James Turner over at Forbes.com has an interesting piece up examining the relationship between countries and their favorite brand of movie monsters. Godzilla, he posits, was born directly of Japan's post World War II paranoia that, in dropping nuclear bombs on their nation, scientists had irresponsibly forged a new kind of monster out of man's meddling with technologies beyond their control. Though the giant, irradiated mutant is still iconic today, Godzilla's relevancy has taken a bit of a dive in recent years, but for decades the monster reigned as Japan's reminder that man's carelessness with awe-inspiring technology has consequences that are literally too large to ignore.
However, America never developed the allegorical infatuation with Godzilla that Japan did. Half-way around the world, Godzilla was little more than an entertaining man in a suit stomping around meticulously designed sets and wrestling with other men in rubber suits. But that's not to say that the US of A lacks its own personification of science gone wrong. Ours, Turner counters, is merely a fear of endless hordes of friends, families and neighbors transformed into mindless cannibals.
Ever since Romero gifted the world with Night of the Living Dead, America has had a fascination with scientific fumbles that bring about the undead apocalypse. Crashing satellites, bungled lab work, mutated viruses, escaped experiments -- these are all our Godzilla. That said, though, Turner does point out a crucial distinction between America's brain-eaters and Japan's city-destroyer: