Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

For the discussion of non-Toho monster media, tokusatsu franchises, and also for mixed discussion of Toho and non-Toho kaiju media.
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Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:07 am

I get a catalog from a video company called Sinister Cinema and have noticed that they've released a lot of Daiei's older films that are unavailable anywhere else. So far they've released The Invisible Man (1949), The Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly (1957) and most recently The Whale God (1962). These releases are all in Japanese with English subtitles. I've already bought the first two and intend to buy the third one soon. This seems to be the only way to get some of the more obscure tokusatsu films that I've heard of in a long time. Thoughts?

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that they've also got a two-disc special edition of Warning from Space (1956) which has the Japanese version with English subtitles and the dubbed American version. I've bought that one, too. [MOD SNIP]

UPDATE 2: I've also recently bought what seems to be the last one that I'm going to be able to get: Rainbow Man (1949), which was released in Japan a few months before The Invisible Man, released a little later in the same year. Again, it's in Japanese with English subtitles.

Added in 12 hours 32 minutes 8 seconds:
I've been thinking: is it possible that Sinister Cinema made a deal with Kadokawa to release their older, pre-Gamera films in America? No one else has done this until now and ever since I started getting their catalog a long time ago, they've never done anything like this before. I wonder... Also, their releases are all DVD-Rs and they aren't going to do Blu-rays. I called them on the phone once, talked to them and confirmed the latter point. They did say, however, that their films will play in any DVD player.
Last edited by mikelcho on Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:32 pm, edited 27 times in total.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby Vakanai » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:21 am

Never heard of any of these films. Has anyone seen the Invisible Man ones? I love the Universal films and a Japanese take sounds very interesting.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:22 am

Vakanai, in case you're interested, Toho made a similar film in 1954 called in English in Japan The Invisible Man. It was released in December 1954, but because Godzilla, released earlier in November 1954, eclipsed it in popularity, it was never released anywhere outside of Japan. This is still true to this day, as far as I know.

Also, in 1975, another Toho film that was going to be called The Invisible Man vs. the Human Torch (this project had no connection to Daiei's earlier 1957 film The Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly (1957), in spite of the similar-sounding titles) was planned but never made (see the Toho Kingdom Cutting Room section for information on that one). The project was written by Jun Fukuda and it probably was the project that he would've been working on at the same time that Ishiro Honda was working on a project that would eventually become Terror of Mechagodzilla. The only things that were done on Fukuda's project, though, were the script and some conceptual art.

Also, here's something you may not know: Rainbow Man and The Invisible Man (see my post from 4-4-18 below) are, most likely, the earliest surviving tokusatsu films known to exist. All other films of this type before them have, apparently, been lost both to time and because of World War II.

Finally, Daiei released two other invisible man films after 1957: The Invisible Demon (1960 (or possibly The Invisible Braggart, I still don't know which)) and The Invisible Swordsman (1970). However, it looks like Sinister Cinema isn't going to release these films before the end.

Added in 21 hours 36 minutes 8 seconds:
Did you get my last post, Vakanai?

Added in 9 minutes 32 seconds:
Since Kadakowa seems to be releasing a lot of their older films through this company, does anyone besides me hope that they get the Yokai Monsters trilogy next, since A.D. Vision Films seems to have lost them?
Last edited by mikelcho on Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:28 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby UltramanGoji » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:09 pm

These aren't official releases. They sell bootlegs and therefore it's not allowed to be discussed on this site.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby SpaceG92 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:56 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:These aren't official releases. They sell bootlegs and therefore it's not allowed to be discussed on this site.

+1/2

Arbok - Forum Rules wrote:The Discussion of Illegal Items...
Is permitted, provided the sources aren't revealed outside ---.

I did some research and apparently Sinister does do boots/copies as well as PD releases.

Going to prune the forbidden content in here this time and keep the thread open -

Keep it within forum rules and guidelines please.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:59 pm

Sorry about that, guys. I was just trying to tell people what I had. I must've almost overstepped my bounds in my excitement. It won't happen again, I assure you.

Added in 10 hours 12 minutes 32 seconds:
As I mentioned before, I think that it's possible that Sinister Cinema might have made an arrangement with Kadokowa to release these older pre-Gamera tokusatsu films in this country. I've been getting their snail mail catalog for years, and they've never done anything like this before-especially with obscure films like these that would profit no one to actually release at all (unless they knew exactly what they were and even barely guessed that there just might be a market for them, no matter how small it was) and that even the general public doesn't seem to know about, let alone the majority of fans like us. Also, no one out there seemed to even want anything to do with them, or even cared anything about them-until now. What I'm trying to say is, let's not be too hasty about this and simply deem this company guilty before at least giving them a fair trial. For all we know, it could actually be exactly as I've said here and therefore, these films just might be semi-official releases in the U.S. at best...and even semi-official releases are better than no releases at all. I haven't seen anyone offer anything like this before-not even bargain basement companies like, say, Mill Creek Entertainment or even (shudder!) Goodtimes Home Entertainment (and that's just the only two that I can think of off the top of my head right now). I'm just saying give them a chance, please. I've already ordered The Whale God for my Daiei collection and I've looked at Wikipedia's list of their filmography, so I think that this just might be the last one of this type that I need to get (except for possibly the Yokai Monsters trilogy, but that's another story altogether).
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby UltramanGoji » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:20 pm

They’re DVD-R’s, they’re bootlegs.

