Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monsterland Forums in 2012

Posting activity at my internet message board, MONSTERLAND FORUMS will likely top out around 17,000 posts for the year 2012. There has been, to my chagrin a slow decline in posting activity at this message board. Still, we have a great core group of about a dozen active members and plenty of new sci-fi and horror movies coming soon to theaters to talk about, especially Pacific Rim in 2013 and the Legendary Pictures Godzilla film scheduled for theatrical release in the spring of 2014. Monsterland Forums has been on the web now for nearly six years and I look forward to the next six years as this online community's primary administrator.

Monsterland Forums remains committed to providing a casual, non confrontational and friendly internet "meeting place" for fans of sci-fi/horror movies to talk about these films as well as other shared interests like sports, video games and other genres of films. I remain fully committed to making this board the absolute best it can be for those members who participate in the board's numerous forums.

Anyone is welcome to join this online community and I'd also like to give major props to Donny Winter for his board called Kaiju Galaxy, which has been on the web for eight years and remains active as well with a great group of active members.

To check out Monsterland Forums click the link: MONSTERLAND FORUMS

To check out Donny Winter's Kaiju Galaxy click the link: KAIJU GALAXY

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Freddy Krueger

I'd like to wish the online member community at Monsterland Forums and everyone else a safe and happy holidays this Christmas! Be safe and enjoy some quality time with family and friends!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Looking forward to PACIFIC RIM(2013)

I am really looking forward to seeing the Guillermo del Toro directed PACIFIC RIM, which is scheduled for theatrical release on July 12th, 2013. In Pacific Rim giant, malevolent monsters begin appearing out of the Pacific Ocean and immediately attack major cities. We fight back but these giant monster attacks turn into a long, drawn out conflict which ultimately deplete humanity's resources. To aid ourselves in the fight against the onslaught of these giant creatures, giant robots called "jaegers" are created to combat the "kaiju"(giant monsters).

The viral marketing campaign is well underway to promote this upcoming movie. I can honestly say that I haven't been this excited to see a movie since the 1998 Centropolis "Godzilla" film.

Check out the video below which gives a hint at what humanity is in for when these giant creatures begin to appear:

This film has it's own website which includes a forum, the latest news and updates and still images of various cast members. The link: PACIFIC RIM website

Friday, November 16, 2012

UFO footage in Denver, CO

I have always been on the proverbial fence about UFOs, "Bigfoot", the "Loch Ness monster" and "yeti" aka the "abominable snowman". While these mysteries are interesting to me I've never fully bought into the notion that any of them are real...but lately I'm beginning to think there is definitely something going on regarding UFOs, an acronym for unidentified flying objects. Why? Videos like the one posted below which clearly show something in the skies over Denver, Colorado. The object(s) move at a high rate of speed and seem to perform impossible maneuvers. Judge for yourself by clicking on the below video and checking out the footage:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back to the future - Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991)

I have admittedly watched few Godzilla movies on DVD in recent years. Part of that is due to my busy schedule. I've also spent more time watching action and horror movies. Two things have, however happened recently to get my love for Godzilla movies going again. First, Legendary Pictures recently announced a tentative theatrical release date for their planned Godzilla movie, to be directed by Gareth Edwards. This movie is scheduled to begin production in the spring of 2013 with an official theatrical release in May, 2014. The second thing to happen is that Godzilla Vs Biollante(1989) will soon be released on Blu Ray(in December, 2012). It is my hope that other Godzilla movies will get Blu Ray releases(Region A that is) to accompany the theatrical debut of the Legendary Pictures' Godzilla film.

In the meantime I have taken it upon myself, as I do from time to time, to re-watch various Godzilla movies. One I watched a couple of days ago on Region 3 DVD(w/English subtitles) is GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH, which originally opened in theaters in Japan back in December, 1991 and is directed by Kazuki Ohmori. The movie's theme revolves around time travel and I'll be the first one to say that, save for a couple of movies I've seen, I do not like time travel films in general. What I do like about Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991) is the marvelous special effects and what I consider to be one of the best renderings of Godzilla ever in film: the legendary monster is bigger and badder than ever in this 1991 movie, his height ramped up to 100 meters(330 feet)...and he has to be because his opponent is an old enemy from his movie past, the three headed space dragon King Ghidorah, also enlarged in this movie to a colossal 120 meters(396 feet).

In this movie a group of time travelers from Earth's future come back to present day Japan under the guise of wanting to rid Japan of Godzilla and all the accompanying misery and destruction the monster has brought the country. Unfortunately the leaders of the time travelers, aka "The Futurians", have an ulterior motive: replace Godzilla with a creature of their own which will, like the dinosaur at Lagos Island in 1954 which mutated into Godzilla after radiation fallout from atomic bomb testing, itself become irradiated and mutate into a leviathan monster. In this case the Futurian's creature is actually a trio of small, cute "Dorats" who look like tiny bats. Left behind on 1954 Lagos Island by the Futurians after they summarily remove the "Godzillasarus" dinosaur, the trio of creatures mutate and reappear in an altered present day of Japan as a three headed dragon called King Ghidorah. Turns out the nefarious leader of the Futurians doesn't care for the fact that Japan has become the dominant country in Earth's future so new monster King Ghidorah will lay waste to Japan and destroy the country in order to prevent Japan from its rise to prominence in the future. Japan's only hope now, in the face of annihilation by this new monster, is an old enemy seemingly vanquished by the Futurians and erased from the history books...but is Godzilla REALLY gone? (no other spoilers)

This movie is available on official DVD, paired with 1992's Godzilla Vs Mothra, both movies in English dubbed language and cropped to a 1:33.1 "full frame" aspect ratio. Click on the above image to see this DVD for sale at Amazon. To see the Region 3 DVD release of this film click on the below image:

As I always prefer to watch movies in their original aspect ratios I invested in two multi region DVD players many years ago so I could watch Region 2 and Region 3 DVDs. Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991) is also available on Region 2 DVD(the pricey Toho release) and the more affordable Region 3 DVD(which I own). Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991) is available on Blu Ray as Toho has released this film onto region free Blu Ray. The Toho Blu Ray of this movie can be purchased at CDJapan or YesAsia.

