"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog


Monday, April 14, 2014

DO I KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE? WHY, YES!
August Ragone (hey, that's me) at Big Wow 2014

著者獣ラゴニは「BIG WOW!」で5月17-18日にゲストになります!


Big Wow is heaping on the Famous Monsters and Kaiju this year!

Adding to the great line-up of horror, sci-fi and fantasy guests this year at Big Wow! ComicFest, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine will host the "Famous Monsters Pavilion," a special area inside the event on May 17th & 18th at the San Jose Convention Center. I will be participating this year to promote the release of the new and updated paperback edition of my book, "Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters" (Chronicle Books), as well as joining in with my fellow FM Grue Crew co-horts to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Big G, himself, Godzilla!


New and improved paperback edition drops May 6th: Click here!

Our special guests from Japan include Heisei Godzilla suit actor, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Original Ultraman suit actor, Satoshi Furuya, and the star of KIKAIDA, Daisuke Ban! Over the weekend, I will also be moderating their panels and presentations, to celebrate their contributions to the genre during this big celebratory year at this monstrous event in San Jose! Joining me will be multi-Hugo Award winning artist (and pal), Bob Eggelton, who has contributed all of the fantastic covers for our annual "Kaiju Issues" of FM, including four (!) amazing covers for this year's issue!


One of four Eggleton covers for FM #274 available at Big Wow 2014!

FM #274 continues our annual tradition of the wildly popular and best-selling "All Kaiju Issue" restarted in 2011 (featuring my Rondo Award-winning interview with Haruo "Godzilla" Nakajima), and each year, the response and demand has gotten bigger, and now it goes critical mass with this year's 60th Anniversary celebration! I can't say more at the moment, Mr. Eggleton's above-featured cover is the Newsstand Edition, while another of the three covers will be a Big Wow! Exclusive — and we'll unveil them all very soon!

There will be more — much more — at this year's Big Wow! x Famous Monsters event at the San Jose Convention Center... Including an all-new "Creatures Con" tribute to the legendary "Creature Features" and horror host, Bob Wilkins! Stay tuned for breaking news as it develops!

Monday, April 7, 2014

THE REAL "GODZILLA" IS COMING TO YOUR TOWN
US Theatrical Screenings for the Big G's 60th!

初代『ゴジラ』は、アメリカの映画館に来ている!


Original Japanese theatrical release poster (1954). ©Toho Co., Ltd.

UPDATED (07/07/14): Rialto Pictures is once again rolling out the uncut Japanese version of the 1954 classic, boasting a brand-new 60th Anniversary DCP (Digital Cinema Package) Restoration (the transfer made for the Criterion Collection release) and it is now being booked in theaters around the US of A — contact your local cinema to screen it! Now, below is a quick look at the current dates and cities (those in red are newly-announced):

:: March 11: AUSTIN, TX • Alamo Ritz 1 (SXSW Film Festival)

:: April 12: HOLLYWOOD, CA • TCM Classic Film Festival

:: April 18–24: NEW YORK, NY • Film Forum

:: April 25–May 1: SANTA FE, NM • Jean Cocteau Cinema

:: May 2–4 & 6: SILVER SPRING, MD • AFI Silver

:: May 2–5: PORTLAND, OR • Hollywood Theatre

:: May 2–8: SEATTLE, WA • SIFF Cinema Uptown

:: May 2–8: SOMERVILLE,  MA • Somerville Theatre

:: May 5–8: EDGEWOOD, PA • Pittsburgh Filmmakers (Regent Square)

:: May 5 & 8: KALAMAZOO, MI • Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo

:: May 8: AMBLER, PA • The Ambler Theater

:: May 8: KANSAS CITY, MO • Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet

:: May 9: DALLAS, TX • Angelika Dallas

:: May 9–15: CHICAGO, IL • Music Box Theatre

:: May 9–15: DENVER, CO • Denver Film Society

:: May 9–15: FORT COLLINS, CO • Lyric Cinema Cafe

:: May 9–15: ALBANY, NY • The Madison Theater

:: May 9–15: MENTOR, OH • Atlas Cinemas Great Lakes Stadium 16

:: May 11–12: MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, OH • Atlas Cinemas Eastgate 10

