Gappa the Triphibian Monster (1967)


They've got super-hot breath!
They’ve got super-hot breath!

Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi, written by Iwao Yamazaki and Ryuzo Nakanishi, starring Tamio Kawachi, Yoko Yamamoto, Yuji Okada, Kōji Wada and Tatsuya Fuji.

'Even mightier than King Kong!'
‘Even mightier than King Kong!’

Two heraldic-like winged monsters trash Japan in an attempt to take possession of their offspring, which a Japanese expedition has removed from Obelisk Island, the young beast’s volcanic island home.

'Vast! Hideous! Invincible!'
‘Vast! Hideous! Invincible!’
Heading to Obelisk Island...
They’re heading to Obelisk Island…
...where they discover an enigmatic statue
…where they discover an enigmatic statue

Also known as MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET and GAPPA, this Japanese kaiju movie was made by the Nikkatsu Corporation and has a story that is pretty damn similar to the British giant monster movie GORGO (1961), although this time it is not just one parent that goes looking for their child… it is two adult monsters!

You lookin' at me?!
You lookin’ at me?!

These massive, beaked Gappa beasts can fly without flapping their wings, supposedly rocketing through the air at speeds faster than a jet, they blast dozens of planes out of the sky, and they expel heat rays from their mouths.

Rest assured – these critters are really going to smash stuff up until they find Gappa junior.

Mom and pop Gappa glide over Japan
Mom and pop Gappa glide over Japan
The Gappa monsters contemplate their upcoming bout of destruction
The Gappa monsters contemplate their upcoming bout of destruction
Baby Gappa is poked and prodded by humans. Bad humans!
Baby Gappa is poked and prodded by humans. Bad humans!
Wrecking stuff!
Wrecking stuff!

“You know, I’ve decided to quit my job – I guess I’m an ordinary woman, I should stay home, marry an office worker and wash diapers.” (!!) Thus says a woman journalist at the film’s conclusion. Amazing what a country-wrecking pair of prehistoric monsters can do to instil old, conformist attitudes into one of the female characters!

Prepare to fire missiles!
Prepare to fire missiles!

Finally, you’ll be pleased to know, Baby Gappa flies (well, glides) home with monster mom and dad.
All together now: “Awwww!”

Effects-wise, the monster suits in this movie are rather stiff, lacking the pliability of Toho’s creature costumes, but if you fancy switching your brain off and watching a colourful time-waster featuring miniature vehicles and buildings getting trashed by suitmation critters that breath heat-rays… this is the flick for you.

Just zappin' some pesky planes
Just zappin’ some pesky planes

About the different versions of the film…
In DAIKYOJÛ GAPPA, the original Japanese version, a rock & roll theme song called ‘Gappa, the Colossal Beast’ accompanied the opening credits and the ending – and the scene with the monster parents reuniting with their child towards the end of the film had a ballad called ‘Keep Trying, Baby Gappa!’
In all overseas prints, however, the opening and ending songs were removed and replaced with orchestral music, whilst the ‘Keep Trying, Baby Gappa!’ ballad was replaced with an instrumental version.

Gappa-tastic!
Gappa-tastic!

Okay, now for the best bit, let’s check out some niiiiiice posters for the movie…

Japanese poster
Japanese poster
Italian poster
Italian poster
Czech poster
Czech poster
German poster
German poster
Polish poster
Polish poster
French poster
French poster
German poster (yup, they are using 'Frankenstein' in the title again, just like for so many other kaiju releases in Germany)
Another German poster (yup, they are using ‘Frankenstein’ in the title, just like for so many other kaiju releases in Germany)
Mexican poster
Mexican poster

Some video and DVD covers…

Okay, we all know Frankenstein doesn't actually feature in this movie...
German DVD cover (okay, we all know Frankenstein doesn’t actually feature in this movie…)
US DVD cover
US DVD cover
DVD double feature
DVD double feature
UK VHS sleeve. The Gappa creatures do not look like that!
UK VHS sleeve. The Gappa creatures do not look like that!
US Betamax video cover
US Betamax video cover

Some assorted wonderfulness…

It's remote control too!
Box art for plastic model kit. It’s remote control too!
Sonorama artwork of GAPPA THE TRIPHIBIAN MONSTER
Sonorama artwork of GAPPA THE TRIPHIBIAN MONSTER
Box art for super 8 home movie reel
Box art for super 8 home movie reel
Newspaper ad
Newspaper ad
Gappa Bullmark 8" Figure
Gappa Bullmark 8″ Figure
X-Plus Gappa PVC toy
X-Plus Gappa PVC toy
Cross section illustration of a Gappa!
Cross section illustration of a Gappa!

Finally, some behind the scenes shots…

Getting the critter suits ready for a shot
Getting the critter suits ready for a shot
Say 'cheese'!
Say ‘cheese’!
Open wide, please
Open wide, please

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