Here's an HD trailer for the film:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween vs Battle Royale

Check out this terrific short film which pits masked killer Michael Myers(from the various "Halloween" films) against a trio of cute(and turns out lethal), young Japanese school girls like those from Kinji Fukasaku's cult classic movie Battle Royale(2000):

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christian Vote

Christian Vote, a website I created on behalf of a close friend, has garnered nearly eight hundred(800) visits in the past 48 hours. While I am admittedly surprised at this development considering that this website is only six weeks old, I am also very pleased. I'm not a spiritual person and never really have been but I strongly support the non-religious aspects of my friends' website. Liberal media bias exists. Liberals can deny this all they want but that doesn't change the fact that media bias among all the major networks(CBS, ABC & NBC) is rampant. I encourage anyone who hasn't taken a look at CHRISTIAN VOTE to do so. You may or may not agree with what is posted at this website. The main thing is check the site out. I will be updating this site in the next few days. Click on the link below to access Christian Vote.

christian vote

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"We've Heard It All Before" (Extended Cut)

A Conversation with Bernie Marcus

One of the reasons why I am planning to vote for Mitt Romney for President in this November's election is touched on by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus in the below video. President Barack Obama would have Americans believe that the federal government is the key to solving chronically high unemployment, helping a record number of Americans get off welfare(at last count that number was about 46.5 million) and creating more jobs for those unemployed and/or under employed Americans. The federal government of the U.S. has been traditionally fraught with waste and internal mismanagement of its own finances. Federal agencies like FEMA and the U.S. Postal Service have been financial disasters for many years. At the time of this blog post the USPS is losing $25 million A DAY! I would like to see a future America with MORE employed Americans and with long term jobs, not 90 day "shovel ready" temp jobs that President Obama's stimulus legislation generated.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet tooth: Candyman(1992)

What with all the props given to major horror film characters like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Leatherface and Michael Myers, I'd like to offer my own kudos to a killer nicknamed "Candyman" who is the title character of the 1992 film of the same name. Candyman is directed by Bernard Rose and isn't on Blu Ray yet. I hope it is soon. This movie is a grim, melancholy, spooky and at times downright scary affair in which a long dead man with a stump and nailed on hook for a right hand comes back to haunt, and kill, victims in the Cabrini Green area of Chicago, Illinois. A local college researcher and journalist named Helen Lyle(played by Virginia Madsen) learns all too well that the "Candyman" isn't a myth but is a very real killer. The title character is ably portrayed by Tony Todd whose deep voice amplifies the menace of his vengeful and bloodthirsty character. There are numerous "shock" sequences of violence and gore as the Candyman does his bloodletting. I also like the score which often utilizes classical music and blends well with the frequent dream like sequences in which Helen Lyle communicates with the killer. I haven't seen the two sequels to this movie but I'm planning on buying the DVDs to both before the end of the year.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

TCM Event Series Presents Frankenstein(1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein(1935)

Turner Classic Movies, Universal and NCM Fathom Events are together sponsoring a limited theatrical re-release of Frankenstein(1931) and The Bride Of Frankenstein(1935). Both of these classic Universal horror films will be shown in select theaters as a double feature on Wednesday, October 24th(2012) at 7:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time). Read more: http://www.fathomevents.com/classics/event/tcmfrankensteins.aspx?d=10/24/2012

For a listing, by state, of participating movie theaters in the U.S. that will be showing these two movies click the link: http://www.fathomevents.com/upcoming/alllocations.aspx?eventid=1105

TCM Event Series Presents Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

HALLOWEEN(1978) returns to theaters in 2012

HALLOWEEN, the 1978 horror classic directed by John Carpenter, returns to select theaters across the United States beginning October 25th, 2012 and running through Halloween, October 31st. This limited theatrical release is the result of a collaborative effort between ScreenVision, Trancas International Films and Compass International Pictures. Included in this re-release to theaters will be an exclusive short documentary by Justin Breahm about Michael Myers called “YOU CAN’T KILL THE BOOGEYMAN: 35 YEARS OF HALLOWEEN.”, this documentary taking a closer look at Michael Myers, the iconic killer in all the "Halloween" films. Additional screens showing this classic horror film are being added daily. To see if a theater will be showing Halloween(1978) in your area click the below image:

Those interested in checking on a list of theaters by state which will be showing this classic can also go to ScreenVision's "Halloween movie" web page for a list of theaters which is updated daily. The link: ScreenVision Halloween page

Another website I would recommend for "Halloween" movie fans is a site dedicated to Michael Myers himself. Check it out by clicking this link: Michael Myers  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Christian Vote

I have spent the past six weeks putting together a website called Christian Vote for a close friend of mine. I am not a spiritual person and while I don't share the religious overtones and content within this website I absolutely agree with my friend's assertion that liberal media bias is adversely affecting the minds of many American voters and those who are preparing to register to vote. I have always felt considerable disdain for politics and even greater disdain for the Democrat political party. In the past I have largely ignored the foibles and shenanigans that regularly occur within Congress and including various past U.S. presidents and members of their respective administrations. Not anymore. The current American president, Barack Obama, may be the worst commander-in-chief the United States has EVER had.

Under President Obama our national debt has reached $16 trillion dollars, unemployment remains chronically high with an official Department Of Labor statistic of 8.1%. That stat does not include those able bodied and unemployed Americans who have given up looking for work altogether. When including those no longer working for work the actual unemployment rate is much higher and likely around 14-15%. One in seven Americans currently receive welfare and/or food stamps simply to pay their basic bills and feed themselves. An independent report by the Institute Of Medicine recently concluded that the U.S. health care system wastes $750 billion annually in unnecessary and redundant paperwork, excessive administrative costs/fees and outright fraud. Despite this the Democrats, and President Obama, plan to implement "Obamacare", a nationalized health care system that will result in an even bigger government intrusion into our health care system, something I find appalling given the sorry track record of accounting and fiscal responsibility among government agencies.

I hope those checking out this blog who are planning to vote in November will take the time to also check out Christian Vote. I will be maintaining this website and posting updates to the site on a regular basis. Click the link below or the title of this blog entry to see this new website. Thanks!

