Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Having grown weary of going out and getting drunk at New Years Eve parties many years ago I now celebrate the passing of each year into next by watching Godzilla movies. I'll polish off a pint of Jack Daniels as I usually do while watching my favorite monster in action. Happy new year to all my friends at Monsterland Forums and Kaiju Galaxy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

ZOMBIE DAWN-low budget horror coming in 2012

I've always marveled at what movie producers and directors can do on a low budget. $2000 seems like a meager sum for making a movie but Christian Toledo and Lucio Rojas have done just that with Zombie Dawn, previously titled "Blind Death", a Spanish language zombie horror film made in Chile this year. Look for its release in 2012 by Eagle One Media. Check out the trailer below which includes English subtitles:



To access the official website for this film click the link: ZombieDawnFilm.com

"FINDING BIGFOOT" - new episodes

Friday, December 23, 2011

TREEVENGE(2008) - short horror film



...I knew there was a reason I switched to using an artificial Christmas tree many years ago.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monsterland Forums

The year is fast winding down and with it the fifth year on the web of my message board, MONSTERLAND FORUMS. Check out what I feel is one of the best horror/sci-fi & kaiju themed message boards on the internet by clicking the below image or link:
Monsterland Forums



Sunday, December 18, 2011

You axed for it: BUNYAN(2012) trailer

There are a lot of movies I'm looking forward to watching on DVD next year in 2012. Many of them are anticipated summer blockbusters. There are always more obscure, lesser known indie films that catch my eye as well and Bunyan, directed by Gary Jones is one of them. This movie, a dark and violent take on the "Paul Bunyan" character and which features former "Grizzly Adams" TV series star Dan Haggerty, is currently in post production and should be completely finished by the spring of 2012 for what will hopefully(and presumably) be a straight-to-video DVD release. Check out the just released official trailer for this film below:



For more info on this movie go to the official website for this film: Bunyanmovie.com

Friday, December 16, 2011

Internet forum spotlight: HYBRID NATION

I don't post at many internet message boards anymore. I don't have the time. Still, besides my own board, Kaiju Galaxy, CHFB and TAF, I do like to participate in a relatively young, growing message board called Hybrid Nation. Check out this great online discussion board by clicking the below image or the title of this blog entry:


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Classic Horror Film Board Forums

One of my favorite internet message boards and one I highly recommend for movie fans of ANY genre is the CHFB or Classic Horror Film Board. This board has been on the web for a quite some time and has some great forums for horror and science fiction films. Check out this great board by clicking the below link or the title of this blog entry.

Classic Horror Film Board Forums

[REC] 3 (2012) trailer (English subtitled)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two if by sea: GODZILLA VS MEGALON(1973)

What with the impending R1 DVD release of Godzilla Vs Megalon by Mediablasters(Tokyo Shock) I thought I'd revisit this 1973 Toho kaiju film again. Godzilla Vs Megalon is the most widely viewed Godzilla film on the planet: it has been released ad nauseam in the past as various VHS tapes and cheapie DVDs(Alpha Video comes to mind here). Most of these releases do the film no favor at all and look grainy, not to mention to the severe run time editing that turns this film into a feature barely over sixty minutes long. Back in 1977 NBC did exactly that turning this movie into an hour long broadcast hosted by comedian John Belushi, who used his talents at satire and physical comedy to lampoon the film, the (late) Belushi even donning a Godzilla costume during the broadcast.

I have seen the original Toho version of Godzilla Vs Megalon, the original version in a widescreen 2:35.1 aspect ratio and uncut. Madman Entertainment(out of Australia) has offered this movie on Region 4 DVD for some years now, the letterboxed and uncut Toho version. Internet vendors have also offered burns of the Region 2 Toho DVD with attached English subtitles(a "bootleg" Region 0 DVD-R) for some time as well but Godzilla fans have been waiting for a long time for someone to release this movie on quality Region 1 DVD, hence the excitement and anticipation when Mediablasters announced earlier this year that they were going to release Godzilla Vs Megalon(and "Detroy All Monsters") on Region 1 DVD, this release including the original uncut and widescreen Toho version.

Godzilla Ve Megalon has been routinely blasted by both casual and hard core fans of the giant monster movie genre. I sympathize with detractors of this 1973 movie: it's loaded with stock footage and there is an abysmally low amount of high speed filming used to render the movements of the monsters(and Jet Jaguar) slower and more realistic looking. The generally unpopular "quacking" Godzilla theme music also is used for the first time here. Still, I believe this movie is unfairly slammed. Godzilla Vs Megalon is directed by Jun Fukuda, produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka and was originally released to theaters in Japan back in March, 1973.

I am not now, nor will I ever in the future, try to convince anyone that this movie is a terrific Godzilla film because I don't think it is. Still, over the years this movie has grown on me and I now watch my Region 4 DVD of this movie every year.


DVD cover art for the R1 Mediablasters DVD release

The film's story: a subterranean race called the "Seatopians", fed up with mankind's atomic bomb testing and the adverse effects on their civilization these explosive devices are having, decide to open up a can of whoop ass on humanity. To effect their hostilities on human-kind the Seatopians dispatch a huge, beetle like, winged monster named Megalon to wage a rampage of destruction on Earth's surface. The Seatopians, despite their superior technology, cannot effectively navigate their insect-like monster on the Earth's surface and consequently send agents to abduct a special robot, named Jet Jaguar, from an inventor named "Goro Ibuki". Ibuki, understandably opposed to losing his prized robot, fights back, aided by his friend "Jinko"(Jinkawa) and his kid brother "Rakuro". The trio regain control of Jet Jaguar from the Seatopian agents, and Jet Jaguar flies to Monster Island to ask Godzilla for help in dealing with Megalon. Jet Jaguar returns and, morphing into a 50 meter tall giant, battles Megalon. The Seatopians secure the services of the space monster Gigan: together with Megalon the two monsters quickly overwhelm Jet Jaguar. Just when Jet Jaguar appears to be done in by the two monsters Godzilla arrives to help "JJ"...(no other spoilers)

Observations, some good and some not so good:

Thumbs up:

-the rendering of Jet Jaguar in the film. I've seen this robot described as "an Ultraman rip off". Perhaps. I still like the design overall and the dash of color in JJ's design.

-many special effects shots in this film are marvelous, including the "dam" scene, the sequence where Megalon destroys the bridge, blasting the structure apart with its drill like appendage, and the lake draining out(near the beginning of the film)

-the pyrotechnic effects are quite good, no surprise here with Teruyoshi Nakano handling the SPFX for this movie: the movie's opening sequence starts off with a bang, literally, as there are lots of explosions and other various blasts leading into the movie's opening title credits. These explosion effects do not IMO make up for other effects shortcomings in this film but they do make it, at least for me, somewhat easier to overlook while watching this movie.

-the fight scenes and car chase scene: both added a nice bit of human action to the film, despite my disdain for the choreography of the fights, which I thought were sub par, limited to sloppy hand strikes and basic scuffling

-the rendering of Megalon: I liked the monster's overall appearance and it's beam firing horn, and exploding rocks launched from its mandibles.


Thumbs down:

-the "Seatopian" attire worn by "Emperor Antonio"(played by Robert Dunham), which looked like something out of the Broadway play for I Claudius.

