Frankenstein Conquers the World

Frankenstein Conquers the World

Infobox Film
name = Frankenstein Conquers the World

image_size =
caption = Theatrical poster for "Frankenstein tai Chitei Kaijū" (1965)
director = Ishirō Honda
producer = Tomoyuki Tanaka Henry G. Saperstein
writer = Reuben Bercovitch
Takeshi Kimura
narrator =
starring = Nick Adams
Tadao Takashima
Kumi Mizuno
music = Akira Ifukube
cinematography = Hajime Koizumi
Sadamasa Arikawa
editing = Ryohei Fujii
distributor = Toho
flagicon|USA American International Pictures
released = August 8, 1965
flagicon|USA July 8, 1966
runtime = 94 min.
87 min. (USA)
country = JPN
language = Japanese
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by = "War of the Gargantuas"
website =
amg_id = 1:92291
imdb_id = 0059205

"Frankenstein Conquers the World", released in Japan as nihongo|"Frankenstein Tai Chitei Kaijū"|フランケンシュタイン対地底怪獣|Furankenshutain Tai Chitei Kaijū|lit. "Frankenstein Versus Subterranean Monster" and Toho's official English title is "Frankenstein vs. Baragon", is a tokusatsu kaiju/horror film produced in 1965 by Toho Company Ltd. This film features a Japanized version of the Frankenstein Monster, who becomes giant-sized to fight a giant subterranean monster, Baragon.

This was also the first of three Toho-produced films to star Hollywood actor Nick Adams, who starred in two other films: "Monster Zero" and "The Killing Bottle". While American critics usually look down on the late actor's appearances in these films, American tokusatsu fans still think Adams to be the best, most charismatic foreign actor to appear in any Japanese genre film.


The prologue is set in World War II, circa 1945. Nazis break into the laboratory of Dr. Reisendorf and confiscate the heart of the Frankenstein Monster, which he was busy experimenting on. The Nazis travel by submarine to the Pacific. The Allied Forces then bomb their submarine, but not before the Nazis pass the heart (contained in a locked chest) to the Imperial Japanese Navy, who take it back to Hiroshima to be experimented on. But just as they were about to begin, Hiroshima was bombed by the Allied Forces, and the heart was lost . . .

15 years later, a savage boy runs rampant in the streets of Hiroshima, catching and devouring small animals such as dogs and rabbits. This comes to the attention of American scientist Dr. James Bowen and his assistants Sueko Togami and Ken'ichiro Kawaji, who investigate, and find him hiding in a cave on a beach, where a mob of outraged villagers had almost caught him. While the strange boy catches media attention and is taken care of by the scientists, another astounding event evades the public's eye. Once the boy is taken to the hospital, it is discovered that he is caucasian and his body is building a strong resistance to radiation rather than getting sick from it.

The Former Naval Captain Kawai, who brought the Frankenstein heart to Japan in WWII, was working in an oil factory in Akita Prefecture, when a sudden earthquake shakes the factory and collapses a tower, beneath which he saw the ghastly face of a giant floppy-eared reptile with a glowing horn.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bowen and the scientists find that the strange boy is growing due to intake of protein. Afraid of his strength, the scientists lock and chain the boy in a jail cell, and Sueko, who really cares for him, feeds him some protein food to sustain him. Meanwhile, Dr. Bowen is visited by Kawai, who tells him that the boy could have been mutated from the heart of the Frankenstein Monster, as the boy was seen in Hiroshima more than once before. At Bowen's advice, Dr. Kawaji confers with the aging Dr. Reisendorf in Frankfurt. Reisendorf tells Kawaji of the story of the Frankenstein Monster, and noted of his virtual immortality, due to the intake of protein. He is recommended to cut off the monster's arm or leg, and a new one would grow back. When relating this to his fellow scientists upon his return to Japan, Sueko strongly objects to this method, fearing that nothing may grow back. Even when Bowen suggests that they wait a little longer to think it over, Kawaji tenaciously attempts to sever one of the now-gigantic monster's limbs. He is interrupted by a TV crew, who Kawaji allows to film the monster, whom they enrage by shining bright studio lights at his face. The monster, heretofore known as "Frankenstein," breaks loose and is on the run from the Japanese police. He even has a tender encounter with Sueko on the balcony of her apartment before he has to run away . . .

While Frankenstein is on the run, he travels around to many places, from Okayama (where he eats more animals) to Mount Ibuki, where his primitive childlike activities (throwing trees at birds and trying to trap a wild boar) end in disaster.

But unbeknownst to Bowen and the scientists, Baragon, the monster Kawai saw earlier, goes on a rampage. Tunneling under the earth, he pops out and ravages villages, eating people and animals, and leaving destruction in his wake. People believe this to be Frankenstein's doing, and the misunderstood monster is wrongly hunted down by the military, narrowly escaping. Before Bowen and his assistants have no choice but to dismiss Frankenstein, Kawai returns to tell them that Frankenstein may not be responsible for the disasters; It could be the monster (Baragon) he saw in Akita! He tries to convince the authorities, but to no avail. Kawaji still wishes the scientists luck in finding Frankenstein.

