Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crystal Clear: Godzilla Vs Space Godzilla(1994)

Last night I sat down and watched my Region 3, Universe Laser DVD of Godzilla Vs Space Godzilla(1994). I have seen a lot of kaiju film fans, at message boards, label this movie as the weakest in the Heisei Godzilla film series. I'm not going to debate that particular position with anyone here or anywhere else on the internet. I will say that I like this movie considerably more now than I did when I first saw it on a bootleg VHS in late 1995.

Rather than chronicle the film's story and reveal any spoilers I'm simply going to offer both some positive and not so positive observations based on my most recent viewing of this film.

Thumbs up:

1. the actress who plays "Chinatsu Gondo", Towako Yoshikawa: she is possibly the hottest looking Japanese actress I have ever seen not named Yumiko Shaku. She's gorgeous!

2. the roar of "Space Godzilla": it has a warped quality and, while vaguely retaining part of Godzilla's roar is absolutely effective and unique

3. the short hairstyle of "Miki Saegusa"(Megumi Odaka). It makes an already adorable looking actress look even more comely!

4. Yuki, a wry witted, borderline surly and curmudgeonly fellow who, despite his disdain for Godzilla, gets his priorities right in time to assist Godzilla in the monster's final fight against Space Godzilla

5. the shootout between those who are guarding a kidnapped Miki Saegusa and her rescuers, G-Force officers Shinjo, Sato and Yuki: the guns used looked real for a change and actually sounded fairly real as well, a refreshing change from the often Showa G film gun play in which the firearms used look and sound like toys or novelties dropped out of a gumball machine

Thumbs down:

1. the effects and props used to render outer space during the first Mogera-Space Godzilla battle: they looked atrocious. Asteroids and other space debris looked like nothing more than styrofoam blocks and there appeared to be no depth whatsoever to the backgrounds

2. the overall rendering of Space Godzilla: I liked the head of the monster but the crystals on the monsters' shoulders appeared overly large. The flying sequences of the monster also looked sub par, the creature appearing about as aerodynamic as a cement block

3. the infamous "butt shot" of G-Force officer "Yuki", as he showered under a makeshift, outdoor set up on Birth Island. I'm not sure what possessed the producers of this film to include a shot of this man's buttocks. The immediate subsequent shot, that is of Sato briefly leering at Yuki, also was enough to creep me out a bit.

4. the overall design of "MOGERA": I thought this mechanical juggernaut looked too squat. A leaner look would have IMO made this machine look better.

Overall: Godzilla Vs Space Godzilla(1994) remains my least favorite Heisei Godzilla movie but is still a movie I enjoy watching every twelve to eighteen months.

If nothing else this movie has often made me wish for a movie in which we see Space Godzilla and Destoroyah square off. That would be an awesome battle!

Watch Godzilla Vs Space Godzilla(English dubbed language) at Crackle:

To see this film on Sony Region 1 DVD(as part of a double feature) click the title of this blog entry or copy and paste this URL into your browser's nav bar:

Monday, October 26, 2009

They Might Be Giants: The Lost World(1960)

I started this topic thread because I wanted to promote sci-fi and/or horror films that are universally slammed or otherwise deemed mediocre but that I find fun to watch and a fairly entertaining escape from reality. Few movies do that for me better than The Lost World , which originally opened in theaters back in 1960, written and directed by Irwin Allen.

Irwin Allen was, for lack of better words, "the man" when it came to sci-fi adventure on TV in the 1960's, producing the 60's TV series Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel and Land Of The Giants. Irwin Allen would also direct the sci fi film Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea(1961) and later produce/co-direct the spectacular disaster films The Poseidon Adventure(1972) and The Towering Inferno(1974), both films featuring impressive special effects and star studded casts of "name" actors.

The first of Irwin Allen's directorial efforts is The Lost World, a movie based on the book of the same name written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle's book first came to cinema in 1925 with the silent film "The Lost World", which featured then state of the art special effects used to render the movements of the dinosaurs. Thirty five years later Doyle's book would come to life on the big screen again.

The film's story: professor George Edward Challenger returns to England from an expedition to South America with big news: he's seen dinosaurs roaming on and around a towering plateau in a remote area of the Amazon river. Challenger's colleagues, and the media, are understandably skeptical of the fiery, bearded professor's claims. In reply to his skeptics Challenger proposes that another expedition be assembled for the purpose of studying the area. With the financing of the expedition secured, Challenger and a group that includes his academic rival, an adventurer, a reporter and the daughter of the media mogul who bankrolls the expedition, embark to South America. Arriving in the humid, tropical Amazon basin it isn't long before Challenger and the group encounter the local animal population which includes, you guessed it, large and hungry dinosaurs. The remainder of the film chronicles the groups' struggle as they try to deal with the dinos and a group of hostile cannibals all while trying to find a way out of the remote and dangerous region. (no other spoilers)

Observations, both positive and negative -

Thumbs up:

1. the cast, all of who play off each other quite well. The differing personalities and pet peeves of the cast often provide for some humorous moments, including:
-Professor Challenger(played by Claude Rains) clobbering reporter Ed Malone(played by David Hedison) upside the head with his umbrella as the professor tried to make his way from the airplane to the airport terminal
-the fight between the adventurer Lord John Roxton(played by Michael Rennie) and reporter Ed Malone
-the withering back and forth wisecracks and sniping between Challenger and his skeptical academic rival Summerlee(played by Richard Haydn).

2. the sense of spectacle in the movie, aided by some very decent cinematography during certain sequences of the film

3. the audio of the dinosaurs is solid and the huge creatures roar often and with great effect

4. Jill St John, who looked gorgeous in this film as "Jennifer Holmes" and came off as a diva, albeit a likable diva. Vitina Marcus, who played the native girl, also looked very hot!

Thumbs down:

1. the special effects used to render the two primary reptilian dinos. It's fairly obvious that two large lizards were fitted with props(resembling back dorsals) and it looked absurd.

2. the effects used to render the giant spider. These sequences relied on matte shots and not very good ones.

3. the "man eating" vines mentioned in the film's trailer. Turns out no herbicides are needed as these vines are rendered in the movie through what look like simplified animatronics.

The film used to make the rounds on AMC(American Movie Classics). It was released to quality Region 1 DVD not too long ago, presented in its 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio, the DVD also including some extras and the 1925 film as an added bonus.

No one will ever mistake The Lost World(1960) for being an Oscar worthy science fiction film but if you're looking for a way to be entertained for ninety minutes then I would recommend that sci-fi film fans buy the Fox Home Video Region 1 special edition DVD of this movie.

The film's trailer:

To see The Lost World(1960) special edition DVD for sale at Amazon copy and paste this URL into your browser's nav bar or click the DVD cover art image below:

Bonus - here's the URL to watch a streaming video, at Google, of The Lost World(1925):

Friday, October 23, 2009

Low Budget Theater Returns: Doctor Of Doom(1962)

There are a handful of horror movies in my DVD collection that are truly wonky. One of them is Doctor Of Doom(1962), directed by Rene Cardona. This film is an unusual feature to say the least, replete with sexy women ring wrestlers and two people, a male and one of the female grapplers, who have the transplanted brains of gorillas in their heads, courtesy of the proverbial "mad" scientist. The plot of the film features two of the women wrestlers as they oppose the mad scientist and his "ape" man and lab enhanced super female grappler. I bought my Region 0 DVD-R of this movie from Sinister Cinema about six years ago. Anyone interested in watching it can see it as a streaming video by clicking the below image:

Click the title of this blog entry to see this Mexican horror film on DVD for sale at or copy and paste this URL into your browser's nav bar:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hair of the dog: Werewolf In A Girl's Dormitory(1961)

I'm a huge fan of werewolf movies and I came upon a rather obscure one last year that was part of a multi DVD discount priced set of horror movies. I'm referring to Werewolf In A Girl's Dormitory, aka "Lycanthropus". The title would suggest some serious cheese and camp. Both are delivered in abundance in this black and white film. Still, the movie is decent and has some creepy moments. Decide for yourself by watching this public domain horror film below:

There are numerous websites that sell a Region 1 or all Region DVD for this film. Click on the DVD cover art below to see this movie for sale at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Foghorn(2007) - short kaiju film emerges from obscurity

A 2007 experimental short kaiju film directed by Daisuke "Dice" Sato and a crew from Replica Co. Ltd. has recently emerged from obscurity thanks to the efforts of Mr. Avery Guerra, a contributing writer with Ken Hulsey's "Monster Island News" and Robert Hood's "Undead Backbrain" blogs. A trailer for this short film has appeared on YouTube. The film, called The Foghorn, made to demonstrate the technical skills of the director and his crew, is based on a story(of the same name) written by legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury.

The director of this short, twenty minute film, Daisuke Sato, has expressed a willingness to get the movie released online(w/English subtitles) and/or to DVD...if there is enough fan interest.

Read more by clicking the title of this blog entry or by copying and pasting this URL link into your browser's nav bar:

The trailer for The Fog Horn(2007):

Monday, October 5, 2009

Low Budget Theater: Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster(1965)

As I always like to do every October, I make time in my schedule to watch some of my favorite low budget horror movies. These films are known for their low production values, stale acting and often hilariously poor special effects. Many of them actually develop cult followings. One of my all time favorites is Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster, released by Allied Artists in 1965.

Veteran character actor James Karen stars in this movie as a scientist who has created an android named "Frank Saunders". The android is blasted off into space to investigate why several other rockets launched into space have been obliterated. Saunders meets the same fate as an orbiting Martian spaceship destroys the android's rocket. Saunders manages to survive but is scarred by the Martians who attack him back on Earth. Now disfigured and with a damaged brain, the android begins a wandering and murderous rampage while his creator and the military search for him. Eventually the disfigured android "Frank", after being reunited with his scientist creator, is captured by the Martians, then escapes and fights the Martian's pet monster, "Mull", a clawed, hulking and garish looking monster inside the Martian's spaceship.

This black and white film has been released to quality DVD by Dark Sky Films in its original widescreen aspect ratio. To see the Dark Sky Films DVD of this film for sale at DeepDiscount click on the above DVD covert image.This movie will also be broadcast once by AMC during the cable channel's annual "Fearfest". Anyone wanting to watch this film online can do so below: