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To John Baltisberger A Rose by Any Other Name is Biollante

Godzilla vs. Biollante, Toho

If you’re a frequent reader on anything on Madness Heart’s blog, John Baltisberger is a familiar name. If you aren’t a frequent flyer around here, Baltisberger is a writer and poet who has published three books: The Configuration Discordant, Inhuman Error, and Artifice of Flesh. He also hosts two podcasts: Madness Heart Radio and Wandering Monster. As a huge kaiju fan, Baltisberger talks with us about Biollante.

The easy answer as to what Biollante is would be a kaiju rosebush. The description Baltisberger gives her is that Biollante is a “vegetation” kaiju. “The story is that a scientist whose daughter was killed by Godzilla is working on using G-cells (that’s Godzilla’s regenerative DNA) to genetically modify a rose bush. This rose bush becomes possessed with the scientist’s daughter. And then morphs into a Kaiju that tries to fight off Godzilla,” he says. It is this backstory of the creation of Biollante that makes Baltisberger love her.

This monster only appears in one film: Godzilla vs. Biollante. Baltisberger believes that this movie is not one of the better Godzilla films, and he certainly doesn’t think the battle between the titular monsters is very good. However, he loves the costume design. “The Monster design is also completely out of this world, it’s in my opinion one of the best looking Kaiju to ever be produced, in any era of film making,” Baltisberger says. Some critics of the Biollante costume design compares the creature to Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors. Baltisberger uses the word “flippant” for this description of the creature and says this of the design, “she’s more of a mix of a Godzilla-Esque Alligator and some dangerous plant life.” He definitely says that Biollante is not a “rosebush with teeth,” but “LOOKS dangerous.”

In her only movie appearance, Biollante loses to Godzilla, but she also appears in several video games and comic books. Baltisberger has little love for the video games and feels the monster is underserved by them. On the other hand, the comic books allow Biollante to shine as a kaiju. Baltisberger points to one particular book that serves the monster well: Godzilla: Cataclysm. The storyline finds Biollante attempting to replenish the plant-life on earth after Godzilla destroys it all. “Biollante is almost presented as the savior of the world,” he says.

Although plant-based kaiju are uncommon, Baltisberger does not believe that Biollante would fit well into the world of other vegetation creatures like triffids or the Thing. He says that he would like to see this monster in the world of Swamp Thing. “[It] would tickle me pink,” he says of the crossover idea. Some might even say that flower monsters are not scary. Baltisberger says that in many video games some of most dangerous characters are plant-based. When talking about Biollante, it’s a giant plant monster, which should alter anyone’s perception about the danger it poses.

Right now, Baltisberger has several book projects “peeking their heads out from around the corner for publication at the moment.” You can follow him on social media at @kaijupoet or his personal website here.

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