Bowen, Sueko and Kawaji then form a search party and venture into the forest land they believe Frankenstein to be hiding. But Kawaji, to the shock of Bowen and Sueko, then proclaims to kill him, believing that Frankenstein could be dangerous by nature, and not even Sueko could possibly tame him! He intends to blind him with chemical grenades and capture him to recover his heart and brain. Kawaji presses on to find Frankenstein, and instead finds Baragon! Kawaji and Bowen try in vain to stop the monster with the grenades, but it is about to eat Sueko, until Frankenstein comes to the rescue! The cataclysmic battle between the two giant monsters then begins.

Alternate Ending

The unfortunate Giant Octopus drove many fans up the wall. This monster appeared on several stills from Frankenstein Conquers the World, but no one could spot it in the film. Ishiro Honda explains apologetically: "The movie was made in co-production with an American company Benedicts Productions. The bosses were so astonished by the octopus scenes from King Kong Vs. Godzilla, they begged to include her into the screenplay, even in spite of logic. So we shot some scenes with the Giant Octopus but, in the end, they were left out of the picture." For accuracy, it should be added that after many years, in the Japanese video edition of Frankenstein Conquers the World, that discarded scene was tagged on as an “alternative ending.” The management of Benedicts Productions stood by their guns, however, when in the following co-production ("War of the Gargantuas", 1966) the octopus rolled through the screen officially and in its full glory. [ [ Video of alternate ending] , "Gojiman's World"]

Parallels to the Source Material

There are many references to the 1931 "Frankenstein" film adaptation, which is no doubt the most iconic representation of the monster featured in the famous book by Mary Shelley.
* In general, the monster is referred to by the name of his creator ("Frankenstein"), as opposed to "The Frankenstein Monster" (which Dr. Bowen did refer to him as once in this film).
* The look of the monster is similar to the "flathead" Frankenstein Monster designed by master makeup artist Jack Pierce.
* The mob of people chasing the monster on the beach is similar to the mob of villagers chasing the monster.
* Kawaji occasionally acts as the Fritz character from the 1931 film, when he plots something against the creature against Dr. Bowen's orders or unbeknownst to him.
* The monster Baragon killed many people, and Frankenstein wrongly gets the blame, as nobody is yet aware of Baragon.
* The fire in the forest (when Frankenstein fights with Baragon), being similar to the fire on the windmill, on which Dr. Frankenstein confronts the creature at the end of said film.

The Sequels

* The sequel to this film is "War of the Gargantuas" (titled "Furankenshutain no Kaijû: Sanda tai Gaira" in Japan). In said film, pieces of Frankenstein's cells mutate into two giant humanoid monsters: Sanda (the Brown Gargantua) and Gaira (the Green Gargantua). The former is a benevolent and peace-loving creature, the latter is murderous and savage.
** However, United Productions of America, the US co-producers, obscured all references to Frankenstein in the American version. Probably because the two monsters could not be recognized as "Frankenstein" monsters. However, reference is made to a severed hand.
* Baragon became one of the living monsters on Monsterland in "Destroy All Monsters".
* Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka had originally commissioned a film called "Frankenstein Vs. the Human Vapor" (フランケンシュタイン対ガス人間 - Furankenshutain tai Gasu Ningen), with a draft written by Kimura. This also follows up with "The Human Vapor" (1960), as Mizuno finds the Frankenstein Monster's body, and revives him, so that he can help him use the Frankenstein formula to revive his beloved girlfriend Fujichiyo (who died at the end of said film). This was also supposed to be Toho's co-feature with the Japanese release of "My Fair Lady".


