Sunday, May 10, 2009

Parent Trap: Monster From A Prehistoric Planet(1967)

The year 1967 saw every major film studio in Japan theatrically release a kaiju film: Toho's Son Of Godzilla, Shochiku's The X From Outer Space and Daiei's Gamera Vs Gyaos. Last, but certainly not least: Giant Beast Gappa, aka Gappa The Triphibian Monsters. The movie, released by Nikkatsu, was later re-titled Monster From A Prehistoric Planet for release to American theaters.

In the film a greedy and unscrupulous entrepreneur with plans to turn an island into a resort for the benefit of his bank account funds an expedition to said island, called "Obelisk Island". There two members of the expedition discover, to their surprise, a huge egg inside a cavern. The egg hatches and out comes an infant creature that resembles both a bird and lizard. Despite warnings from one of the local island inhabitants, a small boy who has accompanied them into the cavern, the expedition takes the infant beast back to civilization, in this case a laboratory. Predictably, the infant monster's parents surface from the cavern lake and discover their "baby" is missing. The monsters, both 200 feet tall, and understandably curious as to their offsprings' whereabouts, thunder around the island and, failing to find their offspring, depart the island. Later, the two adult monsters, one male and one female, demolish cities when not conducting flyovers looking for their baby.

In the end the expedition members must decide whether keeping the infant creature is worth the risk of having two very large, and very angry parent monsters continue their rampage of destruction while searching for their "baby". (no other spoilers)

I have found the overall special effects in this movie to be on par with the '60's Gamera films directed by Noriaki Yuasa. I wouldn't call the effects great but many are clever and look very decent. Like other older giant monster movies, Monster From A Prehistoric Planet has a subtle charm about it which hopefully other kaiju film fans will pick up on as well when watching this lone giant monster entry from Nikkatsu. Mediablasters(under their "Tokyo Shock" label) has released this film as "Gappa The Triphibian Monsters" on official Region 1 DVD, the disc presenting the movie in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2:35.1. To see this DVD for sale at Amazon copy and paste this URL into your address bar: (or click the title of this blog entry).

The trailer for Monster From A Prehistoric Planet(1967):