Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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Sounds as if it falls pretty squarely within my mission statement as well. I may have to convince Tracy, though. Is it dubbed or subtitled or what?

It's subtitled. But there's not a lot of dialogue regardless. For like the first 10 minutes, I don't think anyone makes a peep.

MATANGO - Attack of the Mushroom People:

OMG! This is nothing less than Toho's take on Gilligan's Island...

With Kyama...

The Skipper, too...

Psychologist, and his girl...

The businessman...

A singer and a writer, too...

Here on Matango Isle!

The point of this movie is fairly straightforward: If you are ever shipwrecked on an island and find evidence that eating the local 'shrooms can turn you into one... don't eat them! Watching Toho movies is an activity that builds upon itself, because every time I see one, I discover a trailer for at least one other movie I need to see. This time it was Gogora and Gappa. Have you seen either of those? 

Ah, Gappa. I reviewed that not so very long ago:

"Stupid bird-lizard!"

When people think of kaiju, they usually imagine Godzilla  and the other monstrous progeny from Toho Studios. Others might prefer Kadokawa Daiei's Gamera, and his child-friendly supporting cast. It would be a rare fan indeed who thinks of Nikkatsu Studios' sole contribution to the genre. Gappa, the Triphibian Monster (大巨獣ガッパ / Daikyojū Gappa), also released as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, appeared in 1967, and hasn't been seen much since.

The film combines the plots of King Kong and Gorgo, replacing their titular monsters with a cross between a bipedal dinosaur and a cockatoo.

A crew of young scientists and journalists head to the south seas looking for exotic animals that will populate a tropical-themed resort built by Playmate magazine. The drama of our first sighting of a possible monster gets immediately undercut by the reaction of the humorous sidekick character, informing us that the film will be played heavily for laughs. Some sources claim the film is an intentional parody. It's difficult to tell with late-60s daikaiju.

Our crew lands on an island inhabited by a B-movie tribe, painted Japanese extras surrounded by items suggesting Polynesian and African cultures. Although the film expresses some anti-Imperialist themes, its depiction of people deemed "primitive" is no less racist than old Hollywood's.

The invaders capture the local monster and remove it from the island, over the inhabitants' objections. The captive creature's far larger parents are soon in pursuit. City stomping ensues. A toy military engages the big beasts. The film's model work is impressive. Other effects are, to be charitable, adequate.

Gappa retains little popularity. It's not up to the standards of the best daikaiju, it doesn't tie in with other, more popular monsters, it's not very original, and, if intended as parody, it's not particularly funny.

Wait ... I think I HAVE that one as part of double feature on a cheapo DVD that's been sitting on a shelf, still in its shrinkwrap, for years.
Wait ... I think I HAVE that one as part of double feature on a cheapo DVD that's been sitting on a shelf, still in its shrinkwrap, for years.

I've seen few things trippier than the scene where the protagonist runs away while the mushrooms laugh at him.  I always thought it was as if H. P. Lovecraft had been commisisoned to wirte a pilot for a Japanese Gilligan, but no one told him it was meant  to be funny.  Although, having seen some of Lovecradft's attempts at humor, that may be just as well.

Haven't seen Gappa in a while, maybe I'll break it out later.   I was just watching the "making of" documentary for Gorgo on my DVD for the MST3K take on that movie, and it pretty much confirms that Gappa was a knock-off of Gorgo.

Not familiar with Gogora, could that possibly be Dogora (a.k.a. Dagorah the Space Monster)?  If it's about a space jellyfish that eats diamonds,  then that's it.

If, like me, you are a connoisseur of goofy-ass kaiju eiga, then you owe it to yourself to seek out Shochiku's 1967 epic Uchū Daikaijū Girara ("Giant Space Monster Guilala"), known in the U.S. as The X from Outer Space.  It's inlcued in the Crtierion Collection's box set When Horror Came To Shochiku, which I'm pretty sure I've reviewed around here somewhere.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

MATANGO - Attack of the Mushroom People:

OMG! This is nothing less than Toho's take on Gilligan's Island...

With Kyama...

The Skipper, too...

Psychologist, and his girl...

The businessman...

A singer and a writer, too...

Here on Matango Isle!

The point of this movie is fairly straightforward: If you are ever shipwrecked on an island and find evidence that eating the local 'shrooms can turn you into one... don't eat them! Watching Toho movies is an activity that builds upon itself, because every time I see one, I discover a trailer for at least one other movie I need to see. This time it was Gogora and Gappa. Have you seen either of those? 

"...could that possibly be Dogora..."

  Yeah, typo.

"Wait ... I think I HAVE that one as part of double feature on a cheapo DVD that's been sitting on a shelf, still in its shrinkwrap, for years."

Quite a trick, watching a movie still in its shrinkwrap.

"Gappa retains little popularity. It's not up to the standards of the best daikaiju, it doesn't tie in with other, more popular monsters, it's not very original, and, if intended as parody, it's not particularly funny."

That's all I need to know. Tracy! Order Gappa! The trailer was a hoot. Just the way they said "GAPPA!" was enough to convince me.

Even if you don't believe everything you read, when humanoid mushrooms stalk you through the forest, groaning and giggling, Don't. Eat. The. Mushrooms. 

I'm pretty sure that, when I saw Godzilla 1985 in its original American theatrical run, Bambi vs Godzilla played right before it.

Me, too. It must have been a general thing.

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

I'm pretty sure that, when I saw Godzilla 1985 in its original American theatrical run, Bambi vs Godzilla played right before it.

Just watched Gappa. It was....not great.

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