“One day, we looked around and realized that almost no one is making tokusatsu anymore,” said Shinji Higuchi, one of a handful of Japanese directors who still have experience in the genre, having directed three movies in the 1990s featuring the giant fire-breathing turtle Gamera. “We don’t want this technique to just quietly disappear without at least recognizing how indebted we are to it.” - The last days of the rubber-suit monsters.
He is the spirit of vengeance and the wrath of God given form. But when Daimajin's rage was unleashed, it could be directed at both the wicked and the innocent alike.[more inside]
Shin Sang-ok (1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
After a lengthy hiatus, Terry Rossio is once again writing columns on screenwriting and other aspects of the film trade for Wordplayer (previously). New articles include a dissertation on the use of dramatic irony, a fascinating story about a single vacation photo and the strange twists of life, and an insider's look into how good stories get killed, and which battles are worth fighting. [more inside]
Toho kingdom is a deeply obsessive website devoted to Japanese media company Toho. Highlights include monster bios, failed projects (including Batman vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. the Devil), in-depth articles, movie concept art and music tablature. You can also check out a few scholarly treatments/discussions of Toho's most famous creation here (MP3 version), here, and here (YT version). But if you'd rather just watch big rubbery monsters slug it out over a major metropolitan centers in a battle for world supremacy, well, take your pick. Happy Friday everyone! [more inside]
NEGADON!! "NEGADON - the Monster from Mars" is a "digital monster film", a film for the future. Similar in execution to the short film which eventually spawned "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", Negadon is a 100% computer-generated short which has been cleverly designed to look like the old Japanese man-in-the-rubber-suit monster movies of the 50's. Even the posters look the part.
Goodbye Gojira Toho decides to retire our favorite radioactive green dinosaur. Sure there were some crappy ones, but even the crappy ones were great in their own way. And if you've never seen Godzilla Raids Again or the uncut remake of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah you owe it to yourself to get watching. Bye-Bye old Friend (snif).
When your list of "dinosaur movies" can include "Wizard of Oz", maybe you've gone too far. These people make a distinction between “Live-action with people dressed as dinosaurs and/or mechanical dinosaurs” and “Live action with lizards dressed as dinosaurs or prehistoric animals”. That’s beyond thorough. But for basic information even potentially remotely related to dinosaurs and/or movies, I can’t imagine a better starting point.