Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Terasawa » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:55 am

The short answer is that Orion's Smog Monster was mastered from 35mm elements and recorded in SP mode while Simitar's EP release was derived from a bad 16mm source. What makes it more complicated is that the 16mm and 35mm versions of Smog Monster are different and so too are the two video releases.

Banno used lot of text as an expository tool in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, much more than in any previous Godzilla movie. There's Japanese text in the animated segments, "captioning" Dr. Yano's lectures, and so on. For the U.S. release, AIP removed just about all of that without actually deleting any footage. The animated segment with Hedorah drinking from an oil tanker was modified so "ヘドラ" in the factory exhaust now read "Hedorah" (possibly "Hedora"). Textless elements were used for Yano's lectures and Ken's poem. AIP also carefully recreated the map of Godzilla and Hedorah's battle zone in Fuji City and filmed a new shot of that map with English translations. (You can see the modified English segments in this video.)

For some reason, 16mm prints of AIP's version didn't use any of those modifications. The Hedorah animation is the same as in the Japanese version, although it's pan & scanned so the Japanese characters are obscured until the last moment. The lectures aren't textless anymore, although Ken's poem still is. The battle zone map is in Japanese again. This last shot is interesting because in the Japanese version the focus shifts from the map to the news anchor sitting at a desk. Obviously that anchor isn't visible in the newly filmed AIP footage, however, Titan's dubbing perfectly matches the anchor's lip flaps, confirming they dubbed that shot and not AIP's replacement. The other changes to AIP's versions (credits, logos, and the removal of the replacement of the "Great Wave"/"And Yet Another One?"/Hedorah rising from the deep ending with "The End" and a black frame) are present in both 35mm and 16mm sources.

The other notable thing about Orion's transfer is the aspect ratio. The main title is letterboxed and the opening credits are squeezed and slightly letterboxed as well. The rest of the film is squeezed to 4:3 from a ratio between 1.66 and 1.85. I don't know why Orion did this. The 16mm source of the Simitar tape is a more conventional early TV pan & scan job.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:57 pm

Terasawa wrote:The short answer is that Orion's Smog Monster was mastered from 35mm elements and recorded in SP mode while Simitar's EP release was derived from a bad 16mm source. What makes it more complicated is that the 16mm and 35mm versions of Smog Monster are different and so too are the two video releases.

Banno used lot of text as an expository tool in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, much more than in any previous Godzilla movie. There's Japanese text in the animated segments, "captioning" Dr. Yano's lectures, and so on. For the U.S. release, AIP removed just about all of that without actually deleting any footage. The animated segment with Hedorah drinking from an oil tanker was modified so "ヘドラ" in the factory exhaust now read "Hedorah" (possibly "Hedora"). Textless elements were used for Yano's lectures and Ken's poem. AIP also carefully recreated the map of Godzilla and Hedorah's battle zone in Fuji City and filmed a new shot of that map with English translations. (You can see the modified English segments in this video.)

For some reason, 16mm prints of AIP's version didn't use any of those modifications. The Hedorah animation is the same as in the Japanese version, although it's pan & scanned so the Japanese characters are obscured until the last moment. The lectures aren't textless anymore, although Ken's poem still is. The battle zone map is in Japanese again. This last shot is interesting because in the Japanese version the focus shifts from the map to the news anchor sitting at a desk. Obviously that anchor isn't visible in the newly filmed AIP footage, however, Titan's dubbing perfectly matches the anchor's lip flaps, confirming they dubbed that shot and not AIP's replacement. The other changes to AIP's versions (credits, logos, and the removal of the replacement of the "Great Wave"/"And Yet Another One?"/Hedorah rising from the deep ending with "The End" and a black frame) are present in both 35mm and 16mm sources.

The other notable thing about Orion's transfer is the aspect ratio. The main title is letterboxed and the opening credits are squeezed and slightly letterboxed as well. The rest of the film is squeezed to 4:3 from a ratio between 1.66 and 1.85. I don't know why Orion did this. The 16mm source of the Simitar tape is a more conventional early TV pan & scan job.

Noted. I just snagged a collection with the Orion VHS on eBay, so I'm glad it's from the 35mm source. For whatever reason I had it in my head that the LD was from the 35mm and the VHS was from 16mm, which doesn't make much sense, but that's what I thought I'd read.

