Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)
Director: Haruyasu Noguchi
Produced by Nikkatsu Corporation
Here’s a one up Kaiju monster film from the Nikkatsu Corp, their only foray into giant monster movies. A Japanese businessman is opening a resort in Japan that will make people feel like they are on a Pacific Island getaway. He sends a crew out to capture animals, birds and collect plant life for this holiday park. On a Pacific island the crew finds natives that worship Gappa, a mythological beast. A native boy takes the explorers and reporters to Gappa’s temple. There they discover an egg that hatches in front of them. They take the baby Gappa back to Japan. Much like Gorgo, the parent Gappa awakens and heads to Japan to find its baby. But wait, there’s two parents!
Gappa has reptile skin, a bird’s beak, wings and a long tail. The male is slightly bigger and both male and female have a frill. Both have glowing eyes. Their feet are disproportionately big compared to the rest of the Gappa rubber suit. I don’t know how the actors didn’t trip over their own feet. The baby Gappa looks like an over-inflated Howard the Duck.
Their first landfall in Japan delivers quite a bit of destructive action. When the military is called in, the Gappa produce an electric (Godzilla-like) ray from their mouths, destroying many tank squadrons. They knock down Osaka Castle, securing their credibility in Kaiju history. They retreat into Lake Kawaguchi, near Mt Fuji, also a staple in Kaiju traditions. When the military hatches a plan to bring the Gappa out of the lake and bombard them with missiles, they just wind up with egg on their face. The Gappa go to the power plant, knock the city high tension wires down, and proceed to destroy everything at the plant in glorious fireballs and explosions. The businessman relents and they bring baby Gappa to the parents via helicopters and nets. The Gappa family flies off into the sunset.
The plot is simplistic and thin, and the dialog is basic. There’s not many spots where it becomes too corny, except maybe the overzealous businessman. For the most part it’s played straight and not much different than US sci-fi films of the 1950s. The scale buildings and sets are crafted with attention to detail, making them close to the bigger budgeted Toho Kaiju films. There’s a scene where the Gappa cause a Tsunami which looks eerily like the news footage from the Tsunami that hit Thailand a few years ago. The lack of plot twists make the film less engaging than most Toho Godzilla films. There’s not much intellectual stimulation to be found, and this film is near bottom of the barrel of Kaiju films, but if you want to see some beaked reptiles destroy some city scenes, you’ll get your fix for sure. You might want to just ‘skip to the good parts’ as I would say.
Aka: Gappa: The Triphibian Monsters
If anyone has any questions about any Kaiju Monsters be sure to check out the Wikia Godzilla site