Daimajin (1966 film)

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Daimajin
Daimajin.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byKimiyoshi Yasuda
Produced byMasaichi Nagata[1]
Screenplay byTetsuro Yoshida[1]
StarringMiwa Takada
Yoshihiko Aoyama
Jun Fujimaki
Ryutaro Gomi
Music byAkira Ifukube[1]
Edited byHiroshi Yamada[1]
Production
company
Daiei Film[1]
Distributed byDaiei Film
Release date
  • April 17, 1966 (1966-04-17) (Japan)
Running time
84 minutes[1]
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese

Daimajin (大魔神) is a 1966 Japanese film of the Daimajin series directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda.[1] Its musical score is composed by Akira Ifukube. The film had a brief stateside theatrical release in 1968. Reportedly, it was shown both in Japanese with English subtitles and dubbed into English. The English dubbed version was later released directly to TV by American International Television under the title Majin the Monster of Terror.[2]

Plot[edit]

In a remote village in the province of Tanba, a household of peasants cowers during a series of earth tremors that are interpreted as the escape attempts of Arakatsuma (阿羅羯磨), also known as Daimajin (大魔神 'Great Demon God'), a violent divine spirit said to be trapped within the nearby mountain held in fear and reverence by the locals.

As the village gathers at the local shrine to perform an ancient ritual to pacify Daimajin, Ōdate Samanosuke (Ryūtarō Gomi), chamberlain to the local lord Hanabusa Tadakiyo (Ryūzō Shimada), stages a coup d'état. He and his henchmen slaughter Hanabusa and his wife, but their son and daughter escape, aided by the heroic samurai Kogenta (Jun Fujimaki). Back at the shrine, Samanosuke's men break up the ceremony, forbidding all such gatherings in the future. The elderly priestess, Shinobu (Otome Tsukimiya), issues a dire warning, but the men ignore her.

Kogenta takes the two children to his aunt Shinobu's house. The priestess takes them up the mountain, into forbidden territory, where a gigantic stone idol of the mountain god who had sealed Daimajin long ago stands half-buried atop a waterfall. Near this idol is an ancient temple - safe as only Shinobu knows of its existence.

The children grow to adulthood. The son, Tadafumi (Yoshihiko Aoyama) reaches his 18th birthday. The years have been miserable on the villagers. Samanosuke is a brutal leader (in one scene, he gouges out an old woman's eye with a red-hot iron hook) who is using every man in the starving village as slave labor. The place is ripe for revolution, and surviving Hanabusa retainers are starting to return.

Kogenta journeys to the village to try to gather the old retainers, but gets himself captured. A boy, Take-bō, gets word to Tadafumi and his sister, Kozasa (Miwa Takada) that their friend is a prisoner. Tadafumi tries to rescue him, only to discover it's a trap. With both awaiting execution, Shinobu tries to talk to the tyrant, warning him that the god of the mountain's curse will befall him should he continue his evildoing ways. Samanosuke, refusing to heed Shinobu's words, kills her and orders the idol demolished. With her dying breath, Shinobu curses Samanosuke to die a harsh, merciless death and declares that if he attempts to destroy the idol, the wrathful Arakatsuma sealed inside it will come out.

The crew that travels up the mountain to smash the idol accidentally discovers Kozasa and Take-bō, and force them to take them to the statue. The soldiers bring out an enormous chisel and proceed to hammer it into the idol's head; they stop when they see blood beginning to drip from it. Horrified, the men attempt to flee, but the earth cracks open and swallows them.

Kozasa begs the god of the mountain to save her brother and Kogenta and punish the wicked Samanosuke. At the fortress, Tadafumi and Kogenta are tied to large crosses, awaiting their fates. Kozasa offers her life to the god and attempts to throw herself over the nearby waterfall, but the rock and earth covering the lower half of the idol fall away, and it comes to life. As it walks out into the clearing, Kozasa prostrates herself before it; the idol, animated by the reawakened Daimajin Arakatsuma, assumes a terrifying appearance and goes to Samanosuke's stronghold.

Daimajin rescues both Kogenta and Tadafumi and proceeds to utterly destroy the fortress. After impaling Samanosuke with the chisel on its forehead, Daimajin now turns its wrath upon everyone in sight. Take-bō unsuccessfully begs Daimajin to stop; as the boy was about to get trampled on by the idol, Kozasa steps in and saves him. Kozasa tearfully pleads Daimajin to cease its rampage, letting her tears fall on its stone feet. Its anger now quelled, Daimajin's spirit leaves the idol, restoring it to its former appearance before it collapses into a heap of rubble.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The cinematographer on Daimajin is sometimes credited to Yoshiyuki Kuroda and sometimes to Fujio Morita.[1]

Release[edit]

Daimajin was released theatrically in Japan on April 17, 1966.[1]

The film was released simultaneously in the United States with English subtitles by Daiei International Films and in an English-language dub by Bernard Lewis.[1]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Galbraith IV 1994, p. 307.
  2. ^ Stuart Galbraith IV. Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films Venice, California: Feral House. 1998. Pg.165

Sources[edit]

  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (1994). Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. McFarland. ISBN 0-89950-853-7.
  • Fischer, Dennis (2011). Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998. McFarland. ISBN 0786485051.

External links[edit]