Christian Vote

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lost and found: CREATURE(1985)

One of my guilty pleasures in life is watching low budget sci-fi/horror movies and CREATURE, a film directed by William Malone, is certainly one of them. Anyone who has watched this movie, originally released theatrically back in May, 1985 knows that it is a blatant "Alien" rip off. In Creature(1985) we learn at the onset that two competing corporations, one American and one German, are vying to secure a valuable area of alien archaeological artifacts located on "Titan", a moon of the planet Saturn. The German corporation manages to land a spacecraft at the site on Titan first where two of its crew members, wandering through the ancient alien ruins, disturb a "sleeping" alien creature that quickly awakens, then attacks and kills them.

Later an American spaceship also lands at this site on the surface of Titan and, not surprisingly, encounters a hideous and bloodthirsty alien monster that immediately sets about stalking and killing the American team sent to the site.

Wendy Schaal in CREATURE(1985)

The alien creature in this movie looks a lot like the iconic "xenomorph" from Ridley Scott's Alien(1979). The monster kills by physical assault and numerous scenes show the hostile monster gnawing on the necks of its victims. The recently awakened creature also has the ability to transfer small, nasty looking spores to victims' scalps which render them pale skinned, wild eyed zombies and also dedicated to killing those still unaffected by the creature. The special effects are largely pedestrian and the acting is serviceable, enhanced to some degree for me by the lovely Wendy Schaal and creepy, leering Klaus Kinski. Kinski is later replaced by an obvious double after becoming infected by one of the creature's spores and "zombiefied".

There's some decent scenes of shock and gore in this film, the latter highlighted by one sequence in which a crew member(infected by the alien creature's miniature spore) has his head blown apart by another crew member packing a formidable hand held firearm. The reveals of the alien monster are brief and scatter shot throughout the movie, no doubt an effort by director William Malone to minimize the effects shortcomings of the monster which was obviously rendered through the use of "man in a suit". At the conclusion of the film we get a better look at the monster as it attacks and jacks up one of the movies' main protagonists, tossing him around like a rag doll outside the derelict German spaceship. The design of the alien creature is decent. The action sequences in which the monster attacks the crew members throughout this film not so much.

Long in the tooth: the monster in CREATURE(1985) looking for its next victim

The movie was made on an estimated budget of $750,000 and generated about $4.5 million at the box office. Creature(1985) was, according to IMDB, filmed in a 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio and I've seen some screen caps of this movie at German websites showing off marvelous looking widescreen images.

DVDs and VHS copies of this movie I've seen for sale at eBay, Amazon and other websites are all unfortunately in full screen(1:33.1) aspect ratios. My R1 DVD copy is the Diamond Entertainment release and is a VHS like quality transfer.

I've seen some mention that Retromedia, a few years ago, made some inquiries about securing original elements from this movie in order to release a widescreen version of CREATURE but thus far no widescreen release has happened. Maybe Blue Underground will show some interest in this movie...or not.

The American trailer for Creature(1985) aka "The Titan Find":

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Hammered: Iconic movie studio's new YouTube channel

The iconic British movie studio Hammer Films has its own YouTube channel. This film studio, created in 1934, is best known for its marvelous horror and sci-fi movies released during the '50's, '60's and '70's. Hammer Films has enjoyed a recent resurgence and is again producing movies including the 2012 horror film The Woman In Black which stars Daniel Radcliffe(star of the "Harry Potter" movies).

Five(5) full length Hammer Films movies are already available for viewing on their YT channel including a favorite of mine, The Quatermass Xperiment(1955) directed by Val Guest.

To access Hammer Films' official website click on the title of this blog entry or this link: HAMMER FILMS website

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pick your poison: The Black Scorpion(1957)

One of my great escapes from reality, all while in the comfort of my living room recliner, often involves watching one of my beloved 1950's B movie "monster on the loose" creature features. These generally low(er) budget movies produced during the '50s feature various humans, animals or insects that have been exposed to atomic radiation, growing to enormous size and then becoming an immediate menace to anyone around them which results in climactic and predictable showdowns between these irradiated mutations and those members of local towns and military forces that are actually brave enough to hang around and fight these monsters.

Most of these films aren't broadcast on television much anymore though a handful still make the rounds on Turner Classic Movies(TCM). These kinds of movies make no sense and yet I find myself still as enamored with them today as I was when I was kid. Go figure.

One such film that still appears on TCM is The Black Scorpion, a black and white movie originally released to theaters in 1957, produced by Warner Brothers and directed by Edward Ludwig. The cast includes Richard Denning, Carlos Rivas and Mara Corday.

As 1950's "giant creatures on the loose" movies go The Black Scorpion is IMO above average and will well entertain B movie "creature feature" enthusiasts for ninety minutes, I think.

In The Black Scorpion a geologist and a doctor are studying the effects of volcanic activity in a remote and rugged village of San Lorenzo, Mexico. One effect they hadn't counted on: the volcanic activity has caused a rupture in the Earth nearby and prehistoric, giant sized scorpions have made their way to the surface from their subterranean lair, the enormous arachnids preying on cattle and the local citizenry. The scientist, doctor and local military all quickly get together to come up with a plan to stop the marauding, over-sized scorpions. Their initial efforts fail and even larger scorpions emerge from their underground nest, attacking a passenger train. Eventually the largest of these prehistoric scorpions, a house sized monstrosity, emerges and has a showdown with the military and scientists in a local stadium. (no other spoilers)

Pincer movement: giant scorpions attack each other as well as the locals in THE BLACK SCORPION(1957)

For me the special effects are the reason to watch this film. Richard Denning, who plays geologist Henry "Hank" Scott, is fairly bland and unimaginative...not that he really would realistically be anything else in a movie like this. The only time Denning's character shows any real personality is when he's putting the moves on co star Mara Corday, who plays Teresa Alvarez. The other cast members are also generally likable but uninteresting overall.

