Shochiku details Guilala’s return in MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT!
A SciFi JAPAN EXCLUSIVE
In March, 1967 Shochiku Co., Ltd. released the oddly entertaining monster movie GIANT SPACE MONSTER GUILALA (Uchu Daikaiju Girara). The film was directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu (GENOCIDE), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Hidemi Motomochi and Moriyoshi Ishida.
In GUILALA, five manned missions to Mars are destroyed by a mysterious UFO, so Captain Sano (Toshiya Wazaki) leads the spaceship AAB-Gamma on a sixth expedition to the red planet. Stopping off at a base on the moon, the crew hangs out in the spaceport lounge while Sano contends with the competing affections of his girlfriend Michiko (Itoko Harada) and his ship’s biologist Lisa (Peggy Neal). The AAB-Gamma eventually resumes its journey but is intercepted by the UFO, which attaches glowing spores to the earth ship’s surface. When the ship returns home, the spores hatch and unleash the monster Guilala. Conventional weapons prove ineffective, so the crew of the AAB-Gamma races against time to find a way to stop the monster’s rampage across Japan.
Shochiku marketed the film internationally with the English title THE X FROM OUTER SPACE, and in 1968 it was syndicated directly to television in the United States by American International Pictures TV. THE X FROM OUTER SPACE was shown regularly on American television throughout 1970s and was released on VHS and laserdisc by Orion Home Video in November 1989. While still unavailable on Region 1 DVD, the film has resurfaced on cable TV in recent years. Janus Films currently owns US rights to THE X FROM OUTER SPACE and has shown the English subtitled, Japanese language version on the Turner Classic Movies channel.
On January 29th, 2008, Shochiku surprised kaiju fans with the announcement that— 41 years after THE X FROM OUTER SPACE— they would be reviving Guilala for a new film, MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT! (Girara no Gyakushu / Samitto Kiki Ippatsu!).
The studio also revealed that Guilala’s return would be written and directed by Minoru Kawasaki, the cult filmmaker responsible for such movies as THE CALAMARI WRESTLER (Ika Resuraa, 2004), EXECUTIVE KOALA (Koara Kachou, 2005), and THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN (Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu, 2006). In keeping with Kawasaki’s sensibilities, MONSTER X STRIKES BACK will feature the traditional trappings of the daikaiju genre (such as monster suits and miniatures) combined with liberal doses of comedy.
With MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT! premiering in Japan next month, Shochiku has provided SciFi Japan with photos and an exclusive early look at the studio’s English language publicity information for the film…
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details for a new movie.
MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT!
Original Title: Girara no Gyakushu / Samitto Kiki Ippatsu! (Guilala’s Counterattack: Summit Crisis!)
Director: Minoru Kawasaki (THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN, THE CALAMARI WRESTLER)
Starring: Natsuki Kato (BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM), Kazuki Kato (MASKED RIDER THE NEXT), Beat Takeshi (ZATOICHI, BATTLE ROYALE, BLOOD AND BONES)
Genre: Monster Movie with Political Satire
Release Date: July 26, 2008
A monster from the 1960s cult panic movie THE X FROM OUTER SPACE comes back once again, now attacking the G8 Summit to finish the Earth once and for all!!
Introduction: What is the “Monster X”?
In the summer of 1966, the TV series ULTRAMAN was very popular among Japanese kids, which became a trigger for all the major Japanese movie studios to produce monster movies. Toho had started the “Godzilla” series in 1950s, Daiei (now Kadokawa) had the “Gamera” series, and Nikkatsu made GAPPA, THE TRIPHIBIAN MONSTER.
Shochiku produced THE X FROM OUTER SPACE, which is called GIANT SPACE MONSTER GUILALA (Uchu Daikaiju Girara) in Japan. At the end of the century, the film gradually became popular as a cult movie among the Otaku generation. Guilala had an inorganic and sophisticated figure which is reminiscent of H. R. Giger’s “Alien”, while the other monsters were based on animals. This makes “Guilala” a special monster loved by monster Otaku.
In the summer of 2008, the G8 Summit is being held at the International Conference Center at Lake Toya in Hokkaido, a beautiful resort near the active volcano of Mount Usu. In attendance are the leaders of the United States of America, France, England, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia, and Japan.
The main agenda of the Summit is environmental issues. However, nothing seems to be decided. The President of the United States tries to be a world leader but nobody follows. The Russian President refrains that “honesty is the best policy” but he wears a wig. The Italian Prime Minister is only interested in women, and the French President is too philosophical. The grinning Japanese PM always has no opinion and simply follows the other leaders.
While the summit is being held in Lake Toya, the Chinese Mars survey rocket AAC-Beta crashes into Japan. The monster Guilala is reborn from spores attached to the rocket after they absorb energy from the AAC-Beta’s explosion. Guilala attacks Sapporo, the largest city in Hokkaido, then transforms into a red ball of light and takes to the skies. It heads toward the summit conference site in pursuit of volcanic energy.
With the sudden appearance of the space monster, the world is thrown into chaos. The Japanese government decides to end the Summit and evacuate the leaders back to their own countries, but the US President announces, “Are you running away?!! Nobody calls me a chicken!” The other leaders reluctantly agree to cancel their travel plans home. They switch the signboard of the G8 Summit to read “Guilala Task Force” and vow to terminate Guilala.
