Related by the very thing they thirst for – Blood.

I’m fond of this film’s original Japanese title, Frankenstein’s Monsters: Sanda versus Gaira (フランケンシュタインの怪獣 サンダ対ガイラ Furankenshutain no Kaijū: Sanda tai Gaira). The original Japanese cut of this film is far superior to its US counterpart.

KFNExpert Tohosaurus weighs in on one of Toho’s darker, more ambitious films:

war_of_the_gargantuas1War of the Gargantuas is a movie that stems from another somewhat dark-themed monster movie, 1965’s Frankenstein vs Baragon. Even from the beginning it has a sort of dark theme, with a sinister looking Gaira attacking Oodaku (giant octopus). As Gaira thoughtlessly devours people, you’re tempted to cringe. But the hero gargantua, Sanda, brings another piece into the story. It becomes a battle of brothers, one dark and evil while the other is for all intents and purposes good and pure.

This isn’t your average monster movie, but in a lot of ways that’s a good thing. It is, however, one of those dark, near-horror style films that Toho produced in the 50s and 60s, such as 1954’s Godzilla or 1958’s H-Man. The more human like nature of the gargantuas draws the viewer in and in turn draws out more emotions.

warofthegargantuas4It’s worth mentioning that although the film is a direct sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World, almost all of the relationship between the two films is edited out of the American version, leaving a lone comment on the main protagonist discussing a ‘hand’ he’s been studying. That would be Frankenstein’s hand. Another thing mostly edited out of the American version is the more romantic relationship between the doctor and his assistant. You get that kind of vibe even in the edited region one release of the movie nonetheless.

If a lot of the campy 1960s or 1970s Godzilla films don’t do it for you and you want something darker, more serious, near-horror, War of the Gargantuas is for you. It’s a great film with the only real weak point being lack of character development. You don’t really care even when they’re in danger, but otherwise there are few faults. I wouldn’t even mind if Toho decides against ever creating a remake of the film, because its quality even roughly a half-century later is superb, and they probably wouldn’t capture the spirit of the original, much like other classics such as King Kong (1933) or Godzilla (1954).

war-of-the-gargantuas2Looking outside of this specific film, I’m actually glad they elected not to place the gargantuas in a Godzilla movie (Toho originally had written up some loose plans to make a “Godzilla vs Gargantua(s)” for a 1978 theatrical release). In the 60s and especially by the 70s, Godzilla had become campy and “fun”. While there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, bringing a gargantua would weaken their story much like the campy Godzilla films greatly weakened Godzilla’s (1954) reputation as a dark horror movie. Both monsters have their place, just not together.


– Tohosaurus


  1. There was an octopus scene (yep, that again!) It was filmed but cut out from the japanese print
    by TOHO. wish they kept it in there!

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