DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Page 2 of 696

Spotlight on … The Grand Grimoire: The Red Dragon (1702) *

* (Halloween countdown post #9)

 

The Grand Grimoire is often regarded to be one of the most potent grimoires in existence. Many sources claim that this grimoire was written in 1520, and was later discovered in a certain ‘Tomb of Solomon’ in 1750. Furthermore, this grimoire is said to have been written in either Biblical Hebrew or Aramaic. This supposed connection with the Biblical King Solomon, and the ancient language it is rumoured to have been written in, would certainly have enhanced the reputation of the Grand Grimoire as a powerful book of magic.

The Grand Grimoire consists of four parts, and is supposedly being kept in the Vatican Secret Archives. According to legend, the Grand Grimoire was written by Honorius of Thebes, who is said to have been possessed by the devil. The occult manuscript is said to contain magical spells, as well as a detailed account of how newly-elected popes are slowly corrupted, and then won over by the power of Satan.

‘One of the most infamous contents of the Grand Grimoire, however, is the instructions that would supposedly allow a person to summon Lucifer or Lucifuge Rofocale. One of the instruments required for this ritual is a Blasting Rod, which would be used to smite Lucifer into submission once he is evoked. After this, a deal with the Devil may be made. Therefore, the Grand Grimoire also contains a section entitled the “Genuine Sanctum Regnum, or the True Method of Making Pacts”. Amongst other things, the person conducting this ritual would require a stone called Ematille, and two blessed candles, both of which would be used to form a Triangle of Pacts, so that he / she may be protected from the spirits that have been summoned.

‘Whilst the original Grand Grimoire (or a copy of it) is held in the Vatican Secret Archive, a version of it was produced during the 18 th century, when there was a boom in the production of cheap grimoires in France. This version of the Grand Grimoire was first published in the 19 th century, and spread to the different colonies that French had at that time. As a result of this, the Grand Grimoire is still being widely used in Caribbean countries that were once part of the French colonial empire, in particular, Haiti, where it is referred to as ‘Le Veritable Dragon Rouge’.

‘Unsurprisingly, The Grand Grimoire is still used widely by practitioners of voodoo in Haiti. Oh, the book is also rumored to be impervious to fire.’ — ancient-origins.net

 

___
Further

@ Wikipedia
@ goodreads
The Gospel of Satan: Grand Grimoire is One of the Creepiest Medieval Manuscripts Out There!
@ Le blog paranormal d’
@ Grimoire Encyclopedia
What possible credentials would one need to view The Grand Grimoire in the Vatican Secret Archives?
Deals with the Devil: the Red Dragon’s Demons
On the Shelf Review – The Red Dragon, or Dragon Rouge
Buy ‘The Grand Grimoire’

 

___
Extras


The Grand Grimore: The Red Dragon | Stories of the World


The Grand Grimoire (Occult Book Review 2)


Red Dragon Antics of The Grand Grimoire with The Great Clavical of Solomon by Goldtrend


The Grand Grimoire Investigation Insight

 

____
Interview

 

__
Book

Unknown author The Grand Grimoire: The Red Dragon
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

The Red Dragon has been variously treated as a grimoire, a piece of folk literature, and a joke manuscript; it comprises one part of what is loosely termed “The Grand Grimoire”- a collection of magickal works from the Renaissance such as the Black Pullet and Lesser Keys of Solomon. The Red Dragon however bears the title “Grand Grimoire” on its own. Multiple editions of it exist, some with material tacked on. It takes the form of a long ritualistic ceremony designed to secure communication with a demon known as “Lucifuge Rofocale” followed by various invocations and incantations and spells. The contents are heretical in the extreme, from rituals involving boiling a black cat to the use of toxic substances in ritual form. Small wonder, that this text has gained so much notoreity.’ — CSIPP

 

Excerpt

Chapter IV

Containing the true method to make the great cabalistic circle.

Start by forming a circle with the kid skin that you will nail down with the four nails, then with the Bloodstone you will make a triangle inside of the circle, starting from the direction of the rising sun; make also with the Bloodstone the four letters that are written outside of the circle. So also the saintly name of Jesus in this manner: between two crosses so that the spirits can’t harm you from behind.

Following this, the Karcist (who is the operator) will let his Associates into the Triangle and he will also enter without letting himself become frightened by any noise that he could hear, putting the two candleholders with the two garlands of vervain to the right and to the left of the internal triangle. That done, light the two candles and put a new vase in front of you, that is, in front of the Karcist, filled with the ash of the Willow wood that you have burned earlier that same day.

The Karcist will light it and pouring in a part of the Spirit of Water and part of the incense and Camfor, and conserving the remaining part to maintain a continuous flame that will suffice for the entire operation.

Having done everything exactly as has been described here you will pronounce the following words.

“I present you, O great ADONAY, this incense as the most pure, at the same time I present you with these ashes which come from the lightest (or finest) wood. I offer you them, O great ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL and JEHOVA, with ll my heart and spirit. Condescend, O great ADONAY, to accept them. Amen.”

Pay attention not to have any impure metal on your person but only some gold or silver coins folded in a piece of paper to throw at the spirit so that he cannot harm you when he presents himself to you before the circle and while he takes the coin you will begin the following prayer, arming yourself with courage, strength and prudence.

Be careful that only the Karcist, or Operator, speaks; the others must remain silent, even if the spirit interrogates or threatens them.

First Oration

O great living God, the only and same person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I adore you with the most profound respect and I submit myself to your saintly and woryour custody with full faith. I sincerely believe that you are my creator, my benefactor and my support and master; I declare to you that I have no other wish but that of belonging to you for eternity. So it shall be. Amen.

Second Oration

O great living God, who created man to be happy in this life and who created everything for our needs, and who said that everything shall be dependent on man; be favorable and do not permit that the rebel spirits possess the treasures that were formed by your hands for earthly needs. Give me, O great God, the faculty to possess them by the powerful and terrible words of the Clavicle: ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL, JEHOVA, TAGLA, MATHON. Be favorable. So shall it be.”

Be careful to maintain your flame with the spirits of the wine, incense and canphora and then make the following offering.

I offer you this incense as the purest that I could find, O great ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL and JEHOVA deign to accept it. O great ADONAY use your power to be favorable and enable me to succeed in this great undertaking. So it shall be. Amen.

First Invocation to Emperor Lucifer

Emperor Lucifer, prince and master of the rebel spirits, I implore you to abandon your dwelling, in whatever part of the world you should be, to come and speak to me. I command and entreat you by the authority of the great living God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, to come noiselessly and without giving off any offensive scents, to respond in a clear and intelligible voice, point by point, to all that I shall ask you, failing which, thou shalt be most surely compelled to obedience by the power of the divine ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL, JEHOVA, TAGLA, MATHON, and by the whole hierarchy of superior spirits, who shall constrain you against your will.

Second Invocation to Emperor Lucifer

I command and entreat you Emperor Lucifer, by the authority of the great living God, by the power of EMMANUEL his Son, your only master and mine, and by virtue of his precious blood which he spilled to liberate man from his chains, I order you to abandon your dwelling in whatever part of the world you should be, swearing to you that I will not give you a moment of rest, but that you come to speak to me immediately with an intelligent voice or, if you cannot come in person, send me your messenger Astaroth in human guise noiselessly and without foul scents otherwise I will strike you and your entire kind with the blasting rod as far as the bottom of the abysses and it will be with the power of these great words of the Clavicle, by ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL, JEHOVA, TAGLA, MATHON, ALMOZIN, ARIOS, PITHONIA, MAGOTS, SYLPHAE, TABOTS, SALAMANDRAE, GNOMUS, TERRAE, CELLIS, GODIUS, AQUA; immediately.

Warning

Prior to reading of the third invocation, if the spirit doesn’t appear, read the Clavicle as follows, and strike all of the spirits, putting the two ends of the fork of your rod in the fire. At this point do not be frightened by the horrible cries that you will hear because all of the spirits will appear. Before reading the Clavicle, while the noise continues, read again the third invocation.

Third Invocation to Emperor Lucifer

I command you, Emperor Lucifer, by the great living God, his dear son and the Holy Ghost and by the power of the great ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL AND JEHOVA, to appear now or send me your ASTAROTH. I command you to abandon your dwelling in whatever part of the world it should be, declaring to you that if you do not appear immediately, I will strike you and all of your cohorts again with the blasting rod of the great ADONAY, ELOHIM, ARIEL AND JEHOVA.

If the spirit still has not appeared put the two ends of your rod in the fire and read the following words of Solomon’s Clavicle.

Grand Invocation of the Great Kabbala

I supplicate you, O Spirit! by the power of the grand ADONAY, to appear instanter, and by ELOHIM, by ARIEL, by JEHOVA, by AGLA, TAGLA, MATHON, OARIOS, ALMOAZIN, ARIOS, MEMBROT, VARIOS, PITHONA, MAJODS, SULPHAE, GABOTS, SALAMANDRAE, TABOTS, GINGUA, JANNA, ETITNAMUS, ZARIATNATMIX,etc.. ACECAC JCACTCMCOCA CACMCVC PCMCSCCCSCJCCCGCACJCFCZC etc..

After having twice repeated these great and powerful words you can be sure that the spirit will appear in the following manner.

The Apparation of the Spirit

Here I am, what will you ask of me? Why do you torment my peace? Desist from striking me again with that terrible rod.

——–Lucifuge Rofocale

Query to the Spirit

Had you appeared when I called you, I would not have struck you: consider that if you do not confer upon me that which I ask, I will eternally torment you.

———Solomon

Response of the Spirit

Do not bother or disturb me further. Tell me immediately what you want. ——–Lucifuge Rofocale

Query to the Spirit

I command you to come and speak to me twice daily during the night, or to those who have the book which you will approve and sign. I will leave it to you to choose which times are most convenient to you, if you do not want to approve the following times hereby indicated, that is:

On Monday at nine o’clock and at midnight.

On Tuesday at ten o’clock and at one in the morning.

On Wednesday at eleven o’clock and at two in the morning. On Thursday at eight and ten o’clock.

On Friday at seven in the evening and at midnight.

On Saturday at nine in the evening and at eleven at night.

Moreover, I command you to give me the nearest treasure and I promise you as reward the first piece of gold or silver which I touch with my hands on the first day of every month. Here is what I ask of you.”

———Solomon

Response of the Spirit

I cannot grant that which you ask of me, if not on this, nor on any others, unless you give yourself over to me in fifty years, to do with thy body and soul as I please.

——–Lucifuge Rofocale

Query to the Spirit

I am going to strike you and all of your cohorts by the power of the great ADONAY if you do not immediately grant to me that which I ask of you.

———Solomon

Warning

Put the two ends of the blasting rod in the fire again; re-reading the great invocation of the Clavicle, until the spirit submits to your wishes.

Response and Covenant with the Spirit

Do not strike me anymore! I promise to do everything that you want. Two hours at night-time every day of the week, that is:

On Monday at ten o’clock and at midnight.

On Tuesday at eleven o’clock and at one in the morning.

On Wednesday at midnight and at two in the morning.

On Thursday at eight and eleven o’clock.

On Friday at nine in the evening and at midnight.

On Saturday at ten o’clock in the evening and at one in the morning.

I also approve your book and I give my signature in parchment which I will attach to this book so that you can use it for your needs; I also submit myself to appear before you whenever I am called and when you open the book and are purified and have the terrible blasting rod and have prepared the great kabbalistic circle and Pronouncing the name Rofocale. I promise to appeaer and treat you, and those who have this book which will bear my signature, considerately and in a friendly manner as long as you shall call me to order as soon as have need of me. I shall also induce myself to give you the treasure for which you have asked, provided that you keep the secret forever; that you shall be charitable towards the poor and that you give me a gold or silver coin all the first days of every month. If you neglect to do this things you shall be mine forever.

——–Lucifuge Rofocale, Approved

The Signature:
[figure]

Response to the Spirit

I will adhere to your demand. ———Solomon

C Centum Regum C

Conjuring Lucifer

LUCIFER, OUIA, KAMERON, ALISCOT, MANDESUMINI, POEMI, ORIEL, MAGREUSE, PARINOSCON, ESTIO, DUMOGON, DIVORCON, CASMIEL, HUGRAS, FABIEL, VONTON, ULI, SODIERNO, PETAN! Come LUCIFER. Amen.

(cont.)

