Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ice Giant and Ice Men Sketches

Following up from my last post regarding the unmade movie "Gamera vs. The Ice Men from Outer Space", this was my first attempt at The Ice Giant, and again, based it on some educated (if not realistic) guess work.
My First Attempt At The Ice Giant.
The Ice Giant creature is deliberately humanoid, so I could easily ignore the wild design choices of Gamera's other Showa-era foes, with a more straightforward build. I also took cues from both Daimajin and Daiei's Yokai Monster films, in regard to minor effects make-up that would allow for the suit actor's eyes to be visible.

This choice made the Ice Giant quite monstrous, while keeping it to something that could still be easily constructed by 1966 movie monster terms. And in addition, invoked the style of traditional Japanese fantasy and monster art, despite the character being inspired by the Frost Giants of Norse mythology.

I really like this first design, but based on that last fact alone, I decided to do another take on the Ice Giant that would be more in tune with the Frost Giants...
My Second Try At The Ice Giant.
Egad, was that a bad idea!

Now this design is supposed to be full-blown actor make-up, like the title monsters from "War of the Gargantuas" (1966), but with the actor's face far more visible than the aforementioned movie beasts.

It's very true to the mythological Frost Giants, but at the same time, pretty lame for a Japanese movie monster. Or at least a Japanese movie monster from the sixties, as opposed to the strange, simplistic make-up effects from earlier films of the fifties and thirties. Like the pre-Godzilla era film "King Kong Appears In Edo" (1938), where in those two decades at least, this sort of design would have made much more sense.

In theory this should have worked, but again, its very weak compared to the design that came before it. Plus, why is he trying to drown a sea fairing turtle like Gamera? I know I drew this blasted thing in a creative haze, but seriously, what the heck ME?

Ice Man and Miscellaneous Designs.
I decided to try my hand at the second design once more, believing that the main fault lied with the head and face. The second attempt at a slightly less human-like Ice Giant is good, but also not all that great.

There's also an alternate take for the first Ice Giant design's head, and although it's cool looking (pun not intended), it comes off too much like Guiron's knife shaped cranium. Not to mention being way too elaborate for a 1966 Japanese fantasy film.
Also seen above is my take on the alien Ice Men themselves; again, it may be too elaborate for the sixties, but it follows the original concept quite closely, and it does look way too good for me to dismiss easily.

I'm guessing the Ice Men could only have been executed around this time through puppets, and tried to incorporate such a lifeless weirdness to their already grotesque forms.

I couldn't help myself from throwing in some humor to the sketch, since the Ice Man seen here really is a nasty looking piece of work, who would probably be more at home in one of Gojin Ishihara's wonderfully twisted illustrations, than a Daiei science fiction epic.


Realistically however, Daiei may have come to the conclusion that the Ice Men, as they were originally imagined, would be too extreme, both in their construction and operation on set. Or at least, far more extreme for audiences tastes at the time (the Japanese kids would have loved it though).

So the Ice Men may have ended up more human looking in the final film, had it ever been completed, minus some icy white skin and related uniforms, done with minimum effort. This purely hypothetical idea of mine and mine alone, is very similar to the alien races featured in other Kaiju Eiga around that same time, namely the Xillians of "Invasion of the Astro-Monsters" (1965).

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