MONSTER FROM A
STARRING: Tamio Kawaji, Yôko
Yamamoto, Yuji Okada, Koji Wada, Tatsuya Fuji
1967, 90 Minutes, Directed by: Haruyasu Noguchi
A Japanese magazine publisher with deep pockets sends what must be the world’s
dumbest scientists to the South Pacific to collect strange fauna and flora to
boost his publications’ sales. (Couldn’t he have just sent some paparazzi to
stalk some celebrities instead? Much cheaper and better guaranteed to improve
The scientists come across a
remote tribe of Japanese actors with brown shoe polish smeared over their faces
(I swear – I am not making this up!) who worship a god named Gappa (ditto). Soon
the scientists come across a giant egg which contains what looks like a giant
retarded reptilian bird (see the pic on this page).
Not having seen
King Kong, they promptly take the “stupid lizard
bird” (direct quote) back to Japan. Naturally, the baby reptile bird has parents which come
looking for their hatchling and in true Godzilla
style stomp Tokyo in the process.
Hokey-looking rubber monsters
and “tribesmen” dancing beneath an active volcano – what’s not to like?
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (a.k.a.
Daikyoju Gappa/Gappa the
Triphibian Monsters) takes about an hour of slogging through its senseless plot
before it gets to what movies like these are really about – namely stunt men in
rubber costumes destroying scale models of Tokyo. Even then the action is almost
perfunctory and uninspired, as if the producers wanted to get it over with so
that we can get back to the plot again.
Incidentally, even though the
monsters have wings they must have some other means of propulsion to fly through
the air like they do (the mind boggles as to what it may be). Also, despite
being reptilian birds they also have amphibian qualities because they spend some
time hanging around the bottom of a lake for clear purpose. Later, they shoot
blue heat rays from their mouths to melt some toy tanks. Pretty versatile
creatures despite their idiotic appearances . . .
Complaining about bad special
effects (particularly bad here), bad acting and poor dialogue in a Japanese
monster movie like this is pretty senseless. The problem with Monster from a
Prehistoric Planet is that it is pretty tepid and lacks energy, and isn’t
anywhere silly enough.
And besides, that Japanese kid
smeared with the brown shoeshine polish so as to resemble a South Pacific
“native” was just both too disconcerting and distracting at the same time . . .