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‘Every Kaiju Movie ever made’: fan collecting and curation of the kaijū film

Rawle, Steven ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7908-8249 (2023) ‘Every Kaiju Movie ever made’: fan collecting and curation of the kaijū film. Frames Cinema Journal (21).

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The kaijū eiga has long had a noted place in cult film canons. It is considered a paracinematic experience par excellence (Sconce 1995, Mathijs and Sexton 2011), and has a privileged place within bad film canons (Medved and Medved 1979). However, since kaijū films have often fallen outside conventional mainstream distribution, generally in exploitation and low-budget cycles, there is often a fragmented picture of this horror/sci-fi sub-genre. For many audience members, it would be difficult to name many more kaijū than Godzilla or King Kong.

This feature article explores how kaijū fan communities play a key role in defining the kaijū film. Due to its fragmentation outside official distribution channels, fans play a key role in curating the kaijū film. Letterboxd lists of kaijū films can cover anything from the ‘classics’, Toho’s Godzilla films and other Japanese kaijū eiga, to collections of over 2000 works featuring giant monsters of every kind, covering everything from major studio movies to fan films. Rumours circulate among fans of lost classics, such as Tokyo 1960 (Teodorico C. Santos, 1960), a Filipino version of the original Godzilla film (Ishirō Honda, 1954), while digitised VHS rips of obscure Taiwanese films like War God (Zhànshén, Chan Hung-man, 1974) are shared online. Drawing on notions of fan labour and curation, the article examines how canon formation can be an ongoing process of collecting, sharing and validation that can completely disregard notions of quality but also draw attention to complex dynamics of national and transnational boundaries.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15664/fcj.v21.i0.2703
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Films
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8300

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