'Yongary: Monster from the Deep'

"Yongary: Monster from the Deep," a 1967 Godzilla knockoff, will screen with an original live score by Love is a Dog from Nebraska.

theroxytheater.org

Perhaps Yongary, a Korean knockoff of Godzilla, is like a grizzly bear – a misunderstood predator roused by the humans.

That's the frame of mind Travis Yost, a longtime Missoula musician, had to assume while writing an original score for "Yongary: Monster from the Deep," a 1967 B-movie about "a prehistoric gasoline-eating reptile that soon goes on a rampage through Seoul," according to the plot summary.

He had to create suspense for certain scenes while trying hard to ignore the fact that on screen, what's clearly a man in a rubber monster costume is battered with real fireworks.

It was "the worst job as a stuntman in the 1960s," he said.

Next Thursday, Yost will perform the score along with the movie at the Roxy Theater, armed with a guitar, keyboards, a drum machine and pedal board.

He'll play it all live, with some sequencing but no sampling. It has elements of rock and bubbly electronic, some atonal parts and some lighthearted moments.

"There's going to be a little tiptoeing into the clever," he said.

It is, after all, a man in rubber suit.

Roxy executive director Mike Steinberg gave Yost a list of suggestions for movies he could score, including some old Mexican wrestling films and sci-fi flicks.

The late 1960s look of "Yongary" immediately appealed to Yost, a fan of classic Connery-era Bond.

It has green-screened scenes of characters in automobiles, speeding along past repeated background loops. (Didn't they already pass that gas station?). It has lo-fi action sequences, such as helicopters on a string.

It has bizarre sequence in which an astronaut is summoned for a space mission. In classic B-movie style, he agrees regardless of the fact that he's on his honeymoon.

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"Yongary" is Yost's first solo live score, but he's not new to genre.

He and composer/multi-instrumentalist John Sporman have performed six at the Roxy since 2013 under the name Next Door Prison Hotel.

Those were classic silent films – the animated 1926 classic "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" or the 1922 Dracula film "Nosferatu." He's played two others as part of art-folk group Stellarondo.

This score, under Yost's solo name Love is a Dog from Nebraska, focuses on a significantly goofier film. It's not even a silent film – it will be muted with subtitles on.

He hopes that the somewhat misunderstood live-score concept becomes more prevalent.

Often, people come to the live scores expecting to hear full-fledged songs – a soundtrack instead of a score written to accompany the film.

And that perhaps a kitschy rubber monster costume will bring out the sci-fi fans like him.

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