Hidden Horror- “Mantango: Attack of the Mushroom People”

Matango_1963_posterWhen it comes to legendary Japanese movie company Toho your mind instantly goes to Godzilla, however Toho made several other great films that are often overlooked. “Mantango Attack of the Mushroom People” is the perfect example, gaining a reputation and became a cult classic, though nowhere as popular as the Godzilla franchise.

The film opens on a guy going to a mental hospital to see a psychiatrist who may be crazy, but his story is even crazier. The psychiatrist tells the man what happened to him and it plays out on screen. Some people aboard a yacht run into a bad storm. The storm ends eventually and the people aboard it venture onto an island that seems to have no inhabitants. Their ship is damaged from the storm so they have no choice but to look on the island to search for some food. They discover a huge forest full of large mushrooms. They decide not to eat them as they may be poisonous, although they have no other source of food. They also find that no animals are on the island at all either. And to make matters worse they find the remains of another ship that appears to have crashed there. Eventually the people aboard the ship give into starvation and begin eating the mushrooms and the results are hideous…

Despite the weird title and concept this film is a great flick. Even if the plot sounds kind if campy, it is not as if this film isn’t a dark movie with a serious tone. It is also directed by legendary Toho monster/ Godzilla director Ishiro Honda and it features special effects by Eiji Tsubraya, who was behind all the visual effects of Toho’s classic films from the mid ’50s to late ’60s.

This film is an adaption of a story called “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hogdson. The story has been adapted a few times and this film is by far the best adaption of it. This film gets pretty tense at some moments as the characters begin to get paranoid and angry at each other, and they eventually break down as the film progresses and give into the temptation of the mushrooms.

Lately this film has became hard to find at a reasonable price, but if you do buy this film it is worth the price. It is not very often a film can take a campy/cheesy sounding subject matter like mushroom people and make it a dark and serious film. And this film is just a pretty unique and cool movie. If you want an outside of the box horror film this is for you, or if you love Toho or Godzilla films you will defines love this film.

-Dakota Bailey

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