The special effects are handled by Willis O'Brien in this film and look, for the most part, fairly good. Like Ray Harryhausen, Willis O'Brien uses "stop motion" to bring the giant scorpions to life and the stop motion sequences look pretty good. There are, to be sure, numerous and redundant close up shots of the scorpions that focus on the facial features of these arachnids. Perhaps to add even more menace to these creatures, the giant scorpions are given jaws with rows of teeth and the ability to roar both of which are anatomically inaccurate. The giant scorpions also seem to have the ability to foam at the mouth and slobber which is of course absurd but no doubt an effect added by the film's producers to try and frighten theater audiences seeing this movie for the first time.

In summary The Black Scorpion follows the same proverbial "recipe" as do other '50's creature features but Willis O'Brien's stop motion effects make this movie a must DVD for any monster movie fan's collection and also worth checking out for more casual fans of giant monster movies.

This movie has been uploaded to YouTube and can be watched there for anyone interested.

The 2003 Warner Home Video R1 DVD of The Black Scorpion is available for sale at Amazon and can be seen by clicking on the above DVD cover art image or this link: The Black Scorpion

The trailer:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Check out this thirteen minute examination of the origins of the Godzilla suit by author Ed Godziszewski:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gfantis Vs Thing - G-Fest fan film

A new short film produced by "Dojo Enterprises" has made its way online. This short production made its debut at this years' G-Fest, an annual Godzilla fan convention held in Chicago, Illinois earlier in July. Check it out by clicking on the below video:

Great work here and I look forward to more fan short films from Dojo Enterprises!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dirty Laundry (short film)

In 2004 actor Thomas Jane played "Frank Castle" in The Punisher. I've always thought Jane did a marvelous job at bringing "The Punisher" to life on the big screen and the actor has reprised the role again in an unofficial short film that debuted at the recent San Diego Comic Con. It's called Dirty Laundry and is terrific. Check it out by clicking on the video below:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Missing in action: King Kong

While Godzilla will always be my all time favorite movie monster I also happen to like King Kong a great deal as well. Kong has had a great career in movies beginning with the 1933 classic King Kong. This movie was later "re-imagined" by Dino DeLaurentis in another movie of the same name in 1976, a film featuring a 40 foot tall Kong rendered through a man in a suit and some animatronics. Ten years later Kong was revived(literally with a heart transplant) in King Kong Lives(1986). I happen to like both the '33 and '76 King Kong films(but not the '86 movie so much). In my opinion Kong looks best in 2005's King Kong, a movie directed by Peter Jackson. Kong stands 25 feet tall in the '05 movie, a size downscale obviously but the exploits of the big ape in this movie are awesome, especially the sequence where Kong fights and ultimately kills three(3) V-Rex dinosaurs and for the most part all while holding Ann Darrow(played by Naomi Watts) in one hand!

The trailer for King Kong(1976):

Toho, which owns the rights to Godzilla, also has featured King Kong in two(2) films: King Kong Vs Godzilla(1962) and then again five years later in King Kong Escapes(1967). In the '62 film Kong's size is ramped up to 45 meters in height(just over 148 feet) so that he can realistically match up for battle with 50 meter tall(165 feet) Godzilla. Kong survives Godzilla's flame breath and, with the help of strength enhancing lightning strikes, takes the fight to Godzilla in the climactic Mt. Fuji battle. The two eventually fall into the sea, Kong surfacing and promptly swimming away, presumably to return home to Faro Island where he can drink the islander's red berry juice in peace. As for Godzilla, he doesn't surface, something which has caused great debate among giant monster movie fans. Some, as I do, take this to mean King Kong won the fight and Godzilla was knocked out in the underwater skirmish that followed after both creatures plowed into the sea. Others believe Godzilla simply swam away underwater and that the fight was a draw.

In the 1967 Toho-Rankin Bass co-production King Kong Escapes, Kong is 60 feet tall and must battle his robot equivalent, "Mechani Kong", a metal monstrosity created by an international terrorist called Dr. Hu(played by the late Eisei Amamoto). This movie, loosely based on an episode of the 1966 Rankin Bass cartoon called "King Kong", is great fun.

Rock on: King Kong throws a boulder at a giant octopus in KING KONG VS GODZILLA(1962)

Numerous and mostly sub par rip off films have been produced to try and capitalize on King Kong's popularity: Konga(1961), the absolutely atrocious Paul Leder directed A*P*E(1976), The Mighty Gorga(1969) and the Shaw Brothers produced The Mighty Peking Pan(1977) (aka Goliathon), the latter a movie I think is decent and has some quality miniature effects. Some years ago a movie about a giant ape appeared on SyFy(formerly the Sci-Fi Channel) but it was so bad I cannot even remember the name of it.

It's been nearly seven years since we've seen King Kong in a full length feature film. While I would be delighted to see a "King Kong Vs Godzilla" remake by Toho with Shusuke Kaneko as the director I also know there's about as much a chance of this happening as finding a four leaf clover.

At this point I just want to see King Kong again on the big screen in a quality movie. Can someone, will someone please bring the big ape back to theaters?

The Toho trailer for King Kong Escapes(1967):

Sunday, July 1, 2012

SVENGOOLIE to appear at G-FEST 2012!

G-FEST, an annual Godzilla convention traditionally held every summer in Chicago, Illinois will again come to the Windy City on July 13 - July 15. These conventions. which usually draw over 1000 people, always feature marvelous guests, discussion panels, a great lineup of giant monster movies(including Godzilla films of course) and the infamous "dealer's room" for those who want to purchase kaiju toys and other collectibles straight from the dealers themselves.

Two very special guests will be appearing at G-Fest XIX: actor Akira Takarada, who has appeared in numerous Godzilla movies as well as Satoshi "Bin" Furuya who played "Ultraman" in the original 1966 Ultraman TV series.

