes, unfortunately, and here’s the real ass-kicker: there are more of them than there are of you.)
What to do when your movie franchise’s swan-song becomes an international cult phenomenon? You desperately scramble to paper over the hilariously wrongheaded conclusion that your franchise was on its last legs. In plain language: you cash in.
But by the time Destroy All Monsters‘ recipes arrived, Godzilla’s owners at Toho Studios had already doubled-down to their dismissive “giant monsters are for the kid’s after-school TV” attitude. They committed most of their spare change, and Godzilla’s original creator/director, Ishiro Honda, to the submarine war/Mad Scientist/Lost Island epic Latitude Zero. Meant to be another international hit (starring Citizen Kane‘s own Joseph Cotton, and TV’s The Joker, Cesar Romero!) it became one long cost over-run, remembered now only by fans of Japanese sci-fi, the director, or the actors involved. If at all. Desperate, out of cash, and biting nails over their experiment in using gaijin stars and Spy-fi gadgets, Toho hired Honda to direct one last Godzilla movie. The results would prove to be the most controversial entry in the series. Continue reading