Nunzilla! The spirit moves her.
|::|| SISTER MARY MOTHRA: |
A Speculative Biography of Nunzilla, Bride of Godzilla
By N.A. Hayes
Raised Protestant, I had limited experience with nuns. It wasn’t until I was grown and working as a substitute, third grade teacher at a parochial school that I first witnessed the eerie authority of a Sister. The children were excited during some group work, and their growing enthusiasm was matched in growing decibles. Then suddenly, silence. Startled by the quiet I wondered, was the cause an accident or worse a prank in the works?
And there she stood in the doorway. Although she was not wearing a habit, she was clearly A Sister. The simple but immaculate clothes separated her from the rest of the lay staff whose frumpy attire reflected their defeated, this-will-do attitude. The Sister was not angry, nor did she seem excessively stern. She was merely a passing presence, like a fog that renders everything still. She only stopped to see what the noise was and to quickly and oh so quietly settle the excitement. We all looked at her, although none said a word. With the glimmer of a smile and a glint in her eye, she left.
Hers was an impressive presence, indeed. I could see how a child would be scared of a nun, since traditional positions of female power are polarized between being highly aggressive and sexual (consider the nurse, and school teacher.) With a nun, (unless this is a rabelaisian morality tale), her sexuality is usually de-emphasized. Yet children are perceptive enough to feed on these imaginings. Such “nunly” power, as many Catholic schooling survivors know, is often remembered as aggressive, and is thus captured and comodified in the figure of Nunzilla, a knuckle-wrapping toy introduced by Accoutrements in 1997. The aggressive nun quality was also central in her predecessor at Accoutrements, the Boxing Nun (a hand puppet with a mechanism that makes its little plastic arms “punch”).
Nunzilla was supposed to be stereotypical; to indulge the collective memory of the fantasy nun. But like all stereotypes that have some basis in reality I imagine Nunzilla’s story was based on the life of One Woman. I’m working out a movie score of her story. It will be a movie in which she first appears as human. Most probably, our protagonist, the inspiration for Nunzilla, is an Irish or Italian of fiery faith. As a child, not a crumb passes her lips until grace is said before each meal. As a tween, she is present at every mass, ready to confess the smallest transgression her young, impressionable mind could imagine.
But then the foreshadowing of her transformation . . . As a young adult, she becomes lost: she smokes cigarettes, drinks, and even lets boys feel her tits above her bra. And then, after jacking-off her boyfriend for the first time she suffers “The Crisis”. It’s raining of course it’s raining at the time of The Crisis and she run away from her boyfriend’s tan Dodge Dart, wet and crying. Lost in the dark, flailing about, stumbles right into the firm, safe arms of Her Faith.
She never regrets running or so she tells herself at each confession, when doubt creeps forth. As an adult, her rigidity toward children is merely her desire to protect them from feeling the uncertainty she experienced. Later, after her Transformation from woman to “nunster”, monster, her desire to protect all the little children would manifest like Godzilla’s desire to protect Japan you know, the later Godzilla movies. And like the tragic Godzilla, the nun-become-Nunzilla would go too far in her blind, preemptive rampage.
Her transformation will happen after terrorists drop a nuclear bomb upon her school or convent (don’t ask me why just stay with me, here). DNA-gone-bad hijacks her normally passive desire for saintly devotion and religious education, and her Punitive Nature howls. Her habit tears like Lou Ferrigno’s clothes in The Hulk, the ruler in hand when the bomb hit would grows in size as she grows. Ironically, the good and nun-fearing students are killed in the initial rampage along with those we would call transgressors.
Then, just like in The Faculty, the unpopular kids save the day probably by showing some small act of compassion that would cause her to doubt her rampage or something like that. These unlikely savior are the stoners seen previously smoking in the parking lot, wearing hip transgressing uniforms such as emo buttons, neckties tied around their knees you know, the real bad ass stuff. I would call this tragic biography: Nunzilla, Bride of Godzilla.
For those readers who would like to construct their own narratives, or to just own another piece of camp, Nunzilla can be purchased for $6.95US at McPhee.com.