:: May 11 & 13: LUBBOCK, TX • Alamo Drafthouse Lubbock

:: May 12–13 & 15: EL SEGUNDO, CA • ArcLight Cinemas Beach Cities

:: May 12–13 & 15: PASADENA, CA • ArcLight Cinemas Pasadena

:: May 12–13 & 15: SAN DIEGO, CA • ArcLight Cinemas La Jolla

:: May 12–14: LOS ANGELES, CA • ArcLight Cinemas Sherman Oaks

:: May 13–14: ALAMEDA, CA • Alameda Theater & Cineplex

:: May 14: DOYLESTOWN,  PA • The County Theater

:: May 14: BETHLEHEM, PA • Arts Quest

:: May 15: BOISE, ID • The Flicks

:: May 15: JENKINTOWN,  PA • The Hiway Theater
(Missing from Rialto's current update)

:: May 23–26 HOUSTON, TX • The Museum of Fine Arts

:: May 28: LEXINGTON, KY • Kentucky Theatre

:: July 17: COLUMBUS, OH • Wexner Center for the Arts

Stay tuned for more dates... And if you don't see your city or town, contact your local theaters and ask them to book the film. Also, the new, paperback edition of my book, EIJI TSUBURAYA: MASTER OF MONSTERS is dropping on May 6th from Chronicle Books — and I'm available to introduce the screenings (with a visual presentation on the making of the film).

Currently, my confirmed appearance dates (as of Monday, April 7th) include May 2nd - 4th (The Hollywood Theater, Portland, OR) and May 13th & 14th (Alameda Theater, Alameda, CA). More dates to be announced — for booking contact us at august [dot] ragone [at] gmail [dot] com!

Lifelong Godzilla fan and composer, John "Dutch" DeSentis will be introducing the screening at the Arts Quest Center in Bethlehem, PA on May 14th, and will take questions after the film. For more information, click here.

More importantly, Gareth Edwards, director of Legendary Pictures' upcoming GODZILLA, hosted the screening at SXSW in Austin and will be hosting the screening at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"KIKAIDER: REBOOT" TEASER & TRAILER ONLINE
Remake of 1972 Series Bows in Japan May 24th!

5.24公開 『キカイダーREBOOT』映像初公開!


Headshot of the all-new, updated Kikaida: your mileage may vary.

UPDATED MARCH 29th: Calling all members of Generation Kikaida! Check out this six-second blink-and-you'll-miss-it teaser trailer for the upcoming KIKAIDER: REBOOT feature film hitting Japanese cinema screens May 24th, below (and check out my report on the film from this past January). Despite the fact that Kadokawa Pictures has teamed up with Toei to bring the character back to life (even casting the original KIKAIDA star, Daisuke Ban, in a supporting role) most of Toei's recent reboots, such as SPACE SHERIFF GAVAN: THE MOVIE (2012), have been critical and financial failures — universally panned by a majority of fans for looking like made-for-television movies. So, the real question is will this be a hit or another miss for Toei?


The exciting, 90-second trailer was uploaded on March 29th.


The original six-second teaser trailer which broke on March 19th.

Stay tuned for more updates as the information becomes available!

Official KIKAIDER: REBOOT Website

Friday, March 28, 2014

KIKAIDA KNOWS THE WAY TO SAN JOSE!
Actor Daisuke Ban at Big Wow!: May 17 & 18

キカイダー=伴大介がサンノゼに登場!5月17・18日 !


Beloved KIKAIDA star Daisuke "Jiro" Ban returns to California!

This spring, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine brings Kikaida to San Jose's Big Wow! Comic Fest on May 17th & 18th! Actor DAISUKE BAN will be joining Godzilla suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma and Ultraman suit actor Satoshi Furuya at this year's Famous Monsters Pavilion! Mr. Ban, who played the lead role of "Jiro" in Toei's benchmark 1972 superhero series, KIKAIDA: THE ANDROID OF JUSTICE, will be meeting with fans and signing autographs all weekend! Back in 1975, KIKAIDA captured the imaginations of San Francisco Bay Area kids every Sunday night on KEMO-20 (now KOFY-20) — and we never forgot it!


