Tag Archive | Toho Company

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)

godzillavstheseamonster

aka: Godzilla, Ebirah, Mothra: Big Duel in the South Seas
Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no Daiketto
ゴジラ・エビラ・モスラ 南海の大決闘
Director: Jun Fukuda
My Rating: 7.0/10

A teenager is looking to enter a dance contest in order to win a yacht (his motive is hidden at this point in time). Well.. he doesn’t get to the dancing part.. but luckily for him two lazy contestants, also with a facination for boats!, happens to chicken out of the contest and as it just happens they are able to take him to a place with boats aplenty. The crew ends up sleeping in a boat and find themselves, after spending the night, sailing with a thief-on-the-run. As night is coming, strange clouds and storm is coming – also a giant lobster (Ebirah!) wrecks the ship. They end up stranded on an island (if it rings a bell, it should if you’ve been following the series..) where it just so happens that some primitive locals live, however these cavepeople are slaves to some evil militants. Hero of the past: Mothra! is sleeping.. can the locals chant Mothra to life(?), and what does godzilla have to do with this(?).. hell, even Rodan is a guest at this party.. I guess you have to watch it to find out what is gonna happen.

Just like in Bruno Mattei’s masterful Born to Fight (1989) new events is the major vehicle for the storyline. You could argue this is poor writing but I would disagree, to me it feels, strange as it sounds, refreshing – as it keeps things exciting when the movie itself is playful. As for Ebirah it’s a kind of a why-not-monster (just like those spiders in Son of Godzilla (1967)), everything next to Godzilla, Mothra or Gamera (and King Kong if going there) is sideshow material.

Action is plentyful, things are colorful, and if you’re init for the monstershow then this one delivers that promise. It’s recommended to follow the series from the start though, this being the #7th entry in the original Toho series.

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Portrait of Hell (1969)

portraitofhell

aka: Jigokuhen, 地獄変
Director: Shiro Toyoda
My Rating: 9.5/10

A tyrannical lord wants the walls of his temple to be painted with images of buddha and heaven. He is unable to assign the task to a korean painter who only “paints-what-he-sees” – seeing how the common man (or slave) is treated under the lords outspoken desire for glory – the painter  is only able to draw his nightmarish visions. The painter denies his daughter from seeing a japanese man, whom she truly loves, inevitably leading to the lord taking a liking to his daughter at first sight. Eventually the lord will assign the painter the task of painting a ‘portrait of hell’…

There is a progressive feel to how to the film is shot which reflects the story, starting of with beautiful rural landscape scenery, cherry blossoms and bright costumes.. eventually shifting to darkness, rivers of blood, sometimes pitch black scenery with an overhanging feeling of dread and doom. The  fantastical elements to the story allows for a “dimension” of fantasy/horror further enhancing the story!…

To me the partly theatrical acting works great (mainly the daughter, but also present in some longer dialogue scenes) as some scenes are more dialogue heavy but also working well with the period-setting. I can’t fault a thing about this movie, finding movies like this one is my reason for dedication – familiar, yet unique. I’m a sucker for “downbeat” ‘slowly unfolding’ progressive stories that is set to “explode” and this one goes highly recommended.

(As a headsup – there is a cut in the UK Artsmagic DVD. I grabbed this version regardless. INFO: http://bbfc.co.uk/releases/portrait-hellCompulsory cut required under the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act of 1937 to sight of cock fighting.“)

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