There’s nothing to debate, they are bootlegs plain and simple.

I don’t have a problem with bootlegs, but they are not official Daiei releases.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:21 pm

Here are all of the Japanese tokusatsu films from the Sinister Cinema catalog, if anyone is interested. All of them, or at least most of them, I think, are either from Daiei or Shintoho:


*Black Cat Mansion (1958)
*The Demon of Mount Oe (1960; Sinister Cinema lists in their catalog it as The Demon of Oe Mountain, but I'm using the title on the DVD cover sleeve)
*Devil's Flute (1979; widescreen edition)
*The Erotic Bride from Hell (1972; this one is from Nikkatsu)
*The Final War (1960; widescreen version; this is not the same film as Toho's The Last War (1961))
*Foul Play (1955)
*Four Hours of Terror (1959; widescreen version)
*The Ghost of Chibusa Enoki (1958)
*Ghost Cat of Otama Pond (1960; widescreen version)
*Ghost Cat of the Cursed Swamp (1967; widescreen edition)
*Ghost Story of Oiwa's Spirit (1961)
*Ghost Story of the Seven Wonders of Honshu (1957)
*The Ghosts of Kasane Swamp (1957)
*The Great Wall (1962; widescreen edition)
*The Haunted Castle a.k.a. Secret Chronicles of the Ghost Cat (1969)
*House of Terrors a.k.a. Satan's Pit (1965)
*The Invisible Man (1949; this is not the same film as Toho's The Invisible Man (1954))
*The Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly (1957)
*The Koga Ninja (1957; widescreen edition)
*Mighty Jack (1968; this one is from Tsuburaya Productions and is made entirely from two episodes (the first and sixth of a total of 13) of the TV show of the same name)
*Rainbow Man (1949; this one, I know now, is from Daiei)
*The Seven Faces of Bannai Tarao, Private Detective (1956)
*The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (1968; widescreen version; this one is also from Daiei)
*Time Slip (1977; widescreen version; this one is from Kitty Films, but was distributed by Toho)
*Warning from Space (1956; special two-disc version (this film is the only one in this list that is available as a two-disc special version containing both the Japanese version with English subtitles and the American version dubbed in English. It is also the only one in this list that has an American version dubbed in English; the others are all Japanese versions with English subtitles only (except for The Invisible Man, which also has English story cards in addition to English subtitles, The Final War, which has no English subtitles at all, Wind Velocity: 75 Meters, which also has no English subtitles at all, but instead has an English-language synopsis added into the DVD-R at the beginning of the disc and House of Terrors, in which the transfer was made from a widescreen print dubbed in Italian with English subtitles))
*The Whale God (1962)
*White Beast (1950)
*Wind Velocity: 75 Meters (1963; widescreen version)

The order, of course, is alphabetical and this list is current as of right now. All but the third one, the fourth one, the sixth one, the seventh one, the eighth one, the 15th one, the 18th one, the 19th one, the 20th one, the 22nd one, the 24th one, the 25th one, the 26th one, the 27th one and the 28th one are horror movies; the exceptions are sci-fi movies (the fourth, sixth, 18th, 20th, 24th and 25th ones), mystery movies (the third, seventh, eighth and 22nd one), a historical drama movie (the 15th one), a ninja movie (the 19th one), an action-adventure movie (the 26th one), an exploitation movie (the 27th one), and a disaster movie (the 28th one). Just wanted to let you know what's out there. Of course, I'm not saying that they're official releases, I'm just saying that they're out there. Do with this information what you will.

UPDATE: Greg Luce, the founder and owner of the company, will be retiring and/or possibly closing down the company by at least February or March of 2020, so if anyone wants any or all of these films, now's the time to get them while you still can.
Last edited by mikelcho on Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:22 pm, edited 70 times in total.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby MikeSTZillak » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:28 pm

Aren't the Gamera films and most of Daiei Films' pre-90's films public domain?
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby UltramanGoji » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:54 pm

MikeSTZillak wrote:Aren't the Gamera films and most of Daiei Films' pre-90's films public domain?


Not at all, but American distributing companies don't understand this and Daiei is powerless to stop them.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:41 am

That reminds me of another post here that said that the American versions of the first six Showa Gamera films are actually not in the public domain, yet most, if not all, distributors think that they are. Thus their constant re-release by practically anyone imaginable; even Sinister Cinema has them. Only the American versions of Gamera vs. Zigra and Gamera, Super Monster seem to have escaped this fate, though even I don't know how long that's going to last.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby Terasawa » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:31 pm

I believe the U.S. versions of select Gamera and kaiju films that would have slipped into public domain without copyright renewal (such as the AI-TV Gameras) aren't necessarily public domain due to international copyright law that protects foreign films. I'm not a lawyer and I don't know exactly how it works, nor can I provide a link to an explanation at present, but it was explained to me by a legal adviser while researching American releases of some of these films.

