Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967)

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Yongary, Monster from the Deep
The South Korean poster for Yongary, Monster from the Deep
Directed by Ki-duk Kim
Producer Cha Tae-jin
Written by Seo Yoon-seong
Music by Jeon Jeong-keun
Distributor Keukdong EntertainmentSK, Toeiint'l, American International TelevisionUS
Rating PG[1]
Budget ₩30,000,000[2]
Running time 80 minutesUS
(1 hour, 20 minutes),
74 minutesJP
(1 hour, 14 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
3.00
(15 votes)

Yongary, Monster from the Deep ( () () () 용가리,   Taekoesu Yonggali, lit. Great Monster Yongary) is a 1967 South Korean giant monster film directed by Ki-duk Kim and written by Seo Yoon-seong. Keukdong Entertainment produced it and distributed it to South Korean theaters on August 13, 1967. Though preceded by Bulgasari and Space Monster Wangmagwi, it was the country's first giant monster film to receive international distribution. American International Television brought it to the United States in 1969 with English dubbing; due to the partial loss of the original Korean version, this has become the primary version of the film available worldwide. Shim Hyung-rae directed a loose remake, Reptilian, in 1999.

Plot[edit | edit source]

On-na and her astronaut husband begin uncontrollably itching while being driven to their honeymoon. The culprit is On-na's 8-year-old brother Icho, armed with a light ray designed by scientist Illo Nami, who calls him out of hiding. Shortly after arriving at their hotel, the astronaut is called into action by the South Korean space agency to observe an impending nuclear test in the Middle East. After the mushroom cloud dissipates, a powerful earthquake strikes the test site. The space agency is alarmed to discover the epicenter is moving on a path towards their country. After the astronaut lands his capsule, the earthquake strikes Panmunjom and a dinosaur-like monster emerges from underground. A photographer snaps a few pictures of the monster, but his panicked driver veers off the road and crashes. Mortally wounded, he staggers to the government to warn them of the monster, who is soon named Yonggary after a legendary beast associated with earthquakes.

Tanks confront Yonggary outside of Seoul as citizens evacuate. Unfazed by their shells, he burns one with a blast of flame and crushes another underfoot. As the monster enters the city, Illo rushes towards him, determined to observe him in person before he begins working on the effort to stop him. Icho follows him, along with his other sister Soon-a, Illo 's girlfriend, who convinces them to flee just before Yonggary can crush them. Icho is separated from them in the confusion, taking shelter in the sewers. After watching Yonggary drink oil at a refinery, he closes the valves, sending the monster into a frenzy. After destroying one tank and releasing a cloud of white powder, however, he seems to weaken. Icho returns to Illo's laboratory with his observations, prompting the trio to return to the field. Soldiers block their path, warning of an impending missile launch. Illo convinces the government to lure Yonggary to a less populated area, to the dismay of trigger-happy General Chang. Later, he determines that the powder that injured the monster was a precipitate of ammonia.

Yonggary is unmoved by the military's enticement of burning oil, but Icho goads him forward using the light ray. Illo drops the ammonia precipitate on the monster just before the missiles strike. The monster collapses, but survives. Illo refines his formula while Icho tries the light ray on Yonggary again. To Icho's delight, the monster awakens and begins to dance to a silent tune. Another missile barrage fails to stop him, and he slices a fleeing Jeep in half with a laser from his horn. Next he faces a squadron of fighter jets, downing all but one of the planes. As the surviving craft retreats, Illo enters the fray in another helicopter. He douses Yonggary with more precipitate while staying beyond the range of his flame. Thrashing in pain, the monster topples into a nearby river and dies. Icho feels pity for Yonggary in his final moments, and he and his family question whether the monster really meant to harm humanity. Mobbed by reporters, Illo credits Icho with discovering Yonggary's weakness. The boy goads him into finally proposing to Soon-a, who accepts.

Staff[edit | edit source]

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Kim Ki-duk
  • Written by   Seo Yoon-seong
  • Produced by   Cha Tae-jin
  • Music by   Jeon Jeong-keun
  • Cinematography by   Byeon In-jib, Lee Seong-chun
  • Director of special effects   Masao Yagi

Cast[edit | edit source]