Medicom backing card art for their Toei Retro Sofubi Collection!

Daisuke Ban also played the lead characters in other Henshin Hero television series for Toei Studios, such as INAZUMAN (1973), NINJA CAPTOR (1976), and BATTLE FEVER J (1979). He also had a recurring role in the RING films and is appearing in the upcoming feature film KIKAIDER: REBOOT (2014)! I will be moderating and hosting the presentations of our Japanese guests (to be announced), as well as signing the new paperback edition of my book, "Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters" (Chronicle Books) at the San Jose Convention Center! Please come down and welcome Mr. Ban back to the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time in over ten years — don't miss this event or it will be the Denji End!

Read more about Mr. Ban's career, here!

Stay tuned for more details on the show, guests, and more by checking out their website: Big Wow! Comics Fest!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GAMERA RETURNS TO THE BIG SCREEN IN 2015
Titanic Terrapin's 50th Anniversary Production

ガメラ生誕50周年である2015年に「何かがある」!


Gamera prepares to blast back onto motion picture screens next year!

SCOOP: Over the last week, there has been some English-language rumors spread about a new production, featuring Daiei Studio's answer to Godzilla, to hit cinema screens in 2015, based solely on a listing appearing on Japanese retail sites for the May 5th issue of Newtype the Live magazine. The listing mentions details on the production will be revealed as well as "image boards" (presentation art). While the listings are legitimate (the magazine in question is published by Kadokawa Shoten, which owns Kadokawa Pictures and Gamera), promising content on the upcoming film — that's only a fraction of what the Japanese already know.


This book first spilled the proverbial turtle soup on the new film.

The initial news was broken on February 8th in a completely different publication, "Heisei Gamera: Perfection," a 304-page book chronicling the post-1980s Gamera films, published by Kadokawa and Ascii Media Works. The major points dropped, which will be expanded upon in the upcoming May issue of Newtype the Live, include:
  • The pre-production tagline is "Something is out there..." (Dareka-ga aru).
  • Gamera in this production will come to life in a "(new) surprising form."
  • Producer Shigenori Takatera, is the central person at the helm. Taketera also served as a producer on KAMEN RIDER KUUGA (2000) and DAIMAJIN KANNON (2010).
  • The CEO of Kadokawa said the foundation of this production is, "What does today's audience want to see?"
  • BONUS POINT: The narrative is set in modern day and preproduction is well underway.
Stay tuned to this blog for more information as it develops!

Special thanks to Hiroshi Ban and Makoto Kobayashi.

Monday, March 17, 2014

"GODZILLA" ON SONY BLU-RAYS REVEALED!
Full Specs On All Four May 6, 2014 Releases

平成とミレニアムのゴジラ映画は米国Blu-rayに来る!


Blu-ray jacket art courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Following up on my breaking news of February 28th concerning the details on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's upcoming Blu-ray releases of their Heisei and Millennium Godzilla titles, which went through several updates over following days and weeks, SPHE has finally issued their specs and cover art via their press release site. As you can see, SPHE is still sticking to their English titles, first issued on VHS and DVD back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Click on the links to go to the Amazon listings:

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1991)
GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1992)
2 Discs, MFT (Blu-ray/UltraViolet, ST) • Closed Captioned • Screen Format(s): Anamorphic • Languages: English (US) 5.1/Japanese 5.1, English (US) DS • Subtitles: English (US), French (Parisian) • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


Blu-ray jacket art courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA (1993)
GODZILLA VS. SPACE GODZILLA (1994)
2 Discs, MFT (Blu-ray/UltraViolet, ST) • Closed Captioned • Screen Format(s): Anamorphic • Languages: English (US) 5.1/Japanese 5.1, English (US) DS • Subtitles: English (US), French (Parisian) • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


