Rest in Peace, Haruo Nakajima.

Haruo Nakajima was, in more ways than one, the King of the Monsters. From 1954 to 1972, Nakajima was the man behind Godzilla, donning the legendary suit for some of the greatest monster movies of all time. As if one timeless sci-fi icon wasn’t enough, the great Nakajima also portrayed Rodan  Varan, Baragon, Gaira, the larva form of Mothra, and several kaijus in both Ultra Q and Ultraman. Nakajima was a true giant in genre cinema and his creatures will continue to inspire both fright and delight in fright fans for many years to come. Haruo Nakajima was an incredible, unstoppable titan of terror.


Rest in Peace, King of the Monsters. xoxo

My (Gargantua) Brother’s Keeper (by Anton Phibes)

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Our esteemed monster(s) of the week month(ish ;)) is a twofer from that marvelous manufacturer of monster mayhem, Toho! We’re spotlighting the titular titans of terror from War of the Gargantuas, a personal favorite of mine. Sanda and Gaira, the beastly brothers of honor, were created from the flesh of the Frankenstein monster. Gaira, the green Gargantua, devours delicious humans,while the brown Gargantua Sanda was raised by mankind. When these two fight,it’s an all-out war of monsters!

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Unlike most kaiju films, the costumes appear to be light enough for these creatures to really clobber each other with ferocity and true athleticism. The wrestling match at the end is the best monster battle in history. Such raw physicality is rare in a kaiju film. In addition to their extraordinary fighting prowess, the Gargantuas have a human-like quality that makes them endearing. Like all great fright flicks, we fear for them as much as we fear them.

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In true monster movie fashion, Sanda falls in love with a human, played here by the ravishing Kumi Mizuno, the beauty to Toho’s beasts. Mizuno has also appeared in Matango, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Invasion of the Astro-Monster, and Frankenstein Conquers the World. Though Mizuno has very little to work with, she’s charming as Sanda’s nurturing companion. Sanda, as often the case in these movies, is motivated by his devotion to this fair maiden. Behind every great ghoul is a great girl.

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Sanda and Gaira have indeed left their colossal footprint in pop culture. From a Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated tribute episode to a parade of celebrity admirers, including Brad Pitt and Tim Burton, it’s clear that these brothers have won a place in the hearts of all monster lovers. Gaira has since appeared in He of the Sun and Go! Godman, while both brothers appeared in a recent Godzilla comic. Could we see more of these rowdy siblings? I hope so!

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(Tim Burton and Friends)

We love you, Sanda and Gaira! May you cause more mayhem in the future… and may you never have to listen to this ridiculously catchy tune again!

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