"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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Haruo Nakajima Appearing in Burbank April 8-10


© Toho, courtesy of Greg Shoemaker (colorized by Bill Selby)

This coming spring, the man who played the original Godzilla — all the way from Japan — Haruo Nakajima, will stomp into Burbank for the third annual Monsterpalooza horror film celebration, taking place April 8, 9 & 10, 2011 at the Marriott Convention Center.

Taking up extra work at Toho Studios in the late 1940s, Mr. Nakajima appeared in numerous productions, including one of the bandits in Akira Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI (1954). After volunteering for the first Japanese fire stunt in the WW2 epic EAGLE OF THE PACIFIC (1953), the team prepping GODZILLA (1954) knew that he was the man for the job. From 1954 through 1972, Mr. Nakajima donned the heavy costumes to portray Godzilla, and a horde of other beasts, for film and television.

After 11 years, Mr. Nakajima will return to California to meet with his fans and sign autographs during the three-day Monsterpalooza event. He will also be speaking about his experiences in bringing these characters to life — including the various accidents and injuries he sustained while taking on the roles of Rodan, Varan, Baragon, Green Gargantua, and many other titanic terrors, as — arguably — the world’s foremost monster suit actor.

“Mr. Nakajima starred anonymously in one of the greatest movie franchises in history — from the somber allegories of the 1950s to the colorful monster mashes of the 1960s. For many westerners, these films stimulated an interest in Japan, with Godzilla serving as a surrogate cultural ambassador — largely thanks to his performances. Mr. Nakajima is a living legend, and bringing him to Monsterpalooza is an honor, and he’s looking forward to meeting American fans,” said August Ragone, author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters.

Monsterpalooza, organized by Eliot Brodsky, has quickly become the premiere gathering of fans of creature features in the US. Having hosted scores of actors from classic films, this will be the show’s first guest from Japan — a great opportunity for monster mavens to meet the one-and-only Godzilla himself, Haruo Nakajima — truly making this Monsterpalooza an international event!

There will also be Japanese monster toy and memorabilia vendors at the show — including Toyfreakz (California) and Clawmark Toys (Japan)! Those interested in vending at this historic show, should contact Monsterpalooza immediately — availability is extremely limited!

MONSTERPALOOZA 2011: The Art of Monsters, April 8-10, 2011, featuring award-winning Makeup FX Artists, Monster-related artwork displayed and sold, special presentations, a walk-through Monster Museum, and special guests from all realms of classic Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema!

For more information on the event, please visit the official Monsterpalooza website!

November 24, 1916 – December 4, 2008

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Original Costumes & Props on Display in Japan!

実写映画『SPACE BATTLESHIP ヤマト』の衣装や小道具だ!

Takuya Kimura plays the main character, Susumu Kodai.

This past Summer, a display of original costumes and props from the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of the seminal SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO was held at the Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo's Tama New Town suburb. Then, during the Summer edition of the WonderFestival (or "Wonfes") garage kit and toy show at Makuhari Messe, two of the original miniatures used in the film were on display. The Cosmo Tiger, is a rethinking of the Black Tiger space fighters from the first SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (1974), which manages to retain the basic design sense, while the enemy Gamilas Fighter, an arthropod-like design, is a vast departure from the original. The costumes for Takashi Yamazaki's upcoming SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, opening in Japan on December 1st, were adapted by Anri Jojo (ALWAYS: SUNSET ON THIRD STREET), who helmed the production design for the film.

Close-up detail of Susumu Kodai's uniform jacket.

Meisa Kuroki plays fighter pilot, Yuki Mori.

Close-up detail of Yuki Mori's uniform jacket.

Close-up detail of Black Tiger pilot's jacket.

Left to right: Kodai and Yuki's flight helmets.

Right-side detail of Kodai's flight helmet.

The Space Commandos' high-powered machine guns.

Close-up detail of one of the machine guns.

Tsutomu Yamazaki as Captain Juzo Okita.

Close-up detail of Okita's coat collar and pins.

Close-up detail of Okita's coat buttons and belt buckle.

Miniature of the Cosmo Tiger space fighter.

Top details of the Cosmo Tiger miniature.

Close-up forward details of the Cosmo Tiger.

Close-up tail details of the Cosmo Tiger.

Miniature of the insect-like Gamilas Fighter.

Close-up of the Gamilas Fighter (note reflection for undercarriage).

All designs © "Space Battleship Yamato" Production Committee. Sanrio Puroland Costume Display photos taken by "Jet Beetle".