Review of Matango (1963)

Moving picture, 89 minutes

Seen in 2013.

This review refers to the American dub, called Attack of the Mushroom People, which was made for television. I have not seen the Japanese original for cinema.

The name “matango” is a corruption of mamadango (ママダンゴ), used for the real-world hygroscopic earthstar species of mushroom in a dialect of Fukushima, a part of Japan where the mushroom is eaten in its juvenile state. The film is held together by the idea of the alien half-vegetable ecology, where mushrooms symbolize the mushroom cloud of an atomic bomb rather than the collapse of human civilization into barbarity (gathering food from the ground). The most interesting feature of the script is that this threat induces an apparently real happiness.

The script is based on The Voice in the Night (1907) by William Hope Hodgson. A sequel on a larger scale, in the vein of A Scent of New-Mown Hay (1958) by John Blackburn, could be great.

References here: The Parasite Murders (1975), “Salmonella Men on Planet Porno” (1977).

moving picture Japanese production fiction