Written By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: Dread Central / Norman England / Fangoria / Avery Guerra
Japanese monsters have always been able to hang some of their popularity on charisma. Godzilla, Gamera and all of their kin, are some pretty charming, and good looking monsters. Sure they rise out of the sea, or fall from space, and do a little urban renewal every once and a while, it's just what they do. But, you have admit, though they may have killed thousands of innocent people, they are lovable critters.....aren't they?
Well as cuddly as Godzilla and Gigan are, Tomoo Haraguchi's latest creation "Death Kappa", is well.....ugly. Granted, maybe monsters really shouldn't be 'sexy', but you really have to admit that DK is one homely looking mofo.
Okay, looks aren't everything, as long as "Death Kappa" delivers the goods, and wrecks a Japanese city or two, then everything will be just fine.
Well, it looks like American fans of Japanese monsters will be able to see this import earlier than expected, due to a DVD release by Media Blasters on May 25th. Now, in the past, as most western fans of Japanese cinema can attest, films of this type normally take at least a year or two to cross the Pacific, as was the case with the Godzilla films of the past decade. However, since someone from Media Blasters (their name wasn't released), served as a producer on the film, the distributor was given first dibs on an American release.
Indeed, this may be the first time that a Japanese monster film will reach North America, before it is even released in local (Japanese) theaters.
In fact this news has surfaced in a very fast time frame, the actual production of "Death Kappa", won't wrap until later this spring.
From what I gather from Norman England, who paid the production a visit last December, "Death Kappa" will be a wild affair featuring not only the giant monster, but half-man-half-fish soldiers, a mad scientist, and pair of sexy actresses, Misato Hirata (Kanako) and Mika (Yuriko).
Here is a synopsis of the film provided by England:
The storyline revolves around failed pop star Kanako, who returns to her hometown to live with her beloved grandmother. Yet no sooner does she return home than a pair of crazed couples out on a drinking binge run over and kill her grandma. With the old woman gone, Kanako takes to running the family shrine, but to make matters worse, the drunken killers managed to disturb that structure—which is the keeper of kappa, one of Japan’s many yokai creatures, in this case a benevolent, human-like turtle. Resurrected, the kappa is welcomed into town by the villagers.
Meanwhile, unknown to anyone in town, Yuriko, the granddaughter of a long-dead mad scientist, has chosen to continue her ancestor’s twisted experiments. Funded by Japanese nationalists seeking to bring the country back to military prominence, Yuriko works to complete his quest to develop a half-human/half-fish super-soldier. All hell breaks loose when Yuriko’s plans are thwarted, and she detonates an atomic weapon that causes both the kappa and one of the gill men to grow to monster-sized proportions. It is at this point that the showdown begins between the enlarged gill man, known now as Hangyoras, and Death Kappa.
It should be noted that Tomoo Haraguchi played the part of Boss Goro in Norman England's first feature film, "The iDol", which is extremely good, if you can get a copy of it.
So far, not too much is known about the upcoming DVD release of "Death Kappa", except that it will be in wide screen with English subtitles (Undoubtedly provided by England).
The DVD can already be pre-ordered through Amazon for $13.99 below.
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