Commentary Track

Attack of the Mushroom People – Matango (1963)

This week on The Spectator Film Podcast…

Attack of the Mushroom People or Matango (1963) 4.12.19
Players: Austin, Maxx

Commentary begins at 19:12

— Notes —

  • Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film Edited by Dawn Keetley, Angela Tenga — This is a truly special collection of essays. It’s amusing to think of a serious and insightful critical examination of the “Vegetable Horror” subgenre, but make no mistake: this is one of the most engaging and intelligent essay collections I’ve read on horror recently. I intend to finish reading this book. While this book doesn’t address Matango directly, a lot of what’s discussed still applies. This book is highly recommended to any fans of horror.
  • Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda by Peter H. Brothers — While informative on the film’s production and the various actors involved, I found this book’s chapter on Matango to be a bit lacking in substance.
  • Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, From Godzilla to Kurosawa by Steve Ryfle, Ed Godziszewski — A perfect introduction to Honda’a life and career. This is our recommended resource for learning more about this director. We’ll include some interesting passages from the chapter on Matango below.
    • “The 1950s malaise and the political protests that had begun the 1960s were by now largely forgotten. Upon taking office in 1960, Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda introduced his Income Doubling Plan, spurring rapid economic growth fueled by Western-style consumerism. An emerging middle class now coveted lifestyle items previously beyond reach, such as refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines, while more upwardly mobile citizens owned sports cars and expensive luxuries” (197).

    • “‘Around this time, there were people who started to be Americanized, or have a very modern lifestyle,’ recalled Honda. ‘There were rich people who sent their kids to school in foreign cars, that kind of thing. We tried to show that type of social background in this film.’ Honda was inspired by a headline-making story about thrill-seeking rich kids who took their father’s yacht far out to sea and had to be rescued. Early drafts featured characters mirroring the incident, spoiled young sons of the moneyed class” (197).

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