Giant monster fandom loves merchandise! This is obvious from the plethora of sites, blogs and chat groups devoted to, for example, monster models. Hey, the Backbrain has a large display case full of Toho toys, models and other paraphernalia, with more scattered around the house. Right up the back, on top of the bookcase devoted to Asian films, there are even some old diorama modelling kits in a series called GIGANTICS, made by AMT/ERTL and dated 1996 — re-issues from the early ’70s. They are labelled “Colossal Mantis Attacks City!”, “Huge Tarantula Crushes Power Station!” and “Rampaging Scorpion Terrorizes City!”, based, of course, on certain well-known giant beastie flicks from the heyday of such things: the 1950s.
So, yeah, we like the merchandise. But what if playing with the toys proved to have deadly consequences? Perhaps there’s such a thing as sympathetic magic — the belief that one thing or event can affect another at a distance as a consequence of a synchronistic connection between them. Play with the toys and what they represent will come! Human imagination can be very powerful.
Director Greg Pope has taken this premise and made a short giant monster film that is a tribute to both giant monster films such as Godzilla and the merchandise they inspire. It’s called Giant Monster Playset.
The film features a young boy named Collin (Finn Pope), who receives a mysterious package. Upon opening it, he innocently plays with its toy monster contents. Simultaneously a gigantic beast appears, bent on the destruction of his own small town. The boy’s older brother Martin (played by Asher Pope) discovers the connection between the two and realizes only he can stop it. (Source: Press release)
Check out the trailer:
With its clear dedicatory approach to the monster mayhem, Giant Monster Playset looks like a lot of fun and director Pope appears to have caught much of the attitude that made the old films so imaginatively exciting. Pope himself is a musician, filmmaker, and graphic designer. As owner of Octoberville Creative LLC, he has produced several award-winning commercial and corporate films, and his pop songs have been featured on radio and network television shows such as Dawson’s Creek, Last Comic Standing, and America’s Next Top Model. He has put his musical talents to good use here, too, by producing an album of the music from the soundtrack, titled Monster Suit.
As well as talented young leads Finn and Asher Pope, the cast of Giant Monster Playset includes Paul Conrad, an award-winning Designer and Illustrator who formerly worked at Pixar Animation, Walt Disney Studios and Big Idea Productions. Conrad has contributed creatively to films ranging from the Academy Award winning film Up!, Cars 2, Cars Toons, VeggieTales and The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. The character of Chilton is his first film role. He was also responsible for art direction and package design.
Director of Photography is Daniel Collins and Josh Davis served as Production Assistant.
Pope (pictured above with the playset) is hoping to get the short film into assorted as-yet-unnamed film festivals, though I hope it will also be available one of these days for home viewing — perhaps online?
The Gallery includes an extensive collection of conceptual artwork, sculptures, green-screen and production shots, and further stills from the film.
Source: Greg Pope via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery; Press Kit; Official website.
Addendum: Here’s a just released new teaser trailer that includes some cool moments not included in previous material: