On January 9 this year it was announced at a press conference in the Shochiku offices in Tsukiji, Tokyo, that Guilala, the Giant Space Chicken (from the 1967 film known in the US as X — From Outer Space — Uchu daikaiju Girara [trans. Giant Space Monster Girara]; dir. Kazui Nihonmatsu) would be reborn for the post-millennium world. In fact, Guilala himself was present at the conference (see picture above). The film, now in production, is called Girara-no Gyakushuu Touyaku Samitto Kiki Ippatsu [lit. Guilala’s Counter Attack: the Touyaku Summit One-Shot Crisis] (dir. Minoru Kawasaki), or, in US-speak, The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit.
More information on the project has now surfaced. It seems that the cast will include Natsuki Kato, Kazuki Kato, Susumu Kurobe, Yosuke Natsuke, and, most interestingly of all, the iconic Beat Takeshi (aka Takeshi Kitano) — who is such a renaissance-man media personality in Japan (and indeed elsewhere) that he and his cinematic alter egos featured in a film of their own, which Takeshi wrote, directed and starred in — Takeshis (2005):
Beat Takeshi, a prominent actor, meets a lookalike named Kitano, who is a struggling actor, but after the meeting, Kitano’s dreams take a violent, surreal turn. (IMDB).
Another relative recent movie of Takeshi’s was his addition to the great blind swordsman franchise, Zatôichi (2003), which he also co-wrote and directed. The original Zatôichi films are among my favourite works of all time, and all 26 of the feature films (plus the four-season TV series) starred Shintaro Katsu — so a modern remake was a hard sell for me. Yet, Takeshi pulled it off with style. He is also well known for featuring in some of the best, and most violent, crime thrillers in Japanese cinema (such as Fireworks [Hana-bi], Sonatine, Violent Cop and Boiling Point). Anyway his inclusion in the cast adds considerable prestige to the Guilala project.
I notice that the director, Minoru Kawasaki, was responsible for the giant squid wrestling comedy, The Calamari Wrestler (Ika resuraa, 2004), which is, I must say, hilarious and deliciously straight-faced in the pursuit of its absurdities. He is also well-known in Japan for his parody of the recent apocalyptic epic Japan Sinks, called Everything Sinks Except Japan [or more correctly Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu]!
Apparently he is also responsible for Den Ace The Final – Kiraku ni Ikiyo (2007), last in the Den Ace TV series. I don’t know much about this, but it appears to be a parody of Ultraman, in which Den Ace — an ordinary bloke — “turns into a 2,000 meter-tall man when he starts to feel good, and now with his brother Den Hajime he’s ready to stop crime as a superhero brother team.” (CDJapan)
I also discovered the availability of a DVD release called Zettai Yaseru Den Ace Uchu Dai Kaiju Girara Tojo! / Uchu Kaiju Sho Shingeki:
Whatever it is (and the online translation services have proven useless in making sense of the title), it seems to feature both Den Ace and Guilala — and may be some sort of promotional DVD. Anyone out there know?
Meanwhile, here is the storyline of the new Guilala movie:
In the summer of 2008, the G8 Summit is held at Lake Toya, a beautiful resort near the volcano in Hokkaido. At the same time, a Chinese rocket falls onto the island, causing a monster to be born from a spore attached to the rocket. The monster, Guilala, moves toward the summit conference site in pursuit of volcanic energy. The U.S. president proclaims, ‘I will never yield to any monsters! Nobody calls me a chicken.’ Other leaders reluctantly switch the sign board from ‘G8 Summit’ to ‘Guilala Task Force’. Now they have to terminate Guilala to show their countries’ power and prestige. The first mission is a missile attack by Japan, then Italy, Germany, and…. Deadly combat between human beings and the monster from outer space continues. However, when everyone starts to give up, a journalist finds a strange group worshipping the traditional idol at the lakeside.