Lost & Unreleased Kaiju Media
Lost & Unreleased Kaiju Media is the 11th episode of Wikizilla's Kaiju Facts video series. It was uploaded on December 1, 2020.
Hey kaiju fans, it's Monster Island Buddies...
...and I'm Les...
...and today's video might be a little frustrating. I'm going to be talking about some of the kaiju media made throughout the decades that, for one reason or another, you can't see. But unavailable today doesn't mean unavailable forever, and I hope we can heat up the efforts to find this lost media!
This is Tokyo 1960: The United States wasn't the only country to splice footage of local actors into the first Godzilla movie. In 1957, the Philippines did it too. This poster lists everything we know about "Tokyo 1960": its stars, director, composer, executive producer, and studio/distributor. Its odds of rediscovery are slim—the Philippines' high heat and humidity are deadly to physical film, and only 37% of all the films the country has produced still exist. However, another Filipino giant monster movie from that era is readily available on YouTube: 1959's "Anak ng Bulkan".
International Blackout: Toho has commissioned at least three English dubs for Godzilla movies which either went unreleased or fell into total obscurity. Their 1963 English sales catalogue lists a dub for "King Kong vs. Godzilla" which must have been recorded in Tokyo, going off of this trailer included on Toho's DVD and Blu-ray. "WE CAN'T LET KING KONG SINK THE SHIP!" In 2014, Space Hunter M discovered remnants of an unfamiliar English dub of "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II" in the poorly-mixed Hindi dub. "Target in sight. Let's go in, boys." "Target in sight. Let's go in, boys." The version you know is the result of Omni Productions in Hong Kong redubbing most of the characters in April or May of 1998. Omni is also responsible for an unreleased dub of "Godzilla 2000: Millennium." Sony executive Mike Schlesinger didn't mince words about it: "If the international dub had been even halfway usable, we would not have gone to the time and expense of re-dubbing it." Only one Omni line made it into the American dub. "But as long as the beer is cold, who cares?"
Godzilla vs. Gamera: Everyone knows about Gamera saving Expo ‘70 from Jiger, but the Giant Demon Beast wasn't the only kaiju he battled on the grounds of the world's fair that year. For a 10-day span in March 1970, the same month Expo ‘70 and Gamera vs. Jiger opened, Gamera took the Festival Plaza stage with... Godzilla! Images and footage from these Children Festival performances are extremely limited, but we know they were joined by Jiger, Minilla, Space Gyaos, and Gorosaurus. Haruo Nakajima played Godzilla, while comedian Kon Omura served as the MC. Osaka's extensive Expo ‘70 archives, some of which were exhibited earlier this year, appear to contain an audio recording of one of the events.
You Could Call It a Mechani-Godzilla: "Chibikko Special" represents another poorly-documented series of appearances by Godzilla and friends in the early Seventies. This monster-themed show aired on Tokyo 12 Channel from October 24, 1971 to September 24, 1972. It had its own mascot, Terra Incognita, and marked the debuts of a few monsters that would later appear on "Go! Godman". There was also a character called Mechani-Godzilla who predated Mechagodzilla by a few years. "Chibikko Special" obsessive Reijiro Kato drew this picture of him based on the recollections of other viewers. Looks more like SpaceGodzilla, doesn't he?
Belushi and the Beast: For reasons we'll probably never know, NBC decided to air "Godzilla vs. Megalon" at prime time on March 15, 1977. Crammed into a one-hour time slot, the film was hosted by John Belushi of "NBC's Saturday Night," soon to be renamed "Saturday Night Live." He wore the Godzilla suit Rob Short built for Joe Dante's first film, "Hollywood Boulevard," and would put it on again for "SNL" a few days later. Unfortunately, if anyone recorded his antics, they've yet to come forward.
Tonight on Crossfire: Toho made three non-narrative Godzilla shows from 1992 to 2000 which they never released on home video. The trivia show "Adventure! Godzilland" promoted "Godzilla vs. Mothra" and "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II." The sole episode on YouTube is where that crazy clip of Godzilla fighting Mechagodzilla in a newsroom comes from, so I can't imagine what's in the other 25 installments. In "Godzilla Kingdom," a doctor and a lovable Godzilla robot named Megabyte analyzed the abilities of various kaiju. That one ran for 224 five-minute episodes from 1996 to 1997… so Wikizilla has some catching up to do. Finally, "Godzilla TV" covered topics ranging from filming locations to the then-upcoming "Godzilla 2000: Millennium."