Under the command of General Narumi, the Japan Branch of the Earth Defense Force uses a special microwave beam to stir up the magma beneath nearby Mount Showa Shinzan. The lava’s heat draws Guilala away from the summit conference site and gives mankind time to formulate a counterattack.
However, all their plans are encumbered by the egotism of the G8 leaders, who only want to show their own power and prestige. The countries of the world compete against each other to defeat the monster. The first mission is the Bald Eagle Missile attack by Japan, which proves ineffective against Guilala. After the defeat, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Ibe develops severe diarrhea and quits the Guilala Task Force. He is replaced by former Prime Minister Junzaburo Ohizumi.
The Japanese attack on Guilala is followed by Italy’s “Spirit of Rome” pitfall strategy, Russia’s Polonium 210 radiation, England’s brainwashing electric waves, Germany’s Phosphorous VX Poison Gas, and Canada’s efforts to domesticate Guilala… each attempt fails, one after another. The US president proclaims, “We will never yield to any terrorists!” while everyone else sighs, “Stupid American, it’s not a terrorist, it’s a monster.”
Meanwhile, Guilala continues feeding off the volcanic heat of Mt. Showa Shinzan and grows stronger and stronger.
The deadly combat between human beings and the monster from outer space continues. But just when everyone starts to give up, two journalists find a strange group of villagers who are worshipping a traditional idol at a shrine on the shores of Lake Toya. The villagers tell reporter Sumire Sumidagawa and cameraman Sanpei Toyama of an ancient prophecy: “A monster will come from the sky to destroy the world but Take-Majin, the guardian of Lake Toya, will defeat it.” Sumire is impressed by the strong devotion of the villagers and joins them in their prayers.
Prime Minister Ohizumi is revealed to be a fake; he is actually the disguised dictator of an evil foreign country. His agents take over the International Conference Center. The fake Ohizumi proclaims he will kill Guilala with a Potedon-55 Missile and be declared ruler of the world. But the dictator’s foolish scheme will only scatter Guilala’s spores, creating countless monsters all over the Earth.
Thanks to a tactful plan by the French President, the G8 leaders are able to overcome the villains. But at the last second, the fake Ohizumi pushes a remote control button and launches the missile at Guilala.
Who will save the Earth from this crisis? Beat Takeshi, he must be the man!*
About the director: Minoru Kawasaki— the “Ed Wood of Japan”
Born in Tokyo in 1958, Minoru Kawasaki stepped into the entertainment business soon after graduating from Meiji University. He has directed and produced many independent films.
His first major hit was in 2004 with THE CALAMARI WRESTLER. His style of direction is based on ridiculous ideas and nostalgic VFX techniques, making him a unique cult director often referred to as the “Ed Wood of Japan”. After his first success, he became one of the busiest directors in Japan. In 2006 THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN was another surprise hit. His most recent movie, THE RUG COP, was screened at Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, Spain in 2007 and the first retrospective of his work was held at Internationales Film Festival Frankfurt in Germany.
Cast & Staff
Natsuki KATO as Sumire SUMIDAGAWA (BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM)
Kazuki KATO as Sanpei TOYAMA (MASKED RIDER THE NEXT, LIGHT OF FIREFLIES television series)
Susumu KUROBE as General KIMURA (ULTRAMAN)
Yosuke NATSUKI as General NARUMI (RETURN OF GODZILLA)
Bin FURUYA as General TAKAMINE (ULTRAMAN, ULTRA SEVEN)
Akira MATSUSHITA as former Prime Minister Junzaburo OIZUMI (The Newspaper)
Hide FUKUMOTO as Prime Minister Shinzo IBE (The Newspaper)
Matabe WATABE as mysterious villager WAKIYA
Haruo MIZUNO (SIBERIAN EXPRESS)
Eiichi KIKUCHI (EXECUTIVE KOALA)
Toshiya WAZAKI (THE X FROM OUTER SPACE)
BEAT TAKESHI as the Legendary Savior (ZATOICHI, BLOOD AND BONES, TAKESHI’S)
HURRICANE RYU as Guilala (Godzilla series)
Director: Minoru KAWASAKI (THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN, THE CALAMARI WRESTLER)
Producers: Shinobu SUZUKI, Minoru KAWASAKI, Shuntaro KANAI, Masanobu SUZUKI, Koichi SHIODA
Screenplay: Masakazu MIGITA (ULTRAMAN TIGA, ULTRAMAN COSMOS), Minoru KAWASAKI
Cinematography: Takashi SUGA (THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN)
Lighting: Yutaka IWASAKI
Editing: Yosuke YAFUNE (SUMMER OF UBUME, DEATH NOTE)
Music: Yasuhiko FUKUDA
Special Effects: Tokusatsu Laboratory Company Limited
Monster Suits Creator: Fuyuki SHINADA (Godzilla series, Ultraman series)
Title Song: Dev Parade (DefSTAR Records)
Promotional screenings for MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT were held at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival on May 16. The movie opens in Japan on July 26, with the Japanese premiere taking place in Hokkaido on July 5.
* According to the Japanese website Cinema Today, the internationally reknowned actor/filmmaker “Beat” Takeshi Kitano will have a pivotal role in MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT. Kitano will portray the ancient living idol Take-Majin (called “the Legendary Savior” in Shochiku’s English information) who will face Guilala in a battle to the death. Awakened by the prayers of the Lake Toya villagers, the 50 centimeter-tall statue comes to life as a 50 meter giant weighing 10,000 tons.
For more photos and information on MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT! please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan: