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]
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]
OH NO! THERE GOES TOKYO! GO GO GODZILLA! (Nearly) every Godzilla soundtrack. (Thanks to my girlfriend for hipping me to this)
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).
Stomping on the little guy. Popular weblogger Davezilla has been handed a cease and desist from Toho Co., Ltd, owner of the Godzilla trademark. The text of the C&D implies that they own the rights to any word ending in the letters "zilla". [more inside]