, also known as Matango, Fungus of Terror and Attack of the Mushroom People, is a 1963 tokusatsu eiga (Japanese "special effects film"). It was directed by Ishiro Honda, written by Takeshi Kimura based on the story "The Voice in the Night" by William Hope Hodgson (an adaptation credit is given to Masami Fukushima and Shinichi Hoshi, but Kimura threw out most of their contributions), and had special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya.

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.


When a japanese yacht is damaged in a storm, its crew and passengers (all fashionable and affluent early 60s types) make their way to a nearby island. The island is apparently deserted, though the castaways soon discover a beached research ship on the other side of the island. An examination of the ship, the insides of which are encrusted with a thick mold, soon reveals that it had an international crew which appear to be involved in radiation and fallout research. Despite this it seems that the crew survived for some time after the ship was beached, however there is no indication of their current whereabouts.

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.

DVD release

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.

Cultural references

Matango was the name of a villain who appeared in issues #103-109 of the Swamp Thing comic book. He is a dragon who rules the fungus kingdom.

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.

In the SNES RPG Secret of Mana, a town inhabited by mushroom-like monsters is named Matango. This can be seen as a reference to this movie.

Matangos are a kind of mushroom-like monster in the Game Boy Advance action RPG Shining Soul II by Sega.


Actor Role
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
Mitsuko Hayashi Dancer
Kakue Ishibanji Dancer
Haruo Nakajima Matango
Masaki Shinohara Matango
Koji Urugi Matango
Toku Ihara Matango


  • Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book (Longman Group Limited, 1985)

External links

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