As for Sinister Cinema licensing from Kadokawa, that would be a no. The Daiei sci-fi films they offer are likely rips of the region 2 Kadokawa DVDs with fansubs. Before Sinister included these titles in their annual catalogs they had been available for a long time through private trackers (torrents, folks) specializing in genre content. In other words, you could get these same films with probably the same subtitles online for free years before Sinister was involved. In fact, I would wager that every deluxe foreign edition Sinister offers originally came from a foreign DVD or fanmade bootleg thereof.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:35 pm

Terasawa wrote:I believe the U.S. versions of select Gamera and kaiju films that would have slipped into public domain without copyright renewal (such as the AI-TV Gameras) aren't necessarily public domain due to international copyright law that protects foreign films. I'm not a lawyer and I don't know exactly how it works, nor can I provide a link to an explanation at present, but it was explained to me by a legal adviser while researching American releases of some of these films.

As for Sinister Cinema licensing from Kadokawa, that would be a no. The Daiei sci-fi films they offer are likely rips of the region 2 Kadokawa DVDs with fansubs. Before Sinister included these titles in their annual catalogs they had been available for a long time through private trackers (torrents, folks) specializing in genre content. In other words, you could get these same films with probably the same subtitles online for free years before Sinister was involved. In fact, I would wager that every deluxe foreign edition Sinister offers originally came from a foreign DVD or fanmade bootleg thereof.
Thanks for telling me this! I've always wondered how they actually worked all of this out and I didn't even know that they were previously available-until now.

Added in 1 month 11 days 20 hours 35 minutes 47 seconds:
One question: Who released Rainbow Man (1949)? That one and Enter the Invisible Man (also 1949) seem to be, as I mentioned above, the earliest tokusatsu films known to exist.

UPDATE: I just found out that Rainbow Man was released by Daiei.
Last edited by mikelcho on Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:16 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:13 pm

Since Rainbow Man was made by Shochiku, as I found out, I wonder why it wasn't included in Eclipse Film's box set When Horror Came to Shochiku? It seems like it would've fit right in with the other four films that were in the set.

UPDATE: I just found out that Daiei released it, not Shochiku.
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby Terasawa » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:22 am

I’m fairly certain that the Shochiku films they had were licensed as part of a deal for other films. (E.g. Criterion says they want titles A, B, C, and D from Shochiku, but Shochiku will only deal those if Janus grabs the four horror movies too.)
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:18 am

Terasawa wrote:I’m fairly certain that the Shochiku films they had were licensed as part of a deal for other films. (E.g. Criterion says they want titles A, B, C, and D from Shochiku, but Shochiku will only deal those if Janus grabs the four horror movies too.)
Okay, that explains it. Thanks.

UPDATE: This information is now inoperative (see above).
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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:12 pm

When you look at the above list of films, there's quite a variety to choose from! I wonder what Sinister Cinema will release next?

Maybe the Yokai Monsters trilogy by Daiei? Those films are definitely overdue for a re-release.

By the way, does anyone know who has the rights to this trilogy now that A.D. Vision Films is gone? Are they stuck in legal limbo somewhere, or did the rights just revert back to Kadokawa?
Last edited by mikelcho on Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby Jeff-Goldblum2 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:35 pm

Would love some new Yokai Monster DVD's. They are about $100 on ebay. I managed to pick up Spook Warfare cheaper but want the other two as well.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:41 am

mikelcho wrote:When you look at the above list of films, there's quite a variety to choose from! I wonder what Sinister Cinema will release next?

Maybe the Yokai Monsters trilogy by Daiei? Those films are definitely overdue for a re-release.

By the way, does anyone know who has the rights to this trilogy now that A.D. Vision Films is gone? Are they stuck in legal limbo somewhere, or did the rights just revert back to Kadokawa?
Since no one's tried to answer my question-I take it that the second part's true and that the rights to the Yokai Monsters trilogy reverted back to Kadakowa a long time ago.

At least I hope that they did.
Last edited by mikelcho on Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Daiei Films and Sinister Cinema

Postby mikelcho » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:23 am

Somewhere in here (I think) someone mentioned that Daiei made four invisible man films. Two of them I already have, thanks to Sinister Cinema, but I think that one, maybe both, of the other two involved an invisible samurai (or maybe more than one).

If anyone could tell me what the names of these two films are and when they were released, that would be great! Then I could see if SC has them in their catalog and then order them for my collection of Daiei tokusatsu films of the 20th century (specifically, 1949-1999 and involving kaiju, seijin and kaijin (i.e., monsters, aliens and mutants/mutates). Yokai (ghosts), other than the Yokai Monsters trilogy, I don't need or want)).

Please reply a.s.a.p.. Thanks.
Last edited by mikelcho on Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:06 pm, edited 8 times in total.


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