Youth of the Beast
aka 野獣の青春 aka Yaju no Seishun aka Wild Youth
Written by Ichiro Ikeda and Tadaki Yamazaki
Based on the novel by Haruhiko Oyabu
Directed by Seijun Suzuki
A random stranger coming to town to pit two rival groups against each other is a classic story done well in a variety of genres, and with Youth of the Beast we get the story set in the swinging 1960s yakuza beat, with director Seijun Suzuki determined to make the visuals by themselves a grand spectacle. Joe Shishido and his cheeks take their usual place as a Suzuki lead, as Shishido’s Joji Mizuno waltzes in to lead the sides to their collective dooms.
so what makes Youth of the Beast worth watching like similar tales Yojimbo, Red Harvest, Django, A Fistful of Dollars, or even The Warrior and the Sorceress? Aside from the story being well told again, there is the great Seijun Suzuki visuals. Suzuki starts showing off his boredom with the nonstop yakuza films by tossing in a bunch of visual flair. He must have had fun, because his films only seemed to escalate from here. Youth of the Beast opens with a bleak black and white scene of solemn police investigating a double suicide, a cop and a woman, the only point of color (and life) being a red flower. This sharply contrasts with the vibrant color and exciting city life full of laughing girls, violent fights at the drop of a hat, and a jazzy soundtrack that immediately follows, as Joji Mizuno beats through some Nomoto yakuza thugs to rob their money and blow it at their club.
The energetic club is full of life, sin, and sound, while the Nomoto yakuza bosses who control it observe though soundproof one way mirrors, giving the mirth a surreal quality. Mizuno’s ease of dispatching the thugs gains the interest of the boss, and after a bit of interrogation and some display of weapons skills, he’s on their team. Then just as quickly, Mizuno is ratting everything out to the boss of the rival Sanko gang. As he’s out for revenge against the groups that ruined his life, breaking them apart piece by piece becomes a fun game.
The Infernal Brains strike again, wading into the monster battle of the century! Last century. Yes, it’s the obscure 1972 Toho/Tsuburaya co-production Daigoro vs. Goliath (Kaijû daifunsen: Daigorou tai Goriasu – literal translation: Great Desperate Monster Battle: Daigoro vs. Goliath!) The desperation is great indeed as Tars and Todd must digest a film where monsters also do digestion. Giant monsters, kiddie suitmation, awful slapstick humor, and child matinees. We go over the Champion Festival edited Godzilla flicks, released long ago on laserdisc as the Godzilla Death Battle Chronicles. We also take a side track talk about local tv horror hosts (mentioned hosts include: Chuck Acri from Acri’s Creature Feature, Bob Wilkins, Asmodeus, Grandpa Munster on Super Scary Saturday, and Commander USA) But worst of all, we talk about a monster that can’t use the toilet and what that means for the children of the world. Find out why Daigoro vs. Goliath was never imported to the USA! What were they hiding from us? Or what were they protecting us from?
As usual, we got more listening choices than you can shake a bowl of Daigoro chow at: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link. So many choices, Goliath will crash down from space just to punch you!
Watch in slideshow form:
Subscribe to the Infernal Brains on YouTube!
Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng
Infernal Brains Podcast – 08 – Worst Podcast Ever
The Mummies of Guanajuato – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 09
Jane Bond – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 10
Godzilla vs. Mothra
This is the most popular film of the Heisei Godzilla series, in that it did the best at the box office due to the cross appeal of Mothra with girls. It spawned the Mothra Trilogy as an offshoot (though technically not in the same universe) and helped set up sequels down the line in the Heisei series. And it wasn’t released in the US until years later, thanks to fallout from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Thus, I ended up with a full-screen dubbed VHS release around 1998 or so when the movies started to show up at the local Suncoast (now bankrupt.) Isn’t that grand? So as Godzilla has been rebooted, it is time for familiar monsters to start reappearing. Since Ghidorah already did his part, now Mothra will show up to kick some Godzilla butt. Mothra is also joined by Battra, the Dark Mothra. Wow, how original. Will Dark Godzilla then show up? What about Light Ghidorah? What if we had a Godzilla who was black on one side and green on the other? Then he fought another bi-colored Godzilla, except his colors were on the opposite sides! This is a Star Trek joke, for those of you who are 13 and stumbled across this while Googling for “Godzilla boobs” or something.
Someone will find this review by Googling “Godzilla boobs”
Back to the films, we have typical Heisei stuff with the army being useless, that psychic girl Miki Saegusa showing up, and a bunch of new main characters who have to spend the film repairing their marriage. Important stuff, to be sure. This is also the deput of the Heisei Shibojin, or the Cosmos as they get renamed this time around. And they are not real twins, just two Idols that Toho had lying around.
Originally, Mothra was to fight a monster known as Bagan in a film called Mothra Vs. Bagan. Then Godzilla vs. Biollante tanked and Toho realized that no one knew who Bagan was. Instead of having Mothra fight Bagan all across Asia (including battles in Shanghai and Bangkok) Mothra was reworked into the Godzilla series. Mothra then got so popular she headlined her own trilogy of films. Bagan appeared as the final boss in the Super Nintendo video game Super Godzilla, and almost fought Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Bagan, but that film became Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. So Bagan gets the shaft again!
Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews Tags: Akiji Kobayashi, Battra, Godzilla, Heisei Series, Hurricane Ryu, Japan, Kazuki Omori, Keiko Imamura, Kenpachiro Satsuma, March of Godzilla 4, Megumi Odaka, Mothra, Saburo Shinoda, Satomi Kobayoshi, Sayaka Osawa, Shobijin, Takao Okawara, Takehiro Murata, Tetsuya Bessho