Friday, July 17, 2015

Shout! Factory to present streaming "Kaiju" movie marathon

There are many interesting aspects to the field of modern Japanese cinema- the groundbreaking films of "auteur" filmmakers, including Akira Kurosawa (1950's Rashomon and 1954's Seven Samurai), Yasujiro Ozu (1953's Tokyo Story and the Early Spring/Late Spring/Early Summer/Late Summer series of films)  and Keisuke Kinoshita (1954's Twenty-Four Eyes).  Besides these and other significant works of modern Japanese film, there's one genre that also fits in with modern cinema from Japan, and that would be known as Kaiju films.

Still from the original version of Godzilla (1954), which will be part of
Shout! Factory's streaming Kaiju marathon.  The original Japanese cut is also
available on DVD and Blu-Ray (paired with Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
from Janus Films' Criterion Collection line (under license from Toho Co., Ltd.).
What is Kaiju?  For those that may not know this, Kaiju is Japanese for "monster." After the success of the Toho studio and the popular 1954 Ishiro Honda film, Godzilla (Gojira, which was released here in the United States as Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 1956 with Raymond Burr), it set a cultural phenomenon not only in Japan, but worldwide as well.

Competing studio Daiei responded to Toho's success with the GodzillaMothra and Rodan series of films, by creating their own Kaiju film franchise- Gamera, beginning in 1965 (the original Gamera films were later picked up for television syndication by Sandy Frank, and have been famously riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000)

When Godzilla, Gamera, and other Japanese Kaiju films were released in the United States, they were known for one interesting factor: poorly-dubbed English dialogue to replace the original Japanese dialogue track.

From the 1970's throughout the mid-1980's (before the author of this blog was born), many Japanese Kaiju films were staples of Saturday morning/Saturday afternoon movie programs on independent television stations from coast-to-coast.  The art of Japanese Kaiju motion pictures has a definitive place in motion picture and pop culture history.

SHOUT! FACTORY PRESENTS STREAMING KAIJU MOVIE MARATHON: If you're a Kaiju film enthusiast, a person who wants to learn more about cult Japanese monster films, or if you've never seen the original Godzilla film, Shout! Factory TV is offering an all-day marathon of classic Japanese Kaiju films.  The marathon will consist of nine Japanese monster films produced by Toho Studios, including the original uncut version of Godzilla.

In addition to the Toho-produced Kaiju feature films, there will be select episodes of the cult Japanese action television series, Ultra Seven and Ultra Q.  The marathon will be hosted by the world's foremost expert on Japanese Kaiju monster films, August Ragone.  The marathon will stream on the live website for Shout! Factory TV (not sure if it will be available on Shout's Roku channel) this Saturday at Midnight, and will last until Sunday at Midnight (EST).  The event will also be shown through Shout! Factory's online "live feed" on Pluto.TV (Channel 427).

Sit back, relax and watch some Kaiju films (whenever possible).

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The proprietor of "At The Matinee", Chris Hamby- welcomes your comments and suggestions on any post featured. NOTE: All comments are monitored by the author.