The infamous Giant Space Monster and Director Kawasaki (right).
TOKYO: After 40 years, he's back! The extraterrestrial creature Guilala from Shochiku’s infamous 1967 feature GIANT SPACE MONSTER GUILALA (Uchu Daikaiju Girara), better known as THE X FROM OUTER SPACE, will be featured in an all-new film from director Minoru Kawasaki, GUILALA STRIKES BACK: CRISIS AT THE LAKE TOYA SUMMIT (Girara-no Gyakushu Toyako Samitto Kiki Ippatsu, 2008). While the original film, directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu, is somewhat of a "forgotten" title in Japan, THE X FROM OUTER SPACE was a frequent staple of US television syndication for two decades via American International Television. Currently, the North American rights are currently held by Janus Films/Criterion (maybe its time for "Criterion Collection" special edition?).
On January 29th, Shochiku held a press conference to announce the production of GUILALA STRIKES BACK: CRISIS AT THE LAKE TOYA SUMMIT with Director Kawasaki (pictured above, right) and several of the cast members in attendance. In this new kaiju eiga (monster movie), the greatest scientific and political minds in the world gather at the G-8 Summit at Lake Toya in Hokkaido, Japan -- but disaster strikes when a Red Chinese spacecraft plummets to earth, carrying spores of the space monster, and crashes near the city of Sapporo. Soon, Guilala grows, rising from the wreckage, and begins to terrorize the countryside, threatening the G-8 Summit. Kawasaki declared his hopes to ignite a new Kaiju Boom and help spawn the revival of the Japanese monster movie genre.
Director Kawasaki is a lifelong kaiju fanatic, and has directed a number of independent low-budget features, all of which were infused with his own brand of humor, such as IKO-CHAN: THE EARTH DEFENSE GIRL (Chikyu Boeigun Shojo Iko-chan, 1987) and the long-running DEN ACE series. More recently, he has been garnering global attention via international festivals with his left-of-center comic sensibilities in titles such as THE CALAMARI WRESTLER (Ika Resurâ, 2004), EXECUTIVE KOALA (Koara Kachô, 2005) and THE CRAB GOALKEEPER (Kani Gôrukîpâ, 2006) -- of the latter, Kawasaki said, "It's like Forrest Gump, but with a crab." Shochiku decided to let him have a go at reviving their Guilala after seeing his parody of Shinji Higuchi's THE SINKING OF JAPAN (Nippon Chinbotsu, 2006), THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN (Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu, 2006).
Not one to waste time, Kawasaki has already cast members of the "Social Satirical Short Story Group," The Newspaper: Matabei Watabe, Akira Matsushita and Hide Fukumoto, who are already quite familiar to the Japanese for their satirical impersonations of real-life Japanese politicians. Matsushita (pictured above, left) will be reprising his famous "Prime Minister Junsaburo Koizumi," a parody of the real former Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi. Watabe and Fukumoto are also aping real-life Japanese politicos attending the film's summit when Guilala strikes. Kawasaki himself shares his name with a member of the House of Councillors, so could this film be a personal statement?
Forget CLOVERFIELD, GUILALA STRIKES BACK: CRISIS AT THE LAKE TOYA SUMMIT commences lensing in March with an eye for a nationwide release in July (to coincide with the real-life G-8 Summit at Lake Toya). But, will a real monster crash the party at G-8? Can life imitate art? Ah, only in the movies...