Atragon is a 1963 Toho picture about a super submarine and the lost continent of Mu. It's called 海底軍艦, Kaitei Gunkan or Undersea Warship in Japan. It's based on a series of Japanese adventure novels. It's directed by Ishirō Honda, written by Shinichi Sekizawa, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and music by Akira Ifukube. The Mu empire has existed under the sea for the last 12,000 years. They have built a large and somewhat advanced society that now has designs on the surface world. A Japanese WWII Captain has been building his own super powered submarine in an isolated location since the end of the war. He wants to use it to restore the Japanese Empire. We follow some reports, police and spys around as mysterious things happen. The Captain's sub is revealed about the time the MU intentions become known and they use it to attack Mu. There's lots of destruction both on the surface and in the undersea kingdom. There's even a large dragon monster that looks pretty neat. The Muians have some dancing and singing along with colorful costumes and great big sets. The model work is pretty nice, which is amazing since the movie had three months from the time the script was turned in and the movie was released. They had to create everything and get it on film in a huge hurry and you can't tell for the most part. I'm watching the Tokyo Shock dvd that came out several years ago. I also have a fan subtitled widescreen version that came from Video Dakaiju. Before the TS dvd that was all you could get. The Tokyo Shock dvd has a nice widescreen print, Japanese and English audio and English subtitles. There's a commentary by chief assistant director Koji Kajita and a trailer. For some reason I've not liked this movie as much as I do some of the other Toho science fiction movies. I don't find the characters that likeable but it's still watchable and entertaining for the most part.
Now Matango is one of the Toho movies that is a favorite. This 1963 film is called マタンゴin Japan and is also known as Matango, Fungus of Terror or Attack of the Mushroom People. I had a bootleg vhs tape, then a bootleg dvd and finally I bought the Tokyo Shock dvd. It's directed by Ishirō Honda, written by Takeshi Kimura and the effects are by Eiji Tsuburaya with music by Sabeo Bekku. The screenplay is based on a William Hope Hodgson story called The Voice in the Night. We start the movie with a guy in a psych ward telling some doctors about the sailing trip where all his friends died. They were sailing and their boat is damaged during a storm. A few days later the boat drifts near an island and they go ashore. They explore the island and it's a really pretty place. They find a deserted ship that's covered with fungus. Maybe they can clean it up and sail away. They work a bit to clean it up and find some food. That food doesn't last too long. Strange things happen and tempers flare. They start fighting amongst themselves. Some start eating the mushrooms on the island and at first they're fine. Later they turn into mushroom people like the crew from the ship they found. It's pretty dark and bleak and highly entertaining. There's some nice scenery and the sets are great. Not everyone's cup of tea but worth seeing. The mushroom people are pretty goofy and they translate to toys well.