Throwing down the gauntlet here after a certain three-character website barfed up a list yesterday of “The Weirdest Giant Monster Movies Ever Made” that doesn’t seem to acknowledge anything made outside of Japan, the US, or Hong Kong, and even then, picks mainstream targets. As a well-versed traveler in the world of awesome giant monster films from across the globe, the list is bunk. So here is a much much better list of weird giant monster movies, in no particular order. And I’m sure people will drop by with films even I didn’t list. The point is there is a whole world of wonderful cinema to explore. You might think because I dismiss these films as weird, that I don’t like them or I think I’m better than them. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I love these films, and you should too!
(1976) – Aliens have invaded Hong Kong, and only one god can stand up to those crazy space cases – Guan Yu! Yes, suck on that science, as every attempt to bring down the aliens by using technology and innovation fails, an old guy who carved a Guan Yu idol saves the day when it comes to life, grows to gigantic size, and ruthlessly slaughters those aliens bastards. Hey, all those aliens are strangely milky white, while Guan Yu is pure 100% Chinese. Hm…. War God had a release long ago on VHS, and grew to legendary status as it was unavailable for years and years in the States until someone found one of the VHS tapes and soon copies multiplied like grey market rabbits. A DVD release was planned at some point, I know thanks to a handy lawsuit threat from the company responsible, who somehow thought I was the one spreading the tape around. Where the heck that DVD is has become a mystery as well. Until then, we’ll always have the memories of giant aliens getting beaten up.
Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century
(Yeti – Il gigante del 20° secolo, 1977) – This Italian ripoff of King Kong features a gigantic yeti that was frozen in ice, only to be revived and do a step-by-step recreation of the plot of the 1976 King Kong remake. Never fear, Yeti has his own theme song (by the Yetians!) and it’s funktastically crazy!
(1961) – This Danish-American coproduction is actually two different films, as the Danish version features musical numbers, a flying monster, and goofiness, while the American version cuts out the mirth in favor of more monster effects and a focus on damage and destruction. Both films end up crazy, for different reasons. But all you have to do is take a look at Reptilicus and realize there is no way this could possibly not be silly!
Yongary, Monster From the Deep
(1967) – Yongary holds a special place, because it’s the only giant monster movie I know of where the monster is killed by bleeding out of the butt! A shoddy Korean production that looks cheap and feels cheap, while avoiding all that charming stuff. That’s not to say it’s terrible, it’s just not good, and not so terrible it’s good. I am surprised MST3K never got a chance at it. Check out the take by WTF-Film! It was later remade by D-Wars director Shim Hyung-rae as Reptilian, but that bombed. Shim Hyung-rae also starred in a comedic farce version of Yongary in the 1990s, which is hard to find for some reason so I can’t make accurate snide remarks about it.
(1985) – No list of weird giant monster movies is complete without this entry from North Korea! Before Kim Jong-Il was a brutal dictator, he was the son of a brutal dictator who was obsessed with movies. Kim Jong-Il arranged for the kidnapping of South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee, and forced them to create films. One of the results of this debacle was the film Pulgasari, which involved a mythical creature that grew to gigantic proportions once it eats metal, and thus aides a peasant rebellion against a corrupt ruler. After his flight to freedom, Shin Sang-ok would later reuse the premise for the 1996 American film The Legend of Galgameth!
Daigoro vs Goliath
(1972) – The silliest Toho giant monster film doesn’t feature even feature Godzilla at all, but is about a weird cow hippo monster and how he learns to be brave and fight an evil monster from space. And also learns how to poo. I’m not making that up. There is triumphant toilet stall leaving action in Daigoro vs Goliath! Todd and I covered this movie quite well with an Infernal Brains Podcast!
The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit
(ギララの逆襲／洞爺湖サミット危機一発, 2008) – Minoru Kawasaki’s strange take on the Monster X film gives us a sequel that’s made up of stock footage, and a bunch of ridonkulous political satire that’s already totally dated (almost everyone lampooned is either out of office or dead!) and features a giant version of Takeshi Kitano taking a missile up the butt (ironic, considering his homophobic comments!) Guilala battles Take-Majin in the final minutes, but it takes far too long to get to the monster fight. Not recommended unless you want a blast from the past, almost every other Minoru Kawasaki film is better.
(1963) – Smart movie fans will know that India has produced their fair share of films that have giant monsters in theme, even if the majority only feature the monster in tiny roles. Shikari is a bit different, because it’s a mix of King Kong and those boring jungle adventure films. Which means we get more giant gorilla action than you’d think! FourDK gave Shikari a once-over. Until someone finds a surviving print of Gogola (the rumored Indian Godzilla film), this is probably the Indian film with the most kaiju bang for your buck.
Banglar King Kong
(2010) – Of all the King Kong ripoffs on this list, Banglar King Kong is not only the most recent, but also the most cheap! Bangladeshi cinema produced this amazing take on the King Kong mythos, produced just in time to be years too late to cash in on Peter Jackson’s remake. Banglar King Kong follows a simplified version of the plot of the original film, with plenty of musical numbers thrown in. King Kong is a guy in a cheap costume, he’s discovered and falls in love with one of the hottest stars of Banglar cinema. Eventually, King Kong rampages in the city (literally made out of cardboard) until he’s gunned down by footage stolen from the 1976 King Kong. Twas editing killed the beast! We sunk our claws into Banglar King Kong here at TarsTarkas.NET!
(Godzilla il re dei mostri, 1977) – The only Godzilla film I’ll dare put on this list (though the unnamed site did correctly point out Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster was weird, Cozzilla is a special case. It’s an Italian edited version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, which is the American edited version of Gojira. And like the American version, it has lots of added scenes that change large portions of the tone. But unlike the American version, it’s colorized in a format called Spectrorama 70, developed by Armando Valcauda. Spectrorama 70 involved using colored gels to tint the footage, giving it a surreal, otherworld quality. Much footage of actual wars scenes and even the Enola Gay have been added in, and the entire film comes off as a bleak and depressing tale. Luigi Cozzi is the madman responsible, you might remember him for bringing a certain film called Starcrash to life. The only copies to make it to the US are Nth generation VHS dubs, and for the longest time we didn’t even have the ending on tape! Will we ever see a true release of this amazing legendary edited version? Good breakdowns of Cozzilla exist here and at WTF-Film.
Taiwan’s Flying Children Films
(various) – One of the worst genres of Taiwanese cinema is the Annoying Flying Children genre, which features kids of various annoyance running around with magical super fighting powers and usually flying around like idiots. The kids somehow come across giant monsters all the freaking time, which leads to plenty of sequences where these invincible children defeat humongous creatures. The flying kids are almost as bad as the legions of Japanese children who wear short shorts. Almost. Young Flying Hero has a giant frog and dragon battling it out for a few minutes. Dwarf Sorcerer is the youngest and most annoying, he fights gorilla men and dragons. Flyer of Young Prodigalis a cheaper version of the same story, but with dinosaur stabbing and dragon fights. The Boy and the Magic Box has the most creative monsters, a bearded triceratops and a flame-shooting tyrannosaur that uses weapons. But the coolest monster is the three-headed creature that battles the hero for reasons unknown.
(2005) – This sequel to Creepies not only exceeds the original, but it’s a pretty fun b-level monster flick where a giant spider destroys Las Vegas, and a giant robot must defend the city. Made on a budget of whatever the director found in his couch cushions, it looks like they had a pretty big couch, because it’s awesome! The most fun you will have with a giant rampaging spider movie that never got a real US release! Discount Puppet Explosion dealt with the Creepies menace!
The Super Inframan
(1975) – Okay, the other films on this list are just very good suggestions for you to watch. The Super Inframan is the film that if you haven’t watched, you need to track down immediately and watch. I mean, don’t even finish this paragraph, find the freaking film and enjoy! One of the classics of cult cinema, The Super Inframan delivers nonstop entertainment as monsters and mayhem invade the planet, hundreds of people are killed, and a super hero rises to destroy the threats. I mean, how can you watch this and not want to find this film just this instant?:
The Ginseng King
(三頭魔王, 1988) – Taiwan is no stranger to giant monster mayhem, and they feature all over this weird kiddie tale of a 1000 year old ginseng and all the evil people who want to eat him. Also lots of giant things are met along the way. Being a Taiwanese childrens’ film, it gets dark at times. It’s some of the funnest fun you will ever have watching a film about a 1000 year old ginseng man.
Darna and the Giants
(1974) – Darna is the classic Filipino super heroine who has battled her share of evil-doers, from evil trees to evil space ladies. But battling evil giants was her finest hour. Because it meant she could be listed in this article! You did it, Darna! Seriously, the Darna films are some of the funnest things from the Philippines, and the Vilma Santos Darna films are the classics all other versions are held up to. So do yourself a favor and track some down, and be sure to watch this entry for lots of stomping action! Darna expert Todd gives us a guide via FourDK!
Phra Rot Meri
(1981) – The films of Sompote Sands could make their own list of weird giant monster films (or their own series, like FourDK did!), but Phra Rot Meri is by far the weirdest. While Sompote Sands often pilfered Ultraman or Kamen Rider for his films, his original films dealt with aspects of Thai mythology, and the translation get a little lost without the benefit of subtitles. Thus, I couldn’t exactly explain why the giant monster guy in Phra Rot Meri has gigantic boobs, but he does and there they are. And yes, lactation fetishists, he does milk himself. There’s some plot about a prince fighting against evil, but seriously, who cares when we got giant monsters spraying their milk all over the place? Give Phra Rot Meri a prize, any prize, all the prizes! Make Phra Rot Meri captain of the USS Enterprise on the next reboot! Get ready to be confused! (NSFW for giant fake monster boobs!)
If you enjoy giant monsters and want to see more weird ones, but ones that aren’t the focus of the film, or films that just weren’t weird enough to include, you can also check out:
A Field Guide to Cantonese Fantasy Monsters and Creatures – a list of the fabulous creatures discovered so far in old black and white Cantonese wuxia classics. A MUST SEE!
The Mighty Gorga – Cheap as heck US King Kong ripoff with the most hilarious gorilla vs dinosaur fight on film!
Little Hero – big octopi show up on the beach to toss their children at Polly Shang Kuan!
Kinky Kong – King Kong fucks the Statue of Liberty. Also softcore sex happens or something.
The Legend of Mother Goddess has dragons, big eared dudes, and lessons to learn about piety.
Merciful Buddha – yet another giant monkey, though it barely appears. There is a weird horse man and some other goofy effects. Cool for being weird, but not monster enough to satisfy much of anyone.
Hanuman and the 7 Ultramen – Sompote Sands made a career out of stealing intellectual property, and here is one of his most famous examples!
Mars Men – an Italian edit of a Thai giant monster film made by Sompote Sands!
Thunder of Gigantic Serpent and King of Snake – A girl befriends a snake, which soon grows to enormous size and must be mercilessly slaughtered! The original King of Snake version was chopped up and dubbed into Thunder of Gigantic Serpent, the version most famous in the west.
Giant Taiwanese Monsters were discussed on these two Infernal Brains Podcasts (our firsts, so please excuse the quality!)
And there’s plenty more where this came from. But if you don’t have a healthy start by now, you aren’t paying attention… Thanks to Exploder Button and Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill for help with ideas and having covered films I haven’t gotten around to writing about yet!
Zone Fighter Episode 14 – Takerikuruuzo! Garoga Shounen Kougekitai
Zone Fighter has become the ending of The Wild Bunch!
Zone Fighter is a big bully, there is no denying that. So when the Garoga and a bunch of tiny tots get involved in a conspiracy that involves bullying, Zone Fighter is suddenly anti-bullying! Well, sort of, the bullying just resolves itself naturally, but it is a reason why the main child suddenly goes evil. If you like shows with mobs of boy children in short shorts running around like peewee droogs and smashing up everything and everyone they see, then you will be in for a treat! Unfortunately, we got to sit through a lot of junk before that scene, thought at one point a bird goes evil and starts screaming “Garoga! Garoga!”, so that’s pretty cool. Thanks to the weird factor and the minimob montage sequence, Zone Fighter Episode 14 becomes one of the better Zone Fighter episodes. If you need some Zone Fighter infotainment, stop on by the Zone Fighter Splash Page and get your education on!
This is the first episode where the new credits first appear, the synopsis is ditched and we see it happen as the credits roll, but so do a lot of shots of the show itself, including many many images of Godzilla, almost as if they are trying to emphasize Big G is part of the show for ratings. But he doesn’t show up in this episode, so go back to waiting until I get to an episode that he does appear in!
Baron Garoga has made some chemical so evil he’s totally laughing. Considering it looks like pond scum in a Erlenmeyer flask, maybe it is evil…or it at least smells bad. Baron Garoga gives it to some Garoga in white lab coats with big red crosses (complete with skull at the tope) and huge yellow rubber gloves. I dub them Garoga Scientists, because I can. The Garoga Scientists may have specialized lab coats and safety gloves, but where is their eye protection? Come one, Garoga Scientists, do you want to get a fine???
The Garoga Scientist adds more stuff to the potion and it turns light green, then they rocket it to the Earth. Yes, they waste a rocket transporting a small amount of liquid to some guys who are standing by a truck in the middle of a field. It’s an Undercover Truck, despite the Garoga logo that is an evil snarling Garoga face (minus antennas) Way to keep a low profile, dudes!
A boy in tiny tiny shorts named Tsuyoshi is being lectured by a his mom about how he should go to school and not be afraid of everyone being mean to him because he sucks. Then Akira comes and takes Tsuyoshi, walking him to school while holding his hand. No wonder everyone makes fun of Tsuyoshi! Akira is probably the dorkiest friend you could ever have, and when four bully kids appear and lock arms in front of them, they all attack Tsuyoshi instead of Akira. Also, there is waaaaaay more physical contact between friends in Japan, I guess. Tsuyoshi hangs his head in shame after being mocked.
Zone Fighter Episode 08 – Taose! Kyoufu-no Inbeedaa
Kirk! Is better! Than! Picard!
This episode of Zone Fighter is pretty darn weak, though it has a nice gruesome scene involving two unfortunate fishermen, and a nice fight at the very end in which the outcome is never in doubt. But to get to it we have to follow the Garogas make a bunch of dumb moves and our heroes also make a bunch of dumb moves. And that’s just not fun! If you need a Zone Fighter refresher course, feel free to drop by the Zone Fighter Guide Page. And now on with the show…
Zone Fighter Episode 8 Taose! Kyoufu-no Inbeedaa (Smash the Terrifying Invader! or Defeat the Invader of Fear! depending on who you trust has a better translation) opens with Akira and a pack of his young friends hanging out in Takeru Jou’s model shop. The terrifying realization that we might have FOUR children in short shorts starring instead of just one begins to materialize, luckily it will prove not to be the case. The kids are unimpressed by model trains, but one kid really likes the telescope. So much so that he notices a rocket heading for impact nearby.
Said rocket is one of the Garoga Terror-Beast Rockets, which Takeru recognizes immediately. He and Akira track the course on a map to a lake, then head over there in a car, ditching the young friends. None of the friends seem to be disturbed their young friend is getting into a car with a strange man who hangs out with young boys all day. I predict a Lifetime movie in the future…
Two fishermen are at the lake and having their little argue moment when the missile lands in the water. One of them is actor Senkichi Omura, who played the translator in King Kong vs Godzilla, an escaped convict in Godzilla Raids Again, a villager in Godzilla vs Mothra, a guy who tries to retrieve a hat in Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, a cameraman in Frankenstein Conquers the World, and a drunk in the first episode of Ultra Q. And all those Akira Kurasawa films he was in. The other fisherman (who isn’t instantly recognizable) drops his food. The horrors of the Garoga terrors will be sung in songs for ages!
Ultraman is a hero everyone loves, and the best way to love someone is to produce films with mysteriously similar characters. Enter Red Jade, a new upcoming film that looks like some of the latest Ultraman movies, except now it’s in Hong Kong and his name is Red Jade. Also the monsters look bigger and there are more alien ships. Probably a lot more random people being slaughtered.
Red Jade is from Worldwide Film Entertainment, and is fully funded to hopefully show up in 2015. The effects sizzle reel is above, there is not other information about Red Jade at this time except the poster and plot blurb:
An archeology student and his professor who find that vandals have loosened a ferocious earth-bound monster wrecking havoc on the city of Hong Kong, then discover a talisman that turns the young scholar into a super-hero.
Regardless of the snark, I shall be watching, and I demand it be entertaining! Because I’m the kind of person who can make demands.
Story by Travis Beacham
Screenplay by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
An action packed ride from the first frames, Pacific Rim delivers the giant robots vs. giant monsters action promised, and crafts an entertaining flick around it. Del Toro provides a love letter to a genre he grew up loving, and succeeded in updating it technologically to craft something amazing. Almost every frame is a piece of art by itself. The design and look are outstanding, the jaegers (the giant robots) are banged up and realistic, and the kaiju are scarily beautiful yet deadly looking. Battles encompass multiple environments, from snowy seas of Alaska to the cityscapes of Hong Kong to the ocean floor.
Pacific Rim keeps its flow, the segments where the story is set up feel natural and are done in creative fashion. Following along, our minds are too busy to wander, bereft of distractions and eagerly anticipating the next monster brawl. And when the real action starts, boy does it start.
There are minor spoilers below, but nothing that isn’t in the trailers. But if you don’t want to know anything, just know that Pacific Rim is my favorite film I’ve seen this summer, and possibly 2013. It’s fun, fun, fun, heartfelt and not full of the gritty reluctant heroes that seem to be everywhere. There are giant monster, robots, and it’s awesome.