-the stock footage is abundant in this film and used to horrendous excess

-the movements of Megalon during the scenes where the monster leaps. The creature's movements during the "leaping" sequences appear sloppy and awkward

-the ineptitude of the Seatopians in this film. This race possessed superior technology, as was boasted by one of their agents to "Jinko", yet their plans were completely thwarted by an inventor, his friend, a young boy and a resourceful robot, neither of these characters apparently needing much of any help from the JSDF

-the often lack of high speed filming in the kaiju battles

Godzilla Vs Megalon(1973), as I previously mentioned, has seen a wide variety of releases on VHS. In 1976 this film was released by Cinemashares to American theaters in English dubbed language. The television broadcast on NBC in 1977 of this movie is laughable, the broadcast hosted by a Godzilla suited, up and coming comedian named John Belushi, the movie butchered down to an hour run time.

Reading about this movie I was interested to discover that Godzilla Vs Megalon has no major female character in it, the only Godzilla movie lacking a female lead of some kind. The movie itself was originally planned as a "Jet Jaguar Vs Megalon" feature but Toho eventually decided that Jet Jaguar wouldn't be able to carry the movie theatrically, so a new screenplay was hastily written to include Godzilla and Gigan. The movie, subsequent to this change, was filmed in all of three weeks!

Anyone who has not seen Godzilla Vs Megalon should watch this movie uncut, in its original widescreen(2:35.1) aspect ratio and in its original language(with English subtitles if possible).

Godzilla Vs Megalon(1973) is available on official Region 2/NTSC format DVD(no English subtitles) and on Region 4/PAL format DVD, the latter from Australia's "Madman Entertainment" website.

There has been a delay in the Region 1 DVD release of this film by Mediablasters: it was originally scheduled to be available at retailers on November 29th, 2011 but word now is the delay may push back the DVD release until late December, 2011 or sometime in January, 2012. The Mediablasters DVD is available for pre-order at Amazon, the site listing the official release date as December 18, 2011. To see the R1 Mediablasters DVD for sale at Amazon click the title of this blog entry or click this link: Godzilla Vs Megalon R1 DVD

The Toho trailer:

Internet forum spotlight: SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY WORLD

A member of my internet message board Monsterland Forums named "Jae", who is a huge fan of all things science fiction(sci-fi), has started up his own internet message board. This board is called Science Fiction And Fantasy World. Check it out by clicking the signature image below or this link: Jae's new board

You can also access Jae's sci-fi message board by clicking the title of this blog entry.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Monster Island News: Ishiro Honda Family Suing For Godzilla Copyright

Monster Island News: Ishiro Honda Family Suing For Godzilla Copyright: by Armand Vaquer Above, yours truly with Toho's (or is it Honda's?) copyrighted Godzilla character. It has been reported that the family ...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grounded for life: PHANTOMS(1998)

What with all the sci-fi and horror movies that feature hostile aliens from space and sea monsters it's always a nice change of pace when I watch a creature feature film about something downright dangerous that lives right under my feet, deep underground. Such is the creature in the book Phantoms, penned by Dean Koontz. In January of 1998 a film was released based on this book, also called Phantoms, directed by Joe Chappelle. I consider the book marvelous. The film? Not so much but it's decent enough. It could have been a lot better but even now I still like to put the DVD of this movie in my DVD player every year or so and watch this movie.




In the film the entire population of Snowfield, Colorado, over four thousand people, has vanished and those remaining are discovered dead by two women, the corpses mottled looking. The two women who discover the corpses, a doctor and her younger sister, are soon joined by a local sheriff and his pair of deputies, the group wandering about the empty town, trying to figure out where everyone is. In the meantime a mysterious, unseen force stalks the group and thwarts every attempt the group makes to exit the eerily quiet, seemingly deserted town.

Eventually a local team of military personnel descend on the town along with an expert in the phenomena of "mass disappearances", tasked with finding out why over four thousand people have vanished. What they discover is an ancient, intelligent, malevolent and ectoplasmic creature, a shape shifting monster responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. This creature has apparently existed for millions of years in the deepest recesses of the Earth and makes periodic forays to the Earth's surface...to feed. (no other spoilers)


Dog gone: this creature infected canine is just one of the many creepy characters from the film PHANTOMS

This movie is sufficiently creepy, much of the suspense and sense of dread in the movie left to the imagination of the viewer during the initial half hour of the movie. There is an effective, well paced buildup of tension including some scenes of shock and gore. The final reveal of the creature's appearance is kind of a disappointment but I like the fact the monster is, in both the book and film, a highly intelligent creature that is not only malevolent in nature but also very sadistic.

The film stars Peter O'Toole, Ben Affleck, Joanna Going, Liev Schrieber and Rose McGowan. Directed by Joe Chappelle based on a screenplay written by Dean Koontz. I own the Dimension Films DVD(1998), the movie presented in a 1:85.1 widescreen aspect ratio. To see this DVD for sale at Amazon click the DVD cover art above or click the title of this blog entry.

The films' trailer:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks

As another Thanksgiving holiday is upon us I thought I'd list some of the things I'm thankful for as I rapidly approach fifty years of age:

  1. I'm thankful for high definition, flat panel LCD televisions: I can watch A T & T U Verse HD channels without having to put on my bifocals in order to adequately see the television images
  2. I'm thankful that I can still perform my work(landscaping and gardening) with a reasonable degree of success given my age and growing number of aches and pains I have now
  3. I'm thankful for "allopurinol", a prescription medication that I take to lower my uric acid levels and consequently ward off painful gout flareups that I would otherwise suffer in my right knee, either feet and both elbows
  4. I'm thankful for the reliability of A T & T U Verse: I pay more for their combined internet and cable TV package than I like but they are generally reliable and I've had only two router breakdowns in three years. My previous ISP and cable provider was Comcast and their service was prone to frequent and prolonged outages, one reason why I cancelled my account with them back in 2008
  5. I'm thankful that so many of the classic Godzilla and other dated, obscure horror movies I watched as a kid are being released to quality DVD
  6. I'm thankful that Legendary Pictures has signed on to produce another American "Godzilla" movie. I'm confident that this studio will produce a Godzilla film that will be a lot better than the '98 Centropolis produced Godzilla movie which was roundly blasted by the majority of Godzilla and giant monster movie fandom
  7. I'm thankful that I still retain some modicum of a sense of humor regarding our world and society in general
  8. I'm thankful for the close friendship of two good men I have known now for fifteen years
  9. I'm thankful for the social media website Facebook, which has enabled me to reconnect with college and high school classmates as well as help me stay connected with an old high school friend and her husband
  10. I'm thankful for my landlord, an elderly widow who is kind, generous and very much like a grandmother to me
  11. I'm thankful that my internet message board, Monsterland Forums, has retained regular posting activity by a small group of high character people who share a love for movies



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Under pressure: Dante's Peak(1997)

Back in 1997 two disaster movies featuring volcanoes(and their eruptions) were released to theaters. One was Volcano, a film in which a volcano erupts underneath Los Angeles, California. I enjoyed this movie, especially the sequences where firefighters and other civil defense personnel must fight the devastating lava flow that burns through the city.



