Saturday, September 17, 2011

Atragon: One That Grew On Me

                                          Atragon: One That Grew On Me


                                                                     Jay Agan

      In my younger days, I really got to hate this one.

      The early 70s were a time when Screen Gems' Shock Theater package was pretty much played out as TV stations had their pick of other horror/sci-fi selections. For some reason (cheep?) Channel 10 (WBNS Columbus, Ohio) got one or more crammed with these (then) execrable Italian, Spanish, & Japanese flicks. We could only get four stations (Cable wouldn't come out our way.) so I had to make do with 10s' Chiller Theater for my diet of the fantastic.

      Because of the above situation the 30s, 40s & 50s classics Famous Monsters of Filmland had me so hyped up over were few & far between. When one was on, it was usually as the second feature on Chillers' double bill for Friday night. I wasn't allowed to stay up late except on Friday/Saturday & only then for the first movie. The "good" folks at 10 had a nasty habit of putting the crappy one of the two on first thus the "classic" was out of reach (Today, a lot of these clinkers are considered classics & must sees!). I really got to hate Dan Imel & later Fritz the Nite Owl for that.

      One of these "cheezits" was Atragon. It was to Chiller Theater what Trouble With Tribbles was to channel 4s' (WLWC/WCMH Columbus, Ohio) Star Trek scheduling. PLAYED TO DEATH! I was something of a media snob & wanted only stuff from 30s to 50s. Foriegn films, especially Tohos' unbearable cheesiness of being, were too much for me. Atragon came to symbolize all that I then disliked in Japanese movies. The flick itself is draggy at times & the commercials certainly didn't help it any.

      Synopsis: Before the Mu Empire makes its' moves on Japan & the rest of the earth, it tries through covert means, to destroy its' only real opposition: Captain Jingujis' super submarine, Atragon. The captain is more interested in securing the glory of Japan until the bad guys snatch his daughter. Then it's a harrowing escape & a battle royal against Mu & their serpent/dragon god Manda. You know the Mu Empire is mean as the empress has a head of Chernobyl red hair to rival anything in anime.
      In 2005, I attended the Ohayocon anime convention at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus (I prepped myself the night before by watching Frank Capras' Know Your Enemy: Japan.). There, while fishing around for goodies in the dealers room, I came across a table selling live action films (There was a table next to it with a young lady YELLING out "We got yaoi!" every so often. Sheesh!). Scrabbling through a stack, I found Atragon. Not having seen it in over 20 years, I thought, "why not?" The price was right so I snapped it up.

      Big difference. Seeing something in color, widescreen, & NO commercials I actually got to liking it. Tsuburayas' spfx don't look so cheezy when viewed properly. From hated film to one liked. It's not a bad little time waster.

Article copyright © 9-17-2011 Jay Agan

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1 comment:

  1. Oh, mercy! I know those guys "Take some yaoi home to your mother!"

    Atragon is a sweet little Sat. afternoon flick. I have a copy. There is an OVA called Super Atragon, too!

    I recently discovered "Latitude Zero". Now THAT is a cheese-fest, but classy, with Cesar Romero, Joseph Cotten, and (of course) Richard Jaeckel! Amusing concept, very good effects (using high-speed cameras to give weight to it all. It doesn't look like plastic boats in a wading pool.)