Reviews

  • Jun 29, 2021

    Produced by Daiei Film, this is the first film in a trilogy of movies that are all somewhat similar, made with different directors and the same crew, shot at the same time. Daimajin is a spirit that has been trapped inside a mountain who is struggling to emerge. As the villagers pray at a shrine, the evil Samanosuke slaughters the family of the area's leader, Lord Hanabusa, except for his son Tadafumi and daughter Kozasa, who are rescued by a samurai named Kogenta. As the children become adults, Samanosuke's power grows in the region and then decides that in order to have complete control of the people, they must smash the half-buried statue of Daimajin. The villagers begin to pray that the statue will come to life and save them. Director Kimiyoshi Yasuda also made several of the Zatoichi movies, while writer Tetsurô Yoshida would write all three of these films and one of my favorite kaiju movies, Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare. In the U.S., this movie was released as The Devil Got Angry, The Vengeance of the Monster, and Majin, the Monster of Terror. Speaking of the yokai, Takeshi Miike is making a sequel to his film The Great Yokai War which will be called The Great Yokai War: Guardians. Imagine my excitement when I learned that Daimajin is in this movie!

    Produced by Daiei Film, this is the first film in a trilogy of movies that are all somewhat similar, made with different directors and the same crew, shot at the same time. Daimajin is a spirit that has been trapped inside a mountain who is struggling to emerge. As the villagers pray at a shrine, the evil Samanosuke slaughters the family of the area's leader, Lord Hanabusa, except for his son Tadafumi and daughter Kozasa, who are rescued by a samurai named Kogenta. As the children become adults, Samanosuke's power grows in the region and then decides that in order to have complete control of the people, they must smash the half-buried statue of Daimajin. The villagers begin to pray that the statue will come to life and save them. Director Kimiyoshi Yasuda also made several of the Zatoichi movies, while writer Tetsurô Yoshida would write all three of these films and one of my favorite kaiju movies, Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare. In the U.S., this movie was released as The Devil Got Angry, The Vengeance of the Monster, and Majin, the Monster of Terror. Speaking of the yokai, Takeshi Miike is making a sequel to his film The Great Yokai War which will be called The Great Yokai War: Guardians. Imagine my excitement when I learned that Daimajin is in this movie!

