October 15th, 2012: Matango aka Attack of the Mushroom People

Cast and Crew: Ishiro Honda (Director); Takeshi Kimura (Screenplay); William Hope Hodgson (Story “A Voice in the Night“); Tomoyuki Tanaka (Producer); Eiji Tsuburaya (Special Effects); James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff (Presenters); Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Koizumi

What It’s About: Five passengers and two crewmen on a pleasure cruise shipwreck on a lonely island with limited food supplies.  In a ship’s log on an old research vessel they discover a warning against eating the only abundant local food source, mushrooms.  How long can the group hold out from eating mushrooms; and what is the secret of the strange figures they repeatedly see in the mist?

Why Watch it Today?: Today is one of the hard to pin down food based holidays that show up on many “On Today’s Date” calendars:  National Mushroom Day.  A fiction or not, it’s a perfect excuse to watch today’s film, one of the stranger Toho efforts whose choppy American edit haunted me for years after I saw it, like a strange fever dream that you can never quite remember the details of.

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