© 2002 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title:||SPFX FILM COLLECTION|
|Number of tracks:||Disc 1 - 22|
Disc 2 - 23
|Running time:||Disc 1 - 55:53|
Disc 2 - 52:29
|Number of discs:||2|
|Year of release/manufacture:||1996|
November 16, 2002
SPFX FILM COLLECTION (SP/CR-71004~5)
Review by Sam Scali (with assistance from Robert Storch)
This is a very rare 2-CD set, released in Japan in 1996 on the Avanz label, and featuring audio tracks from the movie trailers of most of Toho's classic special effects films. Clearly it is an unusual item - a yellow sticker on the jewel box proclaims, "2CD Special Price, Special Edition - The First Anniversary of Avanz Records", which suggests it may have been some kind of limited release.I know little about the Avanz label (apparently they specialize in Italian soundtracks), but I do know that this CD is very hard to find.
The packaging itself is quite unconventional. Instead of the usual booklet and tray insert included in most CDs, there are two tiny booklets (about 1/3 normal size) that are inserted loosely in the front and back of a double slimline jewel box. Like the booklets, the CD labels and obi feature attractively designed, color-coordinated graphics - overall a unique, sharp-looking package.
Instead of soundtrack music, the CDs feature the promotional trailers from Toho's most famous sci-fi films, including clips from all of the "Heisei" Godzilla series, which are otherwise unavailable on CD. The tracks are presented in chronological order, from the original "Godzilla" (1954) through "Godzilla vs. Destoroyah" (1995). Naturally, most of the trailers are in Japanese, but English-language promos for "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", "The Last War", "King Kong vs. Godzilla" and "Latitude Zero" also make an appearance. These are a real treat to hear, especially the frenetic, over-the-top narration dominating the "Godzilla" and "Last War" clips. Another notable addition is a stereo version of the Japanese "King Kong vs. Godzilla" trailer. Curiously absent are trailers for "Half Human" and "Godzilla Raids Again" (though the latter film is briefly referenced at the beginning of the promo for "Rodan"), as well as the Japanese version of "The Last War".
Since these are film trailers, the audio quality of the tracks is not always the best, especially the earlier ones. Also, not being able to see the visuals is somewhat limiting, especially to listeners who don't understand the Japanese dialogue. Still, the audio by itself is quite listenable and entertaining, since the trailers feature dramatic editing, cool sound effects and striking music. Not surprisingly, much of the music is by Akira Ifukube - his stock cues are used repeatedly on these trailers, in some cases promoting films that he had nothing to do with. In fact, most of the promos on this set feature music from earlier Toho films rather than the correct scores. This was likely a result of time constraints, as trailers are usually produced far in advance of a film's release, often before the score is completed. This practice is taken to amusing extremes in the trailer for "Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster", which audaciously features music from Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"!
This collection is a lot of fun, and a rare find - a prize for film buffs as well as Godzilla completists. Toho trailers have appeared sporadically on other CDs (such as the "History of Godzilla" and "Toho Monster Movie Selections" series), but this is the first time that they have been gathered together in one place. Though not as satisfying as a music CD, it is an interesting and entertaining listen nonetheless.
SPFX FILM COLLECTION (SP/CR-71004~5)