Gappa: The Triphibian Monsters (Japan 1967)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/25/99

This enjoyable outing from Nikkatsu Studios was their first (and only?) monster movie before becoming a popular porn film studio. A wealthy magazine publisher sends a group of researchers to a South Seas island where they discover a giant egg. It hatches into a baby Gappa monster, and against the protests of the natives, the researchers take it back to Japan with them. Naturally, mommy and daddy Gappa are none too pleased about this and go on a rampage as they try to recover their lost little one. After a failed attempt by the military to destroy the monsters, the cute reporter babe and a couple of children convince the people in charge to be nice to the monsters and return the baby Gappa to them. After a tearful reunion on an airfield, the Gappa family happily flies back to their island home. All of the trademarks of the genre are present: silly rubber monster suits, massive inner city destruction, adorable miniature tanks and jet fighters, ineffective missile attacks, destroyed power lines, a romp through an oil refinery, and themes of selfish greed and blind ambition. There's also the human interest side, with compassion for the monsters and a silly love interest on the side. The effects are wonderful and any kaiju fan will be pleased, but unfortunately the film is slow and really falls apart at the end with the ridiculous climax. Media Blasters gets a thumbs up for the subtitled widescreen version of the film, but a big thumbs down for some of the worst opening credits I've ever seen (but not as bad as "Spawn" (1997) ).