The Big Escape

Unmade Film
Intended Release:

Conceived by:

Koji Tanaka,
Hideichi Nagahara

The Big Escape

Japanese Title

[Oinaru Tobo]

A NAMC YS-11 airliner crashes on a reportedly uninhabited isle among the Tokara Islands. Called Snake Stone Island, the location is actually a secret bio-weapon testing area.

Alerted to the incident, self defense force troops arrive at the crash site. However, rather than save the passengers they begin to slaughter them. The horrific massacre claims almost all those previously aboard the YS-11 airliner, except a photographer named Ryuzaki. Now the only survivor and witness, Ryuzaki attempts the biggest escape of his life as he is pursued relentlessly on the island.

Background - Images - Concept Evolution


Based on the work by author Koji Tanaka, this would have been the second story of his to be adapted by Toho. The first was Conflagration (1975), which hit theaters a few months after Koji Tanaka penned this story. Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974) director Toshio Masuda was tapped to direct the production, who also previously worked as a writer on Conflagration. The producer was to be Tomoyuki Tanaka.

Adapting the story to a screenplay fell on writer Hideichi Nagahara's shoulders. Nagahara, who would go on to write The Return of Godzilla (1984), submitted his first draft of the screenplay on August 19th, 1976. This dark screenplay, befitting of the story's subject matter, seemingly never made it to a second draft. It is currently unknown what factors led to the production never being made.

Background and Trivia

  • Note that the release year of 1977 is estimated based on when the first draft of the screenplay was submitted. Being done in August 1976, it's likely at least one more draft would have been requested. Even if that second draft was turned around in a month, it's unlikely that the movie would have completed production for release in only a couple months.
  • Based on the 1975 novel of the same name by author Koji Tanaka, which was re-released in 1978 (ISBN 4041419077).
  • The story was adapted into a manga in 1983 by Yoshioka Michio, long after the movie production was no longer being pursued.