Drive-In Mash-Up :: Out of Pollution’s Depths It Slithers! A Deathmaster Back from Beyond the Grave! (May, 1972)







When head Godzilla guru, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, took one look at Yoshimitsu Banno’s finished film he declared the first time kaiju director would never work for Toho again, decrying he had ruined the franchise. That’s being a little harsh, as I find Godzilla vs the Smog Monster to be a trippy, surreal mess of awesome — you will believe a monster can fly, folks. But! The lack of the “Save the Earth” American International dub on Sony’s otherwise fantastic DVD is a crime, and that’s why I will never, ever part with my old VHS copy. Also of note, I did not know that actor Kenpachiro Satsuma, who played Hedorah, the Smog Monster, had to have an emergency appendectomy during the production — while still strapped into the rubber suit! Wow. As for our sequel to Count Yorga, despite the fact that the villain died in the last installment, with no explanation for his resurrection, and the fact that it’s basically the exact same movie as the first, the brass at AIP were bound and determined to groom Robert Quarry as a replacement for Vincent Price as their reigning King of Horror. And, well, we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971) Toho Company :: American International Pictures / P: Tomoyuki Tanaka, Samuel Z. Arkoff / D: Yoshimitsu Banno / W: Yoshimitsu Banno, Takeshi Kimura / C: Yoichi Manoda / E: Yoshitami Kuroiwa / M: Riichirô Manabe / S: Akira Yamauchi, Toshie Kimura, Hiroyuki Kawase

The Return of Count Yorga (1971) Peppertree Productions Inc. :: American International Pictures / P: Michael Macready / D: Bob Kelljan / W: Bob Kelljan, Yvonne Wilder / C: Bill Butler / E: Laurette Odney / M: Bill Marx / S: Robert Quarry, Mariette Hartley, Roger Perry, George Macready, Craig T. Nelson

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