The Kaiju Eiga Man

Special Effects creator Eiji Tsuburaya with the caterpillar version of the creature that became MOTHRA (1961), a Japanese monster fantasy cult favorite.

When the subject of Japanese film comes up, you might assume that Akira Kurosawa is that nation’s most famous filmmaker in terms of international recognition and critical acclaim. Yet, a 2014 book by August Ragone (published by Chronicle Books), makes a good case for another filmmaker from Japan whose worldwide popularity, especially among sci-fi/fantasy fans, is probably greater than Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Kon Ichikawa combined.  His name is Eiji Tsuburaya. What? The name doesn’t ring a bell? Maybe you’ve heard of Godzilla (1954) or Mothra (1961) or Destroy All Monsters (1968) or Rodan (1956) or countless other sci-fi/fantasy films from Toho Studios that featured Tsuburaya’s special effects? 

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Two Heads Are Not Better Than One

The title creature and star of The Manster (1959), a Japanese-American co-production made in Japan and co-directed by George P. Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane.

What we have here is a different type of mutant monster. It’s part man, part monster. In other words, a manster. The unlucky title creature of this 1959 horror thriller is Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley), a brash American reporter who hopes to land a front-page story about some startling new developments in the field of medical experimentation. Well, he gets his front-page story all right. You could say he IS the story.  

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