The movie lineup for G-Fest XIX: King Kong(1933), The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms(1953), Gorgo(1961), Giant Monster Gamera(1965), Godzilla King Of The Monsters(1956) & Godzilla Vs Destoroyah(1995). For more info on these films click the link: G-FEST XIX movies

For more info on G-FEST XIX click this link: G-FEST XIX -registration & general info

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nat Geo Bigfoot documentary - THE TRUTH BEHIND BIGFOOT

I have always been fascinated by the "Bigfoot" phenomenon. Bigfoot, also referred to as "Sasquatch", is a purported giant, hairy, half man and half ape creature said to exist in numerous regions of the world including parts of the continental United States. Some believe in the existence of this creature and some do not. Me? I've always been on the proverbial fence in that I'm open to the possibility of such a creature existing...but without a carcass, bones or other "hard" physical evidence I cannot honestly say I do believe these creatures exist. These alleged creatures have been the subject of many television documentaries. One I finished watching recently is well worth a look for those interested in the "Bigfoot" phenomenon. It was released by the National Geographic Channel in early 2010 and provides an excellent analysis of the infamous 1967 "Patterson" Bigfoot film footage as well as insightful and objective analysis of footprints and other secondary "evidence" collected over the decades by researchers and scientists. To watch this "Nat Geo" documentary click on the video below:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Judgment day: Dredd(2012) - official HD trailer

With apologies to the 1995 film Judge Dredd, which stars Sylvester Stallone in the title role, I am really looking forward to a new film featuring this ass kicking comics character. Look for Dredd(2012) in theaters on September 21(2012). Check out the HD trailer below:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Missing in action: Godzilla

I can still remember little bits and pieces of my experience watching my first Godzilla movie. I got to see Destroy All Monsters(1968) and Toei's sci fi schlocker The Green Slime(1968) one afternoon in 1969 at the Rialto Theater in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I can remember it being a sunny afternoon, the theater mostly empty and a lingering odor of stale popcorn and peanuts in the air inside the theater. After watching Destroy All Monsters I was hooked...on Godzilla and giant monsters, but especially Godzilla. Back during my days as a pre teen and teenager there were no DVDs, no VHS tapes and no internet by which I could immerse myself in Toho's famed monster. Even issues of "Famous Monsters Of Filmland" were hard for me to come by. To see Godzilla I had to catch the monster in one of his movies during an odd overnight hour. Still, I managed to catch many of the classic Godzilla movies on Atlanta station WTCG(now TBS-Turner Broadcasting System) as well as classic 60's Gamera films and other Daiei produced films like the "Daimajin" films that feature the giant stone god come to life.

From the very first Godzilla film in 1954 up until 1975, Godzilla was a very busy star for the Toho Motion Picture Company appearing in the following films: Gojira(1954), Godzilla Raids Again(1955), King Kong Vs Godzilla(1962), Mothra Vs Godzilla(1964), Invasion Of The Astro Monsters(1965), Ebirah Horror Of The Deep(1966), Son Of Godzilla(1967), Destroy All Monsters(1968), All Monsters Attack(1969), Godzilla Vs The Smog Monster(1971), Godzilla Vs Gigan(1972), Godzilla Vs Megalon(1973), Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla9(1974) & Terror Of Mechagodzilla(1975).

Then came a nine year hiatus and Toho's legendary monster would not appear again theatrically until 1984 with The Return Of Godzilla. What followed was another series of movies including Godzilla Vs Biollante(1989), Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991), Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla(1993), Godzilla Vs Space Godzilla(1994) & Godzilla Vs Destroyer(1995). In the '95 movie Godzilla suffers a meltdown from his own internally generated radioactivity and dies.

In 1998 Centropolis produced Godzilla, a film I like as a giant monster movie but believe ultimately fails as a "Godzilla" movie because it fails to capture the true essence of the monster as a menace to mankind. In December, 1999 Toho released Godzilla 2000 and followed this movie up with Godzilla Vs Megaguirus(2000), Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: All Out Monsters Attack(2001), Godzilla X(against) Mechagodzilla(2002), Godzilla-Tokyo SOS(2003) & Godzilla Final Wars(2004), the latter an action packed film to be sure but also a movie I believe lacks for giant monster action and instead is far too heavy on "Matrix" style special effects. This last G film was released theatrically in Japan back in December, 2004. It's been well over seven years since that movie but for me it might as well be an eternity.

In January, 2008 Paramount released Cloverfield, a "point of view" shot movie featuring an enormous and hostile aquatic monster and its landfall in New York City. I like this movie despite my considerable disdain for the "point of view" aspect of the film. The sequel for "Cloverfield" has been stuck in development hell for some time now.

It was announced last year that Legendary Pictures had acquired the rights to Godzilla(from Toho) in order to make a film featuring the iconic monster. A director has been selected to helm this movie: Gareth Edwards. I don't know much about this fellow. Updates on this planned movie have been sparse thus far which I suppose is to be expected. A tentative 2013 theatrical release date has been changed to 2014 and as far as I know(from the few updates posted online) a script for the film is still being hashed out.

I sure hope Legendary Pictures and director Gareth Edwards can deliver to us Godzilla(and giant monster movie) fans a film that knocks the ball out of the proverbial park.

Finally, I watched the '98 Centropolis film Godzilla today on Blu Ray and it looks great in 1080p HD!

Christian Vote - (new website)

Christian Vote

I have created a new website, at the request of a close friend, that I hope will get noticed on the internet. I will be posting more content(links, videos and other updates) in the coming weeks. This site will become a full domain by the end of June(2012) and will also have its own Facebook page. Check out Christian Vote by entering the following URL in your browser's navigation bar:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Making waves: It Came From Beneath The Sea(1955)

Lately I've been using my DVR quite a bit to record old classic monster and horror movies broadcast on Turner Classic Movies. Most of them are creature features from the 1950's and the most recent recording is 1955's It Came From Beneath The Sea. This Columbia Pictures film, directed by Robert Gordon, features an absolutely colossal octopus both enlarged by H-bomb tests and also rendered rather ornery because these same atomic bomb tests have scared off(or killed off) the creature's natural undersea food supply. Result: the gigantic octopus makes for the surface where it sinks a freighter and makes life generally miserable for those living on the western seaboard of the continental United States.