The other movie, and my favorite of the two I'm referring to, is Dante's Peak, released by Universal and directed by Roger Donaldson. In this film a vulcanologist(played by Pierce Brosnan) is dispatched to the small, cozy town of Dante's Peak, located in Washington state to investigate recent rumblings from the towns' resident and mostly dormant volcano. The town of Dante's Peak, we learn in this film, has been voted the second most desirable place to live in the United States. The vulcanologist sets about investigating the town's volcano and sees ominous signs that the volcano may be on the verge of an eruption. The vulcanologist, "Harry Dalton" must overcome the town's skeptical reception to his fears about the volcano as well as those of his boss(played by Charles Hallahan). Of course the volcano eventually erupts and all hell breaks loose as the town, and other adjacent surroundings, are wiped out by fires, floods and one awesome looking pyroclastic cloud.


House warming: a lava flow incinerates a lodge in the film DANTE'S PEAK


If you're a disaster movie fan(like me) and haven't seen either of these two films I definitely recommend watching them on DVD, especially Dante's Peak. Both movies are available on DVD and Blu Ray. To see the DVD of Dante's Peak for sale at Amazon click the DVD cover art image above or the title of this blog entry.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

KAIJU GALAXY - Seven years on the web!

Back on this day in 2004 a young high school student living in Michigan started up a kaiju themed internet message board called Kaiju Galaxy. This site's founder, Donny Winter, is now a college student at Central Michigan University. Kaiju Galaxy, a message board in Zetaboards format like my own board, continues to flourish and has 500+ members and over 160,000 posts. Looking to read kaiju themed fan fiction and other creative poems, short stories and fan submissions? You'll find some of the best fan creativity at this board. There are also general chat and entertainment forums and Kaiju Galaxy has its own Facebook page. To check out this marvelous message board click the link: Kaiju Galaxy

An appreciation of giant monsters - NERONGA

From time to time I'm going to give some props to various giant monsters who have endeared themselves to me. The first of these monsters that comes to mind is Neronga. This monster first appeared on television in 1966 in episode #3 of the classic Ultraman television series, the episode called "Go Science Patrol!"(one of many various English translations for this episode). The monster, an ancient dinosaur defeated by medieval Japanese warriors, has survived by consuming electricity. The energy from the electricity causes the monster to grow and also enables the huge creature to render itself invisible, as long as it's fully "charged" with energy. Physically, Neronga is a 35 meter(116 feet) tall, 10,000 ton behemoth, the monster bulky, generally quadrupedal, usually walking on all fours and possessing a ridged back, huge tail and possessing a large horn on its face. Neronga can, when agitated, rise up and move about on its hind legs. Besides being able to make itself invisible, Neronga also can fire large blasts of electricity from its horn.

Photobucket


The Neronga "suit" used in the classic Ultraman TV series episode was worn by "Godzilla" suit actor Haruo Nakajima and was a modification of the Baragon suit, Baragon a monster appearing in the 1965 Toho film Frankenstein Vs Baragon(aka "Frankenstein Conquers The World").

Neronga eventually is confronted and killed in battle by Ultraman but gives Ultraman a decent fight. I've always liked the design of this monster and Neronga would go on to appear in other "Ultraman" series. I own a collection of giant monster toys including a Bandai figure of Neronga(5-6" inches tall).

Click the video below to see Neronga in action against "Gudon", the battle from an episode of the TV series Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle:


Gudon vs. Neronga by ExOrochi


To see Neronga fighting Ultraman(in the '66 episode "Go Science Patrol!") click the below video:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monster Island News: Max Borenstein Brought In To Write GODZILLA 3D

Monster Island News: Max Borenstein Brought In To Write GODZILLA 3D: Written By: Ken Hulsey Source: The Hollywood Reporter Legendary Pictures continues to bring in new blood to work on their highly anticipa...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monster Island News: Monsterpalooza 2012 Announced

Monster Island News: Monsterpalooza 2012 Announced: by Armand Vaquer As you can see from above, Monsterpalooza 2012's dates have been announced (April 13-15, 2012). It will be returning to...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The New Trailer for Underworld Awakening!

The New Trailer for Underworld Awakening!

Click either of the above links to see the new, full trailer for Underworld-Awakening, which opens in theaters on January 20, 2012.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Michael Jackson's THRILLER (1983)

I can remember the first time I watched Thriller, a music video directed by John Landis and starring Michael Jackson. I was a college junior and sitting at the counter of a club in Charleston, SC called "Spankys" when MTV first broadcast this video. I was very impressed as I watched it.



The fourteen(14) minute long video features some great monster makeup effects on Michael Jackson and marvelous dance choreography. The video was produced as a promotional tie in to the 1982 Michael Jackson song "Thriller" and album of the same name. That album is among the greatest selling albums of all time.

I still consider Thriller, which was released in December, 1983 to be the absolute best music video I have ever seen and is even more satisfying for me to watch around Halloween.

Michael Jackson's Thriller:


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Public domain theater revisited: Night Of The Living Dead(1968)

In 1968 a horror film was released that would set the standard for "zombie" horror movies:Night Of The Living Dead, directed by George Romero. This black and white horror film kicked off what has become a marvelous film franchise, spawning numerous sequels. While this particular film isn't my personal favorite(it's 1978's Dawn Of The Dead) it is a film I enjoy watching about once a year around Halloween. To see this movie in its full duration click the video below:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monster Island News: AIP Dub In Media Blasters' "Destroy All Monsters" ...

Monster Island News: AIP Dub In Media Blasters' "Destroy All Monsters" ...: by Armand Vaquer Above, the box art for ADV Films' DVD of "Destroy All Monsters" from 2004. Media Blasters hasn't released any photos of...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting "Hammered"

For those horror movie fans who love Hammer horror movies I highly recommending "bookmarking" Hammer Films' official website into your internet browser. Click the link below to access this marvelous website:
Hammer

The Devil Inside(2012)

Some of the scariest films I've ever seen are horror movies that feature demonic possession. Those that immediately come to mind for me include The Exorcist(1973), Amityville 2-The Possession(1982) and Beyond The Door(1974). Early next year on January 6th Paramount is releasing The Devil Inside, directed by William Brent Bell. Judging by the trailer it looks promising. Check out the trailer below:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Breaking the ice: The Thing(1982)

I can remember being considerably skeptical at the prospect of actually liking the film The Thing, a sci-fi/horror movie directed by John Carpenter, as I walked in the Lenox Square mall theater(here in Atlanta, GA), ticket in hand to see this movie for the first time, way back during the summer of 1982 when this movie made its theatrical debut.

Remakes weren't so prevalent thirty years ago like they are now. I remember reading an early review of this movie in the local newspaper(the Atlanta Constitution) by a movie critic who blasted the film as nothing more than a lot of "meatball gore". I have never been one to pay much attention to movie critics so after getting mildly inebriated on some cheap beer I accompanied two friends over to the mall to check out this film. Initially I felt considerable disdain at the idea of any director helming a remake, or "re-imagining" if you will, of the classic 1951 sci fi movie "The Thing From Another World", which was directed by Christian Nyby...or Howard Hawks depending on who you believe.

