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RARE KAIJU:
You've Seen The Best, Now See The Rest
By: Mickael
"I don't understand... how does something so BIG just disappear?"

For many people, that line represents a huge problem with the "worst" kaiju film they've ever seen, 1998's American remake of Godzilla. For over 2 hours, a giant radioactive lizard plays hide-and-seek with Matthew Broderick until it eventually succumbs to conventional weapons, something that the real Godzilla was never susceptible to in the entirety of what was (at that time) a 44-year-old franchise. Between these fundamental faults, the lazy caricatures, and a heaping helping of ridiculous New York tropes the big budget 'Zilla can be difficult to watch. Whenever people insist on calling it the worst kaiju film ever though, I'm taken aback. In my opinion, anyone who thinks that Roland Emmerich's ill-conceived monster movie is the bottom of the creature feature barrel just hasn't scraped hard enough!

For every mainstream monster mash, there are plenty of obscure beastial bastardizations that will leave you scratching your head.
Fortunately for daikaiju enthusiasts, we're in a boom era. In 2013, Pacific Rim infected the whole world with kaiju fever. In 2014, the real Godzilla came to American shores (in the opinions of many) for the very first time. In 2016, Shin Godzilla revitalized the longest-running franchise in film history. In 2017, John C. Reilly battled the mighty Kong & lived to tell the tale. Yes, it’s a great time to be a monster movie fanatic!

But, let’s assume that these colossal flicks just aren’t coming fast enough for you. That over the last few years, you’ve become addicted to watching every Godzilla, Gamera, & King Kong flick that you could get your hands on. That you still, somehow, have so much free time that you’ve run out of rubber suited dudes stepping on cities. Well, you’re in luck!

I’ve scoured the earth for the most obscure creature features of the daikaiju variety. (We’re considering “obscure” to mean “less than 300 votes on IMDb.”) And what I’ve found will shock you.
Will thrill you.
And will probably kill your few remaining brain cells.

Here are 8 of the most obscure kaiju flicks that you’ve never heard of. Seek them out, if you dare!
#8: DAIGORO vs GOLIATH (1972)
This cheap rip-off was originally designed to be a Godzilla film called "Godzilla vs Redmoon" - a collaborative effort between Toho Studios (responsible for the Big G) and Tsuburaya Productions (the purveyors of Ultraman). The idea was that Toho would provide the Goji suit from Son Of Godzilla while Tsuburaya would design 3 new monsters named Redmoon, Hafun, and Erabus. Unfortunately, the 70s were a difficult economic time for Japan and plans for the original film were scrapped. That script was completely re-written and eventually became this micro-budgeted kid-friendly kaiju flick about a bipedal hippo battling a big bully reptilian that shoots lightning from his horn.

Interestingly, much of Daigoro's body was created from "Red King", a famous and popular monster from the Ultraman series.
Well, the budgets have gotten smaller and the editing has turned this film into an incomprehensible mess. That can only mean 1 thing: GODFREY HO!

Yup, our man Godfrey (among the most notorious hackjob directors of all time) has taken a break from ninja flicks to create this wonderful little monster movie about a great big snake. And you know what else he's done? He's cut in footage of the internet's favorite badass, Pierre Kirby. The ludicrous special effects are good for a laugh but not much else. I recommend seeing this one with a good group of like-minded individuals.
#6: GINSENG KING (1989)
A young boy must enlist the help of the legendary Ginseng King to save his mother. Unfortunately, the Ginseng King has been kidnapped by a 3-headed monster with a laser sword!

