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, 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.