Frankenstein Conquers the World
, known in Japan as Frankenstein vs. Subterranian Monster Baragon
, is a kaiju film released in 1965 by Toho
. It stars Kumi Mizuno, Nick Adams, and Tadao Takashima (who played Sakurai in King Kong vs. Godzilla
). It was directed by Ishiro Honda
, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, and music by Akira Ifukube
. It was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka and Henry G. Saperstein, and was written by Takeshi Kimura and Reuben Bercovitch. It was distributed in the United States by American International Pictures, and was recently released on DVD in the US by Media Blasters, under their Tokyo Shock label, as a two-disc set containing three versions of the film.
During World War II, the heart of a Dr. Frankenstein is transported from Germany to Japan, where it arrives in Hiroshima. On the day that it arrives, however, the United States drops the atomic bomb on the city. Almost twenty years later, a vagrant child is found by doctors at a hospital in Hiroshima. The child soon draws interest when he begins growing, and soon becomes larger than a car. Eventually, the child becomes the size of a building, and escapes from the laboratory, but not before losing a hand. Studying the hand, scientists and doctors find that the boy posesses surprizing regenerative qualities. After doing some investigating, it is discovered that the boy is actually the result of Frankenstein's heart regenerating after being exposed to the radioactivity of the city's bombing in 1945. The boy is subsequently named Frankenstein.
Meanwhile, offshore, an oil rig is struck by what is believed to be an earthquake, but one of the surviving workers sees something monstrous moving underground. Later on, people and animals start disappearing all over the Japanese countryside, and a small village is soon attacked. Frankenstein is initially blamed for these disasters, and the JSDF begins hunting Frankenstein throughout the forests of Japan. Meanwhile, when the scientists go looking for Frankenstein to try and prove his innocence. They are attacked by the subterrarian monster Baragon, a dinosaur that has survived underground. The JSDF stop attacking Frankenstein after the true culprit is revealed, and Frankenstein soon engages Baragon in battle, eventually killing the monster after the forest has been set on fire. In the international version, Frankenstein then attacks a giant octopus after defeating Baragon, but he is overpowered and dragged into the ocean, his fight with Baragon having weakened him. In the Japanese and American versions, Frankenstein falls victim to an earthquake when the ground collapses beneath him and he is swallowed by the Earth.
This film contains examples of the following:
- Breath Weapon: Baragon can shoot fire out of his mouth.
- Chairman of the Brawl: Dr. Bowen hits Frankenstein with a chair when he starts acting out of control, and seemingly threatens Sueko.
- Digital Destruction: The Media Blasters reconstruction of AIP's cut is a half-digested, poor representation of the theatrical cut. All of the exclusive footage is missing (because Toho doesn't seem to have them on hand in 'scope for some bizarre reason), the location titles are badly recreated, several lines are missing, and the AIP logo at the end is absent among other oddities. This is mostly because Media Blasters had to work off of the atrocious '80s UPA video master of the film, however. The earthquake ending was also only available in LD quality for some reason.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Baragon is a dinosaur who's species has somehow survived into modern times, much like Godzilla and other kaiju.
- From a Single Cell: In conjunction with the nuclear example below, Frankenstein grew from a heart into a whole person after being exposed to radioactivity, and this ability would later be passed onto his successors, Sanda and Gaira.
- Gentle Giant: Frankenstein counts after he's grown to the size of a house.
- It's still a good idea not to mess with him.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Averted. Baragon is never successfully attacked by the military, so no one really knows how impervious he may or may not be. Frankenstein, however, is vulnerable to tank fire, but he posesses a regenerative healing ability.
- Helping Hands: The scientists manage to lose Frankenstein's severed hand when it crawls away on its own.
- I Love Nuclear Power: It can cause the hearts of Swiss scientists to grow into mutant children, for one.
- Motherly Scientist: Sueko is this to the ever-growing Frankenstein.
- Neck Snap: Frankenstein finishes his fight with Baragon by snapping its neck.
- Non Indicative Name: Frankenstein doesn't conquer the world, he just tries to find sanctity from the world.
- Pet the Dog: Sueko occasionally does this to Frankenstein, which is heart-warming at best.
- Recycled Soundtrack: Varan vs. the Patrol Boat Uranami, from Varan, the Unbelievable, was reused and modified here as the piece that plays when Frankenstein's heart is being transported from Germany to Japan. Additionally, Varan vs. the Fighter Bomber Neptune was reused as the Tank Corps' march.
- Revised Ending: Originally, the film was intended to have 2 different endings depending on where the film was distributed. The main ending that the film has today was meant to ONLY be shown in Japan. The second ending, which was intended for the U.S., involved have Oodako (the Giant Octopus from King Kong vs. Godzilla) appear shortly after Frankenstein kills Baragon and would have been the one to kill Frankenstein by pulling the giant into the water and drowning him. However, the ending was consider more anti-climactic than the actual ending, and so it was cut in favor of the ending now.
- Tragic Monster: Frankenstein certainly counts, although he seems more like a John Steinbeck character than anything.
- What the Hell, Hero?: At one point the two (male) scientists taking care of Frankenstein decide to test his regeneration by slicing one of his arms off!