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Oh Young-il   as   Ko Il-woo, scientist (Illo Nami in the English dub)
  • Nam Jeong-im   as   Yoo Soon-a, Il-woo's girlfriend
  • Lee Kwang-ho   as   Yoo Young, Soon-a's younger brother (Icho in the English dub)
  • Lee Soon-jae   as   Yoo Kwang-nam, astronaut and Soon-a's older brother
  • Kim Dong-won   as   Dr. Yu, zoologist
  • Kang Moon   as   Kim Yu-ri, Kwang-nam's wife (On-na in the English dub)
  • Ju Jeung-ryu   as   Mrs. Oh
  • Seong So-min   as   Dr. Ko
  • Jeong-min   as   Kim Hang-jang, Space Port captain
  • Kim Shin-jae   as   Yu-ri's mother (Mitsuki in the English dub)
  • Twist Kim   as   soldier
  • Kim Woong, Im Seong-Po   as   commanders
  • Choi Il, Yoon Il-joo, Ju Il-mong   as   researchers
  • Kim Soo-cheon   as   Dr. Kim
  • Cho Kyoung-min   as   Yonggary
  • Ted Rusoff   as   Illoo Nami (voice, English dub)

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Yongary, Monster from the Deep emerged out of a thriving South Korean film industry and the Japanese "Monster Boom" of the late 1960s.[3] Keukdong Entertainment was particularly interested in the number of kaiju films that were distributed in the United States, a rarity for South Korea's own productions. Because of the studio's inexperience with the special effects techniques essential to the genre, it hired Japanese technicians to work on that side of the production. Yonggary himself was a $5,000 suit constructed by Ex Productions co-founder Masao Yagi, who was heavily involved with the Showa Gamera films.[2] Yagi would also be credited as the film's special effects director, assisted by Kenichi Nakagawa and Akira Suzuki. Principal photography began on April 3, 1967, with special effects photography beginning on April 6.

Unfortunately, while Keukdong Entertainment was able to secure distribution for the film abroad through Toei in Japan, it would prove to be the undoing of the original South Korean version. The studio sent all of the original film elements overseas, where they were lost.[3] The Korean Film Archive possesses only 48 minutes of a heavily damaged 35mm release print, which was discovered in the 2000s. As a result, the film has never been released on home video in its country of origin, and was not shown on television there until 2011;[4] however, even that broadcast used the English dub with Korean subtitles.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: Yongary, Monster from the Deep/Gallery.

Alternate titles[edit | edit source]

  • Great Monster Yongary (대괴수 용가리; South Korea)
  • Giant Monster Yongary (大怪獣ヨンガリ,   Daikaijū Yongari, Japan)
  • Yongary, Abyss Monster (Yongary, Monstre des Abysses; France)
  • Yongary the Greatest Monster (Yongary il più Grande Mostro; Italy)
  • Godzilla's Deathpaw (Godzillas Todespranke; West Germany)
  • Godzilla, Monster of Terror (Godzilla, Monster des Schreckens; German video title)
  • Yongary - The Monster from the Deep (Yongary - Das Monster aus der Tiefe; German video title)
  • Youngary, The Monster from the Deep (Youngary, O Monstro das Profundezas; Brazil)
  • Yongary, The Monster of the Seabed (Γιονγκάρι, το τέρας του βυθού Gion'nkári, to téras tou vythoú; Greece)
  • The Return of Godzila (Le Retour de Godzila; French Belgium; De Terug Keer van Godzila; Dutch Belgium)
  • Monster Yonggari (Монстр Ёнггари Monstr Yonggari; Russia)

Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]

  • South Korea - August 13, 1967
  • West Germany - September 1, 1972
  • Italy - 1972
  • Greece - November 10, 2020 [Thessaloniki International Film Festival]

U.S. release[edit | edit source]

American International Television released Great Monster Yongary in 1969, retitling it Yongary, Monster from the Deep.[3] It is believed to be the first South Korean film to receive widespread release in the United States.[2] The cast for the English dub included many of the same voice actors that appeared in the European-recorded English dubs for kaiju films also released to television by AITV such as The X from Outer Space, War of the Monsters, Return of the Giant Monsters, and Majin, the Monster of Terror. The script changed the names of many major characters, while leaving others nameless.

Since then, the rights to the film have changed repeatedly, with Filmways purchasing AIP in 1979, the Orion Picture Corporation merging with Filmways in 1982, and MGM purchasing Orion in 1997. Additionally, companies such as Alpha Video and Sinister Cinema have released unlicensed DVDs of the film over the years. MGM released it on a two-sided DVD alongside Konga as one of the Double Feature releases of their former imprint Midnite Movies in 2007, while Kino Lorber brought it to Blu-ray and DVD as part of their imprint Kino Lorber Studio Classics in 2016.

Box office[edit | edit source]

Yongary, Monster from the Deep was one of only 14 South Korean films produced in 1967 to record over 100,000 admissions.[2] Sources vary on exactly how many tickets it sold, with most saying either 110,000 or 150,000.