Blu-ray jacket art courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

GODZILLA VS. DESTROYAH (1995)
GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS (2000)
2 Discs, MFT (Blu-ray/UltraViolet, ST) • Closed Captioned • Screen Format(s): Anamorphic • Languages: English (US) 5.1/Japanese 5.1, English (US) DS • Subtitles: English (US), French (Parisian) • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Destroyah) & 2.35:1 (Megaguirus)


Blu-ray jacket art courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS (2003)
GODZILLA FINAL WARS (2004)
2 Discs, MFT (Blu-ray/UltraViolet, ST) • Closed Captioned • Screen Format(s): Anamorphic • Languages: English (US) 5.1/Japanese 5.1, English (US) DS • Subtitles: English (US), French (Parisian) • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

These specs do not mention any special features content, so one shouldn't have any expectations of such. Meanwhile, keen cinephiles and kaiju fans alike will notice the conspicuous absence of previous Sony releases of Takao Okawara's GODZILLA 2000 (1999), Shusuke Kaneko's GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (2001), and Masaaki Tezuka's GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (2002) from this set of releases. Curious, as Sony Pictures created a US theatrical version of GODZILLA 2000, while GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA is the first of the two-part "Kiryu Saga" which concludes in GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS. And of course, GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK is arguably the best of these latter films in both depth and execution.

Did Sony's rights elapse on some of these errant titles? Or do they have something else planned for them? Only time, and Sony, will tell. For now, stay tuned to this blog as this story develops...

Special thanks to Shawn Francis!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

AKIRA IFUKUBE'S "GODZILLA" SCORE ON VINYL!
Upcoming Audiophile Pressing from Death Waltz

伊福部昭の『ゴジラ』限定版LPレコード発行される!


A limited-edition complete GODZILLA score on vinyl is coming soon!

Talk about radioactive wax! Could a vinyl of Akira Ifukube's complete GODZILLA score soon be hitting turntables around the world? According to an image leaked on the interwebs today (posted below), containing a list for upcoming 180 gram vinyl audiophile pressings from the UK's Death Waltz Recording Company, it looks as though this may be true. Among the titles featured, such as Angelo Badalamenti's "Twin Peaks" and Fabio Frizzi's "The Beyond," was "Godzilla." Their website acknowledged the early leak and addressed them on their front page, including detailed information on some of the forthcoming releases, sans "Godzilla." Stay tuned for more details as they develop!


A close-up of the leaked listing of upcoming titles from DWRC.

(Thanks to Bloody-Disgusting for the heads up!)
Official Death Waltz Recording Company website

ULTRAMAN KNOWS THE WAY TO SAN JOSE!
Satoshi "Bin" Furuya at Big Wow!: May 17 & 18

ウルトラマン=古谷敏がサンノゼに上陸!5月17・18日!


Satoshi "Bin" Furuya, the once and future protector of the world!

SHUWATCH! Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine is proud to bring back Satoshi "Bin" Furuya to the San Francisco Bay Area to join Mr. Kenpachiro Satsuma for the Big Wow! Comic Fest on May 17th & 18th at the San Jose Convention Center! Starting at Toho Studios in the early 1960s, Mr. Furuya would become one of the greatest super heroes of all time in the visual effects series: ULTRAMAN! For 39 episodes, he captivated audiences as the silver and red alien took on hordes of giant monsters and evil aliens. The 1966 show launched a worldwide franchise spawning numerous sequels and spin-offs over the last 48 years.

Mr. Furuya also appeared from behind the mask as a regular cast member in Tsuburaya Productions' popular follow-up, ULTRA SEVEN (1967), as Agent Amagi, the Ultra Guard's computer expert. He also has small roles in such Toho classics as KING KING VS. GODZILLA (1962), GHIDRAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (1964), and THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (1966). He left acting in the 1970s to start a talent and stunt group, Bin Promotions, but has recently returned to make cameos in such genre films as the kaiju comedy MONSTER X STRIKES BACK: ATTACK THE G-8 SUMMIT (2008).

