Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

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Gappa the Triphibian Monster
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHaruyasu Noguchi[1]
Produced byHideo Koi[1]
Screenplay by
  • Iwao Yamazaki
  • Ryuzo Nakaishi[1]
Story byAkira Watanabe
StarringTamio Kawachi
Tatsuya Fuji
Yoko Yamamoto
Kōji Wada
Music bySaitaro Omori[1]
CinematographyMuneo Ueda[1]
Edited byMasanori Tsujii[1]
Release date
  • April 22, 1967 (1967-04-22) (Japan)
Running time
84 minutes (Japanese)[2] / 90 (international)[3]

Gappa the Triphibian Monster (大巨獣ガッパ, Daikyojū Gappa) is a 1967 Japanese kaiju film directed by Haruyasu Noguchi.[1] The film is about a group of Japanese reporters who discover an infant monster called a Gappa on Obelisk Island. The reporters cage the creature and take it to Japan where it becomes a media attraction. This angers the natives of the island and Gappa's full-grown parents, who head toward Japan to find their child. Its plot virtually duplicates that of the 1961 British film Gorgo.

The film was released theatrically in Japan in 1967, but only received release on television in the United States as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. It received positive reviews from Variety and Phil Hardy.

Certain shots of the Gappas attacking Japan were used in the 1991 Red Dwarf episode "Meltdown".[4]


An expedition from Tokyo heads to Obelisk Island, which the greedy Mr. Funazu, president of Playmate Magazine, wants to turn into a resort. The island natives welcome the expedition, but two members, Hiroshi and Itoko, venture into a forbidden area despite the pleas of a native boy named Saki. They enter a cavern blocked by a fallen statue and find a giant egg, out of which hatches a baby "bird-lizard" monster, referred to as "Gappa". The natives plead with the skeptical scientists not to take the baby away, lest it anger the baby's parents, but they do so anyway. Inside the caverns, Gappa's two parents rise from the subterranean waters beneath the volcano, destroying everything in their path. Saki, the only survivor, is rescued by an American Navy fleet and brought to Japan.

Meanwhile, Gappa makes global headlines and is experimented on by scientists. To the shock of the expedition members, two giant flying creatures appear over Sagami Bay. The Gappa parents ravage cities looking for their offspring and prove impervious to military weapons. Hiroshi, Itoko, Saki, and expedition scientist Professor Tonooka try to convince the headstrong Mr. Funazu to let the baby go and return it to its parents.


Gappa the Triphibian Monster was the only kaiju eiga from Nikkatsu.[5] The monster effects in the film were created by Akira Watanabe, a former employee of Toho.[5] The English language dialogue in the film's English version is credited to William Ross.[6][7]


Gappa the Triphibian Monster was released in Japan on April 22, 1967 as Daikyojū Gappa.[1][8] The film was never released theatrically in the United States.[9] American International Television first offered the film as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet[10][11] in the "15 New Science Fiction" television package beginning in 1967;[12] the film may have premiered on television in 1968.[1]

Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films described the American version of the film as poorly dubbed and that home video versions prior to 1994 are poor dupes taken from a 16mm television print.[9] The film has been released on DVD by various companies including Alpha Video, Mill Creek Entertainment, Tokyo Shock and Image Entertainment.[13] Gappa the Triphibian Monster was released on Blue-ray in the United States on February 25, 2020 with both Japanse and English language audio as well as English subtitles.


In contemporary reviews, Variety stated that the creature Gappa makes an "auspicious debut and reveals itself as "best monster" so far".[14] Variety concluded that "these are the only Japanese monsters one might like to see again" and that "Most effects are well done, a few superb" noting the destruction of Atami as one of the highlights.[14]

In retrospective reviews, Phil Hardy discussed the film in his book Science Fiction (1984).[15] The review complimented the film, noting that "the effects are excellent and the script is worthy of a witty children's comedy."[15] Stuart Galbraith IV described the film as an unauthorized remake of the 1961 British film Gorgo.[16] Galbraith described the human characters as "colorless reporters and scientists" and that "none of the actors is especially appealing."[5] Galbraith commented on Akira Watanabe's effects, opining that they were "okay but lack the perfectionist drive of Eiji Tsuburaya's work."[5]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Galbraith IV 1994, p. 314.
  2. ^ Galbraith IV 1998, p. 188.
  3. ^ O'Neill 1994, p. 235.
  4. ^ "In the Stocks". Red Dwarf. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Galbraith IV 1994, p. 146.
  6. ^ Galbraith IV 1998, p. 40.
  7. ^ Craig 2019, p. 261.
  8. ^ "大巨獣ガッパ" (in Japanese). Nikkatsu. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Galbraith IV 1994, p. 147.
  10. ^ Lee 1973, p. 156.
  11. ^ "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)". AllMovie. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  12. ^ Craig 2019, p. 15, 429.
  13. ^ "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)". AllMovie. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Willis 1985, p. 217: "Review is of 90 minute Japanese-language version previewed in Tokyo. Review dated April 11, 1967"
  15. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 262.
  16. ^ Galbraith IV 1994, p. 315.


  • Craig, Rob (2019). American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 9781476666310.
  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (1994). Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. McFarland. ISBN 0-89950-853-7.
  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (1998). Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films. Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-47-4.
  • Hardy, Phil, ed. (1984). Science Fiction. New York : Morrow. ISBN 0-688-00842-9.
  • O'Neill, James (1994). Terror on Tape: A Complete Guide to Over 2,000 Horror Movies on Video. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7612-1.
  • Willis, Donald, ed. (1985). Variety's Complete Science Fiction Reviews. Garland Publishing Inc. ISBN 0-8240-6263-9.
  • Lee, Walter W (1973). Reference Guide to Fantastic Films. Chelsea-Lee Books.

External links[edit]