6.5/10
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Matango (1963)

Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 11 August 1963 (Japan)
Shipwrecked survivors slowly transform into mushrooms.

Director:

Ishirô Honda

Writers:

Takeshi Kimura (screenplay), Shin'ichi Hoshi (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Akira Kubo Akira Kubo ... Kenji Murai - Professor
Kumi Mizuno ... Mami Sekiguchi - Singer
Hiroshi Koizumi Hiroshi Koizumi ... Naoyuki Sakuta - Skipper
Kenji Sahara Kenji Sahara ... Senzô Koyama - Sailor
Hiroshi Tachikawa Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Etsurô Yoshida - Writer
Yoshio Tsuchiya Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Masafumi Kasai - Owner
Miki Yashiro Miki Yashiro ... Akiko Sôma - Student
Hideyo Amamoto ... Skulking Transitional Matango
Takuzô Kumagai Takuzô Kumagai ... Doctor (as Jirô Kumagai)
Akio Kusama Akio Kusama ... Police Personnel
Yutaka Oka Yutaka Oka ... Doctor
Keisuke Yamada Keisuke Yamada ... Doctor
Kazuo Hinata Kazuo Hinata ... Police Personnel
Katsumi Tezuka ... Police Personnel
Haruo Nakajima ... Matango
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Storyline

A group of pleasure-seeking young people are stranded on a mysterious island when their boat crashes. One by one they succumb to the lure of the deadly mushrooms. Written by Steve Hill <shill@harper.cc.il.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Attack of the Mushroom People See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

11 August 1963 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People See more »

Filming Locations:

Hachijôjima, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The effect of the growing mushrooms was done through the same means later used to create the "instant pudding" in Woody Allen's Sleeper(1973). See more »

Goofs

When Kasai shoots at Yoshida and Mami as he chases them off the boat, you can see the bullets ricochet off the ground before he fires a shot. See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits of the Japanese version are on animated sails. See more »

Connections

Featured in 42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

(untitled)
Performed by Kumi Mizuno
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the most beautiful and haunting fantasy films ever made
24 April 2005 | by fertilecelluloidSee all my reviews

MATANGO, directed by Ishiro Honda, is an exceptionally beautiful fantasy film from the mighty Toho. Bastardized for its American release, badly dubbed, retitled ("Attack of the Mushroom People") and afforded very little respect, its recent re-emergence as a special edition DVD confirms its place in the realm of fantastique cinema.

What makes this amazing film so effective is its seductively spare but intelligent screenplay, nightmarish atmosphere, serenely creepy score and stunning special effects. Tonally, it recalls underrated Japanese genre flicks such as "The Mistress in a Cave", "Horror of Malformed Men" and the delightful "Living Skeleton". Like the mushrooms the shipwrecked survivors of a pleasure craft are drawn to, it seduces us with its simple structure, pleasing taste and rich subtext.

The film operates on a number of thematic levels, but Honda's achievement is that he never allows the dense thematics to weigh the very human drama down. Like all classic stories of survival, human greed, envy, love and hunger are the engines of the conflict. The search for a state of being free of responsibility and consequences is the dream driving the conflicted.

It is of curious interest to me that the characters in this "uncharted island" fantasy include a Skipper, a Millionaire, a Professor, a First Mate and a Girl Next Door. Produced before "Gilligan's Island" debuted on American TV, it could surely be argued that this orchestration of characters was a template for Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of "Gilligan's Island".

A palpable sadness permeates the last twenty minutes of MATANGO, a sense of blinding melancholy that elevates it to a dizzying level of achievement.

MATANGO explores how we are all drawn to pleasures that we know may sign our death warrants while daring to suggest that death by pleasure is a demise more preferable to death without love.

Stunning.


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