Thursday, June 11, 2015

Yongary, Monster from the Deep

Recently I talked about Denmark's 1960s entry in the kaiju eiga genre, Reptilicus. Now I'm moving eastward to South Korea for 1967's Yongary, Monster from the Deep, or Taekoesu Yongary, as it's known there. Yongary was more of a traditional giant monster, bipedal and rampaging, and making a beeline to the country of origin's major city - in this case, Seoul.

I was very surprised when I saw this movie recently on basic cable. Before the showing on something called The Works, a digital subchannel of MGM, a rating declared Yongary TV-14, and containing "some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age." Wow. I had to wonder, as I've been watching giant monsters for as long as I can remember - did I have bad parents, and did I turn out all right? Wow.

The monster is strictly adequate, with a horn on its nose and light up eyes. They even threw in fire breath, via flamethrower. Most of the Japanese kaiju TV and even some of the cheaper Gamera movies seem to have bigger budgets, and the South Koreans had a lot to learn about building convincing miniatures. And since when has that country had a space program?

The movie is slow, plodding, and predictable. It's so bad that, yeah, I actually enjoyed the scene where Yongary dances. The moment is refreshing compared to everything else. When I first reviewed this movie, I also trashed its decades later sequel/remake Reptilian. To be honest, neither has aged gracefully. You can read that mess here. Hopefully my reviewing has aged better in a dozen years…

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