Here Comes the General: Toho has included the 1994 short film "Monster Planet of Godzilla," directed by Koichi Kawakita for the Sanrio Puroland and Harmonyland theme parks, on a few of its more expensive home video releases. However, they removed all footage of Sanrio's most famous character, Hello Kitty! Supposedly, Miki Saegusa addressed Hello Kitty as a general, which would make her the driving force behind the invasion of poor Godzilla's planet. But they've done two more crossovers since then, so evidently there were no hard feelings. Speaking of theme park attractions, we still have an all-points bulletin out for "Godzilla: The Real 4-D," which played at Universal Studios Japan in 2017. There are some audio recordings on YouTube, but that's not nearly good enough!
Lost Video Games: Toho came extremely close to releasing an American edition of "Godzilla: Great Monster Battle" for the Super Famicom. A review for it appeared in the May 1995 issue of "Nintendo Power," suggesting the critic received a copy but a commercial release was cancelled at the last second. Jumping to May 1998, "GODZILLA: Online" was a multiplayer game with four factions: Baby Godzillas, soldiers, scientists, and reporters. The much less remarkable 2014 browser game "Godzilla: Crisis Defense" also had four factions, though they all worked in tandem. "Shin Arima" is absolutely the most baffling of the lost games, combining "Shin Godzilla" with Arima Kinen, a Grade I flat horse race. A Cr1TiKaL video of the game is still up if you want a taste. Last—and kinda least—is a 2009 iOS game developed by Indiagames called "Godzilla: Monster Mayhem"! It left the App Store years ago, and the unofficial app stores don't seem to have a working version either. Not missing much though; the game was lazily put together and only ever featured King Ghidorah and Godzilla, despite listing a slew of kaiju in the copyrights which it was never updated to include.
Godzilla and the Lost Novel: At the end of Marc Cerasini's 1998 novel "Godzilla vs. the Robot Monsters," there's a 12-page preview of the next installment in the series, "Godzilla and the Lost Continent." He had actually finished the book, pending Toho's approval, when Random House had to cancel it. In Cerasini's words, "The fact was that bookstores would not order 'Godzilla and the Lost Continent' because they were stuck with crap books from that worthless movie, and they didn't understand the difference." The rights to "Lost Continent" have since reverted to Toho.
Welcome to Japan: In 2013, Akira Takarada flew to Vancouver for the first day of shooting on Legendary Pictures' "Godzilla". He played a Japanese immigration official who stamped Ford Brody's passport, figuratively passing the torch from the Godzilla series' first leading man to its latest. With test audiences demanding the film get to the monsters faster, director Gareth Edwards removed the scene at the eleventh hour, which he called "probably my greatest regret." In an interview with Toho Kingdom, producer Thomas Tull promised its inclusion on home video release, but it didn't happen.
Conflict Imminent: In the early years of the MonsterVerse, Legendary was fond of hyping up the movies by showing videos exclusively at San Diego Comic Con. Some nameless heroes put the 2012 mood piece and the end of the Godzilla Encounter online, but the JFK-narrated reveal of King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan in 2014 remains unseen by the rest of the world. Hopefully Warner Bros. will remember to include it in the inevitable MonsterVerse box set. Until then, the best you can do is read Instinctive Gigan's report and try to imagine what it was like.
King of the Monsters Extended: ScreenX is one of the lesser-known premium formats some movie theaters have introduced in recent years. Three projectors expand the screen to 270 degrees in front of you, surrounding you in the action. Since there's no way to bring this experience home yet, the lost media is on the margins. The ScreenX version of "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" featured a record 50-plus minutes of panoramic footage.
The Lost Spider Pit Sequence: One of the most sought-after deleted scenes in film history comes from the original "King Kong". After Kong forced a group of sailors off a log, they would have been massacred by a group of beasts living in the pit below. According to legend, a terrified test audience prompted the sequence's removal, but co-director Merian C. Cooper later wrote that he took it out because it "stopped the story." Only one of the pit monsters made the cut, though you can spot others in later RKO and Willis O'Brien films, most notably "The Black Scorpion." Cooper likely burned the footage, unaware that it would obsess fans of his film decades later. Peter Jackson took that obsession further than anyone, recreating the sequence with classic techniques for the 2005 Warner Bros. DVD.
The Original Japanese Kongs: The Kongsploitation phenomenon started in Japan, with Shochiku's "Japanese King Kong" in 1933 and Zensho Cinema's "The King Kong That Appeared in Edo" in 1938. Now, "Japanese King Kong" doesn't actually feature a monster: the main character is a vaudeville performer who wears a Kong suit. Shochiku distributed the original film in Japan at the same time, and they may have even been played together. "The King Kong That Appeared in Edo" coincided with the first re-release of "King Kong." There's a decent case for it being the first kaiju movie: the poster shows an ape holding a woman in the palm of his hand, and Fuminori Ohashi, who made the suit and played the titular anthropoid, once described it as a "giant gorilla." However, other images on the poster depict the ape as human-sized, and the plot synopsis published in a 1938 issue of Kinema Junpo mentions nothing about him being a giant. We're unlikely to ever know for sure: like 90% of all Japanese films produced before 1945, these two King Kong cash-ins are almost certainly lost forever, destroyed by Allied bombing, post-war censorship, or poor preservation practices by their studios.
Kong is Missing: "The King Kong Show," the Rankin/Bass cartoon which ran from 1966 to 1967 and inspired "King Kong Escapes," has yet to be fully preserved. Classic Media released the pilot and the first eight episodes on DVD in 2005, but gave up on plans for a third volume. Listings across the Internet claim that an Australian DVD includes two additional episodes, but Les ordered it and found that was not the case. That left 16 episodes unaccounted for, each with two segments. We've been able to find recordings of 14 of the 32 unreleased segments on YouTube and MySpleen. For the rest, all we have are titles… one of them especially appropriate.
Melbourne Mystery: The "King Kong" musical that ended its run on Broadway last year is as well-documented as most musicals can hope to be—there are at least two bootlegs in circulation, one of them pro-shot. However, the show debuted in Melbourne in 2013 with a different book and lyrics, to the point that its Wikipedia page includes synopses for each version. That earlier "Kong" production has not, to our knowledge, been bootlegged.
Crowd is Confused: Legendary actually showed off two MonsterVerse teasers at San Diego Comic Con in 2014, ending their panel with the surprise announcement of "Kong: Skull Island." It didn't quite go over as they hoped; the audience was expecting something for either Pacific Rim Uprising or Jurassic World. Kong's reveal turned up five years later in what appeared to be a VFX artist's demo reel, but the rest of the trailer is MIA.
The Great Buddha Departure: There's a third lost Japanese film from the 1930's of great interest to kaiju fans. In 1934's "The Great Buddha Arrival," the Buddha statue in Tokai comes to life and embarks on a tour of Nagoya… with pit stops in heaven and hell. A Kinema Junpo article described it as a "half religious, half sensational film in the style of 'King Kong.'" 3Y Films made a meta sequel with the same title in 2018. It includes recreated footage from the original film.
International Blackout II: Thanks to Toho's 1962 English sales catalogue, we know they commissioned English dubs for "Varan," "The Human Vapor," "The Three Treasures," and "The Last War." The "Varan" dub seems to be lost, going off of its absence from the 2005 Tokyo Shock DVD, but the other three films have never been released on English-friendly DVD or Blu-ray. Should someone finally take the plunge, Toho may well offer them those missing dubs. Also, the French theatrical dub of Toei's "Magic Serpent" reveals fragments of an English dub by Axis International. "Help… help me!" "Go away! Help, help me, someone!" The full dub may have been released on VHS in Indonesia.