The enormous octopus in this movie is brought to life by Ray Harryhausen and his marvelous 'stop motion" effects. Kenneth Tobey portrays a U.S. Navy submarine commander who, when not putting the moves on Faith Domergue(who plays a scientist), leads the efforts to find and destroy the giant and menacing octopus. While I'm very fond of a 1977 Italian horror film called Tentacoli, aka "Tentacles" which also features a huge, killer octopus, I have always considered It Came From Beneath The Sea to be the best "giant killer octopus" movie out there. I still do.

I own both the 2003 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD(the movie presented in its original black and white print and in 1:85.1 widescreen aspect ratio) and also the 2008 DVD which presents this movie in color. To see the '03 DVD for sale at Amazon click the title of this blog entry or click the link: '03 DVD

The films' trailer:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

VOTING DAY (2012) -short film

One of the things I like to do best is promote the work of the members of my message board community called Monsterland Forums. A young member of this board, a fellow Georgia resident named Evan Brehany, has written and directed a short, twelve minute film called VOTING DAY. Check it out below by clicking on the YouTube video:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zero Woman - Red Handcuffs(1974)

I am an absolute sucker for movies that feature an ass kicking female and, having recently ordered the "Sister Street Fighter" DVD set from Amazon, I decided to add another Toei title to my DVD collection, a movie called Zero Woman-Red Handcuffs(1974), produced by Toei and directed by Yukio Noda. In this movie Rei aka "Agent Zero", played by the lovely Miki Sugimoto, is a disgraced former police officer who, stripped of her badge and incarcerated in jail because she violated her police department's code of conduct while killing a wanted criminal, is now freed and asked to become assassin while rescuing the daughter of a wealthy politician, Rei summarily dispatching the gang kidnappers any way she deems necessary. Of course Agent Zero's methods include a lot of bloody violence, courtesy of her chain and handcuffs. Check out the trailer below:

The DVD for this film, originally released by Discotek Media back in 2005, can be purchased at Amazon (click the DVD cover art below) or at Discotek Media's website: Discotek Media

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Short werewolf film - THE BEAST

I came across a short "werewolf" film called The Beast. The twelve minute long film is produced by Peter Dukes and is, I think quite good. Check it out by clicking the below YouTube video:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger(1977)

What with the advances in today's cinematic special effects, including "green screen" technology and CGI(computer generated imagery) I believe there is definitely something to be said about the "stop motion" effects created by Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen's stop motion technique has brought a variety of supernatural entities and creatures to life on the big screen including several "Sinbad" films. Lately I've started watching films featuring Ray Harryhausen's "stop motion" effects rendered monsters on DVD. Two weeks ago I enjoyed 1963's Jason And The Argonauts. Last night I sat down and watched Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger(1977), theatrically released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Sam Wanamaker and the third and final "Sinbad" film in which Ray Harryhausen contributed his marvelous effects work.

Sinbad is played in this 1977 sci-fi/fantasy movie by Patrick Wayne, son of legendary actor John Wayne. Sinbad, in all of these movies, is a dashing, handsome, brave and swashbuckling character long on courage and very adept with a sword. In contrast is the movie's villain, a female sorceress and witch named Zenobia, played by Margaret Whiting, who can shape shift into animals and create creatures out of her potions with which to fight Sinbad. The cast also includes hotties Jane Seymour and Taryn Power. The creatures in this movie, like all Sinbad films, are visually marvelous and also very dangerous to our hero Sinbad and his friends. In Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger the creatures include a bronze, bull headed automaton come to life called the Minaton, several insectoid, sword wielding assassins, a giant, horned and hairy hominid called a Troglodyte, an oversized and ornery walrus and finally a hostile and enormous sabretooth tiger which is literally long in the tooth. These creatures all collectively menace the cast during their journey to Hyperboria in search of a cure to transform a prince, turned into a baboon by the film's villainess, back to his human form.

Bull headed: the Minaton- from SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER(1977)

This film can be purchased on DVD at a very affordable price at Amazon and other various internet retailers. To see this movie for sale on DVD at Amazon click the title of this blog entry or click the link: SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER DVD

The movie's trailer:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paul Hardcastle -"Warm Glow" (1999)

Having just turned fifty years of age(on March 20th) I have made a promise to myself to try and reconnect with things I have long enjoyed in life but have lost track of lately. One of those things is my great fondness for the music of Paul Hardcastle. I first listened to this great keyboardist way back in 1985 when his songs "19" and "Rain Forest" hit the radio station airwaves. I've been listening to and enjoying Hardcastle's music ever since. I own a handful of CDs by Paul Hardcastle and plan on adding several more CDs of this recording artist during 2012.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

PROMETHEUS(2012) -full HD trailer

Ridley Scott is one of my favorite movie directors and his latest directorial effort, Prometheus has really got me stoked. Rumors continue to run amok as to whether this movie is an actual prequel to the 1979 film "Alien". Either way I expect this movie, scheduled for a June, 2012 theatrical release to be a huge financial success and a hit with fans of sci fi movies. Check out the full HD trailer below:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Watered down - LEVIATHAN(1989)

From time to time I'm going to post quickie promos on some old film favorites of mine without the dissection and analysis that I often engage in regarding these movies. One of these movies is LEVIATHAN, directed by George P. Cosmatos and released theatrically back in 1989. I remember first watching this movie at the Midtown 8 movie theater on Monroe Drive near 10th street, the theater located in a small shopping center across from Grady High school's stadium.

LEVIATHAN chronicles the struggles of a group of undersea miners who are trapped in their facility, located three miles below the ocean's surface, with a hostile and bloodthirsty biological organism that genetically mutates anyone it comes in contact with. The organism is inadvertently brought into the undersea Trioceanic Mining facility by one of the miners after his foray into the sunken wreck of a Russian research vessel. Turns out the research on the Russian vessel involved dangerous experiments with human-fish gene manipulation. Now such a mutation is running loose in the corridors and work spaces of the Trioceanic Mining deep sea base. (no other spoilers)

The cast includes: Peter Weller, Hector Elizondo, Amanda Pays, Lisa Eilbacher, Daniel Stern, Meg Foster and Ernie Hudson. The MGM DVD of this movie(which can be bought at Amazon) presents the film in its original 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio. Fans of sci-fi and horror should definitely put this film in their "Netflix" queue or even consider buying the DVD. This movie is a nice showcase for the makeup and creature effects of Stan Winston and is a fun 98 minute romp of monster mayhem.

