Kaiju (怪獣 ) is a Japanese word that means "strange beast," but often translated in English as "monster" or "giant monster."
The Milpitas Monster
Robert L. Burrill
Milpitas, California has a landfill problem. That problem is a giant green monster with butterfly wings that likes to eat trash cans and menace the locals. It takes some time for the people of Milpitas to catch on, but eventually they seek out a solution. Can the government help? The army? The town drunk?
Much like Pulgasari (1985), the circumstances surrounding the creation of The Milpitas Monster are probably more interesting than anything that appears on screen. The project began as a high school art assignment: a poster for a movie that didn’t exist. The resulting creation was inspired by Milpitas’s issue with rapidly expanding landfills. This blossomed into a ten minute film, and eventually into a full-blown production, all of which was largely produced and created by high school students. What exists is often crude, but inventive. It carries with it a certain goodwill that could only exist in a community effort such as this.
|It's not well known that The Milpitas Monster is the prequel to Street Trash (1987)|
The monster itself is an interesting creation, and is realized through a heady combination of man-in-suit, miniatures, and stop motion. There’s real enthusiasm and care put into its appearance on screen. The monster sparkles with just enough personality to keep the viewer invested in seeing it flitter around and eat garbage. There’s enough love on screen to gloss over all but the most technically rough moments.
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The Milpitas Monster is available on Amazon Prime, and the occasional budget DVD set. These look like they are from a video tape transfer and are in terrible shape. The sound is distorted, and the image is too dark to tell what is happening in spots. The official version is here, with a reportedly much better image and sound, but I can imagine that $30 for DVD is a hurdle.
The Milpitas Monster is odd little gem; its very existence is an anomaly. It is by turns, funny, corny, boring, and brilliant. If you’re a fan of weird monster movies, it’s definitely worth seeking out.