* Dr. James Bowen - Nick Adams  (voice actor:Gorou Naya)
* Dr. Ken'ichirou Kawaji - Tadao Takashima
* Dr. Sueko Togami - Kumi Mizuno
* Captain Kawai - Yoshio Tsuchiya
* Murata, Captain submarine - Yoshifumi Tajima
* Hiroshima military Hospital army Surgeon - Takashi Shimura
* Dr. Reisendorf - Peter Mann (voice actor:Kazuo Kumakura)
* Tazuko Tooi, Inpatient - Keiko Sawai
* Residential Landlord - Ikio Sawamura
* TV Director - Haruya Katou
* TV illumination man A - Yutaka Nakayama
* TV illumination man B - Senkichi Oomura
* TV photographer - Yasuhiko Saijou
* TV photographer assistant - Yukihiko Gondou
* Policeman, Okayama prefectural police - Jun'ichirou Mukai
* Farmer - Toshihiko Furuta
* Farmer - Jirou Suzukawa
* Farmer - Junpei Natsuki
* Hospital office manager - Yutaka Sada
* Hospital office worker - Keiji Sakakida
* Hospital personnel - Ryouji Shimizu
* Hospital personnel - Hideo Otsuka
* Hospital personnel - Minoru Ito
* Reporter of weekly magazine - Hideo Shibuya
* Motoki - Ren Yamamoto
* University professor - Shigeki Ishida
* Newspaper publishing company employee - Kenzou Tabu
* Journalist A - Kouzou Nomura
* Journalist B - Tadashi Okabe
* Journalist C - Masaaki Tachibana
* Journalist D - Kazuo Hinata
* Dr. Suga - Nobuo Nakamura
* Okabe, Inspector Okayama Police - Nadao Kirino
* Division Director Okayama Police - Jun Tazaki
* Tadokoro, Okayama Assistant Inspector - Kenji Sahara
* Policeman of Okayama Police - Akio Kusama
* Policeman of Okayama Police - Ryuutarou Amami
* Osaka Police Office executive officer A - Susumu Fujita
* Osaka Police Office executive officer B - Hisaya Itou
* Osaka Police Office executive officer C - Shin Yoshida
* Osaka Police Office executive officer D - Saburou Kadowaki
* Tunnel Worker - Shouichi Hirose
* Oil field engineer - Mitsuo Tsuda
* Hiroshima military hospital army Surgeon assistant - Takuya Yuki
* Hiroshima military hospital personnel - Haruya Sakamoto
* Self-Defense Force executive officer A - Yoshio Kosugi
* Self-Defense Force executive officer B and Captain pleasure boat - Rinsaku Ogata
* Crew of pleasure boat - Yoshikazu Kawamata
* Visitor of pleasure boat - Kazuko Tani
* Visitor of a hut - Noriaki Inoue
* Visitor of a hut - Noriko Takahashi
* Visitor of a hut - Sachiko Mori
* Worker of Himeji Castle - Yoshiko Miyata
* Inpatient - Toriko Takahara
* Inpatient - Hideko Ookawa
* Youth of village - Daisuke Inoue
* Policeman of village - Shigeo Katou
* Member of firefighting team of village - Kazuo Imai


* Frankenstein - Koji Furahata
* Frankenstein (young) - Sumio Nakao
* Baragon - Haruo Nakajima


* The US version has extended footage not seen in the Japanese version. One was in the scene when a giant-sized Frankenstein bursts through a wall, escaping the prison building. The rubble falls on a military soldier, who Frankenstein almost steps on, to his own shock. Shortly later, after his encounter with Sueko on the balcony of her apartment, Frankenstein is chased by a police car, which accidentally overturns, and he lifts the car and hurls it onto the street before running away. This was because Henry G. Saperstein, the US co-producer, wanted a more aggressive monster.
* There was an alternate ending not used in either version, but included as an extra in Toho's video releases. After Frankenstein finally kills Baragon, Oodako (the giant octopus) emerges from the lake and grabs him with its tentacles. Frankenstein, exhausted from his fight with Baragon, loses the struggle and both he and Oodako at last fall into the lake. The rest of the ending (Bowen, Sueko and Kawaji reflecting on the situation, and the closing shot of the forest on fire) is the same. This was the ending Henry G. Saperstein wanted, but Ishiro Honda didn't like it. It is very unnatural that an octopus comes out of a lake. Saperstein eventually agreed and used the regular ending (Frankenstein and the dead Baragon are both swallowed by an underground cave-in) instead.
* Director Honda commented during production that he was deeply impressed by the monster as portrayed by Boris Karloff and that he wished to maintain the feeling of solemnity by this movie. [Needs source.]
* Director Honda and Tsuburaya visualized this Frankenstein as a new creature, not a Kaiju and kept this in mind during direction. [Needs source.]
* Composer Akira Ifukube used a rare musical instrument, the bass flute, for the theme of this movie. Only 1 such musical instrument existed in Japan in those days. [Needs source.]
* Shinkansen Hikari which Dr. Bowen rode was completed one year prior to the filming of this movie.
* Biwa-ko Oohashi the bridge of the scene where Frankenstein appeared from Lake Biwa-ko was completed the year before this movie.
* The original idea fo the film was to have Frankenstein fight Godzilla. The plot was to have had the army awaken Godzilla as a way to deal with the monster. However, the fight scenes were thought to have been too implausible so the film was scrapped.
* Frankenstein's makeup was designed by Keizo Murase, who also designed the Baragon and Varan suits.
* Baragon's name is mentioned only once in the whole film, as said by Dr. Bowen. This is somewhat odd since the name is literally used out of nowhere, and isn't mentioned again in the rest of the film.

DVD release

*Includes US version, International,and Japanese version.
*Audio Commentary by special effects cinematographer Sadamasa Arikawa
*Image Gallery
*Deleted Scenes and Bloopers
*Manga Adaption



"Famous Monsters of Filmland". June 1966 (#39). Cover, and p.10-24. (pictures & plot summary)

External links

* [ DVD Review: Frankenstein vs. Baragon]
* [ Gojiman's World]

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