Matango (Ishiro Honda, 1963)

A HORROR THAT GROWS ON YOU!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddAfter a yacht is damaged in a storm and stranded near a deserted island, its passengers – a psychologist, his student, a wealthy businessman, a famous singer, a popular writer, a sailor, and the boat’s skipper – take refuge on a fungus covered ship marooned on the island’s shore.  With food scarce and the ship’s logs warning that the island’s plentiful mushrooms, called “Matango,” are to be avoided, the castaways find their characters tested, leading to private deals, sexual tension, and violence.  But when the hunger of the shipwrecked party becomes too great and its members begin eating the forbidden fungus, the true horror of Matango is revealed, transforming the castaways in mind and body into hideous fungal monsters!

Famed Japanese director Ishiro Honda assembles an all-star cast from his previous sci-fi films and monster movies for Matango, featuring performances by Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Koizumi, and Yoshio Tsuchiya.  Captivating hallucinatory sequences, impressive set designs, and fantastically horrifying special effects by the celebrated Eiji Tsuburaya make this colorful B-movie a little known tokusatsu classic.  Based on the 1907 story “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hodgson, Matango is one of the strangest, most horrific Toho productions to date and is presented here, for the first time, in high-definition presentations of its original Japanese version and its American cut, Attack of the Mushroom People.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer of the Japanese cut of Matango and of the 1965 American version Attack of the Mushroom People edited for TV by American International Television
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD Presentation
  • Uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Japanese soundtrack
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by star Akira Kubo
  • Interview with SFX cinematographer Teruyoshi Nakano
  • Spoken word reading by screenwriter Masami Fukushima
  • Vinyl Fungus – Artist Barry Allen Williams on Matango and its collectibles
  • “Voice in the Night,” a 1958 episode of Suspicion based on the same source material as Matango
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Production sketches
  • Collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by scholar Richard Pusateri and William Hope Hodgson’s original 1907 story “The Voice in the Night”

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The Human Vapor (Ishiro Honda, 1960)

IS HE MAN OR ASTRO-MAN?

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddSomething evil has drifted into Tokyo.  High security banks have been mysteriously robbed with only murdered staff left to mark the crime.  The police are baffled – no fingerprints, no weapons, no clues are found.  The culprit is THE HUMAN VAPOR, an atomic age nightmare spawned of science-gone-mad!  Once just a harmless librarian, a scientific experiment grants him the power to disintegrate into an indestructible gaseous thing.  With a city on edge and journalists keenly following this fantastic figure of modern terror, the police pursue their only clue – a beautiful dancer with an unknown sponsor financing her comeback.  Is she the key to stopping the Gas Man from ruthlessly killing again?

Following in the footsteps of their 1954 sci-fi classic Godzilla, director Ishiro Honda, special effects designer Eiji Tsuburaya, editor Kazuji Taira, and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka create a new story of irradiated horror, this time with a human face.  The Human Vapor is presented here, for the first time, in high definition presentations of both the original Japanese version and the recut American version that transforms Honda’s film from a science fiction mystery into a flashback tale told by the Gas Man himself.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer of the original Japanese cut of The Human Vapor and of the American version recut by Brenco Pictures
  • High definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Japanese and English mono audio soundtracks (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Japanese soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by actress Kaoru Yachigusa
  • Interview with special effects designer Koichi Kawakita
  • Half Man … Half Beast! – featurette on Eiji Tsuburaya’s special effects with special effects photographer Motoyoshi Tomioka
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by David Kalat, an essay by special effects designer Koichi Kawakita, behind the scenes photos, and poster art

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The Great Villain Blogathon

Villain 2016 BannersOnce is never enough, and so MMC! is very pleased to be participating in the 2016 edition of “The Great Villain Blogathon.”  Big thanks to Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy for organizing this event once again and letting MMC! come back to the well.  Criterion Collection aficionados will already note forthcoming posts on Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971), The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949), The Honeymoon Killers (Leonard Kastle, 1969), In Cold Blood (Richard Brooks, 1967), Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955), The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955), The Most Dangerous Game (Ernest B. Shoedsack and Irving Pichel, 1932), Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946), and Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957).  Whew, that’s a lot of spine numbers!

MMC! will be promoting two films by Ishiro Honda for the Arrow Video treatment.  First up is The Human Vapor (1960), an oddly effective tale of one man driven mad by his ability to transform into a gaseous state and his love of traditional Japanese dance.  Next will be Matango (1963), also known as Fungus of Terror, Curse of the Mushroom People, and Attack of the Mushroom People, where the crew and passengers of a yacht (strangely resembling the castaways of Gilligan’s Island) vainly attempt to protect themselves from the grotesque mushroom monsters that populate the island.  This is Japanese genre cinema at its feel-bad best!

The Great Villain Blogathon

BannerWe’re pleased to announce our participation in The Great Villain Blogathon, running April 13-17, 2015.  Over here at MMC!, we’ll be discussing John Gilling’s The Flesh and the Fiends (1960), a ghastly, cold-blooded take on the Burke and Hare murders, where black and white cinematography proves no impediment to producing an effectively lurid and grisly film.  And with less than admirable characters played by Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasence, Billie Whitelaw, George Rose, and Reneé Houston, villains easily seem to outnumber what passes for heroes in this tale of scientific idealism and grave-robbery.

Big thanks to hosts Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy for making this happen and allowing us to take part.  Head over to The Great Villain Blogathon to peruse the other contributors and topics and maybe even sign-up to participate as well!