Saturday, January 30, 2010

In too deep: Crack In The World(1965)

Back in the day when AMC(American Movie Classics) showed films without commercial interruption one of my favorite AMC sci-fi movies was an underrated disaster movie originally released to theaters in 1965 called Crack In The World. To my knowledge there has been, regretfully, no official Region 1 DVD release of this movie. In the film a scientist(played by Dana Andrews) supervises efforts to harness the heat of the Earth's core by drilling into it, despite warnings from a colleague. An atomic bomb is detonated to access the planet's core with predictably disastrous results. The detonation causes a huge fracture in the Earth's mantle which spreads and threatens to literally split our planet in two (hence the movie's title). I have a DVD-R of Crack In The World and also found it at Video Google. Click the below image to watch this film as a streaming video.

The movie's trailer:

The X Factor: Xbotica Forums

As I like to do from time to time I'd like to give some props to a specific internet message board, in this case a graphics/video gaming site called Xbotica Forums, founded by a young fellow very talented at creating message board signatures and other graphics. His username is "Xstinct" and he has designed nearly all of the board banners used at my internet message board called Monsterland Forums. Good thing, too because I am flat out terrible at trying to make web graphics. Check out Xstinct's board at this URL:

You can also access this board by clicking the title of this blog entry. Xbotica Forums performs graphics on request (you have to register at this board before making the request) and I believe Xstinct's graphics are among the best I've ever seen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Walking tall: The Mighty Peking Man(1977)

The 1976, Dino DeLaurentis "King Kong" film spawned a pair of copy cat films, one absolutely atrocious and one that is, well very decent I think. A*P*E(1976) is a laughably poor Korean film featuring a 36 foot tall primate and directed by Paul Leder. This movie has gained a considerable amount of notoriety, and not the good kind, because there's one sequence where the suit actor gives the cameraman "the finger". I have long considered this '76 Korean movie one of the worst kaiju(giant beast) films I've ever seen.

Much, much better I think is the Shaw Brothers produced The Mighty Peking Man(1977). The film stars HK action star Danny Lee and the lovely Evelyne Kraft and features a 100 foot tall ape like creature. The miniature effects are solid and at times look quite good. The suit rendering of the giant "Peking Man" is serviceable and Evelyne Kraft, a beautiful blonde, prances about the duration of the movie in a one piece thong. She's a sort of "jungle girl" in this film, discovered by Danny Lee's character, an adventurer searching for the mysterious "Peking Man". Like the "King Kong" film, the "Peking Man" is brought back to civilization(in this case Hong Kong) and put on display, in chains, for the local populace. The promoter who tries to profit from the giant creature is, predictably, a jackass who wastes little time trying to force himself on Evelyne Kraft's character. Bad career move. The giant ape like creature, enraged that his female friend is in danger, breaks free of his captivity and, after making mincemeat of the promoter, takes a destructive stroll through downtown Hong Kong which triggers the local military into action where they square off against the now angry giant. (no other spoilers)

To see the Region 1 DVD of this film click on the above DVD cover art image. 

The film's trailer:

"Journalism G2K" blog

One of the young members of my message board, Monsterland Forums, has been working diligently on his own Google blog. His name is Evan Brehany and his blogger is called Journalism G2K. Evan, a resident of Warner Robins, GA(about an hour south of Atlanta where I live), is a dedicated fan of Godzilla and Gamera. His blog site URL:

Check it out and "bookmark" it in your web browser!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Turn the page: Fahrenheit 451(1966)

Since first accessing the internet about four years ago I have found myself spending more time in front of my computer and less time doing what I used to do quite a bit in my free time: reading. There are books I've bought, and as recent as late 2009, that sit on my den bookshelves unread and gathering dust. I have seen some articles on the internet that touch on the decline in the number of active libraries. Some media experts have even gone so far as to suggest that there may come a day, in our future of ever changing, and constantly improving technology, when books may become obsolete and nothing more than nostalgic collector items, perhaps like the VHS tape, 8-track tape or VCR and audio cassette. Speaking for myself, I hope that day doesn't arrive in my lifetime. I cannot imagine a world without books. Author Ray Bradbury did. He wrote a book about it, published in 1951 and called "Fahrenheit 451". In this book Bradbury wrote of a dystopian society where books are banned. Those books discovered on a person, any person, are immediately burned. The "451" is a reference to the Fahrenheit temperature at which (book) paper ignites.

An interesting and thought provoking movie was eventually made, released theatrically in 1966. The film is called Fahrenheit 451, directed by French director Francois Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie and Anton Diffring.

In this film we meet Guy Montag(Oskar Werner), a fireman living in a sterilized society in which all books have been banned, books deemed by government to be a source of corrupting influence on society. Citizens are encouraged to be compliant and without emotion. The fire department is also tasked with searching out any persons in illegal possession of books: when these books are discovered by Montag and his fellow firefighters they are quickly and unceremoniously destroyed, incinerated by flame thrower. Montag is symbolic of the times: a deliberate, methodical and emotionally muted man who goes about his job without any ambition or afterthought...until he meets Clarisse(Julie Christie). Clarisse convinces Montag to actually read a book. He does and begins to question why books are banned. Problems arise for Montag when it is discovered he has been hiding books in his residence, which forces him to choose between his career as a fireman or a life with Clarisse and her underground group of friends who have defied the government's ban on books...(no other spoilers)

Fahrenheit 451 is an interesting study in contrasting characters: the stoic, methodical and compliant Guy Montag and his neighbor, the affable and extroverted Clarisse. Julie Christie actually plays both Montag's wife "Linda" and "Clarisse"(she wears her hair completely different for the respective roles). I also think this movie is effective at showing how and why people change, once they're presented with something that truly gives them pause.

There are two DVD releases of this film(Region 1), one release in 1998 and a second one in 2003. To see the 2003 DVD release for sale at Amazon click the DVD cover art image above or click on the title of this blog entry.

The trailer for Fahrenheit 451(1966):