Reception[edit | edit source]

While contemporary South Korean reviews of the film were positive[2], Yongary, Monster from the Deep is regarded poorly by Western kaiju fans. Respondents to surveys conducted by G-FAN gave it an average rating of 4.52/10 in 1996 and a 5.3/10 in 2014.

There are no critic reviews for the film listed on Rotten Tomatoes, although Flixster users give it an average rating of 2/5. On IMDb, it has a 3.8/10; on Letterboxd, 2.2/5.

Videos[edit | edit source]

48 minutes of surviving footage from
the original South Korean version
West German trailer
Altered line from MGM's 2007 restoration

Video releases[edit | edit source]

Orion Home Video VHS/LaserDisc (1989)

CMV DVD (2006)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono), German (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: Image slideshow (5 minutes), Super 8 version of the film (15 minutes), German trailer, two short films ("Gazorra" and "Bambi Meets Godzilla")

MGM DVD (2007) [Midnite Movies Double Feature]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (Mono and Stereo), Spanish (Mono), French (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: Packaged as a two-sided disc with Konga on Side B. The opening credits and "The End" title are digital recreations, as the source for the film was a textless interpositive. This also results in an extended shot of outer space at the start of the film which would have served as a background for a longer credits sequence in the South Korean version. The English audio reverts to what is possibly the film's export dub for one line. Out of print.

Run Corporation DVD (2014)[5]

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: None

Kino Lorber DVD/Blu-ray (2016) [Kino Lorber Studio Classics]

  • Region: A/1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: Audio commentary by film historian Steve Ryfle and genre journalist Kim Song-ho, trailers for The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues and The Monster That Challenged the World
  • Notes: Uses the same textless interpositive as the MGM Midnite Movies Double Feature DVD. Out of print.[6]

The film has also received several unlicensed DVD releases, sourced from 16mm TV prints,[3] from various companies including Alpha Video, Sinister Cinema, and EastWest.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The West German release of this film was titled Godzillas Todespranke (Godzilla's Deathpaw), with Yonggary referred to as "Godzilla" throughout the film's trailer, but not in the film itself.
  • The film features 12 miniature sets and 280 special effects shots.[2]
  • In the film's English dub, the Middle Eastern country conducting the nuclear test is never specified, whereas in the South Korean version, it is the fictional nation of Orebia.[2] This version also states that the test takes place in the "Goma Desert".
  • Yonggary does not die in the South Korean version of the film; echoing Gamera, Yoo Young tells reporters that he wishes that the world’s scientists would build a rocket that could send Yonggary into outer space, where he could live peacefully.[2] A rocket is visible in the final shot of the film, but is left unexplained in the English dub.
    • Yonggary's horn laser ray is also visually identical to the sonic cutter beam of Gyaos, the enemy Gamera faced in Gamera vs. Gyaos, which was released the same year as Yongary, Monster from the Deep. Both rays are thin, yellow, and used to slice cars and fighter jets in half.
  • Yonggary surfaces at Panmunjom, the village where the armistice which ended the Korean War was signed.
  • In Seoul, one of the structures Yonggary destroys resembles the Government-General Building, an infamous symbol of the Japanese occupation of Korea. The actual building was demolished between 1995 and 1996.
  • Yongary, Monster from the Deep was featured on Season 11 of the movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • Keukdong Entertainment tried suing the producers of the other South Korean giant monster movie released in 1967, Space Monster Wangmagwi for copying the basic premise of Yongary, Monster from the Deep.[2]
  • Yongary, Monster from the Deep is one of seven giant monster movies which can be viewed in its entirety within the 2022 video game Kaiju Wars, along with A*P*E, Attack of the Monsters, Destroy All Planets, Gammera the Invincible, Pulgasari, and Tarantula!.

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for Yongary, Monster from the Deep. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Search Results "Yongary". Film Ratings. Retrieved on 17 March 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Kim Song-ho for the 2016 Kino Lorber Yongary, Monster from the Deep DVD/Blu-ray.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Keith Aiken and Kim Song-ho (20 September 2007). YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP on MGM DVD. SciFi Japan. Retrieved on 21 August 2022.
  4. Song-ho, Kim (15 June 2011). YONGARY Makes a Belated Domestic TV Debut. SciFi Japan. Retrieved on 21 August 2022.
  5. YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP Gets Japanese DVD Release. SciFi Japan (31 July 2014).
  6. Kino Lorber Insider (26 April 2021). Post #54317. Blu-ray Forum.

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