October 14, 2012
So…the latest word from kaiju fandom (the world of Japanese monster movies for you civilians) is that recently shipped copies of Media Blasters’ supposedly bare-bones DVD of Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) are frequently turning out in fact to be the super-deluxe-O version originally slated for release last fall. That version was put on indefinite hold after Media Blasters foolishly released another Godzilla movie, Destroy All Monsters (1968), chockfull of extra features not cleared by licensor Toho and their legal representatives.
You may recall genre historian Steve Ryfle and I recorded an audio commentary track for the special edition version of Megalon, one we were pretty happy with, considering the movie is quite bad, though almost lovable in a shaggy-monster sort of way. But Media Blasters’ bad judgement threatened all that, and what’s more it turned out to be a real challenge to extract from them the money they owed me for this work. (I was, for the record, eventually paid-in-full, though only after I went public with project manager Carl Morano’s endless, disingenuous empty promises and habitual lying, the likes of which make Mitt Romney look like Honest Abe Lincoln.
Now the extras-packed version has quietly slipped into the marketplace. All over the marketplace. I’ve heard people are finding copies at FYE, on Amazon, Import CDs, Best Buy, Amazon Marketplace sellers like MovieMars and elsewhere. Apparently it’s a crapshoot though the success rate for those searching for the Special Edition is pretty high, like 80%. The disc itself has a “CJ” logo not on the bare-bones version, but apparently the packaging is identical and makes no mention of these unauthorized goodies.
Although Media Blasters initially publicly insisted DVD (and possibly Blu-ray) discs of the Special Edition were never pressed at all, I’ve long suspected otherwise. Naturally, Media Blasters is now claiming they had no idea how these year-old pressed discs could possibly have slipped onto the market and, gee whiz, they know nothing about it. Right.
Will Toho sue? They ought to, assuming the extras were never cleared. It certainly appears that Blasters flagrantly, knowingly violated the terms of their agreement with Toho with regards to Destroy All Monsters a year ago then, in spite of everything that’s happened, audaciously tried to pull a fast one yet again with Megalon. As I told Steve the other day, they may be broke, they may be on the verge of total collapse, but chutzpah – that they have in spades.
When the Destroy All Monsters Blu-ray and DVD was released last year, Ed Godziszewski asked for copies he could take on a trip to Japan; he wanted to give them to the original Toho cast and crew members who generously gave of their time and helped make the release a little better. Media Blasters refused. They insisted they had none to give, zero, only to turn up at a convention later that week with boxloads to sell.
Like Ed, I’d like to get copies of the Megalon special edition disc to members of the cast and crew who helped Steve and I with the commentary – there were quite a few – but I’m not counting on Media Blasters’ coming through even for them.