The trailer:

Here's the DVD of Leviathan(1989) for sale at Amazon: LEVIATHAN DVD

You can also see the DVD for this movie by clicking the title of this blog entry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mill Creek's GAMERA 3(1999) Blu Ray - review by G2KMaster

A young member of my internet message board Monsterland Forums and fellow Georgia resident, Evan Brehany aka "G2KMaster", has penned a review of the Mill Creek Blu Ray release of Kadokawa's film Gamera 3-The Incomplete Struggle(1999) aka "Gamera 3-Revenge Of Iris". This sci-fi kaiju film, the last of the '90's Gamera movies and directed by Shusuke Kaneko, has some truly exceptional special effects and is widely regarded as being one of the best kaiju(giant monster) films ever made. Evan is an avid fan of not only Gamera but the entire trilogy of 90's Gamera movies.

Here's Evan Brehany's review of Mill Creek's BD release of this film:

Mill Creek's GAMERA 3 blu-ray is a Keeper

Written By: Evan Brehany

Here we go again. Evan Brehany talking about Gamera 3.

Thanks to a series of fortunate events, I was able to own the blu-ray release of GAMERA 3: INCOMPLETE STRUGGLE which was released by Mill Creek. The Heisei Gamera trilogy has been a lucky one, looking back on it. All three films are great works for the genre, in particular the third one which is something of a milestone in Japanese cinema. More importantly, the films have been lucky here. Each and every release of the films here in America (on a digital format) has been a great product. Anamorphic widescreen (most of the time), fair picture quality, a wealth of special features which are from Japan (Save some embarrassing material ADV produced), all in subtitles.

Does Gamera’s luck continue into the blu-ray age?

Of course it does. Thanks to the insane cheapness of the blu-ray for GAMERA 3 and the double feature blu-ray of the previous installments, these films are not only among the first kaiju films to be released on blu-ray here in America but are also very accessible to even the most scrooge-esque of collectors. Because of such popularity, this particular product has been noted for it’s three hours worth of material to the trilogy as a whole. Such a package seemed out of the scope of my imagination. Mill Creek Entertainment has been known to bootleg crappy pan and scan prints of the Showa Gamera films for years now (though it seems it is only GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE is being done now in a multi-pack). This was definitely something out of left field. Almost as big of a turn around as what Classic Meidia showed back in 2007.

But how does the package handle itself overall?

VIDEO: 4.5/5
I cannot comment on the quality of the high definition transfer. I can only hope it is beautiful. The best special effects the kaiju genre has to show for and I am stuck watching it in 480p due to not owning composite chords or a HDMI chord. I can however speak about different aspects of the picture though.

In comparison to a copy that I own (sourced from the next to last printing of the R2 DVDs), I can say that the new transfer is better in terms of color. The colors are not as vibrant as what my DVD has, but in return that has something I haven’t noticed before - the amount of bleeding in the picture. It’s not a big difference, but it is noticeable. The bleeding might not even be bad, for it creates a more atmospheric appearance (like how one might like to watch films on VHS). For those who see bleeding as a problem with past releases though, you’ll like this transfer.

You are going to have to refer to other reviews for more specific and technical based analysis on the disc’s audio. You got two Japanese tracks and an atrocious dub track (I have never seen GAMERA 3 dubbed and I do not plan on it).I will say that even though I am using regular A/V chords to connect my player to my tv, there are some elements which I could hear better than what I could on other releases.

What should be mentioned here though is the subtitle tracks. No, I am not going to complain about them too much. Either they are too big or they are late. I’d personally have the latter. I can piece together what subtitles go with what section of the video. I will complain about the fact that this is a new subtitle track. I am complaining about it because some of the old mistakes the translation on the ADV DVD release had are made again.

For example, when Nagamine finds out that Ayana has a magatama, we go over to the scene of a phone call in which one whole line for Asagi is, “Magatama”. On the ADV DVD, that is translated not as the proper noun it is “A curved black jewel” (a magatama is a magatama, to say “curved black jewel” is like replacing a proper noun with descriptive adjectives). It is worse on this commentary track in which the line is translated as, “You found one?”

There is also noun misusage when Ayana tries to prove herself to the female bullies at school by going in and trying to lift the rock out of the cave. Ayana asks what is in the cave only to be told “…a monster or something” (line is basically the same on both releases). The antagonist chick does not say monster, rather yokai. Yokai like gappa or one of those things from Daiei’s Yokai series (Great Yokai War anyone?) It seems Japanese terms are being ignored. That’s part of the charm of the Gamera trilogy, they are more Japanese than their Heisei Godzilla counterparts.

One improvement was better though. After Gamera’s attack on Shibuya, you have Ayana’s little brother calling her to come see what is on the television. On the ADV DVD, the subtitles translate what he is saying (which sounds like “ohniynjah”, clearly not “Ayana”) as “Ayana”. On the new translation, it is read as “Come quick!”. Easier to believe.

For you Gamera die hards and fans out there, this is the reason to get this one disc. In fact, because of this reason, every fan in every country - including Japan - should own this Blu-Ray. The answer is simple - the three hours of material on this disc is material sourced from the Japanese laserdisc box sets for all three films. That is a big deal.

The fact of the matter is this - three main companies handled the video releases of material pertaining to the Gamera trilogy. You had Amuse Video, Daiei Video, and Kadokawa Video. The model was like this: never copy something from one medium to another. If something was released on VHS, do not put it on laserdisc or DVD. If something was put on laserdisc, do not put it on DVD or VHS. Even in Japan, if something was put on DVD, VHS, or Laserdisc, it did not go onto the blu-ray. The Japanese blu-ray for the Gamera trilogy only had one special feature - a three part feature (just a whole bunch of interviews edited together and split into three parts). Unless you had a laserdisc player or bought materials from an illegal source, there was no looking at the special features in the laserdisc box sets.

Until now. Even more interesting, Mill Creek Entertainment has gone the extra mile to even subtitle the material for us. Not everything from the blu-rays are on here now. For example, the laserdisc box set for GAMERA 3 did contain the music video for “Tell Me Once Again”.

