Tonight is a classic from 1970’s broadcast television, The War of the Gargantuas. The English dubbed version was commissioned at the time of the Japanese release, and the American version added some footage. It also tied it back to a previous movie, called Frankenstein Conquers the World. For this reason the American version, for once, is considered the cooler version to see.
And exactly what are we seeing tonight? We have yin and yang monsters, one good and helpful, another bad and not at all helpful. The action starts with the opening minutes and the monsters full on brawl at the hour mark. Anyone laying bets on who is triumphant at the end? This is action packed from start to finish, unlike some other Toho offerings that went forever without any action. This movie also has great pro-wrestling moves in it, since you have two guys in man-shaped monster suits for once. Imagine what a pain it was to fight in that Godzilla suit, for example, in comparison to the high-mobility ghille suits these guys playing the Frankensteins got.
Of all the Saturday afternoon monster films kids got to see in the 1970’s, I’d say this one ranks up there with Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster for freaking out kids. Every kid at school (post viewing) would elaborate on how gruesome this movie was, each kid building on the gore mentioned by the last until it reached an impossibly bloody climax. In reality the green Frankenstein was never actually SEEN eating people, even though he dragged a lady out of the building, held her up to his mouth, then after the cut away was chewing thoughtfully. And you do see the pile of abandoned clothes in the green monster’s nest, implying he liked his food nude.
One last thing: This was made in the golden age of monster films by one of the great masters of the art, Ishirô Honda. The cinematography is fantastic and I am glad we have such a clean copy. So watch! Or don’t! Everything is voluntary! Next week, something newer from 2016: Punch the Clock!
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