This Week in Cult: Monster From A Prehistoric Planet (1967)

By on March 5, 2015

Welcome to This Week in Cult, your nondenominational, thoroughly heretical peek inside the world of Cult films. Let us be you guide through the best of the worst, or sometimes the worst of the worst B-movie extravaganzas. With every edition of ‘This Week,” we’ll introduce a cult classic and have an exclusive clip from the film, provided by our partners at MVD.  This week is Monster From A Prehistoric Planet, a Japanese Kaiju film from 1967 directed by Haruyasu Noguchi, starring Tatsuya Fuji.

monster-from-a-prehistoric-planet

Monster From A Prehistoric Planet or better known in Japan as “Daikyoju Gappa” was made by Nikkatsu Studios in 1967. It was the studio’s chance to dip its toes into the radioactive well of the Kaiju (strange creature) genre, and subsequently pull them right back out.

Seeing the film now, it’s pretty clear why they didn’t decide to make Kaiju genre their bread and butter. For one, their approach was to inject some satire into the then replete and largely morose scary monster genre, which doesn’t seem too difficult in the case of Monster. After all, you have to hope that director Haruyasu Noguchi and the studio were aware that it wasn’t exactly making film gold with the absurdity of both it’s story (Hugh Heffner type mogul’s expedition awakens sleeping prehistoric bird beast) and less than menacing monster design.

It’s the rare tongue-in-cheek take on the hulking, city destroyer genre that makes the film even more fun to watch today. To see an iconic studio like Nikkatsu awkwardly give the genre a try leads to a lot of pretty pitiful and hilarious laughs. When we watch old dubbed Kaiju films now, we mostly take the comedic charm of it for granted. It’s easy to forget that the 1954 Godzilla was deeply affecting apocalyptic material and a dark allusion to their nuclear present. But just try and not fall in love with this big furry guy, even while he steps on you’re kabuki theatre:

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