Sci-Fi December: Yongary, Monster from the Deep

Yongary illustration by Jeff SchwartzbauerYongary, Monster from the Deep – 1967

Dir: Ki-Duk Kim | Starring: Jeong-im Nam, Yeong-il Oh, Sun-jae Lee

Year: 1967

Review: Japan (and NYC) may live in fear of Godzillas arrival, but when in South Korea you gotta keep your eyes peeled for Yongary. Don’t look to the oceans or far out into space but under your feet, because deep down is where Yongary sleeps in a warm gravel beddy-bye. But when bombs fall in the Middle East it must have knocked a photo off the wall and conked ol’ ‘Gary in the head and woke him up – and he’s quite upset. Korea’s answer to the monster movie isn’t anything that you haven’t seen before, but you could be fooled in the first few minutes when there is some delightful editing and direction that will make you think this is like Mike Nichols (The Graduate) answer to the monster movie genre, but all of that quickly falls to the wayside and things get pretty standard. If you are like me you watch one of these rubber suit monster films every 8 years, so while I did enjoy it, I can tell its nothing special that will suddenly make me a devotee of the genre. Yongary wobbles around (he’s very wobbly) miniature recreations of Seoul landmarks and knocks stuff over, stamps on tanks, eye-ball laser beam blasts a few plans and jeeps in half, and just sort of wrecks shop for an evening or two. A scientist and his nephew discover his weakness and tackle him head on. This is where the most memorable/horrifying moment of the movie happens, it concerns Yongary’s defeat so consider this a —

SPOILER WARNING

The whole family flies up in a helicopter and dumps ammonia on Yongary until he passes out on a shore line and just slowly twitches and bleeds out until he expires. Its horrifying.

END SPOILER

So, if you haven’t seen a rubber-suit monster movie in a while, give this one a whirl and have some fun. Its got plenty of confusing things to crinkle your brow at and lots of matte painted cloud formations for Yongary to swat at RC Jets infront of, etc.

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