South Korea Struggles: South Korea has a long history of giant monster movies, many of them now partially or completely unavailable to the public. The country's first effort, 1962's "Bulgasari," was based on the same legend that would inspire its more famous North Korean counterpart 23 years later. Posters and newspaper articles seem to be all that's left of it. Five years later, Keukdong Entertainment made "Yongary, Monster from the Deep." While the English-dubbed AIP-TV version of the film has survived, the Korean Film Archive possesses only 48 minutes of the 80-minute film's original audio, salvaged from a 35mm release print. Keukdong unwisely sent the original film elements to Toei for international distribution and never saw them again. Century produced "Space Monster Wangmagwi" the same year, assembling one of the largest groups of extras for any film on record. While the Korean Film Archive has held occasional screenings of "Wangmagwi," the current copyright holder refuses to let them upload it to their YouTube channel, and rebuffed indie home video distributor SRS Cinema last year. Why? I don't know, maybe they hate money. In any case, you can read a detailed review of "Wangmagwi" on koreanfilm.org. Finally, there's the original 1999 version of "Yonggary," or "Reptilian" in the U.S. According to production mixer Paul Vik Marshall, director Shim Hyung-rae didn't have the funds to complete the film's visual effects, but was contractually obligated to release it to theaters on July 17. No home video version exists, and for good reason. Marshall attempted to describe how awful the results were. "Then I saw the movie. Beautiful Yonggary, great-looking skin, the storyline's starting to develop. And then he starts to lose his skin, and before long he becomes a stick figure. And I'm seeing a movie crumble before my eyes." After Shim gathered enough money to finish the effects and conduct reshoots, he brought it back to theaters as "Yonggary: 2001 Upgrade Edition." No one would call the CGI in the revised "Yonggary" good, but at least the stick figures were gone!
The Rat Pack: In 1963, Daiei tried muscling in on Toho's territory with a killer rat movie called "Giant Horde Beast Nezura." They didn't get far: the wild rats they recruited proved too beastly for anyone to handle. Besieged with complaints from local health officials and the studio's union, Daiei shut down the production with only 20 minutes of raw special effects footage to show for it. By then, future Gamera director Noriaki Yuasa had already edited it into a trailer. While it was supposedly shown on Japanese television in the eighties, Kadokawa destroyed the footage at some point after buying Daiei in 2002. 3Y Films is working on a drama about the making of "Giant Horde Beast Nezura," titled "Nezura 1964," which is set to premiere in Japan in December 2020. Something oddly fitting about this movie being produced in the time of a global pandemic.
Nacho Nacho Gogola: India's sole giant monster movie came out in 1966. "Gogola" told the story of a snaggletoothed sea monster, and along the way managed to squeeze in enough risque dancing to draw the censors' ire. Thanks to a script prepared for the censors, we have a decent idea of what happens, and you can even listen to the soundtrack on YouTube, but no one seems to know where the movie itself went.
The Exit of Ultraman: An embarrassing amount of dubbed Ultra Series content has fallen through the cracks. Film House in Toronto dubbed the entirety of "Ultra Q" for CBS, but the only episode online is "The Gift from Space." Private collectors and MGM's vaults have some other episodes, but Mill Creek rushed out its Blu-ray before they could be fully assessed. The first "Ultraseven" dub was recorded at the University of Hawaii and aired on KHON in 1975, while Cinar in Montreal did a more comedic version in 1985 which eventually aired on TBS. Only two full episodes of the Hawaiian dub have turned up, along with two incomplete episodes. The Cinar dub fared much better, but someone lost the masters for episodes 3 and 5-7, which never aired. Frontier Enterprises dubbed episode 14 of "The Ultraman" for a special Tokyo Broadcasting System programming block on WOR-TV Channel 9 in New York City on April 5, 1980. There are even missing 21st century dubs: while Gorizard and the Apollo Dub Archive have tracked down 18 episodes of 4Kids' strange-but-true "Ultraman Tiga" dub, 7 more are still out there. And William Winckler Productions' 2017 dubs of the three Ultraman Zero movies remain unreleased, though Mill Creek has the power to change that in a hurry.
Here Come the Humans!!: The success of "Kamen Rider" in 1971 led to an explosion of superheroes on Japanese television. Nippon TV, Japan's first commercial television network, teamed with Union Motion Picture Co. and monster designer Tohl Narita for "Assault! Human!!," which ran from October 7 to December 30 the following year. They took an unusual but cost-saving approach: each of the 13 episodes was a recording of a stage show. Cost-saving measures also denied us the chance to watch the adventures of Human No. 1 and No. 2 today: the show's master tapes no longer exist, likely because they were overwritten and reused for another show. It lives on only through toys, reference books, and other merchandise. In addition, Toho purchased many of the monster suits that had been created for "Assault! Human!!" and modified them for one of their own low-budget superhero shows, "Go! Greenman."