I watched The Thing(1982) and came away liking this movie a great deal. Now, decades later and with more viewings it has become an all time favorite of mine in either the sci-fi or horror movie genre. Director John Carpenter put together a highly entertaining movie, which has a cast of quality actors, terrific sets, outstanding makeup and marvelous creature effects by Rob Bottin. This movie chronicles the struggles of a group of scientists at a remote, Antarctic research station who welcome into their facility a stray dog, unaware that the animal is in fact a hostile, shape shifting alien from a destroyed Norwegian research station in the same general area of the Antarctic. The American scientists inspect the wrecked Norwegian station but find little answers to the mystery and later must deal with the alien creature after it escapes into their own encampment and begins attacking, and assimilating the various scientists and other personnel at the U.S. research station.

The film is at once a combination of mystery "whodunnit?" and gory, makeup effects laden scenes of terror as the research station members turn on each other in their efforts to eradicate the creature. Rob Bottin's creature effects are terrific, the alien creature fairly hideous in its natural form and also in mid transformation forms while it tries to absorb and imitate the various cast of characters.



I haven't seen the "prequel" film to the 1982, John Carpenter directed classic(also called The Thing), which is showing in theaters right now but I'll buy it on DVD when it hits retailers. The Thing(1982) is available on both Blu Ray and Collector's Edition DVD. Both can be seen for sale at Amazon by clicking the Blu Ray DVD cover art image above.

The trailer to John Carpenter's 1982 classic:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Monster Island News: AMC FEAR FEST vs TCM CLASSIC HORROR 2011!

Monster Island News: AMC FEAR FEST vs TCM CLASSIC HORROR 2011!: Written By: Ken Hulsey Sources: AMC / TCM It's time once again to pit the two top classic movie networks against each other mano-e-mano in ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Criterion “GODZILLA” disc details/art stomp in

Criterion “GODZILLA” disc details/art stomp in


To pre-order this DVD and/or Blu Ray click the link: Criterion Godzilla DVD/BD release

Hostel Part III (2011) coming to DVD

On December 27, 2011 Sony Home Entertainment will release Hostel Part III to official Region 1 DVD. The third "Hostel" film will feature more young victims being brutally tortured by members of the "Elite" hunting club, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada and not in Europe. Unlike the first two "Hostel" films, the third installment is a straight-to-video release.

The trailer:

Meat eaters: Dawn Of The Dead(2004)

I have always been considerably hardhearted where horror movie remakes and "updates" are concerned. I probably always will be. That said every once in a while a remake comes along that I actually like and Dawn Of The Dead, a 2004 "update" of the 1978 classic directed by George Romero, is one of them. This 2oo4 remake is directed by Zach Snyder and, like the 1978 Romero directed movie of the same name, chronicles the struggles of a small group of people who sequester themselves in a huge mall after a worldwide plague turns the majority of the human race into ravenous, aggressive flesh eating zombies. Like the '78 film this update is full of gore and superlative makeup effects.


This movie is available for sale at Amazon at a very affordable price. The movie is also available on Blu Ray. To see the uncut, widescreen version of this movie for sale at Amazon click the DVD cover art image above.

The trailer:


Dawn Of The Dead (2004)Trailer by LivingDeadDollsNet

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Snap happy: The Boogens(1981)

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of sitting down and watching an old horror movie I hadn't seen my college days. I'm referring to The Boogens, which was released theatrically way back in the fall of 1981. As far as I know this somewhat obscure horror movie has never been released to official DVD. I've seen various internet vendors selling DVD-R bootlegs of this film and Amazon does offer it for sale as a VHS tape from numerous Amazon sellers.

A friend of mine and fellow horror movie fan was kind enough to record this film off TCM, that would be Turner Classic Movies by the way, and record it to a DVD-R. I received the disc in the mail and promptly put it into my DVD player.



As horror movies go The Boogens is surprisingly decent, I think. The film, directed by James L. Conway, was made on a meager budget of about $600,000. In the film an old mine, closed since 1912, is quietly prepped to be reopened by a small group of people employed by a local mining company. Soon enough they'll wish they had kept the mine closed as vicious, bloodthirsty creatures who inhabit the deep innards of the mine and accompanying maze of underground tunnels linking to all the homes in the adjacent town, begin killing off cast members of this movie.

The thing I like best about this film is the suspense that is nicely established by the director. The full reveal of the monsters in this movie doesn't come until the end and we only see parts of the creatures during the film's progression. The creatures are rendered through animatronics and look more than sufficiently garish and menacing. There's really no gore in the film but a few of the victims are shown being vigorously hacked and bloodied by the monsters' tentacle like appendages.

Hopefully this movie can find its way to official Region 1 DVD sooner than later. I think The Boogens would definitely be a hit with the majority of classic horror movie fans.

A trailer:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Trailer for The Avengers is Here!

The Trailer for The Avengers is Here!

Korea Jumps on the Post-Conversion Bandwagon (Late) With 'The Host'

Korea Jumps on the Post-Conversion Bandwagon (Late) With 'The Host'

Gwoemul (pronounced "gae - mul"), aka by its international(and American) title "The Host", is a 2006 Korean sci-fi film featuring a huge, reptilian monster that appears out of a river and terrorizes a local community. A family, losing one of their own to the creature's attacks, take it upon themselves to find and kill the mutant monster when local authorities drag their proverbial asses handling the crisis.

The CGI used to render the huge monster is stellar and the first(and primary) creature rampage is actually a daylight attack on the locals. I own the Region 3 DVD of this 2006 Korean monster movie. A sequel to The Host is in the works. Check out a trailer for this movie by clicking on the video below:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monsterland Forums

Posting activity at my internet message board, Monsterland Forums has been slow through the summer months. Thankfully activity has picked up in September and the board continues to have at least one(1) new member registration every month. I have added several new board themes(skins), all of them created by a member of our online community who is supremely talented at internet graphics. They are called Godzillica, Godzillica 2 and Halloweenia, the latter a "Halloween" based theme which I think looks fantastic.

For anyone who likes movies or video games or anyone who likes general chat give Monsterland Forums a look! Here's the link: Monsterland Forums

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things remembered: AMC's "Monsterfest"

There was a time, many years ago when I considered the cable channel AMC, which stands for American Movie Classics, a favorite place to watch movies. Films were shown uncut, often in their original aspect ratio and always commercial free. Those days are obviously long gone. As Halloween(October 31st) approaches I have begun scouring Turner Classic Movie's program schedule to see what horror movies they'll broadcast in October. TCM's horror movie line up is, as always, fairly impressive during October and this year is no different. AMC? Well, there was a time long ago, during their two weeks of "Monsterfest" when horror movie fans like myself could count on some classic Hammer and Universal horror films as well as a handful of Toho sci-fi and Godzilla movies. I can remember staying up all night, during the late 1990's and early 2000's, to watch old Hammer horror films and Toho movies like Rodan(1956) and Frankenstein Conquers The World(1966).

AMC changed the name of its annual October horror movie marathon, many years ago, to Fearfest. AMC's "Fearfest" is fearful only in that its lack of classic horror movies is truly scary. To be sure AMC will throw in a few classic horror movies but mostly its "Fearfest" will be comprised of repeat showings of the fourth and fifth Halloween films. For those of you who consider yourselves fans of classic horror I'd recommend sticking to TCM, Fear.net and Chiller(a surprisingly decent horror film cable channel) when checking out horror movies on cable this October.

