Tuesday, December 16, 2008

... and the winner of a retroactive Oscar Award for most completely weird feature goes to ....


King Kong Appears in Edo (江戸に現れたキングコング Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu) is a lost film released in Japan in 1938.

An unofficial and enigmatic Japanese-made monster/period piece by studio Zenkatsu in which King Kong attacks medieval Edo (the former name of Tokyo), it was one of Japan's first kaiju (giant monster) films, predating Godzilla by sixteen years. Although inaccurate to its historical setting, some Caligari-esque expressionistic buildings were added for Kong to climb. The film has been lost since its theatrical run in 1938. It is claimed the film either "disappeared due to negligent maintenance" or was destroyed during the bombings of Japan in World War II.

Fuminori Ohashi, who would later create the suit for Godzilla in the original 1954 film, created the ape suit and special effects for this film. He explained, "The first model making to be counted as "special art direction" in Japanese cinema was a giant gorilla which I did for the movie King Kong Appears in Edo fifty years ago. It was also the first movie to feature certain kinds of special effects.

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