Ginseng King is a surprisingly engaging fantasy epic from Taiwan. It features a handful of strange & original creatures, some light-hearted moments, and all the cheesy action you'd hope from a late-80s foreign film! Plus, it stars Cynthia Khan, one of the more popular ladies of Hong Kong cinema at the time. While I highly recommend this movie for it's outlandish special effects and eery-looking creatures, I have to warn you-- there are no high quality Blu-Ray versions of this film out there. Your best bet is a 20th generation, horribly degraded VHS rip. That being said, if the poor quality transfer doesn't bother you then this movie will delight!
#5: TERRORDACTYL (2016)
Terrordactyl is the feature film directing debut of Don Bitters III, an experienced visual effects artist and supervisor who decided to go balls out on a special effects movie that is equal parts Sharknado and Jurassic Park. More action-comedy than horror, the film's low budget shows in both the CGI and the hackneyed characters. For lovers of cheesy cinema, this one will hit the spot.
#4: Half Human (1955-ish)
This "lost" film from Godzilla creator Ishiro Honda isn't truly lost at all... it's simply too controversial to officially release on home video! The movie depicts a series of yeti attacks on Mt. Fuji (which for us Western audiences sounds like a damn good time at the cinema), but it depicts an entire group of Japanese outcasts as little more than mutant savages. These people, known as Burakumin, have been discriminated against for generations, so Toho Studios essentially banned it's own film to prevent any further spread of this prejudice. In doing so, this mediocre monster movie has been elevated to a higher status than it really deserves, similar to how people crave The Day The Clown Cried or excitedly discuss the racist Looney Tunes shorts from WWII.

That being said, anything filmed in this era by Ishiro Honda (it was released less than a year after Gojira) is going to be supremely watchable and interesting. After over 60 years it seems ludicrous for Half Human, called Jû jin yuki otoko in Japan, to still be barred merely for an insensitive portrayal of an indiginous people. I mean, we Americans didn't ban Deliverance for it's portrayal of toothless pig-fuckin' backwood rednecks, right?
#3: Death Kappa (2010)
Death Kappa has inspired more butthurt reviews than defective anal beads. People tend to enter a viewing of this movie anticipating Kurosawa-level genius and more layers than a ream of paper. They think that a flick starring a dude in a rubber turtle outfit owes them precise filmmaking techniques and subtext that'll take longer to digest than a belly full of bubblegum. Never before has a DVD from Tokyo Shock inspired such ludicrously high expectations. Let me set the record straight for you right now: this. movie. is. purposely. bad.

For some, a flick that is striving for cheesy just comes off as awkward and "trying too hard". If that's your opinion, then so be it. Personally, I found that this movie walked the line of being purposely silly, delightfully over-the-top, and with pitch-perfect timing on the bad effects shots. The same people who mock this movie for showing the strings on its toy miniatures will go and applaud Black Dynamite for dropping a boom mic into frame. Just set your expectations appropriately & understand that you're about to view a modern movie that strives to both mock and pay homage to classic low budget kaiju flicks. Why wouldn't you like a movie that strives for that?

Let me get off of my soapbox for a moment to explain the plot. A kappa is a mythical Japanese water-goblin that essentially resembles a turtle with a bald spot. One of these little buggers pops into a tiny rural village just in time to defend the righteous townsfolk against some evil bastards that are trying to create an army of amphibious super soldiers to take over the world! Though our hero starts small, there are some giant monster battles later in the flick. This one moves along quickly, with an under 80-minute runtime, so there isn't a big drag in the middle of the film. It's high energy with an annoying musical number and plenty of eye-rolling moments. Not intended for film snobs!
This is more of a fantasy epic than a true monster movie, but it features so many creatures that it's hard to ignore. When Mt. Fuji erupts, a horde of demons is released from the earth. In typical Japanese fashion, a young girl with a badass sword is all that stands in their way. Sakuya is essentially a violent kid's movie, with that typical late-90s CGI that looks so bad to our modern eyes. If you can get over the effects, you'll have a lot of fun with this surreal action flick loaded with crazy monsters!
Na Cha & The Seven Devils is special because it's a fantasy-based kaiju film from the illustrious Shaw Brothers, known more for their kung fu masterpieces than for tripe like this. At this time, though, many people were relying heavily on Chinese folklore to cash in, and kids' movies in particular always sold well. Thus, this oddity based on the "Nezha" legend came to be. You may be familiar with the mythological figure Nezha, called Na Cha in this film, from Journey To The West and several video games. Nezha is essentially an arrogant youth that flies around on his "fire wheels"-- sort of an Asian variant of Hermes, but with a lot more badass fights on his resumé.

This particular film has all the vibrant costumes and set decorations that you've come to expect from the Shaw Brothers, but with the violence toned way down. It's a fun piece of kiddie fare with plenty of fight sequences and wild characters, but there's definitely some "what the fuck am I watching?" moments that will leave you bewildered. For that alone, I recommend it.
That's all, for now! I have another batch of 7 Rare Kaiju flicks that I'll release as soon as possible. In the mean time, entertain yourself with some of our previous Dumpster Diamonds!
 
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