One of my favorite "Monsterfests" on AMC was back in 1999, hosted by Roger Corman and which featured quite a number of Toho kaiju films:

Jane Jefferson Starship

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11, 2001 remembered

I can remember, like it was yesterday, where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. On that fateful and tragic day two American passenger jets, both hijacked by members of the Islamic extremist terrorist group Al-Qaida, were flown into the two World Trade Center towers in New York city. Another hijacked passenger jet crashed into part of the Pentagon and a fourth jet was crashed before it too could be steered into the White House in Washington, DC. To say that the carnage resulting in these attacks was widespread would be an understatement. Several thousand people were killed and much of New York city was damaged and buried in the rubble from the two one hundred story tall WTC buildings that collapsed. In the days and weeks that followed this catastrophic event panic, fear and paranoia set in among many Americans as our intelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DIA, tried to find answers as to how this attack could have happened. I'm not going to touch on any of that.

I was at a Home Depot in Alpharetta, GA(north of Atlanta) picking up some cypress mulch for the garden design business I worked for when one of the store sales associates began shouting that planes had slammed into the WTC towers. The magnitude and nature of this event wouldn't hit me fully until I had gotten home from work and seen it all unfold on television. I was horrified, outraged, appalled and absolutely sickened at what I saw on TV. I didn't sleep for nearly two days as I had a lingering sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I watched the inevitable "blame game" begin to unfold as investigations were launched into how and why these 9/11 attacks happened. The how doesn't seem so hard to understand. The "why" also seems fairly easy for me to understand as well.

There are people in this world who hate Americans and the American way of life. They would kill us for simply being American. The first shot in what has become a long war was fired by Al Qaida on September, 11 2001. We answered back with a war against Iraq and an ongoing struggle in Afghanistan. There's no doubt this war won't end anytime soon as our enemy is determined, hateful, persistent and willing to die for his/her beliefs. Fair enough. America isn't going anywhere either. We have our problems and we often struggle to solve them but I believe we are still the greatest nation on Earth. I am proud to be an American and remind myself every week how fortunate I am to live in this country. To the American servicemen and servicewomen who have lost their lives defending American freedoms and our way of life you have my eternal thanks, always. To those Americans who survived the September 11th attacks best wishes to you as well. Those responding police and firefighters who threw themselves into the inferno of the WTC collapse to help others in need will always have my respect, admiration and gratitude: their selflessness and sacrifice is a great example of how we should all live and treat our fellow citizens. A new 9/11 memorial will soon open. I've seen images of it and it is beautiful, a marvelous physical memorial to those lost on September 11th, 2001.

I hope all Americans will stop and pause to reflect on September 11, 2001 and "never forget".

Monday, September 5, 2011

In defense of the tube TV

I have never considered myself a tech savvy person. I didn't own my first cell phone until the year 2000: it was a rectangular shaped Ericcson model with a thick antenna attached to the top of it. This clunky phone looked more like a walkie talkie than a cell phone. I didn't own my first computer until a close friend of mine bought me a used laptop back in December, 2005.As for televisions I bought my first LCD high definition TV, a 32" Olevia from Circuit City, back in 2007. This TV lasted two years and then one day just wouldn't turn on. A technician with Norman's Electronics(located here in Atlanta, GA) rambled off a litany of possible reasons why this hi def flat panel TV stopped working. All the potential fixes were expensive and were more than 50% of the what I originally paid for this Olevia LCD TV(just over $400). Determined to abstain from purchasing another LCD flat panel TV until I had gotten the bad taste of my Olevia TV failure out of my system, I went back to my steady, reliable tube TVs. These TVs have been around for what seems like forever. They're commonly referred to as "tube" televisions because they employ a bulky cathode ray tube(CRT) to facilitate the image projection onto the screen of the TV. These types of televisions can last ten years or longer. I am, admittedly a fan of flat screens on TVs now. Thankfully there are still many quality tube TVs with flat screens that remain on the market, primarily at internet vendors like Tiger Direct, Amazon and Overstock. I purchased a flat screen tube television last year which has, I think, the best picture of any TV I have ever owned. It's a Toshiba model 30HF85 16x9 flat screen: the screen is rectangular shaped hence the "16 x 9" description of it's screen. I believe this particular model appeared in retailers back in 2005. This unit has also been produced by Toshiba in a 26" and 34" screen size as well. In fact, the model "34HF85" and the follow up model are sold used and/or refurbished at Amazon for well over $500. I bought the 30" model of this unit from a craigslist seller early this year for $110. Seems like a great investment thus far.

I also bought a 40" Dynex flat panel LCD back in July, 2011 and the Toshiba 30" flat screen tube TV has, in my opinion, a noticeably better picture.




While this Toshiba model is advertised as displaying 480p and 1080i resolutions I have it connected to my A T & T U-verse cable box and have the cable box system resolution set to 720p(hi def) and this television displays a great picture with vibrant colors and great clarity!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I, robot: The Colossus Of New York(1958)

I was absolutely delighted earlier this year when I read at Dread Central that Olive Films had secured the rights to release The Colossus Of New York onto official R1 DVD. This 1958, black and white sci-fi film, produced by William Alland and directed by Eugene Lourie, is a melancholy and atmospheric feature that is an interesting twist on the classic "Frankenstein" tale. In the film a brilliant scientist, killed in a sudden and random accident, lives on after his brain is transplanted into the steel body of a hulking robot.



For years the only way to view this film was through VHS or a bevy of grainy, sorry looking DVD-R "bootlegs" offered for sale through various internet vendors. No longer. I bought the Olive Films DVD for this movie last week and was very pleased at how The Colossus Of New York looks on official DVD.

The robot is, as far as I'm concerned, the "star" of this film, a towering and lumbering metallic hulk with glowing eyes and a dark, cape like shroud draped over its huge shoulders. Predictably, the dead scientist doesn't react too well to the fact he now inhabits the body of a huge steel robot and the enormous machine becomes a menace to humanity as the movie reaches its climax(no spoilers). I would highly recommend this film to any fans of classic sci-fi and horror! To see the Olive Films DVD of this movie for sale at Amazon click the DVD cover artt image above.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

To hell and back: HELLRAISER-REVELATIONS(2011) trailer

First let me say that Doug Bradley will always be, as far as I'm concerned, "Pinhead" the leader of the Cenobytes, a group of hideous and sadistic demons from hell who, when summoned make those in close proximity suffer some serious torment, both physical and otherwise. That said I have been admittedly curious about the latest "Hellraiser" film, a straight to video production. Watch the trailer and judge for yourself whether this film has any potential.


Fan made trailer - KANIGAR THE UNDEFEATABLE

"Avery Guerra", a contributor and writer for the blog Undead Backbrain and also a site contributor for my discussion board Monsterland Forums, was kind enough to post this fan made trailer called KANIGAR THE UNDEFEATABLE, a cool trailer that pay homages to the classic giant monster films of the 1950's and Toho's kaiju movies of the 1950's and 1960's. The trailer was created by an up and coming U.K. film maker named Bevin Wright. To watch it click on the video below:




To see more of Undead Backbrain(the blog) click the link: Undead Backbrain

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fan made Godzilla compilation video

Matthew, a member of my online community discussion board Monsterland Forums, has created another Godzilla compilation video featuring Toho's popular giant monster in action. Watch this video below!