Appearing alongside Mr. Satsuma and Mr. Furuya, I will be hosting and moderating their presentations (to be announced), as well as signing the new paperback edition of my book, "Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters" (Chronicle Books) at the event on both days!

Stay tuned for more details on the show, guests, and more by checking out their website: Big Wow! Comics Fest!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CAN YOU FEATURE THAT AWFUL CREATURE?
New Book Celebrates Horror Host Bob Wilkins

A creepy cryptful of moldy Bay Area Monster Kid memories!


New book that urges you to watch horror films, keep America strong!

If you grew up in Northern California during the mid-1960s through the early 1980s, chances are high that you were aware of legendary television host, Bob Wilkins, who became best known for hosting horror film packages on KCRA-3, KTXL-40 and most notably in the San Francisco Bay Area on KTVU-2's "Creature Features" — an incredible ratings sensation which became a local institution that routinely beat all the competition in its time slot, including network programming such as "Saturday Night Live." And he meant the world to a whole generation who grew up watching him on television. He was our horror hero!


Bob Wilkins Creature Features Freak Fan Club certificate, circa 1971.

A mild-mannered, but wryly hysterical, character hailing originally from Indiana, Bob found a job in California at Sacramento's KCRA-3, quickly became known for his wit and timing, and would be asked to host company luncheons, and other social functions. Eventually, he was put before the cameras, and by 1966, was the station's own "horror host," who rejected wearing a costume or cape — he just came on the air as himself. Armed with only a cigar, a rocking chair (to mask his stage nerves), and his off-the-cuff humor, Bob would tell viewers, "Tonight's movie is so bad, it was delivered to Channel 2 in a plain brown wrapper. No return address."


Classic TV Guide ad, November 30, 1968. Courtesy of Floyd Perry.

Bob's witticism was also reflected into the humorous and iconic ads featured weekly in the pages of the local "TV Guide" magazines, and fans would clip and save them in scrapbooks, like I did. Of course, over the years, such collections were lost or thrown out, ostensibly, to the sands of time. But, coming to the rescue is Tom Wyrsch's "Bob Wilkins in TV Guide" (Garfield Park, 2014), a terrific, 80-page compendium of ads for many of the horror films Bob hosted from 1966 to 1980. Each tongue-in-cheek ad is presented with the full page from original TV Guides and presented in chronological order (measuring 5.5" x 8.5" to preserve the original magazine size).


Mid-'70s ad, which seems bland until you see the station call letters.

In short, I love it — it's a treasure trove of memories for ads I fondly remember, and others I've completely forgotten, but am happy to see again for the first time in decades (I hope that more of these ads turn up). But, beware — while long-time fans of KTVU-2's immortal horror host and "Creature Features" will find it a must-have — "Bob Wilkins in TV Guide" is a limited-edition publication, so don't sit on your claws too long! Bob was a hero and mentor to me and (for better or worse) pushed me into this business (whatever that is), thus I will always be thankful for who he was and what he did, not only for me, but many others.

Bob Wilkins shall not die! 

Order now your copy, now (operators are standing by)...

Monday, March 10, 2014

GODZILLA KNOWS THE WAY TO SAN JOSE! Kenpachiro Satsuma at Big Wow!: May 17 & 18

ゴジラ=薩摩剣八郎がサンノゼに上陸!5月17・18日!


Mr. Satsuma will be appearing in Nor Cal for the first time this May!

This spring, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine brings Godzilla to San Jose's Big Wow! Comic Fest on May 17th & 18th! KENPACHIRO SATSUMA will be flying into the San Francisco Bay Area to meet fans and sign autographs as part of the Famous Monsters Pavilion at this year's show! One of the most famous of the "Men In Suits" actors,  Mr. Satsuma was featured in several Toshiro Mifune productions, before cutting his teen in the kaiju eiga where he played the Smog Monster in GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (1971) and Gigan in GODZILLA VS. GIGAN (1972), and again in GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973).