  • Feb 08, 2019

    Daimajin represents something truly unique and original in the annals of cinema: the fusion of those two most quintessentially Japanese genres, the samurai period piece and the daikaiju eiga, or giant monster movie. More surprising than the juxtaposing of these two genres is that the film actually works quite well as an example of both. For most of the runtime the movie belongs firmly in the first category, as it tells the story of a feudal lord violently overthrown by his scheming chamberlain Samanosuke, his childrenâ(TM)s flight with their bodyguard, Kogenta, and their exile to the top of a nearby mountain said to hold an evil spirit, or Majin, sealed inside by an imposing statue of a god. Ten years quickly pass as the children grow into adults and the new lord cruelly exploits his unwilling subjects. When this finally becomes too much for the young prince to stand any longer, he and Kogenta begin preparations to start a rebellion and overthrow the evil Samanosuke. Sadly, their plan goes badly from the start, and both are soon captured, leaving the princess with no allies and no way of rescuing our heroes- except for prayers to the angry god within the mountain. Alright, the story is rather broad and predictably, but also quite compelling for all the care and skill with which itâ(TM)s told. The prince is as naive and cocky as they come, but in a relatable way. Kogenta serves well as the dashing, slightly grim hero. And the princess is so beautiful, serene, and utterly selfless that you canâ(TM)t help but sympathize with her plight. The imposing Gomi Ryutaro makes an even stronger impression as the villainous Samanosuke, leering and hamming it up not quite to the point of cartoonishness, but enough that we really want to see him get whatâ(TM)s coming to him. Moreover, the production values and filmmaking techniques are excellent throughout. This movie is filled with impressive sets and beautifully colorful and ornate costumes. There are well staged sword fights and impressive effects sequences, well before we get to the giant monster action. And the filmmakers have a real way with lighting and composition. When the priestess of the mountain god confronts Samanosuke, the scene is arranged simply, but is incredibly striking and dreamlike in the sharp contrasts between the characters and the surrounding shadows. The open scene in which dancers perform a sealing ritual against the Majin is equally dreamlike and rather unnerving as the dancers twirl around one another in their garish masks and costumes, flaming staffs held aloft. The effect is reminiscent of the fire festival from Hidden Fortress, only with more foreboding. So this would be an above average entry in the samurai genre even if it didnâ(TM)t have a giant monster. But thatâ(TM)s exactly what we get in the final act, when the evil Majin indwells the statue and proceeds to lay waste to the evil lord and his fortress. And this is when Daimajin truly comes into its own. The effects that bring the monster to life arenâ(TM)t just good, theyâ(TM)re outstanding for the time, easily on par with Tohoâ(TM)s best. The heavy, ponderous motions are exactly those you would expect from a statue come to life, yet filled with an unmistakable anger, while the consistent use of low angle shots give it an imposing stature well beyond its already impressive size. More impressive, the rear projection and other process shots are so good that the statue legitimately looks like itâ(TM)s in the same shot as the men itâ(TM)s fighting. Nor is it just the monster thatâ(TM)s impressive. Throughout the entire sequence the blood red sky and howling winds and clouds of dust straight from a Kurosawa production give it an even more ominous feel, as if the world itself is coming to an end, while a dramatic score by Godzilla regular Akira Ifukube lends it even greater tension. And when the monstrous god finally takes its vengeance on Samanosuke, the results are supremely satisfying. If this film has a real fault, itâ(TM)s that it is, at its heart, an old fashion morality play, and a somewhat predictable and heavy handed one at that. The story of the the tyrant oppressing the people, ignoring repeated warnings to repent, and receiving punishment from the gods could just as easily have been written in ancient Greece. And if the wrathful godâ(TM)s presence wasnâ(TM)t so keenly felt and frequently mentioned through the movie the ending would feel like one hell of a deus ex machina. But as it is, every part of the film is so well crafted, and the disparate elements combined in just such a way that it works wonderfully and stands as one of the greater achievements of Japanese cinema of the period. Itâ(TM)s a real shame that this film and its sequels have remained so obscure outside Japan.