One last thing -- do you know if the '80s Paramount tapes were SP? I love the cover art and if they're good tapes then that's even better.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Terasawa » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:23 pm

omgitsgodzilla wrote:One last thing -- do you know if the '80s Paramount tapes were SP? I love the cover art and if they're good tapes then that's even better.


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These 1983 and 1989 Paramount tapes are SP. So were the Vestron releases of KOTM and Rodan. The later Paramount/Gateway releases with the cartoony art were SLP although apparently Paramount also sold their back stock of the '83/'89 vs. Mothra, vs. Monster Zero, and TOMG SP tapes with the mid '90s sleeves as well.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:45 pm

Gotcha. Those are the ones I meant; somehow I find the later designs with the Hinomaru motif on the back a lot less appealing.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Goji » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:42 pm

While on the topic of the Paramount VHS, it should be noted that I actually have come across an EP copy of their '80s "Godzilla vs. Mothra" release, but they seem to actually be kind of rare. I have two copies of each of the '80s Paramount releases (vs. The Thing, Monster Zero, and TOMG), and was originally going to sell the extras, but then I realized that not only was one the VS. Mothra tapes in EP mode, the '83 and '89 releases have slightly different packaging. It's extremely minor (mostly just has to do with a Paramount logo being plastered on one of them, and not the other)..but being the diehard Godzilla VHS collector that I am, even that makes them worth holding onto, haha.

I will admit, that I can't recall if it was the '83 or '89 release that was EP, but I'd be happy to pull it out and double check, if it makes it easier for you to track down the SP copies (Paramount does actually have the year listed on all of their '80s releases, albeit in different locations depending on if it's the '83 or '89 tape).

I have also found an SP mode version of the '92 Paramount/Gateway VS. Mothra tape in an '89 box..! Which is super random, considering I bought it brand new at a Border's Books in the late '90s, and that the Paramount/Gateway tapes SP tapes were seemingly not available in retail. It's one of the oddest combinations I've found, considering it wasn't a second hand copy, and came straight from their warehouse.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:31 pm

My copy of the '83 Paramount tape is SP mode. (By the way, I think the biggest difference between '83 and '89 is the barcode on the '89 version's spine, although as you mentioned, Goji, the copyright notices are different on both as well.) Does anyone have a copy of the '89 tape in SP or SLP/EP? My guess (and it's just a guess) is that the '89 release was offered in both SP and SLP (as Paramount called EP) speeds.

Goji wrote:I have also found an SP mode version of the '92 Paramount/Gateway VS. Mothra tape in an '89 box..!


I'm trying to understand you here... the cardboard sleeve was the '89 version but the tape was the '90s version? Do you mean the contents of the tape (with the Paramount and Gateway logos) or just the horizontal label on the face of the cassette?

The '90s versions of TOMG, vs. Mothra, and vs. Monster Zero were offered in SP mode from Paramount, at least according to this sweet 1995 "Godzilla's Greatest Hits" promotion. As I mentioned in the previous post I think this was probably just Paramount cleaning out the warehouse and slipping whatever '80s backstock they had in the mid-90s artwork, although for all I know they might have sold the SP tapes with the older artwork. I don't know if these were available in retail, this might have been a special order situation.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Joseph Goodman » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:01 pm

Interestingly (to people like me), that art of Godzilla blowing out the birthday cake was previously used in the 80's for a 30th Birthday promotion... I remember grabbing one from a video store years before I actually saw any Godzilla movies!

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:53 pm

Joseph Goodman wrote:Interestingly (to people like me), that art of Godzilla blowing out the birthday cake was previously used in the 80's for a 30th Birthday promotion... I remember grabbing one from a video store years before I actually saw any Godzilla movies!


Here's that earlier promotion in all its glory.

