Today’s Selection: Demon of Mount Oe (1960, dir. Tokuzo Tanaka)
Subgenre: Historical fantasy
Available from: Fansub-only
When Iwakura did a set of candy-trading figures back in 2005, many collectors in the west were confused as to what the rhino-bull monster packaged with Asagi’s pendant from Gamera was. Turns out, the monster (kypgyu) was one of a handful of creatures (including a flying demon head and a giant spider) that show up in the Daiei jidai-geki picture Demon of Mount Oe (or Oeyama Shuten Doji), a rare 1960s Japanese effects film which has never gotten an English-language release (actually, another movie from the same director, Whale God, suffers this fate as well). The movie, based on the eleventh-century Minamoto no Yorimitsu and his associated legends, is heavy on samurai action and nobility-based melodrama, so, much like the studio’s later Daimajin series, it would make a good segue for effects fans to watch with their higher-brow, historical-epic-loving buddies, and is at least as easy a sell for the Criterion crowd as Princess from the Moon.