David Hall

Nicholas Driscoll: Kaiju Gaiden (which can be translated as "Strange Monster Side Story") includes the stories (told through interviews, clips, and photos) of many independent film-makers from Japan who have kept classic tokusatsu (special effects) techniques alive in films—especially man-in-suit giant monster movies! Filmmakers interviewed include such luminaries as Shizuo Nakajima, who directed Legendary Beast Wolfman vs. Godzilla, as well as Shinpei Hayashiya (best known amongst kaiju fans for Gamera 4: Truth), Masahiko Katto (Atragon 2, Rabbitman vs. Godzilla, Zeran), and Shinichi Wakasa, the monster-suit master who designed many monster suits throughout the 1990s and 2000s for Toho. These are just a sampling of the artists featured in the documentary, which will be quite the treat for Toho fans if it gets fully funded on Kickstarter! Please consider contributing to the Kickstarter campaign if you love classic kaiju films and want to support their continued creation overseas and everywhere!

Thank you so much for giving us this interview! Can you give us just a brief overview of what Kaiju Gaiden is and why it's really exciting for kaiju fans?

David Hall: Kaiju Gaiden is a documentary about indie movies, mainly the lost films so many fans have heard rumors about. The film's main segments are about LEGENDARY BEAST WOLFMAN VS. GODZILLA, directed by Shizuo Nakajima, and GAMERA 4: TRUTH, directed by Shinpei Hayashiya. We interview several other directors who are well-known and keep the tokusatsu art of film-making alive! You can see a whole list of people we have already interviewed if you check out the kickstarter.

Driscoll: There are a lot of fan films for Godzilla and kaiju and more on YouTube. What makes these films you are talking about so special? What are all the films you are going to be writing about?

A scene from the making of Rabbitman vs. Godzilla, wherein it appears Rabbitman (in full kaiju form) is about to engage in wild and silly combat with Godzilla.

Rabbitman vs. Godzilla was directed by Masahiko Katto as a parody of Legendary Beast Wolfman vs. Godzilla, which Mark Jaramillo helped to reveal to the world again recently after it was thought lost for many years.

Hall: Kaiju Gaiden is not about fan films. All of the films were made by people who regularly create and have been a part of well-known Kaiju Productions in Japan. Mr. Nakajima was an official Toho staff member and many of the staff were Toho employees when he started production. GAMERA 4 has a similar story. Mr. Hayashiya is well-known in Japan and was allowed to begin production on the film with permission. Everyone in the film is connected and that's what makes it beautiful, the world of tokusatsu filmmakers is a very tight-knit community that takes its job seriously.

Driscoll: I understand that you have already conducted many of the interviews and other preparations. What will the Kickstarter campaign be paying for if it is a success? What will happen if you don't get the funding?

Hall: Until now, this film was financed by both Mark Jaramillo and myself. We had to pay for an amazing crew to go to Japan, and now need to edit the film, as well as give the films an HD treatment. At this point we have bared as much as we can but we need the fans' help for funding and saving these films. Without funding, this movie will not get released. It took a lot of convincing from me to allow kickstarter, and I urged many of our interviewees that the fans really do care. I feel I did something unique by asking people to contribute to a production that is already in the works, rather than asking people to fund only an idea.

Driscoll: Okay, the biggest question that everyone really cares about: Will you include any of the films in the documentary? Is there any chance we can get to see Gamera 4: Truth released with the documentary?

The eponymous monster from Masahiko Katto's Zeran attacks a Japanese city.

Zeran, which was labeled in Japan as the unofficial sequel to the kaiju classic Rodan (1956), will be included in its entirety as a special feature with Kaiju Gaiden if the documentary is fully funded!

Hall: here will be many clips in the documentary, as well as an amazing story that we now have captured for all fans! For the documentary's release, I can tell you that certain movies will be released as special features. I'll announce one for now: The full film, ZERAN, by Director Masahiko Katto, will be available as a bonus feature. It is a fantastic film that boasts some amazing shots and incredibly detailed miniatures. Hmm, how should I say this without giving too much more away... I can tell you there will be more chances to see GAMERA 4: TRUTH for sure!

Driscoll: Thank you so much again for the interview, and I really wish your project the best! Is there anything else you would like to say at this point?

Hall: It has been at least twenty years since something like this has happened for the Kaiju fandom. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us. We have to show the Japanese we really do care about Kaiju and tokusatsu if we want more films. We have built a trusting relationship with these directors and artists who not only allowed us to interview them, but handed us their works, and trusted me to tell their story and represent their intentions. This will be the ONLY documentary where you can see and hear the films for yourself. Thank you everyone for their continued support. Toku for Life.

A scene from the making of Rabbitman vs. Godzilla The eponymous monster from Zeran.
A riveting scene from Masahiko Katto's Space Girl Myu, in which the titular heroine is menaced by a mysterious bipedal beast! Another perilous sequence from Masahiko Katto's Space Girl Myu. To learn more about this film and many others, consider contributing to Kaiju Gaiden on Kickstarter!
Model buildings being constructed for one of Masahiko Katto's intricate tokusatsu films.


David Hall is the director and a producer of Kaiju Gaiden, a documentary currently in production which you can contribute to online via Kickstarter. For Godzilla fans and, more generally, fans of Japanese tokusatsu of all kinds, this project is particularly exciting. David Hall, along with fellow producer Mark Jaramillo, have worked for years to track down obscure kaiju and special-effects driven independent projects and bring them to the attention of a wider audience.

Date: 11/07/2014
Interviewer: Nicholas Driscoll


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