Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People
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Directed by Ishiro Honda (The Godzilla Series!) After a yacht is damaged in a storm and its boarders stranded on a deserted island the passengers; a psychologist and his girlfriend, a wealthy businessman, a famous singer, a writer, a sailor and his skipper take refuge in a mysterious fungus-covered boat. While using the MUSHROOMS for sustenance they find in the ships journal that the mushrooms re poisonous, however some members of the shipwrecked party continue to ingest the mysterious fungi transforming them into hideous ungal monsters. One of the strangest and most horrific TOHO productions to date.
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But why should Jeff Bozos care?
The DVD will languish on my shelf until such times as a) it is replaced or b) I find a subtitle that is synchronous.
It would probably cost me as much to send the DVD back as it would to recoup my expenditure anyway.
Great film, by the way.
The premise of the film is that seven people from various walks of life are on a yacht, which is wrecked on a mysterious island. The survivors discover a prior shipwreck that is deserted and coated in fungus. The social fabric holding the seven together quickly rips and the survivors turn on each other, mostly out of hunger. Despite warning signs pointing out the dangers of eating the local mushrooms, one by one they succumb, and are filled with psychotropic fungi. These mushrooms are no ordinary life form, though (as the trailer makes quite clear they are a third, evil form of life; neither fauna nor flora), and they both mentally and physically change the humans slowly into demented mushroom people. This may sound like an ordinary run-of-the-mill ridiculous B-movie plot, but it's far creepier than that, particularly toward the end as the lone survivor is surrounded by the mushroom people. The film is interesting as it focuses not only on the battle between the survivors and the mushrooms, but places man's ugly self-centered survival instincts and the worst of human behavior front and center as well, making this much more of a psychological adventure than the typical Toho release. In a masterstroke, the film is done in flashback from the perspective of the lone survivor Kenji Murai (Akira Kubo) in his post-rescue Tokyo hospital room. The conclusion is not wholly unexpected, but is still stunning, attesting to Ishirô Honda's directorial genius.
I had seen "Matango" several times before, and enjoyed it, but I was much more fond of it this time, and found the DVD packaging to be truly superior and fully justifying a five star rating. Not only is the print nearly perfect with beautiful color, the extra features are wonderful. There is a great commentary from Akira Kubo, which not only comments on the factual information of how the film was made, but provides great personal insights into the intentions of Honda and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, and other more meaningful observations about the film. There is an excellent interview with special effects cinematographer Teruyoshi Nakano about the making of the movie, and the new processes that were involved (and why it cost so much money to make), and a surprisingly captivating monologue outlining the concept of the movie from writer Masami Fukushima set to a variety of still and motion photography. I expected this to be a somewhat boring recap, but truly enjoyed having it explained through the writer's eyes. There's also a trailer and a choice of subtitles, and I enjoyed watching it in English with the English subtitles on: it was surprising how different the translations often were.
While this isn't a typical Toho monster movie, it's a great film, and I appreciate it much more as an adult than I did when I first saw it as a teenager. The movie is great on it's own, but the DVD package is a real treasure and I recommend it to fans of Toho, monster movies, the horror and suspense genres, or anyone else who wants to see an excellent combination of physical and psychological thriller from 1960's Japan.
Atmospheric and colorful. One of the best Toho films, along with 1958s "The H-Man" (Beauty and Liquid People).
DVD is worth the price, and 100% Weird!
great popcorn, rainy day flick. or snow day with hot coco movie. but for heavens sake, its just a movie. enjoy it for that! :)
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