"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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shout!'s Boxset Touches Down August 2, 2011!

Shout! Factory's vivid package art for the upcoming tin box.

Santa Monica-based label, Shout! Factory has finally cleared the way for the release of what some may believe is the greatest (or worse) riff on Japanese Monster Movies, ever — MST3K Vol. XX: "MST3K vs. Gamera"! That's right, all of the inept Sandy Frank versions of Daiei's classic Gamera series as they were ripped on MST3K, complete and uncut, all in one special tin box set dropping on August 2, 2011. The set will sport five discs featuring experiments 302: GAMERA (1991-06-08), 304: GAMERA VS. BARUGON (1991-06-22), 308: GAMERA VS. GAOS (1991-07-20), 312: GAMERA VS. GUIRON (1991-09-07) and 316: GAMERA VS. ZIGRA (1991-10-19). These films should also be special to hardcore Misties, since they were also featured during the original (and legendary) KTMA-TV's "Season 0" episodes.

The Special Features for MST3K Vol. XX: "MST3K vs. Gamera" will include these on-screen featurettes: "So Happy Together: A Look Back at MST3K and Gamera", "Gamera vs. The Chiodo Brothers", "Gamera Obscura: A Brief History by August Ragone" (hey, that's me!), as well as the original Japanese trailers & five limited-edition mini-posters by artist Steve Vance. This past April, while attending the "Monsterpalooza" convention in Burbank (we brought over Godzilla himself, Haruo Nakajima, for the show), I was interviewed by Shout! Factory's Jordan Fields, way up in a secluded hacienda in the Hollywood Hills. Keeping things light, I talked about the origins of Gamera, how the films were received in Japan, and how they were released in the US before Sandy Frank. I also spoke about how MST3K has kept Gamera in the public eye, and why we should thank Sandy Frank. Seriously.

MST3K Vol. XX: "MST3K vs. Gamera" is currently available for pre-order from a number of online retail sites, including Amazon.com, with an MSRP of $64.99. I predict that this will be one of the biggest-selling of all MST3K sets to date, and I urge you to order your own copy ASAP — because if you miss it, you'll spin right into orbit, just like that colossal turtle meat-filled chelonian himself!

Saturday, May 7, 2011