The film world was saddened today by the death of Baragon, the popular Japanese movie monster, or kaijin (literally, “strange beast”, which makes my cat a kaijin too). Baragon, the 100ft high tunnelling monster, made his screen debut in 1965, battling the Frankenstein Monster in FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD, and was an instant hit with audiences. He seemed to combine the insouciance of Mothra with the versatility of King Ghidora and the raw animal physicality of a young Gregory Peck.
Although Baragon officially retired from acting in 1997, he was always happy to sign autographs for fans. Living quietly on Monster Island with his longtime partner Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, he would relax by playing golf or taking photographs. An exhibition of his nudes was a critical success in 2002.
Today, colleagues paid tribute to the giant fire-breathing dinosaur, remembering his humour, his charity work, and his ability to pound cities into dust. “He was always so powerful on the screen, but in real life, he was a sweet, gentle fellow, always considerate towards new talent,” said Hedora the smog monster.
A spokesman for Toho, the studio where Baragon spent his career, said, “Baragon was a great actor and a great kaijin. We should honour his memory by thinking of his contribution to motion picture history.”
Accordingly, here are some stills from Baragon’s 32-year career, with subtitles translating his dialogue, for the first time, from guttural roars into English.
“They call me MISTER Baragon!”
“Because I wanted him, do you hear me? Because I WANTED him!”