Varan the Unbelievable (1958)

Varan the Unbelievable is an extensively edited and recut Americanized version of the Japanese kaiju film 大怪獣バラン, or Giant Monster Varan for those of us who cannot read that. Giant Monster Varan was created by Toho to ape their own Godzilla movie on American television, but the US investors pulled out, so they changed a … Continue reading Varan the Unbelievable (1958)

Kwaidan (1965)

Beautiful, if a little uneven due to the varying lengths and quality of the stories. Kwaidan is a visual treat, combining Japanese folklore and theater with what were then modern filmmaking techniques, gorgeous costuming, and some wonderful makeup effects. The performances are spectacular all around, with each sequence skillfully conveying a sense of growing dread. … Continue reading Kwaidan (1965)

School of the Holy Beast (1974)

When I said earlier that I enjoyed nunsploitation, I meant it, and School of the Holy Beast delivers. A woman infiltrates a nunnery to find out about the parents that supposedly abandoned or orphaned her. In the process, she discovers sadism, corruption, thievery, homosexuality, and torture are pretty much what nuns do all day every day in Japan. To top it … Continue reading School of the Holy Beast (1974)

Death Powder (1986)

There is cyberpunk film, and then there is Japanese cyberpunk film. While cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction film, Japanese cyberpunk borrows many of the themes of cyberpunk but ventures into extremity and generally eschews or defies traditional narrative interpretation. Blade Runner is just as much an influence as the likes of Videodrome and … Continue reading Death Powder (1986)

Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, AKA GAPPA (1967)

A pair of giant prehistoric bird beast Godzilla knock-offs attack Japan while also ripping off the plot of Britain's own giant monster movie, Gorgo. Fantastic, ain't it? An unscrupulous magazine owner who wishes he was printing pornography (his magazine is called Playmate...) tries to open an amusement park by sending reporters and scientists to a South Pacific island to … Continue reading Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, AKA GAPPA (1967)