Gojiramatthew's Heisei Godzilla - Destroy All MV by gojiramatthew


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Winging it: memories of MOTHRA(1961)

It took me, admittedly, some time to "warm up" to the Toho created kaiju called "Mothra": as its name implies this giant creature, which has tangled with the likes of Godzilla, Gigan, a marine monster named Dagarah and even the three headed, gold colored space dragon King Ghidorah, is a moth like monster. This winged creature's size has varied in the numerous films it has appeared in and its powers include being able to generate hurricane force winds and emitting a poisonous powder on its adversary monsters.

Mothra is widely considered the second most popular kaiju, after Godzilla. I'm certain this is a debatable issue. I've seen great debate about who gets second place in popularity after Godzilla at many message boards. What isn't subject to debate is that Mothra has appeared in over a half dozen other kaiju films and has a trilogy of films, released theatrically in the 1990's, that also showcase the winged creature. The first film this monster appeared in is still, in my opinion, the best overall: a movie called Mothra which debuted in Japanese theaters back on July 31, 1961. This film is celebrating its 50th "birthday", if you will and I'd like to take another opportunity to lay some props on this classic. The overall special effects and miniature effects employed in Mothra(1961) are, I think, among the absolute best ever produced by Toho's special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya and have stood the test of time very well. The actual sets that were created for this movie remain the largest ever made by Toho for any kaiju film. Mothra was released theatrically in Japan on July 30, 1961. It would reach American theaters later in May of 1962, released by Columbia Pictures which had bought the North American rights to the Toho film.

The film's story:

A ship called the Daini Genyo Maru runs aground in a typhoon in the waters near Biru Island, located in an area of lingering radioactive fallout from repeated atomic tests conducted by the country of Rolisica. Four survivors from the wrecked ship are found by a search and rescue effort, curiously unaffected by the radiation in the area. To investigate the mystery further, the Rolisican government sponsors a Rolisican-Japanese expedition to study the island. There they find an isolated area of lush green vegetation, natives indigenous to the island, and two six inch tall girls. Deciding to leave the tiny girls and the island alone, the expedition departs Biru Island and returns to Japan. Unfortunately, entrepreneur Clark Nelson, in charge of the expedition, returns to the island and,with the help of his thugs, kidnap the tiny girls, cutting down the natives in a barrage of gunfire. Nelson immediately puts the tiny girls on a vaudevillian-like display as part of his "Secret Fairies" show, much to the disdain of other expedition members Shinichi Chujo, a linguist/anthropologist, Zenichiro Fukuda, a reporter, and Michi Hanamura, Fukuda's photographer and colleague. This trio implore Clark Nelson to relinquish the tiny girls. Nelson refuses. Result: a gigantic egg on Biru Island hatches, loosing an enormous caterpillar called "Mothra", which swims towards Japan, to "rescue" the two girls. The giant caterpillar, surviving an at sea napalm attack, and plowing through an ocean liner that happens to be in its way, reaches the Japanese mainland and begins it's search for the two little girls. (no other spoilers).




Observations:

This film has a great sense of spectacle and fantasy, the story driven in large part by the performance of (the late) Jerry Ito, who masterfully portrays vile, ego maniacal and greedy entrepreneur Clark Nelson. Ito's performance makes it easy to despise "Clark Nelson" and cheer for Mothra to come and rescue the two island "fairies". The score, by Yuki Koseki, is sweeping, majestic and grand and compliments the acting and special effects quite well. The special effects, courtesy of Eiji Tsuburaya, are outstanding, the miniature effects and wireworks effects used to bring Mothra to life a marvel to watch. The rendering of the larval Mothra is done through people inside a prop, Haruo Nakajima manning the "head" portion of the suit. The adult(flying) form is rendered through a large prop which is maneuvered via a system of overhead wires. Mattes are used quite a bit for Mothra's attack on the Rolisican metropolis called "New Kirk City". Other Toho actors in this movie include Hiroshi Koizumi as the linguist "Shinichi Chujo", Frankie Sakai as "Zenichiro Fukuda"(nicknamed "Snapping Turtle" in the original film and "Bulldog" in the English dubbed version). Kyouko Kagawa, who played "Michi Hanamura", was very cute. Kenji Sahara has a small role as a helo pilot, Harold Conway portrays the Rolisican Ambassador, and Robert Dunham plays a Rolisican police detective.

I've seen some message board criticism of this film for being a bit slow at times and also because it doesn't have non-stop kaiju action. Motha(1961) is, like many films, a story and in this story it does take some time for the creature to become prominent in the film's storyline. Once Mothra does the various sequences of both the larval and adult Mothra on the rampage, both in Tokyo and in the skies over "New Kirk City" respectively, are visually marvelous as we see the creature display the full force of its destructive power.

The film, which did quite well at the box office both in Japan and in the United States, was shot in color and 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio. It is available on Region 2 DVD and can be purchased via online order at either Yesasia.com or CDJapan, though in Japanese language only(no English subtitles). Mothra(1961) was also released to Region 1 DVD in 2009 as part of a DVD set called Icons Of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection, the set also including the Toho films Battle In Outer Space(1959) and The H-Man(1958).

The film has appeared on Turner Classic Movies(the Columbia Pictures version in English dubbed language) and also other cable channels as well.

The R2 DVD for sale at CDJapan: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=TDV-2751D

The R1 DVD set of Icons Of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection for sale at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Icons-Sci-Fi-Collection-Battle-Mothra/dp/B0024FAG2G

The original Toho trailer:


Monday, July 11, 2011

Skin deep: The Alligator People(1959)

I just finished watching the 1959, Twentieth Century Fox produced film The Alligator People. My expectations regarding this film were admittedly muted but I was pleasantly surprised at this black and white horror oldie. Beverly Garland looks great as the distressed wife looking for her missing husband in and around an isolated plantation located in a remote and swampy region of Louisiana. Turns out this plantation is also the home of a scientist conducting dangerous experiments on humans and gators.





Lon Chaney, Jr. is creepy as the local bayou drunkard and hell raising ruffian who harbors a justifiable grudge against alligators. Finally there are the "alligator people", victims suffering horrific physical injuries who are the recipients of injections from the plantation's scientist, a seemingly affable fellow who promises them the drug will heal their injuries. Eventually the side effects kick in on these victims causing them to begin transforming into, you guessed it, alligators. The special effects are serviceable(for the time) but I liked the build up of suspense, the presence of veteran horror movie actor Lon Chaney, Jr and the nice 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio of the film. The DVD of this movie is a must for any fan of classic horror movies. To see this movie for sale on DVD click the DVD cover art image above. The film's trailer:


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monster Island News: Japan Recognizing Mothra's 50th Anniversary

Monster Island News: Japan Recognizing Mothra's 50th Anniversary: "Above, studio workers walk past a mural of 1961's Mothra down the driveway from the main entrance of Toho Studios. Photo by Armand Vaquer. ..."

Godzilla music video

One of the members of my internet message board Monsterland Forums, a young Australian fellow who goes by the username "gojiramatthew", has created another cool Godzilla compilation video using footage from both Gojira(1954) and Godzilla Raids Again(1955). You can see it by clicking on the video below.