I think the $24.95 srp in 1985 was probably pretty reasonable back then. It's equal to $58.37 today.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Joseph Goodman » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:47 pm

Thanks for posting that. Yeah, 1985 was when many tapes were still $59.99, or more. While I won't fully stand behind the veracity of memories from when I was six or seven years old, I remember the version of that flyer I had as being a gatefold magazine-sized pamphlet, with synopses of the films inside. I've never seen that version pop up on Ebay, if it actually existed.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:02 pm

If you do happen to find out which is in which mode, I'd be very interested to know. I do have an SP copy of the film thanks to the Simitar box, but I also got an '80s Paramount copy just because I enjoy the cover.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby KaijuKing1998 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:21 pm

:freak: Well frankly I have been trying to get a DVD collection off the ground. But I cant find a American DVD of Frankenstein vs Baragon for less then 30$.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Mr. Yellow » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:46 pm

KaijuKing1998 wrote::freak: Well frankly I have been trying to get a DVD collection off the ground. But I cant find a American DVD of Frankenstein vs Baragon for less then 30$.


Heh, I'd been looking for one for a while and local media store just actually got a used copy in for $10. I lucked out. Also found a copy of Varan and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. All within a week of each other.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:00 pm

KaijuKing1998 wrote::freak: Well frankly I have been trying to get a DVD collection off the ground. But I cant find a American DVD of Frankenstein vs Baragon for less then 30$.


You likely won’t. $30 is a fair price for that set, considering the wealth of special features and the fact that it’s a two disc set. I’d say jump on it now before it gets even higher.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Mr. Yellow » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:09 pm

I lucked out as mine came with both discs and even all the paperwork inside lol
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:37 am

I wonder if prices always shot up when things went out of print; if there was a time between 2002 and 2006 when the Simitar discs were going for like $50.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:33 am

omgitsgodzilla wrote:I wonder if prices always shot up when things went out of print; if there was a time between 2002 and 2006 when the Simitar discs were going for like $50.


I couldn't tell you exactly what they were going for secondhand but they absolutely were expensive because that was the only way anyone in the U.S. could watch digital widescreen transfers of Godzilla vs the Thing, Monster Zero, and Godzilla's Revenge. As I recall, the Tokyo Monsters DVD reviews at that time even discouraged fans from hunting down the Simitar releases for high prices because even in ~2004 they weren't very good DVDs. (Neither were the first Toho R2 releases that were getting 5 star reviews at that site but that's beside the point.)

And in general I think it's always been like that. The lousy SLP War of the Gargantuas VHS was being sold on eBay for ~$50 up until the Classic Media DVD release. Copies of Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster on VHS still sell higher than they should because that U.S. version isn't available on DVD. The true value of those old tapes is much less but there's demand for those films or alternate versions that aren't on DVD and Blu-Ray and that's how sellers are able to get away with it. And because fans keep giving in to those prices.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:31 pm

Terasawa wrote:As I recall, the Tokyo Monsters DVD reviews at that time even discouraged fans from hunting down the Simitar releases for high prices because even in ~2004 they weren't very good DVDs. (Neither were the first Toho R2 releases that were getting 5 star reviews at that site but that's beside the point.)


I haven't read the old reviews but is it possible they were given such high ratings because of the special features included (assuming they have the same SD extras that are on the current Blu-Rays)?
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby MaxRebo320 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:21 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:
Terasawa wrote:As I recall, the Tokyo Monsters DVD reviews at that time even discouraged fans from hunting down the Simitar releases for high prices because even in ~2004 they weren't very good DVDs. (Neither were the first Toho R2 releases that were getting 5 star reviews at that site but that's beside the point.)


I haven't read the old reviews but is it possible they were given such high ratings because of the special features included (assuming they have the same SD extras that are on the current Blu-Rays)?

Nah, from what I recall, each section (Video, audio, extras) were all given individual grades, and Ballard always rated R2 video highly (Even objectively terrible ones like KKVG) , probably due to the mere fact they were Japanese releases and therefore better in his eyes.

I've noticed the Classic Media releases have skyrocketed in price too, but really, if you've been a fan for a long time and haven't bought them by this point, that's your problem.
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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:59 pm

Yeah, Max is right. You can look at some of the old reviews at the Internet Archive, including this review for the Toho R2 Mothra vs. Godzilla.

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Re: Godzilla/Kaiju General Releases Thread (Ask questions here!)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:39 pm

It seems like Godzilla fandom in general has gradually gotten more discerning. The video quality on the Classic Media DVDs is by and large nothing too special, since most of them just port the R2 transfers, but TK raved about the Astro-Monster DVD and gave fairly high marks to the others IIRC, probably just because they were such an improvement on what had gone before.
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