Giant monster movies have a close and long running history with Japan ever since the very first Godzilla movies back in the 1950s. Over the decades, the Japanese film industry has given rise to dozens of giant monster, or “kaiju” movies, following the core template set by Japanese studio Toho’s basic format. Of course, while Japan has a tradition in the genre it does not hold a monopoly on gargantuan monster combat, with many other countries having produced memorable monster movies. Take, for instance, Hollywood’s classic giant ape King Kong as a cogent example.
Godzilla vs. Thailand
One country that often flies under the radar for kaiju movies is Thailand. Among the most popular cultural exports of the Southeast Asian kingdom is its rich culinary pedigree, with green curry and pad Thai among the most popular dishes enjoyed globally today. Another major cultural export for Thailand is its homegrown martial art, Muay Thai. With the arguable exception of soccer, Muay Thai is the most popular sport in Thailand. As such it experiences great popularity on betting sites such as Asiabet. These platforms find that Muay Thai attracts fervent speculation among bookmakers due to its high quality matches and tournaments. The sport also produces many fighters that go on to compete in MMA tournaments internationally. Few realize though how vibrant and creative Thailand’s homegrown film industry is beyond the festival circuit. One area where Thailand has been punching above its weight on the silver screen is by producing monster movies worthy of Toho’s classic roster. Below we take a look at some of the most compelling and memorable kaiju movies to emerge from Thailand.
Sompote Saengduenchai, aka Sompote Sands
One person has done more than any other to bring authentic kaiju cinema to Thailand. That person is producer and director Sompote Saengduenchai, better known as Sompote Sands. Sands apprenticed in Japan at Toho studios in the heyday of first wave kaiju cinema, and as such got to experience firsthand the special effects magic that underpins the Toho classics. Upon his return to Thailand, he established Chaiyo productions in order to become a focal point for Thai kaiju cinema.
Tah Tien (1973)
Sand’s first production to emerge from his new organization was 1973’s Tah Tien. This film incorporated surreal and fantastical elements and was based on a retelling of two popular Thai folktales, Uttai Tawee and Tah Tien. It features two giants, Buddhist temple guardians, given the classic kaiju supersize treatment. This peculiar tale incorporates magic frog queens, confused urban zoologists and, of course, dueling stone giants.
In the 70s, Sands and Chaiyo teamed up with Tsuburaya Productions, the Japanese studio behind popular giant fighting cyborg franchise Ultraman to make a series of co-ventures using their respective intellectual properties. The first of these, Giant and Jumbo A, came out in 1974 and pit one of the characteristic giants from Sand’s first film, Tah Tien, against Jumborg Ace, the super-size fighting cyborg. A convoluted and frankly baffling plot gives way to classic kaiju combat as a jetliner transforms at the behest of a mysterious alien entity into Jumborg Ace in order to battle it out against the rampaging stone temple giant. Following this, Chaiyo teamed up once again with Tsuburaya to shoot The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. the Monster Army in 1979. Set in Thailand, the film features the Ultra Brothers who team up with the Hindu monkey god Hanuman in order to take on a host of monsters from previous Ultraman kaiju movies.
Magic Lizard (1985)
Magic Lizard was Sand’s final film and arguably his most accomplished. In this curious and entertaining picture, a giant magical lizard who safeguards a sacred crystal comes under attack from aliens from mars. After some struggle, the magic lizard has its crystal stolen from it by the enterprising extraterrestrials. In order to recover the crystal, the magic lizard seeks the assistance of the giant made popular in other Sands kaiju movies. Teaming up, the stone temple giant moves through-out Thailand with the magic lizard, hoping to track down and defeat the Martians, and recover the sacred crystal.
By far the most modern entry on our list, 2004’s Garuda takes its inspiration from the celestial eagle-like beings of Buddhist folklore. Upon discovering a mysterious fossil, some unsuspecting scientists unleash a giant Garuda upon Bangkok. Typical kaiju levels of destruction follow as the unwitting protagonists work together with the military to try to stop the Garuda’s ceaseless rampage across the capital.
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This article was written By Chris and published on 2022-03-19 20:16:27
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Godzilla vs. Kong was the sequel to Michael Dougherty's Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters and was the fourth and final installment in the Monsterverse movie quadrilogy. Now, the Monsterverse takes a new direction - into TV! On January 20th, 2022 Legendary announced a new live-action Godzilla Monsterverse TV Series which will stream on Apple TV Plus network! Be sure to check Godzilla-Movies often for the latest news and info on the Monsterverse TV Series and all things Toho Godzilla as well!
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