The Return of the X From Outer Space
If you've never seen the 1967 Japanese giant monster movie The X From Outer Space, then you've missed out on one of the most oddball daikaiju movies of all time. That oddball factor is due in tremendous part to its title monster, Guilala (pronounced Goo-La-La), being one of the goofiest looking movie monsters to ever grace the silver screen. If you've never heard of Guilala, well, just take a good look at it. Body wise, it looks like a cross between a chicken, a dinosaur, and The Michelin Man. Its head looks like the head of one of the monsters from Pitch Black if it were to be dried out like a raisin; then they add a chicken’s beak, Ultraman’s eyes, bobbling antennas, and whatever the hell that was on the head of Snork. The monster design is either hopelessly absurd or a work of cockeyed genius - perhaps both.
A little backstory for the uninitiated...
In 1967, Japanese movie studio Shochiku looked around at all the money rivals Toho and Daiei were making with their respective Godzilla and Gamera franchises and decided they wanted a slice of that giant monster pie. Their creation was Uchu Daikaijû Girara (Space Giant Monster Girara), which American International Pictures would later import and retitle its more famous moniker of The X From Outer Space.
Spawned from an alien spore brought back to Earth by some cosmonauts after they got buzzed in deep space by a UFO that looked a lot like an electrified hamburger, the monster Guilala would go on to do what every other giant monster does when in Japan before finally suffering a shaving cream covered demise and then shot back into outer space. The biggest knock against the film being it's particularly slow-going in the beginning since Guilala doesn't rear its goofy head until about the halfway mark. The X From Outer Space has pretty much been forgotten by all except for hardcore kaiju-philes like myself who love the movie because we love the endearingly silly monster it showcases. It would be Shochiku's first and last giant monster movie - until now.
SciFi Japan has translated breaking news from some Japanese movie websites to report that Guilala will be returning to the big screen later this year in the form of Guilala's Counter Attack: The Touyaku Summit One-Shot Crisis. How's that for a mouthful of a title?
Shochiku held a press conference the other day to announce the film and reveal a most appropriate director for this Guilala relaunch: Minoru Kawasaki. If you don't recognize Minoru Kawasaki's name then you've clearly never seen his gonzo rubbersuited comedy The Calamari Wrestler, about a Japanese pro wrestling squid man who ends up in the ring battling a rival boxing shrimp guy. Sadly, that's his only film to make it across the Pacific thus far. He's since gone on to make such wonderfully surreal film like Kani Goalkeeper (a rubbersuited crab man that plays goalie for a soccer team), Executive Koala (a Japanese businessman who is a humanoid koala bear), and last year he capitalized on the release of the big Japanese blockbuster disaster flick The Sinking of Japan with the spoof film Everything Sinks Except Japan. Kawasaki is vowing to shoot this daikaiju movie using the same low tech special effects used 40-years ago when the original film was made.
As far as the plot goes, the world’s greatest minds gather at the G8 summit in Touyako, Hokkaido, while a Chinese space craft crashes in the outskirts of Sapporo carrying the spores of the space monster Guilala.
Something tells me Guilala's Counter Attack: The Touyaku Summit One-Shot Crisis is going to be every bit as wacko as its title monster looks. Shooting is scheduled to begin in March with an autumn release already planned. You'll definitely be hearing more about this one from yours truly.
And for the record, Guilala was the title monster of The X From Outer Space, which co-starred Peggy Neal, who also starred in Terror Beneath the Sea with Sonny Chiba, who appeared in Aces: Iron Eagle 3 with Lou Gossett Jr., who also co-starred in Toy Soldiers with R. Lee Ermey, who appeared in Murder in the First starring Kevin Bacon. Yes; even Guilala is within six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
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