"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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Textless "Coming Soon" Poster from Legendary


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

What the Creators of "Godzilla" Really Unleashed


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.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Suit Acting Legends Appear at Fear FestEvil!

Mr. ゴジラ 中島とウルトラマン古谷 、サンフランシスコに上陸!

Recent photo of Mr. Nakajima and Mr. Furuya by Godzilla Museum.

Legendary men-in-suit actors, Haruo "Mr. Godzilla" Nakajima and Satoshi "Ultraman" Furuya will appear this weekend at Kirk von Hammett's Fear FestEvil, a full-blown horror convention and metal concert, held at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco — February 7th & 8th. Flying in from Japan, this dynamic duo will be signing autographs and taking photographs with fans — as well as appearing together on-stage for an hour long talk about their long careers in the kaiju business on Saturday, February 8th at 3:30 - 4:15 pm. You don't want to miss this show and meet these historic giants of monsterdom — as well as the other fangtastic guests, vendors, special events, and music!

Here are their bios from the event website:

Nakajima 1971 BW blog

Nakajima taking a break during GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH (1971).

FEAR FESTEviL is pleased to welcome legendary monster suit actor HARUO NAKAJIMA! Mr. Nakajima is known the world over for having portrayed the screen’s most famous monster, GODZILLA — a role which he pioneered throughout the first 12 films of Toho’s long‐running science fiction series. It was following the performance of a dangerous fire stunt as a fighter pilot in Ishiro Honda’s EAGLE OF THE PACIFIC (1953) that Nakajima was recommended to play Godzilla in the original 1954 film, since donning the heavy costume beneath sweltering studio lights required an unusual amount of strength and endurance.

Special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya was so impressed by Nakajima’s skill as a stunt performer and choreographer that he featured the actor in nearly every science fiction, horror and fantasy film produced throughout his own illustrious career. In addition to Godzilla, Nakajima would also embody an unprecedented number of notable movie monsters including RODAN (1956), Mogera in THE MYSTERIANS (1957), VARAN (1958), MOTHRA (1960), MATANGO (1963), Baragon in FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965), Gaira in THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (1966) and even King Kong in KING KONG ESCAPES (1967).

His impressive body of film work also includes appearances in Akira Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) and THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (1958). In 1966, Tsuburaya once again tapped Nakajima’s talents when the effects director first brought his monsters to television in the ground‐breaking series ULTRA Q and ULTRAMAN. Nakajima finally retired as the reigning champion of monster suit actors with 1972’s GODZILLA VS. GIGAN. Beginning in 1996, Nakajima made guest appearances at various sci‐fi & horror conventions throughout the United States, Japan, and most recently Germany, where thousands of adoring fans have flocked to meet him.

Satoshi Furuya and his Ultra-ego from a 1967 magazine interview.

Joining us next on the guest list is SATOSHI "BIN" FURUYA! Mr. Furuya portrayed one of the world’s most enduring superheroes in Tsuburaya Productions' 1966 sci-fi action television series ULTRAMAN. In 39 half-hour episodes, audiences thrilled to the colossal silver and red alien’s battles with large monsters in the imaginative program that spawned dozens of sequels. Those sequels continue to this day on both the small and big screens. No stranger to acting sans mask, Furuya had a regular role as Ultra Guard Agent Amagi in all 49 episodes of the extremely popular series ULTRA SEVEN (1967). Though he retired from acting during the 1970s, he has made appearances in several genre films, including the kaiju comedy MONSTER X STRIKES BACK: ATTACK THE G-8 SUMMIT (2008).

For more information, please visit the official Fear FestEvil website!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New, Independent Film by Kazuhiro Nakagawa!


"Haruo, I really think we're going to need a bigger dump truck..."

DAY OF THE KAIJU (Kaiju-no Hi) is a new, independent film produced in the town of Hinode, located in Nishitama District, Tokyo City. From town's official website: "In previous monster movies, Godzilla was created as an anti-nuclear metaphor to bring attention of social issues. In this production, the monster is a symbol of the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants."

The story begins following a giant monster landing at Ogasawara Island, which disappears into the sea from moral wounds inflicted by the Self-Defense Forces. Currents eventually wash the carcass onto the beach of a small town, and the film depicts the events in the aftermath of such an event...

DAY OF THE KAIJU was written and directed by Kazuhiro Nakagawa.

Check out the first trailer, below: