Matango

March 16th, 2015 by Coventry

Matango   Matango poster 82x120 reviews horror Director: Ishirô Honda
Writer: Takeshi Kimura, Masami Fukushima and Sakyo Komatsu, based on a short story by William Hope Hodgson
Release Year:
1963
English Title: ‘Attack Of The Mushroom People’

Matango   Offscreen 2015 mini logo reviews horror Mightier than Mothra, more gruesome than Godzilla… Mushrooms!

When a group of seven people on a cruise with a sailing yacht are overtaken by a nightly storm, the find themselves stranded on a mysterious, desolate island. The fauna is strangely absent on this piece of sub-continental land. However, the flora is plentiful and of a whole different kind of nature. The group is soon to discover a habitat that will taunt their imaginations…

Matango   Matango title screen 300x115 reviews horror

Purely because not all their contemporary monster movies could feature big mutated lizards (Godzilla), flying turtles (Gamera) or humongous moths (Mothra), the Japanese also made a monster movie with giant… mushrooms! Well, I say “the Japanese”, but basically it’s once again just the one and only legendary director Ishirô Honda who was responsible for yet another imaginative and extremely entertaining cult classic. Honda was an amazingly talented director and he single-handedly directed Japan’s finest genre milestones.

Matango   Matango still 01 300x115 reviews horror

So… mushrooms! Yes I know this sounds incredibly idiotic and the international title ‘Attack Of The Mushroom People’ also strengthens the suspicion that we’re dealing with a silly and light-headed B-movie, but this honestly is a very competent and admirably atmospheric tale of terror! Seven prominent citizens, including a university professor, a writer and a famous pop singer, turn their back on the stress of Tokyo for a holiday on a luxurious sailing yacht. There’s a lot of flirting, laughing and “La La La La” singing on board, but then a massive thunderstorm turns their yacht into a heavily damaged piece of driftwood and the group washes ashore a mysterious fog-enshrouded island. With a food supply of barely one week, the group rapidly falls apart due to intrigues and selfishness, and what’s the deal with those ominous mushrooms that grow all around the island? They also stumble upon a large and stranded research vessel that is overgrown with fungus and the same damn mushrooms! The survivors instinctively know they shouldn’t eat them, but what else are they supposed to do when there’s no more food to be found?

Matango   Matango still 02 300x115 reviews horror

I consider myself very lucky and privileged because I was able to see the original Japanese-language version of ‘Matango’ on a big cinema screen, during Brussels’ very own Offscreen Film Festival, that programmed a module with focus on botanical- themed horror movies. Granted, the picture quality was quite creaky and the film was interrupted every 10 minutes due to technical reasons (since this was an original 35mm print being projected), but the charm and nostalgia value of an early ’60s film on the big screen is irreplaceable! The concept of the film is one of the most original in horror cinema history – five years later the famous British Hammer Studios would produce a similarly themed ‘uncharted islands of terror’ feature with ‘The Lost Continent’ (1968), which we consider perfect material to team up with ‘Matango’ in a double bill – and director Honda maintains an unsettling atmosphere throughout. He achieves this thanks to subtle camera work, eerie sound effects & music, embittered character drawings, convincing miniatures and frightening monster designs and set pieces. Yes, the mushroom-monsters definitely DO look creepy and the large, ghostly looking vessel stranded on the beach is a truly nightmarish work of set design!

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Rating: Matango   star reviews horror Matango   star reviews horror Matango   star reviews horror Matango   star reviews horror Matango   blankstar reviews horror


Watch Japanese and English trailer.

 

Matango   Matango set pic 300x193 reviews horror



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