Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The War of the Gargantuas

Dork Note:  When I was a kid this was a midnight movie on TV. I remember begging my Mom to let me stay up and watch it; which she did.  At midnight I was laying on our couch watching it and at 12:05 I was asleep. I remember fighting to stay awake but lost the battle.

The War of the Gargantuas, released in Japan as Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda versus Gaira (フランケンシュタインの怪獣 サンダ対ガイラ Furankenshutain no Kaijū: Sanda tai Gaira), is a 1966 Science Fiction kaiju film. The film was co-produced between the Japanese company Toho, and Henry G. Saperstein's American company UPA. The film was a sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World, and was the second of two films featuring giant Frankenstein monsters that Sapertstein's company co-produced with Toho. Directed by Ishirō Honda, and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, the film starred Hollywood actor Russ Tamblyn, alongside Japanese actors Kenji Sahara, and Kumi Mizuno.

The film tells the story of two giant, hairy humanoids called Frankensteins (Gargantuas in the American version) that were spawned from the discarded cells of Frankenstein's monster from the previous film . A green one raised in the sea named Gaira (ガイラ, from kai, "sea") is violent and savage, while a brown one who resides in the Japan Alps, named Sanda (サン, from san, "mountain") is friendly and docile. The film follows the investigation and military engagements of these creatures until their climactic confrontation in Tokyo.

The film was released theatrically in the United States in the summer of 1970 by Maron Films where it played nationwide on a double bill with Monster Zero.

Fun Fact: The original ending of the film was to not only have Sanda and Gaira swallowed up by the new volcano, but the lava was to have spread to Tokyo where it was to destroy the city as well as the remaining cells of the monsters; cited in an interview with director Honda in Guy Tucker's Age of the Gods: A History of the Japanese Fantasy Film. 

Fun Fact: US producer Henry G. Saperstein had planned to make a sequel where either Sanda, Gaira or a similar, new creature were pitted against Godzilla. It was called Godzilla vs. the Gargantuas. The project never came to fruition.

Fun Fact: The Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Battle of the Humungonauts" is a parody/homage to this film, going so far as to reference the song "Feel in My Heart (The Words Get Stuck in my Throat)" which appeared in the film.

Fun Fact: Actor Brad Pitt cited the movie as his inspiration to go into acting at the 84th Academy Awards.

Fun Fact: Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has said in an interview that War of The Gargantuas is one of his favorite Kaiju films.

An Article about the War of the Gargantuas

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