DUEL-United States-Made for TV-1971

Dennis Weaver as David Mann

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by Richard Matheson and based on his short story.

Is Steven Spielberg’s 1971 made-for-TV thriller “Duel” the prototype for his 1976 summer blockbuster “Jaws“? It would be easy to argue that that would indeed be the case. Both are adapted from another medium; “Duel” from Richard Matheson’s short story and “Jaws” from Peter Benchley‘s best-selling novel. Both feature a roller coaster ride of a plot and a silent predator that strikes without warning. In “Duel”, the hapless protagonist is David Mann (Dennis Weaver from “McCloud“) and he is terrorized by a mysterious 18 wheeler hell-bent on his demise. “Jaws” features a great white shark roughly the size of an 18-wheeler that terrorizes the community of Amity, hell-bent on devouring every last swimmer who steps foot in its ocean. Finally, both films feature men who must take desperate action to live another day.

It’s been over 40 years since “Duel” first had TV viewers clutching their armchairs and holding off on their bathroom breaks. Since then Steven Spielberg has directed a long list of some the world’s greatest movies. Some, like “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park” are great simply because they provide a departure for us from our everyday worries and woes. Films like “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” show that while Spielberg may have the heart of a kid, he is still able to make films about subjects that are all too adult in theme.

“Duel” falls in the former category of Spielberg’s filmography. It’s a thriller of a film that doesn’t require a lot of thought on the part of the audience. It’s fast-paced fun and full blown terror colliding at 90 miles per hour down a dusty desert highway. Better yet, it’s the type of movie that makes us remember what movies are all about in the first place and that is escape.


There are seventeen notches on the headlights of the truck.
The phone number Dennis Weaver dials to call his wife at the gas station is not the standard “555” movie prefix but, at the time, a valid number.
It was Dennis Weaver’s role in Touch of Evil that convinced Steven Spielberg that he would be perfect for the role of David Mann.
According to Richard Matheson, he was inspired to write the original short story “Duel” after an encounter with a tailgating truck driver on November 22, 1963, the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.



Directed by Shûseke Kaneko

Dialogue by Matt Greenfield

Written by Kazunori Itô


Tsuyoshi Ihara

Akira Onodera

Shinobu Nakayama

Ayako Fujitani


Real Monsters of Genius

Today we salute you, Mr. Giant flying Japanese turtle.

He’s a turtle, not a tortoise!!

You’re the go-to guy when it comes to getting rid of those pesky cannibalistic birds known as the Gyaos.

It’s a giant flying big bird cannibal holocaust crunch and munch!!

Not only can you fly like an eagle, you can shoot mighty flames out of your mouth that look like big giant gas balls.

Ooooooooowwwwww, the big turtle’s got gas so you better stand back!!

But above all that, you managed to form a psychic bond with a really hot teenage girl.

She’s Steven Seagal‘s daughter, but she doesn’t have her daddy’s looks oh thank you, Lord!!

So lift up your flipper, roar that roar you roar so well and take a big Japanese monster flying turtle bow.

You saved us all, you big guy!!

And grab yourself an ice cold BLOOD LIGHT. 

You deserve it, big fella!!

All joking aside I’m sure you’re probably asking why I would bother reviewing a Japanese giant monster film. The best answer I can give you is a deceptively simple one; I review it because it’s fun. After reviewing films like “Deadgirl” and “Antichrist” I began to feel down. Neither one of those films could be described as ‘touch me feel me’ films. In fact, they can be downright depressing if you let them. So I knew that I needed a change. That’s where Gamera comes into play. Sometimes you need to review a film that has no hidden social message, no famous big name actors and that makes you feel like a complete and total kid again. Sure, Gamera is a giant flying turtle. Sure, he can fly and shoot giant fireballs and form psychic bonds with teenage girls played by Steven Seagal’s daughter. What’s the big fucking deal about that? I wouldn’t have it any other way.


The gayos creature was performed by a female actress so that it would convey more ‘feminine’ like behavior. Apparently this was the first time a kaiju was ever performed by a woman.

The film’s Japanese poster is a nearly identical recreation of the Japanese poster of the first film in which Gamera fought Gyaos, Daikaijû kûchûsen: Gamera tai Gyaosu.