Classic Kaiju and Kaidan (Japanese monster/horror) films

A DVD of Matango (aka Attack Of The Mushroom People) is sitting on the coffee table. I pulled it out of the collection yesterday, but I don’t know if I can convince The Wife to sit through it. I first saw it when I was a little kid, and loved it. I always liked watching the Giant Monster Movies (Kaiju) on Sundays. Anyway, I have a small collection of them. Anyway, it got me thinking about the genre in general. Who doesn’t like Godzilla? Gamera Vs. Viras was fun, though as a kid I didn’t realise how campy it was. Older now, I still like it. Anyway, there’s a ton of them.

So why do I like them? Part of it is nostalgia. We tend to like the things we grew up with. Also, I lived in Japan when I was three and four years old. Even though I stopped speaking Japanese when we came back to the States, the connection never fully faded. Another part is technical. The heyday of these films was from the mid-'50s (before I was born) to the mid-'70s (when I was a teen). No CGI then, so the effects were practical. I appreciate that. The films were made in a time of simpler technology. With computers, the Internet, mobile phones, blahblahblahblah, it’s interesting to see how people lived – how I lived – in the Olden Days. And the monsters were great. :wink:

My affection for giant monster movies isn’t based on nostalgia–in my childhood I never saw any of them. My affection is purely an adult affliction.

And I can tell you which movie kicked it off: Gamera, Guardian of the Universe (1995). One of my wife’s friends recommended it; I got a copy, and Holy Cow. So then I got the other two in the trilogy, and then I took a look at a couple recent Godzilla movies, and then eventually the original, in both Raymond Burr and Burr-less versions.

So now I’m a fan. Granted, most of the Gamera movies are rubbish. But some of the early Godzillas are nicely done. And there’s just something about a guy in a rubber monster suit kicking down balsa-wood buildings :wink:

I except King Kong from the above discussion. I was always a fan of the King.

PS: Matango is wonderful. So creepy!

Loved the ending, but I’m not going to spoil it – even in spoiler tags.

Mrs. L.A. was looking at the cable Guide menu to find something to watch. I suggested Matango, and she shook her head. :frowning:

I love kaiju films.

But after seeing the original Gojira(Godzilla) I simply can’t watch the Raymond Burr version. The scenes that were cut to be able to include Burr changed the feel of the film completely.

Gamera is one of my favorite kaiju and one of the more recent Gamera films, Gamera the Brave, is my favorite. I have all the Gamera films, every single one, on DVD.

Then there’s Mothra. I can actually sing the song the twins sang to wake Mothra up.

I have The Godzilla Collection: Gojira, Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Godzilla Raids Again, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero), and Terror of Mechagodzilla. I got it in March, 2011. A reviewer who bought it in July, 2012 complained about the packaging. Apparently my set has the older, superior packaging. :cool:

I would be interested to know whether you have seen the recent* Shin Godzilla* [Godzilla Resurgence] and what you thought of it.

To me it had the best elements of classical Godzilla films, not just suitmation and kicking the crap out of Tokyo, but a real sense of awesome menace and social critique of Japanese society thrown in.

I picked up a DVD of Matango a year ago – I’d just seen it on a very faded film, but it was how I first learned the film was actually in color (when I’d seen it on TV as a kid, it was on our black and white TV). The DVD is now ludicrously expensive, but I found a used copy. It’s a very different experience in color. Not one of my favorites, but interesting.

(When I was a kid I had a fungal skin infection that it took me years to get rid of. Because of that, I had my name on one of my sports jerseys as “Matango”. Nobody understood the reference.)

I haven’t seen any of the new films. I was spending my time and money flying at the time, and rarely went to see movies. One of the things that struck me upon seeing previews for the 1998 (?) film was that Godzilla’s head seemed too small.

I loves me some daikaiju movies, and will watch just about any of them without regard to quality. Some of them are masterpieces, some are very silly kid’s movies. I still love them all.

Who doesn’t like Godzilla? I dunno, some people just don’t like dramas.

I’ll agree that Gojira is a very different movie in mood than the edit that includes Burr. The version with Burr has a feel of watching a newsreel of things happening to people far away. The version without him seems like something that’s happening to us.

How about non-Japanese kaiju, like the South Korean Yongary? And the North Korean Pulgasari is surprisingly not that bad.

From the Burr version:

This article - The Eleven Most Fearsome Giant Monsters in Comic Books - World Comic Book Review - lists the top eleven kaiju in comics as:

  1. Godzilla
  2. Fing Fang Foom*
  3. Zunisha
  4. Starro*
  5. Angels (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
  6. Nemesis*
  7. Jormungand*
  8. Cloverfield/Kishin
  9. Rafaello
  10. God (from The Authority)*
  11. The Enormous*

The kaiju marked with a star are from non-Japanese comics, which I guess is the point of the article.

(Interesting too that Neon Genesis Evangelion started out as a manga and became an animated series - I always assumed it was the other way around.)

Since we’re speaking about Kaiju films, I recently stumbled on the fact that Studio Gibhli mad their own live-action Kaju short film: Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo. It serves as a prequel to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and it’s pretty good with some excellent destruction.

It’s 10 minutes and available on the web: Link. Alternative link.

I love them and always have but I never call them Kaiju. To me they’re Godzilla Movies or Monster movies. Monster Week on the ABC 4:30 Movie was always my favorite (along with Planet of the Apes Week). I would be bored to tears from what I called the “People parts” and would be on the edge of my seat (even when I was sitting on the floor:)) for the six or seven minutes of Monster Action we would get every movie.

I have written about this before but for me Thanksgiving still is a Monster holiday. WWOR would show King Kong. Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young every Thanksgiving and three Godzilla movies that Friday. It was always my favorite time of the year and for many years after it ended I would still watch King Kong on Thanksgiving.