Friday, October 13, 2017

Varan the Unbelievable, A Speed Bump in Japan's Post War Reconstruction

Just what is "Varan the Unbelievable"?  This is a difficult question as 1962's "Varan the Unbelievable" is about Obaki the devil monster. Directed by Ishiro Honda ("Godzilla"), but since Japan lost World War 2, and history is written by the victors, Jerry A. Baerwitz is credited with directing this film. Perhaps this film is a bargain basement version of "Godzilla," but don't fret...its still a terrific Japanese monster movie with a big dinosaur-thing marauding through island villages and the Japanese military.
General Douglas MacArthur, WW2 hero, was sent to Tokyo to supervise the reconstruction of Japan. He's not in this film. We get Commander James Bradley (Myron Healy) who supervised food contracts during the war. He is sent to a remote island to implement his new invention...a water purification system. Joining him is Anna (Tsuruko Kobayashi), his sultry Japanese bride. After ticking off the natives and using the Japanese army as crossing guards, Commander Bradley sets loose his experiment on a salt-lake on the island. It fails! You might say "EPIC FAIL," as it does drive Obaki the devil monster out of the depths.
Obaki is ticked. Faster than you can say "Sayanora," the poor-man's Godzilla destroys all the peaceful villages on the island and nearly eats Anna and Bradley. Instead of rescuing villagers, the air force is dispatched to save Anna and Bradley, allowing the villagers to be crushed by Obaki. Obaki isn't done as Japan is a very large country with many airports and cities. Battling the navy and more jet fighters, Obaki heads to mainland Japan.
Now that Obaki is threatening politically sophisticated city-folk, will the military find an urgency to stop it?  Would the air force have rescued Bradley and Anna if Anna was a homely Geisha-reject? Just how do you get "Varan the Unbelievable" from "Obaki the Devil Monster"? Okay, not "Godzilla," but definitely a pleasing monster movie.  Tokyo got General MacArthur and roared back after the war ended. The small remote island in this film got Commander Bradley and got wiped out. Even in post-war Japan, political influence eludes the common man.


  1. Never heard of this one, Christopher. Looks like pure B movie heaven. Nice review!

  2. I love it--Rubber Suit Goodness! So glad you are giving it a good review here. It's not well known--needs more fans. Happy F13.