The movie has developed something of a cult audience over the years; partly due to its bleakness and unusual themes, particularly when compared to other Japanese films of the same period.
The film was never released in mainstream American theatres, but probably did have limited exhibition in Japanese-American communities on the West Coast in its original language. When it was dubbed by American International Pictures in 1965, it was directly syndicated on 16mm color film to television as a TV-movie bearing the title Attack of the Mushroom People (the title is, in fact, placed directly over the original title painted on stone, part of which is cropped out of the image). With the advent of home video, used TV prints of this dubbed version found their way to well-established public domain dealers such as Something Weird Video, making it available for home viewing in Beta or VHS formats. It was at this time that it began developing its cult following and its reputation as an unusually disturbing film.
Although mushrooms are unusually plentiful on the island, the ship's captain warns the passengers not to eat them because of the danger of poisoning, and to concentrate on birds and turtle eggs. However, it is soon discovered that birds are afraid of the island and that turtle eggs are scarce. A small supply of canned food is found on the research ship, but this only buys the crew some time. Inevitably, members of the crew begin eating the mushrooms. In the meantime, they also discover that the crew of the abandoned ship hadn't vanished as completely as they'd originally thought.
Matango was issued on DVD by Media Blasters in the United States on March 15, 2005. The DVD featured a generous selection of extras, including commentary by the film's male lead Akira Kubo, production sketches, an interview with special effects team member Teruyoshi Nakano, and other features.
Three variants of full-scale Matangos appeared in some of the Hyperspace locations in the video game Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, which produced smaller, floating mushroom creatures for Godzilla and Mothra to destroy. If enough damage is inflicted to the large Matangos, they stop producing these creatures.
|Akira Kubo||Kenji Morai|
|Kumi Mizuno||Mami Sekimuchi|
|Hiroshi Koizumi||Aoyuki Sakuda|
|Yoshio Tsuchiya||Masoko Kasai|
|Kenji Sahara||Senzo Koyama|
|Hiroshi Tachikawa||Etsuro Yoshida|
|Miki Yashiro||Akiko Soma|
|Eisei Amamoto||Skulking Transitional Matango|
|Jiro Kumagai||Medical Center Doctor|
|Akio Kusama||Medical Center Doctor|
|Yutaka Oka||Medical Center Doctor|
|Kazuo Higata||Medical Center Doctor|
|Katsumi Tezuka||Medical Center Doctor|
|Keisuke Yamada||Mushroom Monster|
|Tokio Okawa||Mushroom Monster|