Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Gamera vs. Zigra didn’t single-handedly drive Daiei Film to bankruptcy; but as one of the last handful of movies that company released before it did temporarily wink out of existence in December, 1971, it’s a rather clear example of what was going on at the studio that forced such a drastic step. It’s a dreadful […]

To begin with, it would take very little effort to best Gamera vs. Guiron, and certainly, Gamera vs. Jiger goes at least that far. No farther: it does not bring us back to the halcyon days of “so bad it’s good” Gamera films. It’s just so bad. But not bad in such a claustrophobically pointless […]

It eventually had to happen, of course. Across four films from 1965-1968, Daiei’s series of films about the giant monster turtle Gamera had ranged from not too bad, to not bad enough to stop being delightful, to bad enough that their badness made them delightful. But the tank had been empty for a while, and […]

The first three entries in Daiei’s Gamera franchise are, for the most part, competent enough despite their incomparable cheapness that we can talk about them like they were real movies. I am terribly excited to say that we have come to the point where that’s no longer a concern: 1968’s Gamera vs. Viras (a dubious […]

In Gamera vs. Gyaos, Daiei Film’s third film in as many years featuring the fire-breathing, flying, giant tortoise Gamera, the formula of a “Gamera film” was nailed down in its final form, while his most iconic and beloved opponent was introduced. A certain Gyaos by name, because whatever else is true of daikaiju eiga they […]

I don’t know what the hell it is with third films always being such a titanic step down in quality, but at least Daimajin Strikes Again comes by it honestly: it was Daiei’s third film in the loosely-connected series within the span of eight months in 1966, meaning it was also screenwriter Yoshida Tetsuro’s third […]

By the time the first Daimajin film opened in 1966, it already had a sequel mostly ready to go. In fact, Daiei Film released an entire Daimajin trilogy in that single calendar year, a burst of extreme energy after which the stone daikaiju would go completely silent until a 2010 TV series created by Daiei’s […]

Nobody with a brain would blindly trust the internet, or at least that part of the internet that speaks English, on the subject of release dates of Asian-produced movies from a half-century ago. But what the internet tells me is that Daiei Film released both Gamera vs. Barugon and Daimajin ion 17 April, 1966. This […]

1966’s Gamera vs. Barugon is particularly noteworthy in the Gamera series for three reasons. Firstly is that this first sequel to the previous year’s Gamera was in color, where its predecessor was not; it’s frankly not clear to me why the original was in black-and-white, at that point in time, but it left that film […]

When Godzilla was released in 1954 in Japan, it inspired a huge increase in tokusatsu filmmaking in that country in the year to follow, with Japanese studios investing in science fiction in a big way. And yet very little of that influence seems to have resulted in the most obvious possible Godzilla knock-offs (or so […]

Of all possible outcomes for the new American-made Godzilla, one that I wasn’t prepared for at all was that, at the macro level, it would have exactly the same structural problems that the last Godzilla film, 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars did. To wit: in a movie just a smidigen north of two hours, the best […]

There are films about which we say, “people have mixed reactions”, because there are things that are generally liked and things that are generally disliked, and it’s hard to feel much more than a profound ambivalence about it when taken as a whole. And then there are films about which we say, “people have mixed […]