Titles: The Monster of Salvation
Realm: Kingdom of Donnegold (Medieval Times)
Featured in: The Adventures/Legend of Galgameth (1996)
Performed By: Felix Silla (Little) Doug Jones (Big)
The Adventures/Legend of Galgameth is a film that has… something of an awkward history behind it. Its story is based entirely on the film Pulgasari to a point where I’d claim it outright plagiarized it if not for a few key facts. First and foremost, Sang-ok Shin, the film’s would-have-been director and original story creator, not only welcomed the idea of an American remake but also worked on it under his American pseudonym. Second… Honestly and sincerely, look it up. It was a frightening thing to learn about and one that seriously makes me consider just how much North Korea is in with someone like that in charge…
The film itself is the typical child’s fairy tale and one whose plot has been done nearly to death save of course for the inclusion of the titular character, Galgameth. Though more a kaiju than an actual dragon, I consider Galgameth as such mainly for the fact that his image serves as the coat of arms for the kingdom of Donnegold from whence he hails and the royal family that he protects. Though Galgameth’s origins are not fully explained beyond that he had been part of the royal family long enough to have a few pages denoting his legend in The Book of Ages, there’s no mistaking his prowess, abilities, and his “birth” as it were.
For most of his existence, Galgameth appears as nothing more than a mere statue no larger than half-a-dozen or so inches tall and made of ordinary stone. If the statue—or its pieces—is wept upon though by a member of the royal family, he comes to life.
All of six inches tall and filled to the brim with reptilian cuteness.
Of course, upon eating metal, Galgameth grows bigger and bigger in size until he reaches a certain point of maturity wherein he becomes far more draconic in appearance. This generally occurs when he reaches human size and his scales go from looking plump and tender to actual organic knightly bronze armor. Of course, the bigger that Galgameth gets, the more metal he has to eat to continue increasing in size, a resource that is not entirely plentiful even back then. Aside from the ability to limitless grow in size and physical strength by eating more metal Galgameth has a few other, rather peculiar, abilities.
One of the few attempts made to destroy him by the film’s bad guy, El El the Black Knight and no I’m not making that name up that’s really what he’s called and he actually was a black knight under the king who had no way of suspecting that such a character would likely be, I don’t know, EVIL!
… Sorry, where was I?
Ah, yes, one of the attempts made to try and destroy Galgameth was done under the assumption that if he eats metal then he must also possess the same weaknesses. The assumption is a sound one that nothing made of metal can pierce his scales as both sword and arrows are quite easily repelled even in his childish form. So playing to Galgameth’s hunger for metal, and the young prince Davin’s need for more in order for Galgameth to reach a size to take back the castle, a trap is made at the kingdom’s foundry. Basically, the bad guys try to melt Galgameth down and they succeed…
In a way…
When Galgameth’s body reaches a certain temperature he will, effectively, become like molten steel where even the slightest touch can set whole trees ablaze in an instant. It’s also the only time when Galgameth is able to breathe fire.
Upon reaching his maximum size shown in the film, Galgameth displayed the ability to withstand a cannonball hitting him directly in the face. In point of fact, when Galgameth just so happens to catch one in his mouth he can, quite literally, chew it up before spitting out a brief machine-gun like spray of bullets. Lastly, and again only displayed in the film so who knows what else Galgameth is capable of, if the Monster of Salvation happens to be struck by lightning, he can redirect it through his arms.
Unfortunately, Galgameth is not without his weaknesses. As previously stated, Galgameth needs to eat a lot of metal before he can reach an appropriate size worthy of his title. His most glaring weakness though is that which brings him to life. Now, a romantic would say the very tears that were wept upon him but the realistic truth of it is salt water that acts like acid even at the slightest touch. A simple bucket of the stuff was enough to send Galgameth screaming into the woods and it was by forcing him into the ocean to save Davin that ultimately slew him.
In point of fact, I dare to say that scene was one of the most tragic and heart wrenching scenes in any film, never mind one geared towards children. While the film is campy at best and outright silly at worse, there’s no missing the fact that most, if not all, of the budget went to Galgameth.
I’ve never seen a more expressive face than his own and considering that he is essentially a full body puppet, that’s saying something. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy looks far more fake than Galgameth does in his best moments and none was greater than his last act of heroism that resulted in his own demise.
Though not perhaps a monster, he is indeed the very personification of Salvation.