Tuesday, July 30, 2013

LEGENDARY GIANT BEAST WOLFMAN VS. GODZILLA production photos




Recapping from 2012's G-FEST report:

Back in the early ’80s, there was a group of independent Japanese filmmakers, headed up by director Shizuo Nakajima, who wanted to make their own kaiju movie. The difference is that these folks either worked at or had friends who worked at (wait for it) Toho Studios. As a result, they were able to gain access to materials and designs not usually made available to the general public. Case in point, they were able to make an incredibly detailed reproduction of the 1962 Godzilla suit (as used in KKvG) as well as an impressive giant werewolf costume who would serve as the big G’s opponent. The rumored film is known by several names, Godzilla vs. the Wolfman, Legend of the Superbeast, Godzilla vs. the Giant Wolf Beast, Legendary Giant Beast Wolfman vs. Godzilla, etc., but no real evidence of it has ever surfaced. Only some poster art and one production shot have kept the mystery alive...





Until now.

L.A.-based ultrafan Mark Jaramillo had been chasing this particular myth for 13 years. In 2012, he made contact with Nakajima. The news? There definitely was a Godzilla vs. Wolfman feature – extensive footage was shot, as well as stock footage utilized to increase the scope and production value. It was apparently never completed, but there’s a lot of existing video footage still in the director’s possession. The bigger news? We at G-FEST XIX were going to be the first Western audiences to see it, because Nakajima had sent Jaramillo a sampling.


In the same room where kaiju fan extraordinaire Jeff Horne had been programming awesome TV and film offerings all weekend long, lights were dimmed, breath was held, and for the next three minutes, we all became children once again as we watched a giant white werewolf do battle with the big green stomping machine. Granted, this was just a fan film, and an incomplete one at that, but for those of us who have seen all the G-flicks and Zone Fighter eps, this was a brand new Godzilla film, and darn it, it looked pretty good. It was a magic moment for the hundred or so folks lucky enough to have crowded into the screening room (or who had been fortunate enough to bump into Jaramillo earlier in the weekend when he was providing private viewings via his iPad. Kudos to G-FEST organizer J.D. Lees for allowing the footage to be screened to the festival at large).


I saw several folks with their iPhones and cameras pointed at the video screen (if I’d been thinking, I probably would have too), but surprisingly, the recorded footage has not yet emerged on YouTube as expected. Or maybe it has and has been pulled off at the request of Lees and/or Jaramillo, I don’t know. Bottom line, I’m glad I was there, and I’ll definitely be there next year to see if they make good on their intention to bring Nakajima over to screen all existing footage in its entirety for the G-FEST crowd.

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Fast forward to 2013, where Jaramillo and J.D. made good on their promise.   Mr. Nakajima was indeed on hand, with a truncated 20-minute version of Giant Legendary Wolf Beast vs. Godzilla in hand.



While it's impractical to try to review the footage we saw (drastically edited and in unsubtitled Japanese), the easiest way to sum it up would be "The Howling meets The Amazing Colossal Man meets Godzilla." There's some pretty cool bladder/transformation work that recalls Rob Bottin's mind-blowing effects and once the hairy dude turns big and white (near as I could tell, this is part of the lycanthropy curse, or maybe there was a serum somewhere in the mix), it's time for the Big G to wrassle this hirsute interloper off his home turf.

Jaramillo asked the capacity crown to refrain from sharing any of the footage online, as there are plans afoot to release the entire film on DVD, but he did say that it was fine to share the production stills that Nakajima had provided in order to spread the word. Nothing could give me greater pleasure.












































You can learn more detailed info about Jaramillo's journey in bringing Giant Legendary Wolf Beast vs. Godzilla to North American audiences via his article on Sci-Fi Japan and his In Search of Monsters website pictured above.


Jaramillo has also written a full article for Famous Monsters of Filmland, detailing his adventures in tracking down Nakajima and the film.  You can pre-order their August 2013 issue HERE.


This is the original MechiKong costume from King Kong Escapes.  Nakajima rescued it from Toho's garbage dumpster.  It now lives in his garage.  You gotta love this guy.

5 comments:

  1. As quick as I am to photograph stuff rather than just enjoy the moment, and as nosey as I am when exclusive footage finds its way online, I must risk seeming slightly hypocritical when I say that I find it sad that people now have to ask fans not to share footage online. Real fans should perhaps stop trying to grab their own world exclusive, should stop pirating everything that makes a crowd gasp and should start reminding themselves what being a real fan is all about again, supporting the film makers and spreading the word. I know that some may think sharing the footage is akin to that, but it's not.
    Apologies if this sounds too ranty, I'd be interested to hear your views on this. Should all phones/recording equipment be banned, for example, except for those who have applied for one on one interviews and such?
    Great stuff here, as always.

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    1. Wow, that's really an interesting question, Kev. As we all know by this point, the advent of uploading video has enabled us to witness some truly amazing and inspiring things. And while most of us would rather see them in person, it's cool that we are able to share in the experience in some way. However, when we're talking about someone's artistic endeavors, it becomes a stickier situation. The artist in question should be compensated somehow - whether it be from additional visibility or financial restitution.

      If this had been 10 years ago, I would have said that people who are interested in seeing the film would not be satisfied watching it on their computers - that they would seek out a legit (or even bootleg) version to watch at home. But nowadays, there's no guarantee that would happen. I watch a lot of full length films on YouTube, which I would have NEVER imagined myself doing. We've become used to lesser quality in our viewing; we've grown accustomed to seeing the world through an iPhone lens.

      It's a double-edged sword. I'm happy that people are able to share their experiences from across the globe with the tap of a screen, but I think we do need to be reminded at times that what makes this moment special is that we're all HERE. NOW. JUST US.

      The interesting thing is that Mark Jaramillo even told us that we could record the 20 minutes of footage for our personal viewing and sharing in person with our absent friends, just not to upload it. For me, that is absolutely not too much to ask. Do I wish that I could share the footage with everyone I know in cyberspace? Of course I do. But we all know it doesn't stop there. Do I wish I could host a world exclusive of the footage here on H101 and enjoy the boost in traffic? Of course I do. But I'm not going to do that because I respect Mark and Mr. Nakajima too much. Is someone else with less scruples going to post it at some point? I'm sure they are, but I can only run my own race and make my own bed to sleep in.

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    2. Indeed. Swings and roundabouts, I guess. We get the bad with the good, but the good for us fans is oh so sweet sweety good. :-)

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  2. This is terrific news! Can't wait for the whole film to see the light of day.

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  3. I look forward to when the full movie will out for everyone to enjoy. I just learned about everything today at the Shrine. Thanks for sharing and for helping this movie get released so that all G-fans young and old can enjoy it.

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