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Daimajin
The Giant Majin / Majin the Hideous Idol / Daimajin - Frankensteins Monster / Fury of the Mountain God / The Devil Got Angry / Majin the Monster of Terror / Majin, the Stone Samurai / The Vengeance of the Monster

Japan 1966
produced by
Masaichi Nagata, Mitsuru Tanabe (executive) for Daiei
directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda
starring Miwa Takada, Yoshihiko Aoyama, Jun Fujimaki, Ryutaro Gomi, Ryuzo Shimada, Tatsuo Endo, Otome Tsukimiya, Shizuhiro Izoguchi, Gen Kimura, Hideki Ninomiya, Masako Morishita, Shosaku Sugiyama, Saburo Date, Keiko Kayama, Eigoro Onoe, Yutaro Ban, Hideo Kuroki, Akira Shiga, Jun Osugi, Jun Katsumura, Kazuo Moriuchi, Akira Amemiya, Shinjiro Akatsuki, Kanji Uehara, Hatsumi Yoshikawa, and as Daimajin: Chikara Hashimoto
written by Tetsuro Yoshida, music by Akira Ifukube, special effects by Yoshiyuki Kuroda

Daimajin

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In a coup, warlord Samanosuke (Ryutaro Gomi) gets rid of benign lord Hanabusa (Ryuzo Shimada) to take control of his remote village, and orders his whole family slaughtered, but Kogenta (Yoshihiko Aoyama), one of Hanabusa's loyals, and Shinobu (Otome Tsukimiya), priestess of the local god Majin, manage to save Hanabusa's children Kozasa (Masako Morishita) and Tadafumi (Hideki Ninomiya), and the two raise them in Majin's shrine.

Ten years later: Under Samanosuke's iron rule, conditions in the village have become unbearable, so much so that young Take (Shizuhiro Izoguchi) makes it throut the haunted woods to pray to Majin to return and free his people. Majin doesn't return, but Shinobu listens and decides to take the boy under her wing. Kogenta and Tadafumi (now played by Yoshihiko Aoyama) figure now is the time to overthrow Samanosuke, but on his way to the village Kogenta is intercepted by Samanosuke's men, who then set up a trap should Tadafumi go and rescue him - and Tadafumi falls for it hook, line, and sinker. Samanosuke sends out his second in command Gonjuro (Tatsuo Endo) to destroy the Majin's statue, and he and his men kill Shinobu who tries to prevent them, then try to tear the statue down - but the earth opens up and swallows them all. Kozasa (Miwa Takada) prays to the Majin to save her village, her brother and Kogenta, and offers her life in return. The statue then comes to life and walks towards town, where it wreaks havoc and kills all the baddies, saving Samanosuke for last of course. Unfortunately, the Majin is so enraged that it doesn't just stop there, and now it's up to our heroes to stop him - but what good are a few puny humans against a stone statue come to life ...

 

Now when it comes to story or characterizations, this movie doesn't exactly hit high marks, and yet it's completely charming in it's fusion of period drama full violence and intrigue, and giant monster thriller, complete with massive destruction. And one has to admit, the whole thing's put together really well, with a directorial effort heavy on tension and atmosphere to keep things tight even before the statue comes to life, well-executed special effects that have aged very well, and a rather impressive monster, especially because it's different enough from Godzilla and company. That all said, don't expect a total reinvention of the genre, just a loveable romp - and one that will entertain you very well.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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