Frankenstein Conquers the World 

1965/2007

Doing the monster mash in this fondly remembered Toho film are Frankenstein's monster — or at least Japan's idea of such — and Baragon, the giant horned creature later to appear alongside Godzilla in "Destroy All Monsters."

As with most films in this genre and of the swingin' Sixties period, radiation figures heavily into the plot, which causes Frankenstein's monster —? actually a feral child with a disturbing elongated forehead —? to grow to gargantuan proportions, all the better to fight Baragon with.

Although cast in the tried-and-true "Beast A vs. Beast B" template, "Conquers" stands out among the crowd of kaiju pictures by being weirder than most. How weird? Try an experimental, expanding heart swiped by the Nazis on for size! And have a serving of self-mutilation for dessert, won't you?

Media Blasters gives the film a DVD release more extensive than one would expect, with two discs: one containing the original Japanese version, and the other housing the Americanized one. Purists be damned, I prefer the latter, since the dubbing adds a whole extra layer of kitsch to the pie. Extras include a couple of deleted scenes and trailers, including one that is presented amusingly as a quasi-news bulletin.

—Rod Lott

 

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Rod Lott

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