Howl from Beyond the Fog (2019)
Howl from Beyond the Fog (狭霧の国 is an independent Sagiri no Kuni, lit. Land of Fog)tokusatsu kaiju short film produced by LosGatos Works. Helmed by Daisuke Sato, the film was crowdfunded via Kickstarter in late 2017 and premiered at the Atami Kaiju Film Festival on November 24, 2019. It is inspired by the 1951 short story "The Fog Horn" by Ray Bradbury, which also served as the basis for the 1953 film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
Nebula, a giant reptilian monster, emerges from a hillside and kills two travelers on a bridge.
Years later, in 1909, a boy named Eiji returns to his hometown in Kyushu. Raised by relatives, he knows little about his mother or recently-deceased twin brother. He is startled to find a blind cousin, Takiri, also living with his mother. She instructs him not to tell his mother they've met, as she's supposed to be dead. That night, he spots her walking to the lake and follows her. Humming softly, she wakes up Nebula, who now resides in the nearby lake. Terrified, Eiji flees.
The next day, Eiji overseas developers trying to convince his mother to sell the last of her land to facilitate the construction of a dam. She refuses, as her family has worshipped there for generations. They note, dismissively, that Eiji is the last male in her family. As she and Eiji eat breakfast, she reluctantly explains that Takiri is her sister's daughter, left with her after the sister committed suicide. Believing that Takiri has gone insane, she has done her best to hide her from the town. He visits Takiri again, who offers to take him to see Nebula at dark. Rumors of the creature have spread in the village, and four of the developers conspire to flush him out.
Takiri holds her hands over Eiji's eyes as he reaches out to touch Nebula's face. As she removes her hands, Nebula disappears into the fog. The next day, the developers drag them outside and kick Takiri into the lake. As she falls, she remembers her mother, who blinded her before taking her own life. Nebula comes to her rescue and lets Eiji take her from his jaws. The developers fire on the monster, but to no effect, and he chases them into town. As he lunges at one, he knocks paper lanterns to the ground, starting a fire.
Eiji and Takiri find his mother's house destroyed. Dying in the ruins, she apologizes to Takiri for shutting her away, and tells her to leave with Eiji. They resolve to try and stop Nebula's rampage. The developers use fireworks to lure the monster to a bridge, where they are waiting with a hand cannon. The blast topples Nebula, but he recovers after Takiri goes to him and dodges the next two shots. Inhaling fog, he knocks three of the men off the bridge with a blast of wind, then crushes their leader.
Nebula returns to the lake as Takiri tells Eiji they're now free to go wherever they please.
- Main article: Howl from Beyond the Fog/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Daisuke Sato
- Written by Daisuke Sato, Yohei Yanase (associate)
- Executive producer Daisuke Sato
- Music by Chouchou
- Cinematography by Daisuke Sato, Keizo Murase
- Edited by Daisuke Sato
- Production design by Daisuke Sato
- Director of special effects Daisuke Sato
- Puppets produced by Daisuke Sato
- Modeling by Keizo Murase, Tomohiro Matsumoto
- Backgrounds painted by Fuchimu Shimakura
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Suguru Inoue as Eiji (voice)
- Akane Kanamori as Takiri (voice)
- Michiyo Ishimito as Inami (voice)
- Nana Nagao as Nagisa (voice)
- Tomohiro Matsumoto as Nebula
- Nebula / Amenosagiri
Production of the Nebula suit, with the cooperation of veteran suitmaker Keizo Murase, was crowdfunded through Kickstarter beginning on November 30, 2017. The campaign ultimately reached 150% of its goal, with ¥1,269,842 from 140 backers. A Nebula rod puppet and guignol, as well as the Takiri puppet, were constructed in advance to shoot a teaser trailer. Principal photography began in January 2019. A pilot reel of the film was shown at G-Fest XXVI in July of 2019. The film wrapped in November of that year with a total of 380 shots for 31 scenes. It officially premiered at the 2nd Atami Kaiju Film Festival on November 24, accompanied by a special talk from director Daisuke Sato and modelers Keizo Murase and Tomohiro Matsumoto.
- Main article: Howl from Beyond the Fog/Gallery.
- Land of Fog (literal Japanese title)
- Japan - November 24, 2019 (Atami Kaiju Film Festival)
SRS Cinema Blu-ray (2020)
- Region: 0
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Behind-the-scenes featurette (35 minutes) and three trailers
- Notes: A wider DVD release is currently planned for 2021.
The Howl from Beyond the Fog Kickstarter campaign offered a DVD of the film to backers who pledged ¥6,000, and a Blu-ray to those who gave ¥10,000, with a behind-the-scenes video included as a bonus feature.
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