Taking over the reigns from Mr. Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla suit actor, Mr. Satsuma went on to play the titular role of the Big G in RETURN OF GODZILLA (1984) through GODZILLA VS. DESTROYAH (1995), and he even did a little suit acting on television during the '70s as well, under his former stage name — "Kengo Nakayama." Appearing alongside Mr. Satsuma, I will be moderating and hosting his presentations (to be announced), as well as signing the new paperback edition of my book, "Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters" (Chronicle Books) at the San Jose Convention Center!

Stay tuned for more details on the show, guests, and more by checking out their website: Big Wow! Comics Fest!

Friday, March 7, 2014

MOVE OVER GIDGET, ULTRAMAN GOES HAWAIIAN
"Ultra Hawaii" Promotes Vacations for Japanese

ウルトラマンタロウ、父、母が初めてのハワイ旅行!!


Shaka Taro and Jessica Michibata at launch event. Tokyo Pop Online

TOKYO: On March 6th, Ultraman Taro appeared on stage with Jessica Michibata, a Argentine-Japanese fashion model, to promote the launch of the "Ultra Hawaii" campaign of travel packages to the five islands — with a decidedly superheroic sense — by the Hawai‘i Tourism Japan Authority, and with the cooperation of twelve major travel companies. The campaign features Ultraman Taro, and his parents, Father of Ultra and Mother of Ultra, as well as Ultra Monsters, Baltan and Pygmon, acting as tourists and extolling the beauty and romance of Hawai'i.


This is Ultra Hawaii promotion video. ©Tsuburaya Productions

"Ultra Hawaii" has been organized to bring more tourism to the islands, as well as to get more Japanese to take their vacations in these special roadshow packages aimed at families, as well as couples who want to have a second honeymoon, renew their marriage vows, or celebrate wedding anniversaries. The Hawai‘i Tourism Japan Authority was established in January of last year, and is launching these special "Ultra Hawaii" packages starting in April 2014. A full-blown website went online March 5th, featuring the famous Tsuburaya Productions' characters.


Waikiki Surf Lesson in O'ahu. ©Tsuburaya Productions

The website not only features photos of the Ultra Family enjoying the beauty of Hawai'i, but also a series of humorous videos of the Ultra Family (as well as Baltan and Pygmon) dramatizing what you can also do on one's dream vacation to the six major islands: O'ahu, Hawai'i, Maui, Kaua'i, Lānaʻi, and Molokaʻi — each island available in separate and roadshow packages. The great Ultra Family and Ultra Monster suits were created by master monster maker Fuyuki Shinada (GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack).


Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar. ©Tsuburaya Productions

Interestingly, the 1974 Ultra Series, ULTRAMAN LEO, is currently airing ever Friday night in Hawai'i on Honolulu's KIKU-20 (and ULTRA SEVEN was broadcast on KHON-2 back in 1975). Please visit the "Ultra Hawaii" website to see the great photos, check out the promotion videos, and download some beautiful desktop and screen savers — and join them on Facebook (Japanese only) — Mahalo, Ultraman!


Poolside Yoga at the Embassy Suites. ©Tsuburaya Productions

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SONY UNLEASHING HEISEI & MILLENNIUM BIG Gs!
Double Feature Blu-rays Are "Go" for May 6th

平成とミレニアムのゴジラ映画は米国Blu-rayに来る!

 photo godzilla_vs_king_ghidorah_zps90537c93.jpg
Original theatrical poster for GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1991).

UPDATED (Tuesday, March 4th): The "rumor" I posted on Friday, February 28th, that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be issuing four double-feature Blu-ray releases of their Heisei and Millennium Godzilla titles on May 6th is spot-on! All of the titles, below, have now appeared on Amazon.com on March 1st. SPHE is taking advantage of the frenzy created by the release of the upcoming Gareth Edwards re-imagining of the original creature feature opening on May 16th.

On Monday, March 3rd, the first Amazon.com listings were changed from DVD (as reported on March 1st), to Blu-ray — as per the original story I posted on February 28th, according to an industry insider. Also intimated by an insider at SHPE that these will be a significant upgrade from previous, barebones DVD releases (Amazon, as of today, is currently listing specs as "AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen"). No doubt that these will be subject to change.