    Daimajin represents something truly unique and original in the annals of cinema: the fusion of those two most quintessentially Japanese genres, the samurai period piece and the daikaiju eiga, or giant monster movie. More surprising than the juxtaposing of these two genres is that the film actually works quite well as an example of both. For most of the runtime the movie belongs firmly in the first category, as it tells the story of a feudal lord violently overthrown by his scheming chamberlain Samanosuke, his childrenâ(TM)s flight with their bodyguard, Kogenta, and their exile to the top of a nearby mountain said to hold an evil spirit, or Majin, sealed inside by an imposing statue of a god. Ten years quickly pass as the children grow into adults and the new lord cruelly exploits his unwilling subjects. When this finally becomes too much for the young prince to stand any longer, he and Kogenta begin preparations to start a rebellion and overthrow the evil Samanosuke. Sadly, their plan goes badly from the start, and both are soon captured, leaving the princess with no allies and no way of rescuing our heroes- except for prayers to the angry god within the mountain. Alright, the story is rather broad and predictably, but also quite compelling for all the care and skill with which itâ(TM)s told. The prince is as naive and cocky as they come, but in a relatable way. Kogenta serves well as the dashing, slightly grim hero. And the princess is so beautiful, serene, and utterly selfless that you canâ(TM)t help but sympathize with her plight. The imposing Gomi Ryutaro makes an even stronger impression as the villainous Samanosuke, leering and hamming it up not quite to the point of cartoonishness, but enough that we really want to see him get whatâ(TM)s coming to him. Moreover, the production values and filmmaking techniques are excellent throughout. This movie is filled with impressive sets and beautifully colorful and ornate costumes. There are well staged sword fights and impressive effects sequences, well before we get to the giant monster action. And the filmmakers have a real way with lighting and composition. When the priestess of the mountain god confronts Samanosuke, the scene is arranged simply, but is incredibly striking and dreamlike in the sharp contrasts between the characters and the surrounding shadows. The open scene in which dancers perform a sealing ritual against the Majin is equally dreamlike and rather unnerving as the dancers twirl around one another in their garish masks and costumes, flaming staffs held aloft. The effect is reminiscent of the fire festival from Hidden Fortress, only with more foreboding. So this would be an above average entry in the samurai genre even if it didnâ(TM)t have a giant monster. But thatâ(TM)s exactly what we get in the final act, when the evil Majin indwells the statue and proceeds to lay waste to the evil lord and his fortress. And this is when Daimajin truly comes into its own. The effects that bring the monster to life arenâ(TM)t just good, theyâ(TM)re outstanding for the time, easily on par with Tohoâ(TM)s best. The heavy, ponderous motions are exactly those you would expect from a statue come to life, yet filled with an unmistakable anger, while the consistent use of low angle shots give it an imposing stature well beyond its already impressive size. More impressive, the rear projection and other process shots are so good that the statue legitimately looks like itâ(TM)s in the same shot as the men itâ(TM)s fighting. Nor is it just the monster thatâ(TM)s impressive. Throughout the entire sequence the blood red sky and howling winds and clouds of dust straight from a Kurosawa production give it an even more ominous feel, as if the world itself is coming to an end, while a dramatic score by Godzilla regular Akira Ifukube lends it even greater tension. And when the monstrous god finally takes its vengeance on Samanosuke, the results are supremely satisfying. If this film has a real fault, itâ(TM)s that it is, at its heart, an old fashion morality play, and a somewhat predictable and heavy handed one at that. The story of the the tyrant oppressing the people, ignoring repeated warnings to repent, and receiving punishment from the gods could just as easily have been written in ancient Greece. And if the wrathful godâ(TM)s presence wasnâ(TM)t so keenly felt and frequently mentioned through the movie the ending would feel like one hell of a deus ex machina. But as it is, every part of the film is so well crafted, and the disparate elements combined in just such a way that it works wonderfully and stands as one of the greater achievements of Japanese cinema of the period. Itâ(TM)s a real shame that this film and its sequels have remained so obscure outside Japan.

  • Mar 07, 2017

    it's refreshing to see a different take on "giant monster" movies. i like the story, and the visual effect were really great.

    it's refreshing to see a different take on "giant monster" movies. i like the story, and the visual effect were really great.

  • Oct 17, 2015

    surprisingly very good love the samurai stuff

    surprisingly very good love the samurai stuff

  • Nov 05, 2014

    I can't even describe how good this film is! The acting is actually good, the set up is phenomenal, the use of Shadows and colors are beautiful...there's just so much to praise about this film but the best thing about this is the story and human drama. I wouldn't even consider this a giant monster film, it's an absolutely well executed drama that keeps you connected for the characters. Even the death of one character moved me so much because of the spectacular use of light and shadow, the music was pitch perfect during the minute or so as well. Heck the whole movie had a great score, I wouldn't of thought a Japanese film would have this much of a great soundtrack in 1966. I honestly can't recommend this movie more to anyone of any genre. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie NOW!

    I can't even describe how good this film is! The acting is actually good, the set up is phenomenal, the use of Shadows and colors are beautiful...there's just so much to praise about this film but the best thing about this is the story and human drama. I wouldn't even consider this a giant monster film, it's an absolutely well executed drama that keeps you connected for the characters. Even the death of one character moved me so much because of the spectacular use of light and shadow, the music was pitch perfect during the minute or so as well. Heck the whole movie had a great score, I wouldn't of thought a Japanese film would have this much of a great soundtrack in 1966. I honestly can't recommend this movie more to anyone of any genre. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie NOW!

  • Sep 24, 2014

    I didn't know quite to make about this one. The first two thirds of the film play out like a straight gangster movie (albeit in feudal Japan), but then then the kaijin arrives - a 15 foot soldier statue come to life who goes postal on the disrespectful villains. Then it gets fun. I'll try the sequels to see where this is going.

