Yongary: Monster from the Deep

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Yongary: Monster from the Deep
Yongary 1967 Poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Hanja 용가리
Revised Romanization Taekoesu Yonggary
McCune–Reischauer Taegoesu yonggari
Directed by Kim Ki-duk
Written by Kim Ki-duk
Seo Yun-sung
Starring Oh Yeong-il
Nam Jeong-im
Music by Jeon Jeong-Keun
Cinematography Byeon In-jib
Keukdong Entertainment Company
Toei Company
Distributed by AIP-TV (USA)
Release date
  • September 28, 1967 (1967-09-28)
Running time
80 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget ₩13 million[1][2]

Yongary: Monster from the Deep (Hangul대괴수 용가리; RRTaekoesu Yongary; lit. Great Monster Yongary), is a 1967 South Korean/Japanese Romantic comedy monster film directed by Kim Ki-duk and featuring special effects by Kenichi Nakagawa. The film was made to rival the success of Godzilla and featured the same style and techniques of special effects filmmaking used in Godzilla films and other Kaiju films utilizing suitmation and miniature sets. The Japanese production company Toei helped co-produce the film with Keukdong Entertainment.The film was released direct to television in the United States by American International Television in 1969 as Yongary, Monster from the Deep. The film spawned a reimagining in 1999 that was just as much a cash-in on last year's American Godzilla.


In Newton,New Jersey, a bomb is set off that creates massive earthquakes. Meanwhile in South Korea, the young couple Ilo and Sona have just gotten married when Ilo is called upon to pilot a space capsule in order to investigate the bomb site. The earthquakes begin to occur in South Korea, caused by a giant Ceratosaurus named Yongary, who makes his way to the oil refineries where he consumes the oil. Icho, Sona's mischievous brother, turns off the refineries' oil basins; Yongary, enraged, starts attacking until a chemical explosion at the refinery proves to have an effect on him. Yongary and Icho then have a playful moment. A helicopter shows up to fight Yongary and Ilo rescues Icho. Yongary follows them to Seoul, where he kidnaps Icho and the South Korean government then uses oil to draw Yongary to the Han River, where they kill him with a refined version of the ammonia compound. Icho, mourning the loss of Yongary, prompts Ilo to say, "We had no choice about this."


Keukdong Entertainment Company employed staff from Equis Productions and Daiei Film's special effects staff to helm the film's special effects.[3] Masao Yagi, who built the Godzilla,Gamera and King Kong suits for Toho and Daiei, supervised the construction of the Yongary suit. Director Kim Ki-duk found that the suit lacked terror and looked more feminine than he expected and was disappointed with the final results but proceeded to film with the suit since there was no time or money to produce a new suit. Lee Byoung-woo, the film's associate producer, acted as an intermediate between the South Korean filmmakers and the Japanese staff and helped train the South Korean staff in the special effects techniques used by the Japanese crew.[1][2]

Principal photography began on April 3rd, 1967 while the special effects photography commenced on April 6th with Kyun-Cho min,the woman inside Yongary performing , her payday was ₩100,000 ($400 in USD). The special effects took three months to shoot and were filmed in two studios in Seoul. The miniatures and models cost ₩5 million ($20,000 in USD), the 12 constructed sets cost ₩7 million ($27,000 in USD), and the Yongary suit cost ₩1.2 million ($5,000 in USD).[1][2]

English version[edit]

For its release in North America, Keukdong Entertainment Company sold the film to American International Pictures and released it under the new title Yongary, Monster from the Deep through their television division in 1969. AIP attached Salvatore Billitteri to supervise the English version's post-production and had the film dubbed by Titra Studios. Infamously, when the film was being sold overseas, the producers (due to a lack of experience) shipped all the original materials, including negatives. As a result, the original South Korean version of the film has been deemed lost and the AIP-TV English version is the only version of the film that survives. The film was shown regularly during the '70s on syndicated television. U.S. ownership of the film kept changing: AIP was picked up by Filmways, Inc. in 1979, which merged with Orion Pictures, which was later acquired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1997.[1][2]


The film opened in Seoul on September 28, 1967 and sold 110,000 to 150,000 tickets during its theatrical run, which was a success for the film at the time due to a low amount of cinemas in the country (550 screens total) and the population at the time being 25 million.[2]


In the United States, the original film is now widely available on DVD in various budget-DVD packs and single budget DVDs. MGM released the original Yongary, Monster from the Deep as part of their Midnite Movies series on September 11, 2007. It is paired as a double feature with the giant ape film Konga (1961).[4] James Owsley, a former Director of Technical Services for MGM, could not find the original South Korean negative, and believes that it may no longer exist.[1]

Due to the original prints having been lost, the film became unavailable on television and home media in its native country for 44 years until it was broadcast on television for the first time on June 19, 2011; however, it was the English dub version of the film that was broadcast with Korean subtitles taken from the film's original Korean script.[2]


Film scholar and critic Kim So-Young published an essay in 2001 in which he noted that just as how the evacuation and destruction scenes in King Kong reminded American audiences of World War I and the scenes in Godzilla and Gamera reminded Japanese audiences of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the evacuation and destruction scenes in Yongary similarly reminded Korean audiences of the Korean War. Young also addressed the film's themes of masculinity and femininity, stating that Ilo and the his wife Sona are "tested to prove their masculinity and femininity throughout the story" and alludes to the country's crisis of masculinity and femininity at that time. Young also asserted that Icho is the real hero of the film, as both a mirror image of Yongary and a symbol of Korea's future. He also points out that the story is a gender-reversed version of King Kong.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Aiken, Keith (September 20, 2007). "YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP on MGM DVD". Scifi Japan. Retrieved January 15, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Audio commentary by film historian Steve Ryfle & writer/critic Kim Song-ho - Yongary, 2015 Kino Lorber Inc. Blu-ray release
  3. ^ Ragone, August (January 28, 2015). "RIDDLE OF "YONGARY, THE GREAT MONSTER"! Could Toei Possess Original Korean Elements?". The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla. Retrieved January 15, 2016. 
  4. ^ Fangoria - America's Horror Magazine Archived August 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.


  • Milner, David (1995). "Yongary - Monster From The Deep". Cult Movies. 13: 16. 

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