Gojiramatthew's Godzilla Music Video by gojiramatthew

Monday, July 4, 2011

God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

I hope all Americans will take the time today, the fourth of July, to remember all of the American servicemen and servicewomen who are serving honorably here in the United States and overseas: it's a tough job but one they do well. We should also take a moment to remember those American soldiers who have given their lives to preserve democracy and our way of life. We have a lot of problems to deal with here in the United States of America. Our country isn't perfect but it is still my home and always be.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Monster Island News: Godzilla 2012 Poster: Real or Fake?

Monster Island News: Godzilla 2012 Poster: Real or Fake?: "by Armand Vaquer Things have been quiet on the Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers Godzilla project lately. I received this in an email tod..."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Classic 60's Hanna Barbera animated series at WB Shop

Not too long ago WB Shop.com began making available classic, 1960's Hanna Barbera animated TV series as "on demand" DVD-Rs, these discs made from the best possible source materials. As a kid I grew up watching Space Ghost(1966), Birdman(1967), Galaxy Trio(1967) and my absolute favorite, The Herculoids(1967). I bought Space Ghost/Dino Boy and Birdman/Galaxy Trio last year on DVD. Thankfully more of these classic cartoons are being made available to the public now either as R1 DVD releases or "on demand" DVD-R burns. In April, 2011 Frankenstein Jr/The Impossibles(1965) was released as an on demand DVD-R release(made by the manufacturer as an order is placed for the discs) and just last week The Herculoids finally became available. To find these cartoons and other great TV series go to the WB Shop website. Click this link to enter the WB Shop website:  WB Shop

For me Saturday mornings as a kid meant watching an Ultraman episode and these cartoon episodes. Check out the intro theme for The Herculoids:



Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Thing From Another World(1951) - trailer

I was greatly saddened yesterday to see the news that long time television and movie actor James Arness had passed away. He was 88 years of age. His death was officially attributed to natural causes. Obviously this actor, a tall, rangy and ruggedly handsome man gained lasting fame for his role of tough guy but good hearted U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon on the long running CBS television series Gunsmoke(1955-1975). Fans of sci-fi films should recognize him as the FBI agent in 1954's Them! who helped battle irradiated, giant mutant ants threatening Los Angeles(CA). For me I will always relish a non speaking role of the actor: I'm referring to the green, humanoid plant alien in 1951's sci-fi classic The Thing From Another World. There are so many things I have always liked about this black and white sci-fi film and James Arness' portrayal of the malevolent, menacing alien is absolutely one of them! James Arness will be greatly missed.


On the beach: Space Amoeba(1970) - revisited

My recollections of things and people are becoming more problematical as I get older. In particular my memories of first viewings of various kaiju, sci and horror films. If I recall correctly I first saw the Toho film SPACE AMOEBA(1970)(international title) in the late 1970's on TBS(Ted Turner's super station located here in Atlanta, GA). It was the AIP(American International Pictures) version in English dubbed language and titled YOG MONSTER FROM SPACE(the U.S. title). In recent years I have begun a closer examination of the various Toho films featuring giant monsters not named Godzilla. In doing this I have come to gain a better appreciation of these movies, Space Amoeba included.

The film's story: a space probe is launched and begins a long transit into deep space, its destination the planet Jupiter where the machine will study the enormous planet. Interrupting the interstellar journey of the probe named "Helios 7": a blue colored, gaseous energy being which we'll call "Yog". Yog moves about the probe's exterior and interior and then forces the probe to turn about. The Helios 7 returns to Earth splashing down in the south pacific near Selgio Island.

In the meantime a small group lead by a photographer, anthropologist and biologist travel to Selgio Island to make a preliminary study of the island which is being prepped to become home to a lavish resort facility. The alien being "Yog", departing the submerged Helios 7 probe, decides to tour Selgio Island and definitely not for the purpose of securing time shares in the planned resort's vacation packages. The energy being methodically takes over several local marine creatures: a cuttlefish, rock turtle and crab are all inhabited by the alien and are mutated into 30 meter tall giants. These giant creatures, Gezora(cuttlefish), Ganime(crab) and Kamoebas(rock turtle) all make life miserable for the group of people tasked with studying the island. Eventually the biologist figures out what's going on and it's not good: the alien "Yog" has designs on conquest of the Earth(what a shock). Fortunately for the group and island inhabitants the alien creature has a serious aversion to fire and sonics and the humans on the island use fire and a large contingent of bats to combat Yog. The alien eventually loses control of the surviving giants Ganime and Kamoebas and the two battle it out at the conclusion of the film. (no other spoilers)

Some observations of this film, the Toho version, some of them positive and some not:

Thumbs up:

1. the scaling of the three giant marine creatures to about 30 meters. There's no need to make them bigger since all the action takes place on Selgio Island. Keeping the size of these kaiju at 20-30 meters helps make their interactions with the island's human cast of characters more engaging and relevant.

2. the design of the three creatures: I found the suit designs for Ganime, Kamoebas and Gezora to all be solid. Admittedly I felt some disdain watching Gezora trudging about on land, propelling itself with its tentacles. Kudos to Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima for pulling double duty, so to speak as he suited both Gezora and Ganime in this film(Haruyoshi Nakamura suited Kamoebas). My favorite design of the three marine giants is the crab kaiju Ganime: the creature's mandibles, antennae and claws looked quite realistic.

3. the score: I liked the musical composition of this movie a lot. The pounding piano keyboards and urgent horns sound quite good. The truth is I like this score, composed by Akira Ifukube, better than most Godzilla film scores.

4. the overall special effects: aside from some unremarkable matte shots I thought the special effects overall were solid. The SPFX director for this movie was Teisho Arikawa. Eiji Tsuburaya passed away earlier in 1970 which afforded Arikawa the opportunity to direct the effects in this film.

5. the human cast: several pleasingly familiar faces of veteran Toho kaiju film actors carried the human drama along: Yoshio Tsuchiya as the steady, unflappable biologist "Dr. Koichi Mida", Akira Kubo as the temperamental photographer "Taro Kudo" and lastly Kenji Sahara as the nefarious anthropologist(and corporate spy) "Makoto Obata". The tensions among the cast members are often amusing, especially photographer Kudo's obvious disdain for the smarmy and patronizing anthropologist Obata.

Thumbs down:

1. some of the films' matte shots are sub par. There's one scene in particular where Ganime approached the islanders, the matte shot making the creature look several hundred feet tall and not the actual 20 meter scale of the monster.

2. watching Gezora lumber about the island out of the water: there's something inherently ridiculous, to me anyway, about a marine mollusk somehow being able to freely move about on dry land.