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Scunnard, Hi, Jared. Good, good to hear. Obviously I high 5+ your prioritising there. But I wouldn’t even know how not to. I’m good, buffeting the COVID uprising, working on stuff, not bad. Keep doing what you’re doing, man. ** Ferdinand, Ah, thanks! Everyone, Ferdinand shares a great, thorough and thoughtful review of Thomas ‘Moronic’ Moore’s beautiful novel ‘Alone’ by the very talented in his own right Adam Lehrer, right about here. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yes, Honda’s work with Kurosawa is fascinating and such a surprise, at least in superficial theory. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. My LA pad is at the base of the hill atop which sits the Observatory, so a weird angle of it greets my comings and goings, as does the facade of the Ennis Brown house. I did my voting thing too, and may the scum and its enablers lose by an enormous margin very soon. Honda’s films are joyful basically to a one. Nice to see you, sir. ** Sypha, A Champagne + DC’s mindmeld! Awesome soliloquy there for which I bow and thank you kindly. Did you ever see ‘Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster’? It’s not a Honda film, but it’s kind of unbelievably weird and kind of great too. ** _Black_Acrylic, Ah, but those films are ultimately such wacky, family friendly-seeming fun. Drat about the writing group’s death. I don’t suppose there’s a reason to gather together the stragglers who still want that sort of thing and do your own spin-off version? ** Danielle, Hi, Danielle! I’ll take treat, thank you. Ooh, ooh, … I’m excited re: your vid. Hold on. Scary! And weird and beautiful! Awesome, thank you! I just sent the link to Stephen. Yeah, Zac and I fucked up and couldn’t think of anything we thought was scary and spectacular enough to be part of the haunted house project by the deadline. But I’m excited to see it. Or, rather, Zac will do it live, and I’ll have to wait and hope for archiving because I’ll be snoring or whatever Paris time when that occurs. Everyone, Danielle has a couple of really top notch Halloween entertainments to alert you to. First of all, a virtual haunted house! Description: ‘An Online Virtual Haunted House Experience. Featuring original cast members of HBO’s ‘The Sopranos’, amazing scribes Kathe Koja, Maryse Meijer, Stephen Graham Jones, and Danielle herself among many others. Thursday, October 29, 2020. 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. CDT. Guests will be taken on a guided tour through our Zoom haunted mansion where multiple rooms have been curated by artists, performers, and scholars whose spirits will haunt you as they explore horror’s relation to the arts & humanities and expose the horrors of “the everyday.” See event poster for more information!’ Go here. And, second, a little preview of Danielle’s eerie dance portion of the aforementioned haunted attraction (to music by Stephen O’Malley, Rully Shabara Herman, Wukir Suryadi) here. Oh, right, everyone’s talking Vitamin D. I’ll get on that. Like I told James, try ‘Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster’. So very good to see you, D! Hang way in there and stay as tough as nails, etc. xoxo, Dennis. ** Brian O’Connell, Hi. Indeed! Good your weekend was nice and even melodramatically gloomy since that has a nice sing to it. Interesting about your past with writing. That’s like me with visual art. I used to do drawings and paintings and make bad Super8 movies when I was younger, but that well, which was never very rich and large to begin with, just dried up. Readers and writers are equals, I think. It’s all about what writing does to you, whether you’re inputting it or outputting it. I’m pretty good. Parc Asterix was big fun. They did Halloween pretty well, especially considering it’s still a new form to the French. There was even one completely weird, fucked up, great haunted house using 3D glasses and tons of cheap florescent paint and black lights and so on that was honestly quite disorienting. And a few other haunted houses that were ambitious and thoughtfully done and well meaning even if they weren’t quite great. And, you know, the roller coasters and all that. Anyway, it made for a much needed, adrenaline-provoking day. Highlight of an otherwise work-y weekend, to be sure. Was today special in any respect on your end? Enjoy its totality. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Ah, weird, interesting: your screenplay come to life. I guess if there was ever a time when people would fall for that stuff, this conspiracy theory-poisoned one is the time. Huh. ** Right. The Halloween festivities continue on the blog courtesy of today’s spotlight on an evil, evil book. Beware. And see you tomorrow.

Ishirô Honda Day *

* (Halloween countdown post #8)

 

‘From an early age, Honda was fascinated by the power of cinema. The son of a Buddhist monk, Honda was born on May 7, 1911, in Asahi, a small agricultural village in Yamagata Prefecture, high in the mountains of Tohoku. But it wasn’t until his family moved to Tokyo, while Honda was still in grade school, that he experienced the fast-modernizing Japan of the Meiji era. At a school assembly, he saw his first motion picture, a silent American western (likely one of the Universal Bluebird photoplays, which were extremely popular in Japan from 1916 to 1919), and by the third and fourth grade he was frequenting cinemas to see ninja shorts starring Matsunosuke Onoe and films imported from the West. During a screening of F. W. Murnau’s classic The Last Laugh (1924), an older brother explained to young Honda that films were made by a kantoku (director) who oversaw the action. This realization proved inspiring, and later, when it was time to attend university, Honda reneged on a family commitment to enroll in dental school and instead joined Nihon University’s fledgling film program, which led to an apprenticeship at P.C.L., the studio that would eventually become Toho.

‘It was the success of his early, non-horror pictures that ultimately landed Honda the Godzilla assignment. The monster epic was indeed a major career risk for all involved; if the film had turned out poorly, and if it had flopped at the box office, then Honda, Tsuburaya, and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, who had come up with the idea, would have answered to the studio brass that had spent a then-astronomical budget of about 275,000 U.S. dollars on the production. But Godzilla was a major domestic hit, and also the first foreign film to receive widespread distribution in the U.S., albeit in altered form, as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with Raymond Burr cleverly spliced into the drama. Toho rushed the sequel Godzilla Raids Again (1955) into production, but due to a scheduling conflict Honda did not direct it; in fact, it would be several years before he became Japan’s most prolific director of sci-fi and monster films.

‘Honda was increasingly called upon to direct Toho’s popular genre pictures. Among these are Rodan, wherein the director instills the story of a prehistoric flying monster terrorizing Japan with tragedy and a sense of awe; The Mysterians (1957), Honda and Tsuburaya’s alien-invasion salute to the 1953 War of the Worlds; and The H-Man (1958), in which fishermen exposed to an H-bomb test (a nod to the fate that in 1954 befell the crew of the Japanese tuna trawler the Lucky Dragon No. 5, a tragedy that had also served as a key inspiration for Godzilla) turn into nuclear goblins that terrorize Tokyo. Through it all, Honda became known as a director with a subtle way of coaxing performances from actors, and one who never raised his voice on set. He rarely coached performers or gave specific direction, but he could be demonstrative when necessary: during the filming of Godzilla, while shooting the famous scene where the monster appears over a mountain, Honda became impatient with newcomer Akira Takarada’s half-hearted effort to rescue the ingenue (Momoko Kochi) from danger. Honda picked up the actress in his arms and ran down the hill, saying, “This is how you save someone!” He was not a visual stylist, leaning on his art directors and directors of photography (particularly Hajime Koizumi, who shot most of Honda’s sci-fi and other films from the late fifties to the late sixties) to help define the look of his films; instead, Honda concentrated on finding the most effective dramatic means of expressing the movies’ often socially conscious themes. As Japan joined the United Nations and established itself as a peaceful, economically resurgent country, Honda’s genre films became more optimistic. In Battle in Outer Space (1959), Gorath (1962) and Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964, among the best Godzilla sequels), Honda highlighted the need for cooperation among nations to solve challenges facing the planet.

‘After the enormous box-office success of Mothra (1961), Honda would work almost exclusively on kaiju pictures for the remainder of his career; though he would harbor disappointment and resentment at being so pigeonholed, he remained loyal to Toho and would not protest. Some of Honda and Tsuburaya’s most entertaining films came in the decade following Mothra. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), which cleverly spoofed Japanese television programming, was a major sensation and remains the best-attended Toho Godzilla film in Japan. Atragon (1963) melded the mystery of a lost continent with an antiwar theme, expressing misgivings over imperial Japan’s legacy. And Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) saw Godzilla convert from villain to hero when confronted with its ultimate nemesis, the flying, lightning-spitting space dragon of the title.

