Monday, May 19, 2014

Top 5 Japanese Monster Movies of All Time

Japanese monster movies have a life of their own. They are not just one sided, and they are not just based on Godzilla. Some are laughable, some are grand but no matter how you want to label them, you’ll find that the influence they have made on Hollywood is extraordinary. You may find that even today, the thrill of the mega monster movie is alive and well, and that’s not just because Godzilla just pulled $93 million at the box office over the weekend. Compiling this list was not easy, but hey, someone’s got to do it right? It’s with that in mind that I present to you the top 5 Japanese Monster Movies of all time! You can purchase these by visiting Amazon HERE, otherwise miss out on the biggest and the best.

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Dr. Who has created a mechanized monster that looks exactly like King Kong and is looking for Element X. It is found deep in the caverns of the North Pole, and fails due to the cold. At that point the mad scientist goes to Mondo Island to capture the beast known as Kong. The plot thickens and it’s like a poorly constructed version of the 1933 movie, only with robotic Kong as the villain and the Tokyo Tower playing as the backdrop for an epic battle. This one had me laughing, and I love the parody, even if it wasn’t intentional. This was just cool, I don’t know what else to say about it, and even the poster is cool. Watching Kong take on a metal counterfeit is pretty cool, and this one has a lot more appeal than just the poster, so watch out for it. I should've positioned it higher on my list, now that I think about it.

Matango (1963)

I saw this when I was a kid, thanks in large part to VHS and it’s awesome. A shipwreck lands a group of people on a far off island, and there they find wild mushrooms, but that’s not all, they discover Mushroom People! This iconic horror film is more comedic in nature, and on par with “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. There are some bleak tones, and themes that are beyond the imagination of average horror and fantasy movies. The weird science fiction elements play well with the mad scientist idea that comes at the beginning. This may not be the pinnacle of monster movies, nor is it going to sit well with many, but I think it’s a fine monster flick from Japan.

Goke (1968)

Goke is also known as Body Snatcher From Hell and other titles in the United States. The movie features a mix of vampire lore, and monster movie moments. Some people compare the movie to “Lost” but I find it more on par with a vampiristic type of horror movie. The survivors here face a fate worse than death, as they must fight to live amidst what very well maybe the best vampires coming out of Japan. There’s a lot of little things that make this one a classic, more than I can really talk about in a quick blurb here. Over time it has become one of the cult classics that has seen numerous releases, and lots of praise from more fans than just my pesky list.

Gamera 3 (1999)

I was in high school when I got a bootleg copy of this movie and it’s one fine monster movie. Gamera returns from the edges of lackluster film, and brings about one of the best comebacks ever. So much so that the critics and most fan boys agree that the special effects and story found in this one is top notch. Some critics even noted that the movie plays on an “X-Files” note, and it really does do more for the genre than most other movies that mimicked the success of Godzilla and the original Gamera. Some people don’t like this monster, but I’ve always liked the notion, perhaps it’s because I like turtles. Gamera is badass in this movie, just simply badass!

Godzilla (1954)

The mother of them all, right? Godzilla’s initial movie came out in 1954 and sparked incredible interest from all over the world. The movie presents a lot of science fiction tones, and can be seen as funny at times, but it’s quite the accomplishment for movie making. The plot involves a giant monster that ravages Tokyo with heavy devastation not unlike World War II. The special effects were top notch, the critical reception was grand, and it has changed the face of the monster movie in a lot of ways. Sure, King Kong from the 30s was grand, but compared to the rampage that Godzilla brings out, Kong is outmatched. This is the #1 monster movie from Japan, hands down.

There you have it, 5 of the best monster movies that have come out of Japan ever. If you are going to go back and see these iconic pieces of cinema, please purchase the dvd or stream them from Amazon here. It will help me get this site more reviews and possibly get a prize for you 3 or so readers still interested in what I do here.

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A writer first, cat lover second, and some other stuff too. Human, with lots of faults, and terrible communication.
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