The Truth is the Truth: Shinpei Hayashiya's 2003 fan film "Gamera 4: Truth" has attained a somewhat legendary status amongst kaiju fans. Aside from resolving the most famous cliffhanger in the genre, he used an impressive mixture of practical effects and CGI to portray the monsters, and convinced Yukijiro Hotaru to reprise his role as Osako. Kadokawa-Daiei organized screenings of the film in Japan, but was firm that it would never receive a home video release. That policy remains in effect, as even Arrow Video was unable to add it to their Gamera mega-set. It's supposed to be featured in the documentary "Kaiju Gaiden," which concerns independent tokusatsu productions in Japan, but that's well on its way to becoming a lost film itself.
"Kaiju Gaiden" isn't the only kaiju movie stuck in post-production hell: Shizuo Nakajima's "Legendary Beast Wolfman vs. Godzilla" and Takashi Murakami's "Jellyfish Eyes Part 2" are right there with it. Their fates are in the hands of their respective directors, but as for everything else I've talked about in this video, well, it might be up to you. If any of these works sound like something buried on your hard drive or collecting dust in your attic, sound off in the comments and we'll help you share them with the world. And to the rest of you, happy hunting!
- Intro: "Collapse of the Temple" (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
- This is Tokyo 1960: "Main Title" (Godzilla ‘54)
- International Blackout: "Main Title" (King Kong vs. Godzilla)
- Tonight on Crossfire: "Godzilla So-Fa-Ri-Me-Do" by LaSalle Ishii and Ushigami Ichiban
- Godzilla vs. Gamera: "Hello From All Over the World" by Kyu Sakamoto
- You Could Call It a Mechani-Godzilla: "Godzilla vs. Gabara" (All Monsters Attack)
- Belushi and the Beast: "Godzilla and Jet Jaguar! Punch! Punch! Punch! (Record Version)"
- Here Comes the General: "G-Force March #1" (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II)
- Lost Video Games: "Versus Mode Selection Screen" (Godzilla: Great Monster Battle)
- Godzilla and the Lost Novel: "Main Title" (Atragon)
- Conflict Imminent: "VS. Godzilla" (Godzilla PS4)
- King of the Monsters Extended: "Mothra's Song (Lofi Version)" by Scrye Productions
- Welcome to Japan: "Last Shot" (Godzilla ‘14)
- The Lost Spider Pit Scene: "Main Title" by Moscow Symphony Orchestra (King Kong ‘33 cover)
- The Original Japanese Kongs: "Giant Octopus vs. King Kong" (King Kong vs. Godzilla)
- Crowd is Confused: "Main Title / Project Monarch" (Kong: Skull Island)
- International Blackout II: "Main Title" (Varan)
- The Rat Pack: "Trail of Fire" (Gamera: The Giant Monster)
- The Truth is the Truth: "Ending Theme (Gamera 1999)" (Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris)
- The Exit of Ultraman: "Theme from Ultra Q" by The Surf Coasters
- Here Come the Humans!!: "Assault Human" by Columbia Cradle Society, Tomato Ketchup, and Natsu Yuusuke
- Ending: "Epilogue" (Godzilla PS4)
- Video link.
- TriStar audio commentary for Godzilla 2000 mentions the one Omni line retained in the American dub
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnFgVDQMgFs (starts at 11:18)
- Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works, page 179
- RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World
- Keep Watching the Skies (Vol. 1) by Bill Warren, page 113
- Kong is Missing: "The King Kong Show Theme" by Harry Currie
- Melbourne Mystery: "Queen of New York" by Christiani Pitts
- The Great Buddha Departure: Title unknown, taken from a trailer for The Great Buddha Arrival and composed by Hiromi Shinoda
- South Korea Struggles: "Yonggary" by Tokusatsu
- Movie Facts and Feats: A Guinness Record Book by Patrick Robinson, page 94
- Avery Guerra confirmed SRS Cinema's attempt to acquire Wangmagwi over Facebook Messenger.
- August Ragone's Gamera: The Giant Monster audio commentary
- Nacho Nacho Gogola:
- Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters by August Ragone, page 100
- http://www.kaijucast.com/2019/09/29/09-29-2019-keith-aiken-interview/ (Ultra Q dubs present in the MGM vaults)
- https://www.instagram.com/takashipom/?hl=en (How I was Forced to Abandon the Production of Jellyfish Eyes Part 2 video series; prepare to scroll)