‘Honda’s value to Toho lay not only in the domestic box-office returns but also the money his films netted in foreign sales to the U.S., Europe, and other territories. Beginning in the midsixties, Toho began partnering with American producers to help cover production costs, casting fading or second-tier American stars in leading roles, giving Honda’s productions increased international potential. Honda had a good rapport with Nick Adams, who starred in Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), in which Godzilla and Rodan fend off alien invaders and their monster minion, King Ghidorah; and Frankenstein Conquers the World (also 1965), wherein the Hiroshima bomb gives rise to a giant, mutant Frankenstein monster that battles a giant reptile in the Japanese mountains. But some of Honda’s international coproductions were fraught with tensions. Honda reportedly had trouble reining in a rebellious Russ Tamblyn on the set of the wild-and-woolly Frankenstein sequel The War of the Gargantuas (1966); Rhodes Reason, Honda’s leading man in King Kong Escapes (1967), would later dismiss the director as a “hack”; and Latitude Zero (1969), an undersea sci-fi adventure incorporating Honda’s pro-science, pro-peace ideals, saw him directing Joseph Cotten, Cesar Romero, Richard Jaeckel, and others from an English-language script, but the production nearly collapsed when the American producers defaulted on their half of the costs.

‘By the end of the sixties, the Japanese movie industry was contracting, largely on account of the dominant popularity of television programming. Film budgets shrank; permanent contracts with actors, directors, and crew members were ended; and the Godzilla series was eventually relegated to kiddie matinee releases. By the time Honda made All Monsters Attack (1969), just a year after delivering the spectacular fan favorite Destroy All Monsters, budgetary limitations meant he was forced to utilize large amounts of monster footage recycled from previous films (nevertheless, All Monsters Attack is a mini-masterpiece of children’s entertainment). After the death of Eiji Tsuburaya in 1970, Toho restructured its special-effects staff, and the quality of their work would noticeably decline. No longer able to make films with the same production values as before, Honda notified Toho of his retirement. He dabbled in occasional television directing on Tsuburaya Productions’ The Return of Ultraman (1971–72) and other effects-laden shows, before returning to direct his final feature, Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), one of the stronger Godzilla films of that decade. And that might have been it for Honda if not for a chance meeting on the golf course with his old friend Akira Kurosawa in the late seventies. Kurosawa would pull Honda out of retirement to become his right-hand man, acting as a second-unit director as well as a confidant, fixer, and occasional substitute director. Together they worked on Kurosawa’s last five features: Kagemusha (1980), Ran (1985), Dreams (1990), Rhapsody in August (1991), and Madadayo (1993). Honda died in 1993 of lung cancer, and Kurosawa, deeply saddened by the loss, would read the eulogy at his funeral.

‘Honda’s films were distributed around the world more widely than those of any other Japanese filmmaker prior to Hayao Miyazaki. In addition to having been embedded in popular culture for decades—Brad Pitt, for one, has credited The War of the Gargantuas with sparking his love of cinema as a child—his movies have also proved influential for their craft: John Carpenter has gone so far as to call Honda “one of my personal cinematic gods.” Yet only relatively recently, with the 2004 art-house release of the director’s cut of Godzilla across the U.S., did Honda begin to receive recognition befitting his achievements. Today, nearly all of Honda’s genre films are available on home video in the U.S. as they were intended to be seen: in their original director’s cuts, in Japanese with English subtitles. (In Japan, newfound interest his Honda’s nongenre films has also arisen in recent years, though to date these remain unreleased outside Japan.)

‘With unparalleled deftness, Honda wove undeniably serious messages into unabashedly populist entertainments; in this, he can be seen as somewhat ahead of his time. He described his personal philosophy as “humanism,” and sought to convey, through his films, positive messages of cooperation and understanding. And though he never won prestigious awards, he was proud of his works’ endurance. “It was definitely my pleasure that I was able to make something that people can remember,” Honda said later in life. “If I had not made Godzilla or The Mysterians . . . it wouldn’t be the same. There is nothing like the happiness I get from those [movies].”’ — Steve Ryfle

 

___
Stills























































































 

___
Further

Ishirô Honda @ IMDB
Godzilla’s Conscience: The Monstrous Humanism of Ishiro Honda
Ishiro Honda: The master behind Godzilla
Readings: Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa
‘Godzilla’ Director Honda Ishiro Describes Seeing Hiroshima Firsthand
7 REVELATIONS ABOUT THE CO-CREATOR OF GODZILLA
Anti-war message inspired Godzilla director Ishiro Honda
Populism as High Art: Getting to the Heart of Ishiro Honda
ISHIRÔ HONDA @ MUBI
What Lies Beyond Godzilla?
Ishiro Honda — Godzilla, gratefulness, and greatness
Obituary: Ishiro Honda
Unknown Stories of Director Honda
Interviews with Ishiro Honda’s Biographers
Ishiro Honda’s ‘Monstrous’ Career

 

___
Extra


Lecture: Directing Godzilla: The Life of Filmmaker Ishiro Honda

 

____
Interview

 

David Milner: I was very sorry to hear about the recent death of Shinichi Sekizawa. What was your professional relationship with him like? (Mr. Sekizawa wrote the screenplays for MOTHRA (1961), GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO (1965), GODZILLA VS. GIGAN (1972), and many of the other science fiction movies that have been produced by the Toho Company Ltd.)

Ishiro Honda: The system that was in place back in the 1950s and 1960s was different from the one that is in place today. During the 1950s and 1960s, the planning department would accept ideas from any of Toho’s employees. THE H-MAN (1958) is a typical example. The idea for that film came from an almost completely unknown actor. MOTHRA is another typical example. The members of the planning department went around gathering ideas from everyone who worked for Toho. Then, four novelists were commissioned to write a story about a big moth and two tiny fairies. Those four people wrote the story, which appeared in the Asahi Shimbun, and shortly afterward Mr. Sekizawa wrote a script that was based on the story. I advised him only on the cinematographic aspects of the story. (The Asahi Shimbun is one of Japan’s most widely read newspapers.)

DM: How would you say Takeshi Kimura’s style was different from Mr. Sekizawa’s? (Mr. Kimura wrote the screenplays for THE MYSTERIANS (1957), GORATH (1962), DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968), and a number of Toho’s other science fiction movies.)

IH: Their styles were were very different. If the story were very positive, or even childish, it would go to Mr. Sekizawa. If it were negative, or involved politics, it would go to Mr. Kimura. I really can’t compare the two styles because they’re so different.

DM: GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS has a semi-documentary feel to it. Was it your intention to have it turn out that way?

IH: The intention of not only the screenwriter, but also the entire production staff, was to focus on how people would react if a creature such as Godzilla really did appear. What would the politicians do? How about the scientists? How would the military handle the situation? Given this, it was inevitable that the film would seem at least somewhat like a documentary. (GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS was written by Takao Murata and Mr. Honda.)

DM: I have heard that you switched the roles of Akira Takarada and Akihiko Hirata before shooting began on the movie. Is this true? (Mr. Hirata plays Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the inventor of the oxygen destroyer. Mr. Takarada plays Hideto Ogata, the South Seas Steamship Co. employee who is in love with Emiko Yamane.)