    I didn't know quite to make about this one. The first two thirds of the film play out like a straight gangster movie (albeit in feudal Japan), but then then the kaijin arrives - a 15 foot soldier statue come to life who goes postal on the disrespectful villains. Then it gets fun. I'll try the sequels to see where this is going.

  • May 17, 2014

    The focus of the movie is more about the degradation of the life conditions of the inhabitants of a Japanese smalltown under the evil reign of a Warlord who concocted a coup against the local Damiyo. Happily the mountain majin, a stone statue that comes to life, hunts the Warlord, eliminates him and destroys his whole army.

    The focus of the movie is more about the degradation of the life conditions of the inhabitants of a Japanese smalltown under the evil reign of a Warlord who concocted a coup against the local Damiyo. Happily the mountain majin, a stone statue that comes to life, hunts the Warlord, eliminates him and destroys his whole army.

  • Feb 16, 2013

    The first in a trilogy of movies about an angry stone statue that were (unbelievably) all released in 1966. While the diamajin plays an integral role in this first film, it doesn't make a move until the last 15 minutes. But that's okay because the movie builds and builds thanks to a engaging story of a warlord who overthrows a peaceful king. The daimajin finally exacts his revenge and it is very satisfying because the story paints the warlord as about as evil of a character as I can remember. The whole think is very predictable but it's a lot of fun once the statue comes to life. I watched the Blu-Ray release and it's really beautiful for a mid-Sixties release of an old Japanese monster flick.

    The first in a trilogy of movies about an angry stone statue that were (unbelievably) all released in 1966. While the diamajin plays an integral role in this first film, it doesn't make a move until the last 15 minutes. But that's okay because the movie builds and builds thanks to a engaging story of a warlord who overthrows a peaceful king. The daimajin finally exacts his revenge and it is very satisfying because the story paints the warlord as about as evil of a character as I can remember. The whole think is very predictable but it's a lot of fun once the statue comes to life. I watched the Blu-Ray release and it's really beautiful for a mid-Sixties release of an old Japanese monster flick.

  • Luke B Super Reviewer
    Feb 06, 2013

    The story may centre around Majin, a huge stone God, but he only comes to life in the very last sections of the film. The rest of the film builds up a human drama that sees an evil warlord take over the rule of a small town. This more humane touch means we are completely invested in the characters, which of course aids our enjoyment of the film as a whole. The film still looks absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful scenery and unrivaled lighting. When the matte painting skies come into play they look like daring artistic visions themselves. I was very impressed by the effects, as they are seamless in their integration with the general footage. Once Majin comes alive it's a brutal sequence that doesn't focus on giving us satisfaction over the destruction of evil. We still fear Majin and understand the kind of pain such drastic measures can result in. Certainly another jewel in the Kaiju crown.

    The story may centre around Majin, a huge stone God, but he only comes to life in the very last sections of the film. The rest of the film builds up a human drama that sees an evil warlord take over the rule of a small town. This more humane touch means we are completely invested in the characters, which of course aids our enjoyment of the film as a whole. The film still looks absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful scenery and unrivaled lighting. When the matte painting skies come into play they look like daring artistic visions themselves. I was very impressed by the effects, as they are seamless in their integration with the general footage. Once Majin comes alive it's a brutal sequence that doesn't focus on giving us satisfaction over the destruction of evil. We still fear Majin and understand the kind of pain such drastic measures can result in. Certainly another jewel in the Kaiju crown.

  • Nov 12, 2012

    Daiei decided to finally capitalize on the kaiju craze by adding a twist by setting it in period Japan, combining the Samurai genre with the Special Effects genre. The result was "Daimajin", a truly fun piece of work featuring folklore, destruction, and really great effects work. And as usual, the first one is the best one.

    Daiei decided to finally capitalize on the kaiju craze by adding a twist by setting it in period Japan, combining the Samurai genre with the Special Effects genre. The result was "Daimajin", a truly fun piece of work featuring folklore, destruction, and really great effects work. And as usual, the first one is the best one.