In 2006 Mediablasters(under their "Tokyo Shock" label) released Space Amoeba(1970) to R1 DVD, the release presenting this film in its original 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio. Here's this DVD for sale at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Space-Amoeba-Akira-Kubo/dp/B000AC7P2Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1307200149&sr=1-1

(click the title of this blog entry also to see the DVD for sale at Amazon)

The Toho trailer:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Humongous(1982) should be on DVD

I sat down this afternoon and watched my DVD-R of a 1982 slasher horror film called Humongous. I've been on a mission of sorts over the last few years to buy campy 80's slasher horror movies on DVD and would definitely buy this Paul Lynch directed movie if it was on official DVD...but it isn't, yet. I've seen some internet speculation that Scorpion is planning to release Humongous on official R1 DVD in either late 2011(October) or the spring of 2012. I sure hope so. Slasher horror film fans who have not seen this movie should. Is it a work of art? Absolutely not but it is, I think, considerably better than most reviews I've seen for this film on the web. Director Paul Lynch gets quite a few things right with this movie: the hulking man monster who stalks(and kills) the group of stranded young people on "Dog Island" is never fully revealed in appearance until near the end of the film which definitely adds a great element of mystery to the character. The use of shadows is done quite well by the director as well and the audio rendering of "Humongous" is very effective: the hulking man beast emits variations of dog like growls and roars which definitely add to the "creep" factor of this antagonist. The man monster is played by Garry Robbins, a seven foot, five inch tall Canadian actor-stuntman and "tallest man in Canada" who would later return as one of the crazed, deformed and inbred hillbillies commonly referred to as "Sawtooth" in the 2003 horror film Wrong Turn. Admittedly the acting in Paul Lynch's Humongous is pedestrian and the film itself borrows heavily from the "Friday The 13th" films. Still, I think Humongous(1982) is worth an official DVD release. Slasher horror fans should give this one a look: I think they'll be glad they did.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Growth spurt: Gnaw-Food Of The Gods 2(1989)

I've always been a huge fan of horror movies which feature giant animals on the loose. There are so many of them out there I'm not going to even begin trying to list those that I like. I will give some limited props to 1989's Gnaw - Food Of The Gods Part 2, a film which, like the 1976 movie Food Of The Gods, takes a look at what happens when various animals consume an experimental chemical which causes unchecked growth. Like the '76 film, Gnaw-Food Of The Gods Part 2 employs rats, and lots of them, as the film's proverbial "bad guys". These rodents consume tomatoes that have been fertilized with a scientist's experimental growth concoction. The rats, after attacking a group of students engaged in trying to destroy the laboratory in which they have been caged, escape to the underground sewer system of a college campus where they proceed to grow as big as large canines and with a generally hostile disposition. The college dean predictably turns a blind eye to the rat problem on campus and a ceremony is held to christen a brand new athletic facility despite the infestation and menace of the enlarged and vicious rats. The rats crash the ceremony and all hell breaks loose. There is the expected gore and blood in this film, mostly from rats chewing off body parts of victims. The effects of these creatures is not what I would call great but they are serviceable and the film itself is campy and never takes itself too seriously. One of the scariest sequences in this film, for me was the young boy who experienced an unnatural growth spurt courtesy of this experimental drug, especially the ending(no spoilers).






The DVD I recently purchased of this movie is fairly basic, presented in a 1.33.1 full frame aspect ratio and with only scene selection option. Luckily I have a "16.9" widescreen viewing option on one of my televisions that I used to reduce the stretch effect from a 1.33.1 full frame image.To see this film for sale on R1 DVD at Amazon click the DVD cover art image above.

The films' trailer:


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gojiramatthew's Zombie Flesh Eaters - Music Video

One of the things I enjoy most as the founder of my internet message board Monsterland Forums is the opportunity to promote the work, be it video, story or artwork, of one of my board's members. The below video was produced by a member of my online community who lives in Australia and goes by the username "gojiramatthew". Click the video below to listen to Matthew's latest video which is an homage to one of director Lucio Fulci's zombie horror films.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

E-reptile dysfunction: Alligator(1980)

Seems like there are so many horror movies on the market featuring menacing, and often over-sized reptiles, that even a dedicated horror movie fan like myself can lose track of them. Just about every decade starting with the 1960's has seen movies produced to capitalize on rampaging lizards, snakes and other reptilian mutations. Films that come to mind include The Alligator people(1959), Hammer Film's The Reptile, The Giant Gila Monster(1959), Anaconda(1997) and Crocodile(2000).

Two of my personal favorite horror films featuring ravenous reptiles are the 1976, Tobe Hooper directed Eaten Alive, which features a grubby bayou motel owner who has this nasty habit of feeding his guests to his pet alligator...and Alligator, directed by Lewis Teague and originally released in theaters back in 1980.

The film's story:  a small, pet alligator named "Ramon" is unceremoniously flushed down the toilet by the Kendall family after being deemed a nuisance, the unwanted reptile ending up in a Chicago, Illinois sewer where the small creature, feeding on discarded and experimental laboratory dog carcasses(part of some experiments with hormones), not only survives but grows to a colossal length of thirty six(36) feet and two thousand pounds. The hungry, monster sized gator, to satisfy its hunger dines on homeless people and other vagrants. When body parts begin turning up in a public, man made city lake, a local cop named "David Madison"(played by Robert Forster) and a reptile expert named "Marisa Kendall"(played by Robin Riker) team up to investigate who, or what is doing the killing. Madison, a good guy and veteran cop with a tragic past, is predictably under the gun to find the killer by his caustic boss, Chief Clark...who also rejects the cop's claim the killer may be an animal of some kind.

The alligator eventually decides to tour the city and blasts through the street, literally, beginning a murderous, bloody rampage as it devours numerous locals who happen to get too close to its enormous and powerful jaws. The police try to kill the huge animal and fail. To that end  a renowned and equally arrogant, surly big game hunter, "Colonel Brock"(played by Henry Silva) has arrived in town to kill the giant alligator. The climax of the movie features the cop and his lady scientist pal taking on the huge gator in one last ditch effort to stop the creature. (no other spoilers)



Observations: this film's effects are obviously dated by today's standards but the effects used to render the giant gator, including close up shots, are quite decent. Director Lewis Teague allows for some suspense before revealing the enormous creature from head to tail. Robert Forster is effective as a cop who, when not fretting about his receding hairline, displays real guts and determination in stopping the giant gator. Henry Silva's character, the big game hunter, is easy to despise: smug, conceited and brusque, he arrogantly presumes he will easily kill the huge alligator(which he doesn't by the way). The film obviously includes violence and some gore but not what I would call an excessive amount of gore. More attention seems to be focused by the director on the victims' sheer terror in the moments leading up to their being consumed by the giant gator as opposed to simply showcasing the blood, body parts and carnage. That doesn't mean there aren't numerous scenes of what I refer to as "meatball effects" because there are, you can be certain of that. The climax of the film, while not spectacular, is a satisfying conclusion to the movie, for me anyway. The highlight of this movie, from an effects perspective, might be the sequence where the monster sized alligator literally crashes an outdoor party attended by many local VIPs, the garden party quickly becoming a human stock yard of blood and flying bodies and body parts. The ensuing chaos and carnage caused by the arrival of the enormous alligator is well rendered as people scatter in terror, tables are upended, some of the party's attendees are trampled and of course there are those who become victims of the giant reptile.

The film's trailer:



Lionsgate Home Entertainment has released Alligator to quality R1 DVD(remastered picture and audio), the film presented in its original 1:78.1 widescreen aspect ratio and 5.1 digital audio. DVD extras include an audio commentary with director Lewis Teague and actor Robert Forster, an interview with writer John Sayles, English closed caption option and English/Spanish subtitles option.



The movie for sale on R1 DVD(Lionsgate) at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Alligator-Robert-Forster/dp/B000SQFBZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1303852893&sr=1-1
(or click the title of this blog entry to see the DVD for sale at Amazon)