IH: I can hardly remember, but I suspect that it was merely a rumor that Mr. Takarada would be playing the scientist.

DM: There was speculation recently that Ghidrah was meant to symbolize China’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Is this true?

IH: I doubt it. Ghidrah was merely meant to be a modern interpretation of the eight-headed snake of Japanese myth.

Mr. Sekizawa wrote the screenplay for GHIDRAH – THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER, and he always avoided involving politics in his work.

DM: The entirely animated alternate version of the scene in which Ghidrah first appears in GHIDRAH – THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER is preferred by some to the one that is in the film. Do you know why the one that is in the movie was chosen over the alternate?

IH: I did not choose it, so I can’t answer your question. It was chosen by special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, whom I trusted so much after we worked on GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS together that I allowed him to select which special effects footage would be used and which would not. I have never even seen the alternate version. (Mr. Tsuburaya directed the special effects for not only the first seven Godzilla films, but also RODAN (1956), MOTHRA, KING KONG ESCAPES (1967), and many of Toho’s other science fiction movies.)

DM: Why didn’t you direct GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER (1966) or SON OF GODZILLA (1967)?

IH: There were two reasons. One was scheduling conflicts. The other was Toho’s concern that people would feel monster films had to be directed by me.

DM: Are those the reasons why you also did not direct GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (1955)? (It was directed by Motoyoshi Oda.)

IH: Yes. That’s correct.

I frankly was having a hard time humanizing Godzilla the way Toho wanted anyway. I was even hesitant to let Mothra act as a mediator between Godzilla and Rodan in GHIDRAH – THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER. It certainly would have been difficult for me to direct SON OF GODZILLA. (It was directed by Jun Fukuda, who also directed GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER, GODZILLA VS. GIGAN, GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973), and GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA (1974).)

DM: An original idea for DESTROY ALL MONSTERS that did not make it to the final version of the movie was that the monsters were supposed to not only be studied on Ogasawara Island, but also bred and cross-bred there. What other ideas for the film were rejected?

IH: The original idea was to show all of the monsters. We then started thinking about undersea farming. Eventually, we came up with the idea of an island on which all of the monsters had been collected for scientific study. You see, we imagined that undersea farming would be required to feed all of the monsters. I very much wanted to explore that idea, but because of financial constraints, I was not allowed to do so. Only the idea of an island of monsters survived.

DM: Did financial constraints also prompt the inclusion of stock footage in GODZILLA’S REVENGE (1969)?

IH: At that time, the production budgets were getting smaller and smaller, so it’s likely that they did.

DM: Did Mr. Tsuburaya take part in the production of GODZILLA’S REVENGE?

IH: By that time, his assistants, Teisho Arikawa and Teruyoshi Nakano, were sufficiently experienced to be able to handle the special effects on their own. The thinking at Toho was, “Let them do the actual work.” However, Mr. Tsuburaya was given credit out of respect. (His health was failing at the time. He died at the beginning of 1970. Mr. Nakano directed the special effects for GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (1971), TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA, GODZILLA 1985 (1984), and a number of Toho’s other science fiction movies. Mr. Arikawa directed the special effects for SON OF GODZILLA, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, and YOG – MONSTER FROM SPACE (1970).)

DM: I’d heard that you directed the special effects footage for that film. Is this not true?

IH: I directed almost all of it. The two reasons why I did were the limited size of the production budget and time constraints. In addition, the movie was shot in a very small studio, so it was decided not to separate the filming of the special effects and the standard footage as was usually done.

DM: How was that different from working with regular actors?

IH: It was very different. As you know, Godzilla really is a costume that is about 1.8 meters tall. If he were to be filmed as a regular actor would be, he would just appear to be a man in a costume. So, you have to use different camera angles and positions, and you also have to move the camera differently.

DM: What do you think of the most recent Godzilla movies? (They include GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE (1989), GODZILLA VS. GHIDRAH (1991), and GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1992).)

IH: That’s a very difficult question to answer. I don’t really have a positive or negative opinion about them. The special effects technically are very sophisticated, but the films lack imagination. It seems as if all Toho is trying to do is show things being destroyed. I don’t fault the members of the production department, though, because I know that that is what Toho’s executives are demanding.

DM: Do you feel that the offense some Americans felt when they saw the sequence in GODZILLA VS. GHIDRAH which shows the Godzillasaurus attacking a number of American soldiers was justified? (In GODZILLA VS. GHIDRAH, Godzilla is seen both as Godzilla and as the tyrannosaurus rex-like dinosaur he was before he was mutated by radiation.)

IH: Kazuki Omori went a little too far. He doesn’t blame the soldiers, but I feel that he goes too far. (Mr. Omori wrote and directed GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE and GODZILLA VS. GHIDRAH, and wrote but did not direct GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA.)

DM: I have heard that VARAN – THE UNBELIEVABLE (1958) was produced at the request of an American television studio. Is this true?

IH: I can’t remember which studio requested it, but yes, it was requested by an American television studio.

DM: Who made the decision to shoot the movie in black and white?

IH: Toho decided to shoot the film in black and white because all television shows were in that format at the time.

By the way, after we had shot five or six scenes in the standard 35mm format required for television, Toho decided to show the movie in theaters as well as on television. We at first planned to simply re-shoot the scenes in the wider cinemascope format used in theaters, but we were in a rush. So, we just cropped the existing film to fit the cinemascope format.

DM: Which of the films that you directed are your favorites?

IH: I should ask you that question!

I have to say GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS, but the continuity of the scenes in the movie seems a little amateurish to me these days. Another of my favorites is THE MYSTERIANS. I remember it as being an attempt to portray a very new, and surprising, world. GORATH (1962), too, comes to mind.

DM: Are you unhappy with the way any of the films you directed turned out?

IH: The people who worked in the production department would decide which director to assign to a movie, and their decisions usually were good ones. This was true of their decisions regarding actors and cameramen as well. So, I really haven’t any that I do not enjoy.

DM: Do you feel that you were fortunate to have Akira Ifukube scoring your films? (Mr. Ifukube, one of Japan’s most respected classical composers, scored GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA, and so on.)

IH: Yes. I feel that I was very fortunate in that regard. Mr. Ifukube always seemed to have a profound understanding for the movie on which he was working.

DM: Is it true that he created the roar of Godzilla that was used in GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS?

IH: Yes. He did. He had a very hard time selecting a sound for Godzilla’s roar. He even grieved over it! Seeing him in that state showed me that he was very seriously thinking about the film, and that made me think that it just might be a successful one.

DM: I have heard that you worked as a still photographer before going into films. Is this true?

IH: No. I was a documentary director for a while, but I never was a still photographer.

DM: With which actors did you especially enjoy working?

IH: The best actress was Kumi Mizuno. She always seemed genuine. Whenever she worked on a movie, she would just step right into her role. All of the other better actors were like that as well. (Ms. Mizuno is best known as Miss Namikawa, the woman from Planet X in GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO, and Dayo, the native girl from Infant Island in GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER.)

I recently saw GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA, and I noticed that the younger actors in the film were not thoroughly involved in it.

DM: Would you say that the actors with whom you worked during the 1950s and 1960s were generally better than those who have appeared in Toho’s more recent science fiction movies?

IH: Yes.

DM: Can you think of a reason why that might be?

IH: Times are just different.

DM: How did you like working with Nick Adams? (Mr. Adams plays Glenn, the American astronaut, in GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO, and Dr. James Bowen, the radiation specialist, in FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965).)

IH: He was a very passionate actor who had some very good ideas. There should have been two or three more films produced with Mr. Adams whether they were monster movies or not.

DM: I have heard that very little improvisation was allowed during production for financial reasons. Is this true?

IH: Yes, that is true, but sometimes an actor would find it difficult to say a certain line. Whenever that happened, I would change or delete the line.

DM: Did that happen very often?

IH: It happened during the production of virtually every film that I directed.

DM: Did you work on any movies that did not end up being produced?

IH: There were a few, but they weren’t science fiction films.

One that was being planned was THE FISHERMEN. It was going to be a semi-documentary about fishermen living in Okinawa. I wrote a synopsis, but Toho canceled the project. The story, which mainly was about the younger generation wanting to leave Okinawa for the big city, eventually got out, and was produced as a documentary by another studio.

Another canceled project was a Japanese version of THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES. Mr. Tsuburaya also had planned to work on such a movie. I interviewed many of the pioneers of Japanese aviation, and a script was completed. I’m not sure if the project was canceled for financial reasons, or if it was canceled simply because Toho decided against producing the film.

A third movie I originally was going to work on was a Japanese version of GHOST. A dead soldier comes back to Japan from a foreign war. He wanders around…

This is highly classified information!

DM: Do you feel that there should not have been any sequels to GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS produced?

IH: Godzilla was a product of the times. There previously had been no monster like him. So, people were frightened, and shocked, by him. Now, when Godzilla appears in a city, most of the buildings are even taller than he is!

The image of what a monster is shouldn’t stay the same. It should be different so that people will be shocked and surprised, just as they were by GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS in 1954. Something new, and strange, must be created.

DM: Were you surprised by the international success of your films?

IH: I am always amazed by the enthusiasm of the fans in the United States!

DM: Godzilla was created in reaction to the development of nuclear weapons. Since nuclear war is no longer as great a threat as it once was, many fans feel that Godzilla should now instead be used to address environmental concerns. Do you agree with this?

IH: Yes. I agree.

DM: TriStar Pictures is planning to produce a Godzilla movie in the United States next year. How do you feel about this?

IH: The film will probably be much more interesting than the Godzilla movies that are being produced in Japan. I’m glad.

 

____________
23 of Ishiro Honda’s 77 films

________
Godzilla (1954)
‘Director Ishiro Honda gathered his crew and gave them an ultimatum. He was about to put his career at risk, and he would only work with those who approached his current project—a movie about a radiation-spewing prehistoric reptile that destroys Tokyo—with the utmost seriousness, as he himself did. “He told them . . . ‘Read the script. If you are not convinced, please let me know immediately and leave the project,’” Kimi Honda, the director’s wife, recalled years later. “He only wanted those who had the absolute confidence to work with him on this film.”

‘It was the spring of 1954, and Honda was readying to direct Godzilla. As the first movie of its kind produced in Japan—and one of the most expensive movies made in the country to date—it was an audacious project for the filmmaker, for Toho Studios, and for a domestic film industry that had been left devastated and demoralized after World War II but was now resurgent. During the fifties and sixties, the masters of postwar Japanese film (Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Masaki Kobayashi, Mikio Naruse, Nagisa Oshima, Kon Ichikawa, and many others) would produce a bumper crop of exemplary, enduring cinema, acclaimed at home and abroad. Concurrently, a generation of studio-contracted directors would crank out commercial program pictures for the domestic market—dramas, comedies, period pictures, gangster pictures, and musicals—with efficiency and hit-making skill. Honda was among the latter group, but he would forge a unique path as Japan’s foremost director of kaiju eiga, or giant-monster movies. While the works of Kurosawa et al. were limited to art-house distribution abroad, Honda’s films played to mainstream moviegoing audiences in the U.S. and across the West, and they have subsequently become ensconced in the pop-culture pantheon. Honda’s influence is undeniable: as one of the creators of the modern disaster film, he helped set the template for countless blockbusters to follow, and a wide array of filmmakers—including John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, and Guillermo del Toro—have expressed their admiration for his work. Yet the full scale of his achievements has only recently begun to be appreciated.’ — The Criterion Collection


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

____________
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
‘Toho Studios followed the enormous success of the original Godzilla with this sequel as a straight-ahead monsters-on-the-loose drama. An underrated standout among the Showa Godzilla films, Godzilla Raids Again introduces the monster-versus-monster format that would dominate the remainder of the series, pitting Godzilla against the ferocious, spiny Anguirus as the kaiju wreak havoc in the streets of Osaka in a series of elaborate set pieces that succeed in upping the ante for destruction.’ — The Criterion Collection


Trailer


Excerpt

 

____________
Half Human (1955)
‘HALF HUMAN had something of an infamous reputation that sort of made it something of a legend in circles regarding Toho’s tokusatsu films. Toho Company pulled it from circulation sometime in the 80s I believe so the only way you can actually watch it is bootleg copies or somewhere online. The reason for this self imposed ban has been allegedly due to its depiction of native tribes in a less then savory manner.

‘Does the film live up to its controversy and decades long “legendary” status? Well, yes and mostly no. The controversial aspects surrounding the natives are pretty much true to what you’ve heard. Every native except the main native woman are shown to be dirty, seemingly deformed and all around just really badly mannered people who probably fit most checklists for old stereotypes of native people. So with regards to its controversy it certainly is obvious to see why it has such a notorious reputation, with regards to the rest of the movie it sort of just falls into a rather “meh” category.’ — Dr_Mafoony

Trailer

 

______________
w/ Terry O. Morse Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956)
‘yeah let’s just take a cathartic work of national grief and guilt and re-edit/dub it so none of that pain or soul registers, remove any and all mention of nuclear fallout and instead include an american protagonist bumbling around because i guess treating the japanese characters as people we should care about is asking too much. americans are so dumb. few know this.’ — josh lewis


Trailer

 

____________
Rodan (1956)
‘In the Japanese mining village of Kitamatsu, miners ares starting to disappear deep inside shaft number 8. Some of the men sent to investigate are killed but one who has managed to escape brings back a tale of a giant insect. Soon, the giant prehistoric insects are attacking the village. Not long after, something traveling faster than the speed of sound is found flying in the sky. It is Rodan, a giant flying prehistoric reptile that has come to life. It spreads terror throughout Japan and is seemingly invincible to any weapon they may throw at it.’ — garykmcd


Trailer


Excerpt

 

