A mythic Godzilla foe that never got to share the big screen with the King of the Monsters gets the opportunity after 30 years on the sidelines, albeit in a four-minute short film made for YouTube. The Gryphon, the monster created for the unmade Hollywood version of Godzilla meant for release in 1994, is brought to life – and with a few extra twists.
YouTube channel Lost Utopia Films recently uploaded their tribute to the shape-shifting chimera and kaiju cinema entitled The Gryphon (Godzilla Found Footage). Taking a page out of the Cloverfield handbook, they use a found-footage structure to depict a battle between the Gryphon and two versions of the KOTM – “Zilla” from the 1998 Roland Emmerich film and the one from Legendary’s MonsterVerse.
Footage from news broadcasts, CCTV, and amateur videography are strung together in a VHS presentation issued by an organization called the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center. The tape tells the origin of the Gryphon in the ‘94 script by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot who devised the creature as an alien lifeform made using DNA from earthbound animals.
Alien orbs and mutant bats first appeared in Utah before they began to fuse into a larger creature spotted in Kentucky. It made its way to New York where it was met by Zilla whom it swiftly defeated. The fully formed Gryphon then encountered MV Godzilla who was a much tougher opponent. To beat him back, Gryphon employs tactics and beam attacks similar to Ghidorah.
This works to turn the tide in its favor, so defeating it requires the combined forces of Zilla and Legendary Goji. The Gryphon is defeated and the last shot of it shows its severed head impaled on the Statue of Liberty’s torch – a finish inspired by a moment in the Rossio/Elliot script that was meant to be in the film.
The two Western Godzilla variants realize they work well together and walk away from a job well done from their perspective. Meanwhile, New Yorkers are left with a mess of destruction and Gryphon guts emergency workers in hazmat suits are trying to quarantine. The video ends with a UNGCC assessment of the death toll resulting from the carnage onlookers witnessed.
LUF’s CGI is what you expect from a small-to-nonexistent budget, but the kaiju designs are accurate to the last detail. They also do The Gryphon justice as a force to be reckoned with. Designed by Stan Winston, the monster in all its hideous glory developed such a following over the years that, behind Bagan, it’s the one G-Fans wanted to see most.
The closest we’ve gotten is a graphic novelization of the ‘94 Godzilla supplied by the online forum American Kaiju.