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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Franken-week: Day 7 ...

I can't believe it's already been a week, can you?

Well, today our free Franken-week comes to a close now with a bang but with a turd. Yes, any credibility this blog gained seven days ago with Bride of Frankenstein is how squandered by japanese men in rubber suits.

Enjoy ...

Yoinked from Wiki and breeded with a few random blogs ...

"Frankenstein Conquers the World, released in Japan as Frankenstein Tai Chitei Kaijū Baragon (フランケンシュタイン対地底怪獣 ,Furankenshutain Tai Chitei Kaijū Baragon, lit. 'Frankenstein Versus Subterranean Monster Baragon') and Toho's official English title is Frankenstein vs. Baragon, is a tokusatsu kaiju/horror film produced in 1965 by Toho Company Ltd. This film features a Japanese version of the Frankenstein Monster, who becomes giant-sized to fight the giant subterranean monster, Baragon.

At a certain point in the sixties Toho's monster group in Japan took a left turn away from their own best interests. Noted exceptions aside, Toho decided that their monster romps were strictly kiddie fare and began to cut corners on their budgets. The once-threatening Godzilla became a clownish good-guy, sort of a 500 foot rubber suited Jerry Lewis. 1965 was the pivot year, when Toho's last original science fiction film Dogora made its appearance.

The nuttiest Toho so far was the horror-kaiju hybrid Frankenstein vs. Baragon, first announced in Famous Monsters as Frankenstein and the Giant Devilfish. American Henry G. Saperstein was the genius behind the simply terrible Dick Tracy TV cartoons. He partnered with the Japanese on a tale that starts in terrible taste and quickly drifts into the realm of the plotless and pointless. The film is reasonably entertaining nevertheless and remains a perverse favorite of Kaijû fans. There's no denying it: Frankenstein vs. Baragon is just plain nuts.

The movie’s origins are a bit more interesting though. Way back before King Kong vs. Godzilla, Willis O’Brien came up with the idea of a giant Frankenstein battling Kong. The idea was shopped around by a fellow named John Beck and it later became King Kong vs. Godzilla. O’Brien died and Toho still had the original Frankenstein script, so they ran with it.

The movie was a co-production between Toho and the American company Brenco Pictures (or possibly Benedict Productions), who had released a few other Toho films in the US. They were impressed with King Kong vs. Godzilla and apparently wanted in on the action. Originally, it was going to be a sequel to The Human Vapor (called Frankenstein vs. The Human Vapor), but that was canned in favor of Frankenstein vs. Godzilla. That, in turn, was canned in order to make Mothra vs. Godzilla. Finally, they sorted it all out and made Frankenstein vs. Baragon.

A giant octopus appeared on several stills from Frankenstein Conquers the World, but no one could spot it in the film. Ishiro Honda explains apologetically: 'The movie was made in co-production with an American company, Benedicts Productions. The bosses were so astonished by the octopus scenes from King Kong vs. Godzilla, they begged to include it into the screenplay, even in spite of logic. So we shot some scenes with the Giant Octopus but, in the end, they were left out of the picture.'

There are many references to the 1931 Frankenstein film adaptation, which is no doubt the most iconic representation of the monster featured in the famous book by Mary Shelley. In general, the monster is referred to by the name of his creator (Frankenstein), as opposed to 'The Frankenstein Monster' (which Dr. Bowen did refer to him as once in this film). The look of the monster is similar to the 'flathead' Frankenstein Monster designed by master makeup artist Jack Pierce. The mob of people chasing the monster on the beach is similar to the mob of villagers chasing the monster. Kawaji occasionally acts as the Fritz character from the 1931 film, when he plots something against the creature against Dr. Bowen's orders or unbeknown to him. The monster Baragon kills many people as well as farm animals, and Frankenstein is wrongly blamed for this, as nobody is yet aware of Baragon. The fire in the forest (When Frankenstein fights with Baragon), is similar to the fire on the windmill, on which Dr. Frankenstein confronts the creature at the end of said film.

This film spawned a sequel, War of the Gargantuas (titled Furankenshutain no Kaijû: Sanda tai Gaira in Japan). In said film, pieces of Frankenstein's cells mutate into two giant humanoid monsters: Sanda (the Brown Gargantua) and Gaira (the Green Gargantua). The former is a benevolent and peace-loving creature, the latter is murderous and savage. This was also the first of three Toho-produced films to star Hollywood actor Nick Adams, who starred in two other films: Invasion of Astro-Monster and The Killing Bottle."

I actually had this film featured as one of my Church-less MOTWs last May but I couldn't find it for free to show on the blog. Today I remedy that situation.

So Toho did a King Kong movie and a Frankenstein movie. Wouldn't it have been awesome if they had also done a Dracula movie? Can you picture it, a flamboyant giant Japanese Dracula in a rubber suit. That would have been an awesome picture. maybe I should work on it now?

Enjoy the show, y'all!

I'm going to miss Franken-week.

Farewell, my green friend, farewell!

The Viking Moses: I Will Always Love You

1 comment:


Ahhhhhhh, oh Pope of Woodism, here is a fine film of Frankie & Drac.
There's another film with the exact same title and it too 'tis grand.

Here's one that is sooooooo bad it's bad.

Woodness be with Thee
groovin' safari,