_____________
The Mysterians (1957)
The Mysterians come from an exploded planet and aren’t the friendliest aliens: they start forest fires and landslides, and send up a galumphing robot monster. They ask for three kilometres of Japan, but really want the whole earth; most ghastly of all, they kidnap women to propagate their kind. Still, we humans aren’t very nice in return, and it’s not long before this lively sci-fi extravaganza from Inoshiro Godzilla Honda has turned into an out-and-out war film, with tanks and ray guns trundling and blasting away in the midst of lavish but variable special effects.’ — Time Out

the entirety

 

_____________
Varan The Unbelievable (1962)
‘When a rare species of butterfly is found in a mysterious valley in Japan, a pair of entomologists go to investigate and find more. However, when they get there they find an uncharted lake and as they are observing it they are caught in a landslide and killed. A reporter named Yuriko, the sister of one of the men decides to go to the area to find out what exactly happened. She is accompanied by another entomologist named Kenji and a reporter named Horiguchi. When they get to the village where the men were last seen alive they find out about a legend regarding a giant monster. They soon find out that it is not a legend and the monster named Varan is very much alive. Soon Varan leaves the valley where he has lived for millions of years and is heading for Tokyo.’ — letterboxd

the entirety

 

______________
Battle in Outer Space (1959)
‘Ishirō Honda steps his game up considerably for this loose sequel to The Mysterians. While not a kaiju film outright, its connection to the lore earned itself a spot on my rankings. Battle in Outer Space takes the globalist themes explored in The Mysterians to new heights, with all the nations of the world banding together to send our own brave astronauts into space to deal with an alien menace. It has some of the most intricate miniature work we’ve seen yet from Toho, and comes off far more convincing and exciting than other space exploration films releasing at the time. Perhaps a pulpy B-movie is all this really is, but the timeless message of unity rings true even to this day. Ishirō Honda, like fellow dreamer Gene Roddenberry, clearly had high hopes for where the planet was headed. Let us not disappoint them.’ — Minion Max


Trailer

 

__________
Mothra (1961)
‘One of the most iconic Japanese kaiju, Mothra has appeared in over a dozen feature films. Presented here is her debut, a gloriously vibrant piece of filmmaking that forever changed how kaiju eiga would be produced in Japan. Following reports of human life on Infant Island, the supposedly deserted site of atomic bomb tests, an international expedition to the heavily-radiated island discovers a native tribe and tiny twin female fairies called “Shobijin” who guard a sacred egg. The overzealous expedition leader kidnaps the Shobijin to exhibit in a Tokyo stage show but soon they summon their protector, hatching the egg and releasing a giant caterpillar. When Mothra arrives in Japan and transforms into her final form, the nation and its people face their destruction. Psychedelically colourful, with an intelligent, benevolent protector as its lead kaiju, Mothra was radically different to every other monster movie that had come before it, and it remains a classic of the genre to this day.’ — AMP


Trailer

 

_____________
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
‘Honda’s first outing with Kong isn’t a solo feature. Instead, it’s King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), a film that’s exactly what it says on the tin and so much more. King Kong vs. Godzilla focuses on the exploits of Osamu Sakurai (Tadao Takashima), a naïve worker for the shady Pacific Pharmaceuticals. The company has been struggling as of late, so in a bizarre, last-ditch attempt at boosting interest in their product, they’ve decided to send Osamu and his friend Kinsaburo Furue (Yû Fujiki) to the mysterious Faro Island in hopes of bringing back a massive monster. Why? To boost sales of Pacific Pharmaceuticals’ drugs, of course!

‘There’s an undeniable heavy satirical bent to the proceedings, with Pacific Pharmaceuticals acting increasingly evil as the film goes on. While Osamu and Kinsaburo are sympathetic, the same cannot be said of Mr. Tako (Ichirō Arishima), their boss and the film’s de-facto evil businessman. How evil is he? Well, when Godzilla unfreezes from an iceberg and begins campaigning right for Japan, Mr. Tako bemoans how this will take publicity away from Pacific Pharmaceuticals. Oh, and he parades around the second act of the film wearing a tan suit with a red armband. A saint he is not.’ — Daily Dead


Trailer

 

_____________
Matango (1963)
‘Five vacationers and two crewmen become stranded on a tropical island near the equator. The island has little edible food for them to use as they try to live in a fungus covered hulk while repairing Kessei’s yacht. Eventually they struggle over the food rations which were left behind by the former crew. Soon they discover something unfriendly there…’ — letterboxd

the entirety

 

______________
Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
‘Godzilla faces off against the benevolent insect monster-god Mothra in this clash of the titans, a crossover battle between two of Toho Studios’ most popular monsters—the last in which Godzilla would figure as a malevolent villain rather than a fearsome hero. Mothra vs. Godzilla marks a creative high point in the Godzilla series, with pointed social commentary from director Ishiro Honda, a masterful score by Akira Ifukube, and astonishing special-effects work by Eiji Tsuburaya.’ — The Criterion Collection


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

___________
Dogora (1964)
‘Another great sci-fi tokusatsu from Ishirō Honda and the gang. Usually, I’d say that Eiji Tsuburaya’s effects are the star of the show in these things. Dogora, however, has some pretty interesting characters, particularly Mark Jackson and Inspector Komai, who feel like they fell out of a 60s era James Bond film. I would love to see more films with these characters. The whole diamond heist subplot was almost as engaging as the giant space jellyfish stuff. Oh, and that space jellyfish looks great by the way. There’s some scenes that look straight Lovecraftian, with tentacles reaching down from an otherworldly sky. Great stuff.’ — Tears-in-Rain


Trailer

 

_____________
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
‘After laying waste to an alien civilization on Venus, the three-headed, lightning-emitting space monster Ghidorah brings its insatiable thirst for destruction to Earth, where fierce foes Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra must join forces in order to deal with the unprecedented threat. An electrifying screen debut for Godzilla’s archenemy Ghidorah, this film also marks a turning point for the series, as the first time the King of the Monsters acts to protect the planet.’ — TCC


Trailer

 

_____________
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1966)
‘A brilliant concept (the nazis confiscate Frankenstein’s heart and give it to the Japanese right before the bombing of Hiroshima) is given mundane treatment (this seems long at 90 mins) and the Frankenstein monster himself never really makes an impression. I saw the ending with the giant squid fight which is so crazy it becomes the best scene by default.’ — MUBI


Trailer


Excerpt

 

____________
Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
‘Aliens from Planet X make an irresistible offer to the people of Earth: let them borrow Godzilla and Rodan to help defeat King Ghidorah, and in return they will provide a cure for all known human disease. But the aliens’ duplicity is soon revealed, as they deploy all three monsters in their quest to conquer Earth. This retro romp, featuring American star Nick Adams, stands as a high point in the Showa Godzilla series.’ — The Criterion Collection


Excerpt


Carnage count

 

_____________
The War of the Gargantuas (1966)
‘Gaira, a humanoid sea beast spawned from the discarded cells of Frankenstein’s monster, attacks the shores of Tokyo. While the Japanese military prepares to take action, Gaira’s Gargantua brother, Sanda, descends from the mountains to defend his kin. A battle between good and evil ensues, leaving brothers divided and a city in ruins.’ — letterboxd


