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Half Human

Entry updated 8 August 2022. Tagged: Film.

Film (1955; vt Half Human: The Story of the Abominable Snowman). Original Japanese title Jūjin yuki otoko ["Monster Snowman"]. Toho Film Productions Ltd/Distributors Corporation of America (US). Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Robert B Howard (US). Directed by Ishirō Honda, Kenneth G Crane (US). Written by Takeo Murata. Cast includes Morris Ankrum, John Carradine, Robert Karnes, Momako Kochi, Nobu Nakamura, Akemi Negiishi, Akira Takarada and Russell Thorson. Narrator: Carradine. US print 63 minutes. Black and white.

Dr John Rayburn (Carradine) and Dr Carl Jordan (Ankrum) are dissecting the body of a Yeti Apes as Human as the film opens. The story of how the creature's body was obtained is told in flashback with explanatory narration by Carradine. In the US print, a circus expedition goes into the remote mountains of central Japan in search of a Monster local villagers worship as a god. They kill its offspring – the body already seen – sending the parent creature on a rampage, destroying a village of the Ainu mountain people and finally being killed inside its cave home.

The original Japanese version was 94 minutes in length, with a considerably different story of the search for a lost skier and inadvertent encounter with the Yeti creatures leading to the deaths of the son and eventually the parent, as well as numerous local villagers. Here the creature is shown as trying to save the life of the lost skier, rather than being a mere rampaging monster. The full-length film apparently received a US West Coast release; the more familiar cut version is a badly edited mess, with Carradine and three other US actors inserted, along with some stock footage. The Ainu protested their very negative portrayal in the film, and Toho withdrew it from circulation. The US hybrid film has been released to home video several times from the 1980s. [GSt]


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