Interview: Stephanie Hughes

1. So, how were you introduced to kaiju eiga?

When I was really young (not sure what age, but I believe I was a toddler at the time), I used to watch movies, some being Godzilla, some being other monster movies. I seemed to have forgotten all about them until I reached Grade 4 and I was given a Godzilla video game. Excited out of my mind, I beaten the game and done internet searches and watched the movies up until now.

2. Could you explain some of your history in the fandom?

Not much, but I remember my first, and favorite, site to go to was always "Toho Kingdom". I used to go just for Godzilla, but now I guess I just go because of the people. I was a bit surprised seeing as there weren't a lot of female fans around. From where I live, there were more girls into Godzilla than there were guys

3. Other than KMR/KQ, what other major activities have you done in and out of the fandom?

I had submitted some work to Anthony at Toho Kingdom. I had also done some writing, submitting pictures, and graphic art for Kaiju HQ. I had also created my own site called "Toho Island" which I guess I would call abandoned at this point as I can't seem to keep up with it. I also have a Deviant Art page that I am more than happy to update every now and then.

4. How did you get acquainted with Dan and KMR?

At Toho Kingdom's forums, I had set up a thread opening something called GGG (Goji_girl's Graphics) in hopes to keep an edge to my graphic work. As that small business didn't go so well, I found something a lot better as Dan sent me an e-mail asking me to do some graphics (Logo, Title card etc.). From there, I made myself more useful by submitting reviews.

5. You are one of the few shining females who represent kaiju. Could you say you are proud of what ground you could break with a title like that?

I am, I really am. Kaiju Films are a really great and entertaining genre of films and to actually have a title at all is really amazing. Especially being different from other fans. I hope in the future, there can be more female fans around. We really give a different view on these kind of movies.

6. Let’s talk about Kaiju Quickie. Who came up with the idea?

As much as I'd love to take credit for this idea, it was Dan's idea. I was planning on doing written reviews only when I came to the conclusion that people would much rather hear me talk than read huge bodies of text expressing my thoughts on a movie. I didn't want to make thorough reviews like Dan always does, so he gave me the idea of doing reviews under ten minutes and even gave it the title "Kaiju Quickie". From that, we got to work.

7. Was "Kaiju Quickie" the originally proposed name for your review program?

It was the only title that was to be considered. I had not the slightest clue as to what I wanted to call it, but Dan quickly came up with an idea. We were both satisfied with the title, it was simple, fun, and made absolute sense.

8. So far, you have reviewed three films, none of them Japanese kaiju. Is that going to be Dan’s
territory or are you going to do some Japanese kaiju films sometime in the future?

It was actually quite a coincidence that I hadn't done a Japanese film yet. Japanese and Korean films were always my favorite kind of films (That, and Canadian filming of course!). When I did the three movies that I did thus far, I was going after the movies that not a lot of people have heard of just to show that I could convince people why they should or shouldn't watch a movie. I was thinking of doing a couple of Gamera and Godzilla films. Dan and I don't have territories. Since our reviews are so different and we both have two different opinions on them, it wouldn't be bad for us to do the same movie. We just basically let each other know what film we're doing. But we've been discussing and we're thinking of being a bit more organized than that.

9. What reviews can we look foreword to?

Looking back at the reviews I've done, I found that my opinions on films were either "Bad" or "Okay". I wanted to pursue the movies that I had seen before and that I considered to be cinematic gold! Titles like "An American Werewolf In London", "Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe" (Which, judging by Dan's latest review, "Super Monster Gamera", I believe he'll be reviewing the Heisei Gamera films soon, so I'll wait), "The Fly", "King Kong"(1933) and other movies I can happen to come across. I can't say I guarantee these titles, but I can say that I will get more known films in my mix.

10. What are some things you have wanted to do with KQ which you cannot, or at least cannot do right now?

I've always wanted to be able to edit film scenes or better effects in my videos. As of now, what I usually do is just give the video to Dan where he edits it using Windows Movie Maker. As he said, "Not the best, but it gets the job done!". I always wanted to make mine a bit more funnier. I find that I'm getting better (being more comfortable with the camera, being able to come up with funnier jokes about the movie, maybe do skits if I have the time). I know I can't add too much as these are supposed to be under ten minutes, which is great because I don't think I can keep the audience entertained for a long time.

11. You joined KMR wanting to provide Dan with art. And as you have shown in your review for "Reptilicus", you can draw pretty good. Could you delve into your artistic background some?

My father has been an artist. Naturally, I was born with eye for art. Growing up, I've always been striving to get better and better at it. As I do better in graphic art than I do with actual sketches, I have been known to combine the two often. The experimentally hard work of a led pencil and paper with the added "oomph" of digital coloring, shading, and effects. More of my work can be seen at my Deviant Art page at: http://gojigirl.deviantart.com/

12. On an anonymous forum, a member said, "But at least she's much better at it than Dan." What is your opinion of this comment?

I really like Dan's work, he's honest, he's funny, he's great. He's given me a great opportunity with the Kaiju Quickie. I really appreciate the comment, but I don't think I'm anywhere near as great as Dan. Dan is a mentor and we both have our styles. Apples and oranges comparisons just aren't cool.

13. Any projects not related to KMR/KQ we can be expecting?

I had kept this secret from pretty much everyone in case I wouldn't be able to stick to it, but I was working on a thriller/horror novel. I can't say much more than that, I wouldn't want to give it away. I was also working on a comic of a fan made monster. I might go back to doing it. But people might not see it for a while.

14. Mothra or Godzilla? Which do you prefer?

This is a very difficult question, I've always enjoyed how Mothra had so much of a story to it, a catchy song, colorful movies, a mixture of peace and love and vengeance and hate. As an actual kaiju, I find that Mothra, unlike Godzilla, is a more amicable type of character. It's an icon, not one as popular as Godzilla, but still represents a different part of what kaiju films can be, and even represents the female fans of kaiju films (and I'm not referring to the cheesy mini-twins). Godzilla on the other hand, is a dark, black and white, monster who is an unstoppable force of nature. There's more fear and destruction with Godzilla (except of course in those films which Godzilla actually saves earth from aliens and monsters). What I like to see in Godzilla is not just the hateful monster or the kid friendly, tail-kicking hero, but as both of them. Godzilla's resentment for mankind, but at the same time, realizes that the world belongs to him as much as it belongs to mankind and feels that it's his responsibility to protect it (besides who else is gonna rebuild Tokyo for the next ass kickin'). All in all, I suppose I would say Godzilla. Not in a matter of films or character, just because I find Godzilla to be more of an archetype character. Many films like "Mothra" (1961), "Varan" (1958) and "Rodan" (1956) are just mere attempts by Toho to achieve the same popularity as they had when "Godzilla" (1954) came out. And this is when this particular archetype was conceived.

15. Any words/tip you can give our readers?

A few come to mind: For those out there who want to make a film review show, go for it. Find ways to be different from other reviewers and be interesting. Don't mind people who criticize your work in unfair ways, there will be people who disagree with you, but don't forget that it's your own opinion. You don't need the best editing software or be famous or anything, if you can convince people what you think is good and what isn't, AND manage to have fun while doing it, you've done your job.

But what I'd really rather see is you people make your own Kaiju films. I might even try to do one myself. It doesn't have to be a studio production because none of us have that kind of green. But even Lucas and Spielberg started with 8mm making their own low-budget films. Make a difference in your world. Make your mark. Bigger, better, bolder - just go for it!