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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My Visit to Forry’s Ackermansion

Forry Ackerman in his guest room at the Ackermansion (1998) photo by J.Stafford

Forry Ackerman in his guest room at the Ackermansion (1998) photo by J.Stafford

I never would have imagined when I was a geeky eleven year old kid hooked on Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine that I would one day meet the brainiac behind it – Forrest J. Ackerman – and be invited inside the world famous Ackermansion. It happened while I was visiting friends in Los Angeles in February 1998.    Continue reading