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

______________
King Kong Escapes (1967)
‘King Kong is brought in by the evil Dr. Who to dig for Element X in a mine when the robot Mechani-Kong is unable to do the task. This leads to the machine and the real Kong engaging in a tremendous battle atop Tokyo Tower.’ — letterboxd


Trailer

 

_____________
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
‘A romping Japanese monster rally, the 20th production in this vein from Toho studios, who have energetically devastated Japan on film virtually every year since 1954. Their output is graphic and witty, with a weird gladiatorial style which has emerged under the guidance of Honda since his first Godzilla. In some ways these features are more like sporting events than fantasies, with a radio commentary (‘It’s Godzilla leading the attack’) as the monsters of this world rally to protect it from extraterrestrial invasion.’ — Time Out


Trailer


Excerpt

 

_____________
All Monsters Attack (1969)
‘Director Ishiro Honda returned again for the first Godzilla movie expressly for children. Economizing by reusing effects shots from other films in the series, All Monsters Attack tells the story of Ichiro, a lonely latchkey kid who finds solace in his dreams of befriending Minilla, the titular progeny of Son of Godzilla, whose parent is also often absent. In this thoughtful, human-scale story, boy and monster learn together what it means to grow up.’ — TCC


Trailer

 

_____________
Space Amoeba (1970)
‘From the empty caverns of space to the darkest depths of the sea, this new species knows only destruction and chaos! Space Amoeba is the last non-Godzilla film to be directed by Ishiro Honda and scored by Akira Ifukube. Shot on location in Guam, the film uses many of the actors featured in Destroy All Monsters. Alien space creatures hitch a ride on an unmanned space probe and head for Earth. Crash landing on an inhabited island, the parasitic forms take over and enlarge three local creatures, a squid (Gezora), a crab (Ganimes) and a snapping turtle (Kamoebas, who made a brief appearance in Godzilla”: Tokyo SOS). The parasitic chain-reaction has been set in motion…beware!’ — Cayman


Trailer

 

_____________
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
‘In Godzilla’s last gasp of the Showa era, aliens retrieve Mechagodzilla’s remains and rebuild it with the aid of an unhinged biologist (a scenery-chewing Akihiko Hirata), in hopes of defeating Godzilla for possession of planet Earth. This film marked the return of director Ishiro Honda, who had retired years earlier, disheartened by the increasingly kid-friendly approach of the series. For this final entry, Honda steers the King of the Monsters back into grim territory, interweaving an alien-invasion plot with a tale of tragic romance.’ — The Criterion Collection


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

_____________
w/ Takao Okawara Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995)
‘Godzilla, its body burning, lays siege to Hong Kong. It’s discovered that the King of the Monsters is on the verge of a meltdown. If Godzilla reaches a critical temperature, the resulting detonation will breach straight to the Earth’s core and have a cataclysmic result. Meanwhile, a mysterious race of crustacean-like beings are spotted across Japan. Recent studies have been done on a process called Micro Oxygen, a method of increasing the size of something as a possible solution to help with food shortages. However, this new creature seems to have a more ancient history, being born from the Oxygen Destroyer itself that killed the original Godzilla in 1954.’ — Soho Kingdom


Trailer


Behind the scenes

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Indeed. I actually love those paranormal investigation shows, but it’s a guilty pleasure to be sure. No, it’s not the Far Right here having problems with the COVID restrictions per se, it’s the owners and denizens of nightlife businesses mostly and understandably. Another big difference here is that people are griping, but they’ll do what they’re asked to do. Everyone, One more add to Mr. Ehrenstein; home sale, namely … ‘I have a framed “Last Temptation of Christ” poster signed by Marty going fo $175.00’. Hit him up. ** Misanthrope, Yum. I’m going to Halloween at Parc Asterix today, but I’m pretty positive their haunted houses won’t be as scary as Trail of Terror. A lot more quaint though, I bet. Well, ultimately, it’s good you’re not the Hulk. Keep feeling better and have a swell weekend. ** Ian, Hi, Ian. Cool. Oh, yeah, same era and countercultural leanings: ‘Breckenridge’ and ‘Candy’. Glad you had fun with it. I’ll max out my weekend, thanks, and you rob your weekend’s pleasure center blind. ** Bill, The zombie thing is so, so tired and maxxed out, but it does seem to be a big sell thematic. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Mr. R. I know the name Wigan, I think from comedy things where it’s used as a kind of a punch line of sorts, so all I know about it is that the name alone can be humorous. ** Gus, Hi, Gus! I have your album cued up for tomorrow — I’m doing an amusement park all day today — and am readying my ears. Yeah, the event was so trippy, really very LSD or something. John (Waters) has this weird ability to be practically everywhere. Guy’s like a pinball, very happily. Oh, cool, thanks for the fill-in about your writing. Of course I’m intrigued about this novel you’re working on. Your little description sounds super promising. If you need an invisible cheerleader, I’m game. I’ve only been to Australia once, basically just in Melbourne and Tasmania. Australian summers are really scary to even hear about, being a heat hater. The curfew is doable, I think. The question is if it’s enough, I guess. The French efforts are definitely a million times more coordinated and thought-out than the US mess, and I’m very glad I’m riding this thing out here. When I talk/Zoom with my US friends, everyone still seems very scared and shellshocked, and here the vibe is pretty laissez faire about the virus itself with this faith that following the rules is sufficiently protective. Which could be foolish I guess, but the chill atmosphere is much appreciated. I send you my best in return. I hope your weekend is packed with all kinds of inspiring whatevers. ** Steve Erickson, Oh, it’s a Sorkin thing. Okay, that helps me know what to expect. I hope you and the glasses become bffs ASAP. ** Brian O’Connell, Howdy, Brian. Word is that the Prague one is as advertised. I know someone who did it last year and took the highest intensity option and broke a rib. Although it just got shut down yesterday as Prague is the worst COVID hit city in Europe now. Yeah, it’s weird about the ever exuding of interesting stuff. Every once in a while I think, Okay, I’m out of gas and things to make posts about, but something always comes along to trigger another flood. Happy late birthday to your brother, or early ‘happy’, I guess, if the weekend is the place it’ll happen. Ah, that melancholy folly thing … I know it well. I will say I used to wring a lot of poems out of that rich state of heart and mind, and some of them weren’t too bad. So there’s your bright side, ha ha. In any case, enjoy the re-sighting and the general fun. Thanks, yeah, I’m off to Parc Asterix in 20 minutes, and I intend to come home pleasurably beat. ** Josh D, Hey Josh! Good to see you! I got your email/book, yes. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m sure looking forward to the dive. Happy Halloween to you just in case too! ** Okay. This weekend’s Halloween-attached post is a swarm of Japanese monster movies courtesy of the great Ishirô Honda, Have fun. See you on Monday.

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2020 DC's

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