The Fairy and the Devil. The monster footage itself, however, is taken from a much earlier Taiwanese fantasy film, 1971's Tsu Hong Wu. I'm not sure how successful of a film Tsu Hong Wu was, but it's apparent that its monster sequences were very popular with other Taiwanese filmmakers, as The Fairy and the Devil is not the only movie to have borrowed them. They also turned up in 1977's Sea God and Ghosts, and, for all I know, could've been pilfered by dozens of other Taiwanese film, as well.
In any case, I'm hoping to have a copy of Tsu Hong Wu to review in the coming weeks. In the interim I thought I'd cull a little bit of the information I've come across regarding other films of its type, in the process leaning heavily upon the hard work of other bloggers while I simultaneously type and huff multiple cans of air duster. Yay!
It would seem that Japanese-style giant monsters are a rarity in Chinese language cinema. However, I would have said the same thing about Indian cinema a while ago, and just look at how wrong I was about that. In any case, with the very notable exceptions of Shaw's The Super Inframan (great film, or the greatest film?) and Mighty Peking Man, most of those Chinese films featuring suitmation beasties that we do hear about seem to come from Taiwan. On this blog alone, for instance, we've already seen the swoon inducing giant octopuses of Little Hero, as well as Thrilling Sword's fearsome nine-headed serpent and demon Cyclops.
Still, despite my obviously heroic efforts in this area, I simply must tip my hat to Tars over at Tarstarkas.net, who, when he's not busy tormenting hate-mongering loonies, is doing the good work of sniffing out obscure monster movies from every corner of the globe.
For example, back in July, Tars gave us this post, in which he reviewed the 1970 Taiwanese children's film Young Flying Hero, which, while not a monster movie per se, does feature the above pictured -- rather anticlimactic, by the sound of it -- battle between a man-in-suit giant frog and an also man-in-suit goofy dragon. A number of people got pretty excited about Young Flying Hero back when it looked like we were never going to get a chance to see it. But now that it's become available on the gray market and has been revealed to be not quite the big kaiju smack-down that we were hoping for, it's lost its luster somewhat.
Fortunately, there are other Taiwanese giant monster films out there that really do seem to no longer exist, and are hence incapable of ever disappointing us. Just like pretend girlfriends! For instance…
Back in April, Tars posted pictures of an amazing collection of original promotional materials for Devil Fighter, a 1969 film directed by Young Flying Hero's producer Poon Lui (the man also responsible for the Shaw spy film Poison Rose, which was reviewed here last month). The poster for this batmonster-rich film shows up on eBay from time to time, but so far the movie itself is MIA.
And then there's 1976's War God, about a giant mythical hero defending Hong Kong against some gargantuan -- but also kind of adorable -- alien invaders. Once again, Tars posted an impressive collection of stills and promotional materials for the film, which can be seen here. Colin over at Kung Fu Fridays has also recently posted about the film, and in his comments section, one of his readers has referred to it as being directed by Chen Hung Min, the same man who gave us Little Hero. Try as I might, it's very hard for me to imagine this movie being anything other than awesome. And it looks like I may never be disabused of that notion, because, like Devil Fighter, War God has also so far proved impossible to find.
War God to prop up a faulty table leg. If that describes you, our operators are waiting for your call.
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