In 1983, former Toho SPFX employee and hardcore kaiju fan Shizuo Nakajima, saddened by the lack of Godzilla films being produced post-1975, set out to make a film of his own. Together with his friends (including many future industry luminaries, such as Shinichi Wakasa and Fuyuki Sanada), a minimal crew, and a team of actors, Nakajima created a feature length, independently produced Godzilla film in the tradition of Eiji Tsuburaya: DENSETSU NO KYOJUU OOKAMI OTOKO TAI GOJIRA, or Legendary Giant Beast Wolfman vs Godzilla. Shot on weekends (with the special effects scenes, shot in Nakajima’s garage, taking years to complete), the film tells the tale of a werewolf that grows to gigantic size and confronts the King of the Monsters, who appears in his classic 1962 “KingGoji” look from King Kong vs Godzilla, recreated by Nakajima as an exact replica. The Wolfman is said to have been inspired by the titular creatures from the Hammer film Curse of the Werewolf, and the cult classic An American Werewolf in London.
Much of the plot of the film is unknown, as the project has yet to be completed. After wrapping principal photography in the late 1980’s, Nakajima began a two decade process of editing the film whenever he had the time, and production ultimately became moribund as the years went on. Wolfman vs Godzilla became, quite literally, the stuff of kaiju legend, and then ultimately, a mere rumor, if it was ever brought up at all.
However, the legacy of Nakajima’s Godzilla epic was, and is, far from over. Over the years, the occasional image (such as the one used for the banner in this article) of the film cropped up online, prompting fans to wonder what exactly they represented. Some thought they were fan made. Others thought they were test photo’s from King Kong vs Godzilla, due to the Godzilla suit in the film being nearly indistinguishable from the official “KingGoji” suit. Others thought they were an out-and-out hoax. But ultimately, it was the relentless detective work of kaiju fanatic Mark Jaramillo that brought Wolfman vs Godzilla out of the shadows and into the light where it belonged.
Forming a relationship with director Shizuo Nakajima, Jaramillo convinced the fan-turned-filmmaker to share footage with the fan community, and a few mere minutes of Wolfman vs Godzilla shown at G-FEST in 2012 sent ripples through the fandom. The following year, Jaramillo brought Nakajima to G-FEST to personally meet his growing legion of fans, and to show nearly 30 minutes of footage to eager guests. The experience had a huge and emotional impact on Nakajima, who, after seeing the interest in his film, resolved to finish the edit of the raw footage (which was about 3+ hours in length) into a complete, feature length film. According to Jaramillo, Nakajima plans to have the film complete by 2016, and enough interest may even exist to give the film a home video release, should Toho be generous enough to allow it.
Despite the public screening of footage at G-FEST in 2012, 2013, and at Godzilla Night 4 on June 20th of this year, no footage of the film has ever appeared online, due to the director’s wish to keep the production personal and away from the prying eyes of Toho. In fact, when the director personally expressed this wish to a room full of cell phone wielding Godzilla fans at G-FEST 2013 (myself included), and despite the fact he allowed us to record the footage he showed, no recordings have popped up online in the two years since that screening. However, following the most recent screening of a 30 minute “trailer” at the aforementioned Godzilla Night 4, the first footage from the film finally found its way onto the web, courtesy of the director himself!
The clip, entitled “Situation of a Movie. Appearance of a Wolfman!” depicts the transformation of the Wolfman, clearly inspired by An American Werewolf in London. While only a little over a minute in length, this first official look at the film gives fans a taste of what’s to come, and an opportunity to appreciate the care and professionalism that went into this labor of love.
Follow the link to Shizuo Nakajima’s Facebook page to enjoy the clip!
For more information on Nakajima and Wolfman vs Godzilla, be sure to visit Mark Jaramillo’s website InSearchOfMonsters.com to read interviews and see rare photos! Also, Nakajima and Wolfman vs Godzilla will be the subject, along with many, many other independently produced kaiju films and their creators, of the upcoming documentary Kaiju Gaiden, created by Mark Jaramillo and David Hall. When completed, the documentary will be the only place to see footage from many of these “lost” monster films from Japan.
Be sure to check back often for updates on the status of Wolfman vs Godzilla and Kaiju Gaiden, and sound off in the comments section below!
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This article was written By Danzilla93 and published on 2015-07-02 07:49:13
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