And now, they have:

On Tuesday, March 4th, these specs appeared on the listing for the double feature of GODZILLA FINAL WARS & GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS at Movies Unlimited, indicating (as per my original informant) that this will be a two-disc set. The specs listed include Widescreen, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English (SDH) and French Subtitles. All of the details originally leaked to me have now been confirmed, so I am now posting it (but we'll have to wait and see if the originally-reported UltraViolent Digital Copies also materialize).

The unchanging MSRP for each of these double features is $19.95. According to an anonymous source this past Friday, these are the titles dropping, which are all still currently listed on Amazon:

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1991) & GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1992), GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II (1993) & GODZILLA VS. SPACE GODZILLA (1994), GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH (1995) & GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS (2000), GODZILLA FINAL WARS (2004) & GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS (2003).

Conspicuously missing are GODZILLA 2000 (1999), GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (2001), and GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (2002). It's unknown at this time if these will follow — I'll keep checking on sources... Stay tuned! But for now, in the words of the immortal Henry Silva, "NOT bullshit!"

 photo Henry_Silva_zpse493ede0.jpg
Henry Silva says, "I can safely say that this story is NOT bullshit!"

Friday, February 21, 2014

"GODZILLA" LAID BARE IN SAN FRANCISCO!
Textless "Coming Soon" Poster from Legendary

米国『ゴジラ』のポスターは今発表!


Textless Coming Soon poster art that has blown-up the internet.

Since the announcement of the upcoming Gareth Edwards' GODZILLA for Legendary Pictures, I've been asked — frequently — what I think about this latest American interpretation of this immortal cinema icon. Long before it unspooled in theaters, I dreaded 1998 debacle (especially after having read the screenplay for the earlier, and ultimately unfilmed, Jan de Bont production), but I am curious and — somewhat cautiously — optimistic for this new round.


And here's the same Coming Soon poster with all of it's clothes on.

Part of the reason stems from the forthright approach of director Edwards and the solid casting. So, I think we might have something good — or at least very sincere — on our hands. It also helps that Edwards and the staff had copies of my book,"Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters," as reference material (which was also employed in putting together the "Godzilla Encounter" at the San Diego Comic-Con 2013). And he even gave us a great quote for the paperback edition out on April 8th.

Still, what do I think of an American version of Godzilla? Well, I might have to say that it would be the same as what I'd think of a Japanese Superman: Supes is inherently American. Period. (And the Japanese have Ultraman.) When I discovered these films as a child I was drawn to them for some reason, and as I got older I realized it was because they are Japanese. This is why they are appealing to me in the first place. Remove the Japaneseness from Godzilla and what will we have left?

With that being said, I will be waiting to see the film on May 15th with crossed fingers (for Gareth Edwards), but I will not be holding my (radioactive) breath. At least my hometown is on the poster...

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment:
Download the official textless poster (4050x6000 300dpi), here!
Download the official poster with text (4050x6000 300dpi), here!
Download the isolated text blocks, here!

Special thanks to Chris Mirjahangir!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
What the Creators of "Godzilla" Really Unleashed

獣の性質〜ゴジラのルーツ


In their very roots, Japanese Monsters are more than meets the eye.

Over and again, Godzilla is oft times referred to as a "force of nature" by westerners. Wind, Rain, Thunder, Earthquakes, Tsunamis are forces of nature. This divine monster is more than that. Much more. Godzilla, by the declaration of his creators, is "War Incarnate," said director Ishiro Honda in reference to the 1954 original — his hide covered in the keloid scars of nuclear bomb victims while his breath is the forbidden fire of Megiddo. No, he is not merely some simple force of nature. Godzilla is not just a reanimated prehistoric creature. Steeped in Shinto mythology, he is a kaiju — the eternal, undying supernatural vessel of mankind's judgment — our karmic retribution for having split the atom.

Godzilla is the apocalypse.