Friday, January 29, 2010

"Why is it called YOG anyway?"

Adapted from the article originally presented in OWARI #1 (October/November 1995).

"Why is it called YOG anyway?"

That question came up periodically back in those halcyon days before Toho's "international" version of the same movie, SPACE AMOEBA, superseded the AIP-released YOG - MONSTER FROM SPACE. It's a good question, too. After all, the monsters were actually named Gezora (cuttlefish), Ganime (crab), and Kameba (turtle). They were mutated by something referred to as "Astro-Quasars" in the dubbing. In fact, the name "Yog" is seemingly the only one never used! What's the deal?

Here's my theory : American International had already pre-booked a movie called "Yog - Monster from Space" to theaters, and that project subsequently fell through. Not wanting to lose a buck, AIP scrounged about for a movie that might vaguely connect with that title and discovered they had the rights to Toho's 1970 film ゲゾラ・ガニメ・カメーバ 決戦! 南海の大怪獣 (Gezora · Ganime · Kameba - Kessen! Nankai no Dai Ketto - "Decisive Battle! Giant Monsters of the South Seas"). A little creativity on AIP's part and VOILA! YOG - MONSTER FROM SPACE is born!

Believe it or not, something like this has been documented with another movie and another company. Independent International promised a movie entitled "Blood of Frankenstein" for 1971. This didn't pan out, so they took Paul Naschy's 1968 Spanish Wolfman flick LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO ("Mark of the Wolfman") and tagged it with the highly deceptive moniker FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR! Only an added prologue provided even a slight connection to the Frankenstein legend.

Did the movie that Toho marketed as the English-dubbed SPACE AMOEBA outside of Japan meet the same fate as Naschy's epic? I don't know, but that's the best idea I've ever managed to muster as to how AIP's newly redubbed theatrical release of it came to be called YOG - MONSTER FROM SPACE.

(Tip of the cap to David McRobie of Xenorama for suggesting this article for re-presentation in his recent blog entry on YOG - MONSTER FROM SPACE/SPACE AMOEBA.)