Rightfully so, most of the material on the blu-ray belongs to GAMERA 3. It starts off with a Gamera test which shows off the terrible sliding the back shell platelets were prone to. After this and the material for the first two films are over with, there is the “REVENGE OF IRYS REMIX”. To those who do not own the G3 LD Box set, this feature was actually supplemented with a book. The remix is basically the sound mix/track (sound effects, dialogue, ect.) for areas of the film that used SFX and instead of the scenes playing out like they do in the film, they are made up of corresponding B-ROLL footage. For example, with the atmospheric battle between Gamera and Irys, Gamera ramming himself into Irys would be shown via two guys holding shoulder and head props of the kaiju with the following attack changing to in-progress CG work. You see what computer programs and such the production team used. You can edit in each of these bits into their corresponding places within the film and you wouldn’t go out of the 108 minute running time (and if you do, it is just by a little). It is quite a unique feature.

There is also G3 trailers, which unlike the ADV DVD do not come subtitles (for the record, for those who didn’t get it, the vertical line of text at the beginning of some of the trailers is the same text that goes up the beam of light Irys is producing on the poster. It says “I will never forgive Gamera”, which is quite more hefty than “Godzilla dies”).They are not as plentiful as the ADV DVD either.

The best piece is the deleted scenes. Sure, the subtitles are out of sync for this, but at least they do not take up the entire screen. While some say the deleted scenes help answer things about the film, they actually (for me) form more questions than answers. While I can see why they would be cut out, the deleted scenes with Asakura Mito and Kurata Shinya should have been kept. Would have helped with the mythology. Such as further allusions to the I, CHING, the questioning of Nagamine’s theory that the Gyaos truly were biologically engineered, and such would have been so grand.

GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE gets the short end of the stick here, with just a short little tidbit. But what a tidbit! Talking about specific equipment the crew has to use and specific camera lenses and such really are great for those wanting to learn about the technical making of a kaiju film. Adds to a dictionary such as “oh, that prop is a kapock figure” or “those guys helping out the suit actor are Gamera kakari”.

GAMERA 2 has basically just a bunch of b-roll. With the material being sourced from a laserdisc, it should come as no surprise that there would be problems. The images on screen are too dark for a section. But, it is not all that bad. The making of the Legion suit, the b-roll with certain scenes and such really is interesting. Just too bad that some of the more important things, like the quick usage of motion capture in GAMERA 2 wasn’t in with the clips.

That being said, this is great when it comes to the actual making of the films. Yes, as it has been said, those who are completists should definitely keep their ADV DVDs. No doubt about it. But, both products together gives one quite the comprehensive insight. Again, if there has to be one reason to pick up this disc, this is the reason. With the Japanese laserdiscs going for over $75 (the GAMERA 3 laserdisc rising towards a $200 price ticket), it is wise to buy this blu-ray. This goes for fans in every country. Germany, China, Mexico, Iraq. If you are a kaiju fan who cares about seeing making ofs and such, you should get this rather cheap disc.

Originally, I was going to hold out for the Japanese blu-ray box set. Thanks to finding an unused gift card under the oven, I was able to buy this blu-ray from Walmart. To have thought I would have waited for such is inconceivable. The film is presented nicely, and probably greatly if I had a HDMI chord or composite cables. The extras are the selling factor of the release and are a must. Only bad thing to say it is with neither release the subtitles for the special features are perfect. Chances are, if you are as well informed as me in your research, you have been bits of the special features on youtube (They were uploaded on there before the blu-ray was release, sans subtitles), but the G2 material is new to me. And it is subtitled. It’s great!

Here's a short Japanese trailer for the film:

To buy the Mill Creek Blu Ray release of this movie click the link: GAMERA 3-REVENGE OF IRIS

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fish food: Piranha 3DD trailer (HD)

Last year I finally managed to sit down and watch Piranha 3D on DVD. This film is a "re-imagining" if you will of the 1978 film Piranha. I own the '78 film on DVD and it's a movie I really enjoy watching from time to time. Piranha 3D was exactly what I expected: updated special effects(which are mostly quite good) and over the top gore. Now there's a sequel to "Piranha 3D" and it's called PIRANHA 3DD, the alpha numeric part of the film's title undoubtedly a reference to the bra sizes of many of the bikini clad young women who prance about in this movie...before being attacked and consumed by the swarm of prehistoric and voracious piranha. I like the trailer for "Piranha 3DD". The film is directed by John Gulager, son of veteran character actor Clu Gulager. John Gulager has directed all three "Feast" horror films, each gory features about ravenous humanoid monsters feeding on the occupants of an isolated town and diner. Gulagers' monsters in PIRANHA 3DD are smaller but no less unsettling: voracious, bloodthirsty prehistoric fish with teeth like hacksaws. There's been no official release date announced yet for this film. Check out the trailer below:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The New Trailer for Wrath of the Titans!

The New Trailer for Wrath of the Titans!

CAMEL SPIDERS coming to DVD/BD in March, 2012

I've always been a huge fan of giant spider horror movies and other horror films featuring arachnids. On March 27, 2012 Camel Spiders arrives on both DVD and Blu-Ray, directed by Jim Wynorski. Check out the trailer below:

To buy the DVD of this film click the link: CAMEL SPIDERS

Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney Houston remembered at Grammys - CBS Atlanta 46

Whitney Houston remembered at Grammys - CBS Atlanta 46

I was shocked and deeply saddened at the news of Whitney Houston's death. I've enjoyed listening to her songs ever since her 1985 album was released. I have always regarded her as the absolute best pop/R&B female vocalist ever and I don't think anyone or anything will ever change that opinion.

This song, from her debut album in 1985, remains one of my favorites and captures the essence of this beautiful woman, and her equally beautiful voice perfectly:

Monday, February 6, 2012

RIP Bill Hinzman

Bill Hinzman has died, reportedly succumbing to cancer. Fans of zombie horror films know Hinzman for being the very first zombie to appear in Night Of The Living Dead(1968), directed by George Romero and a movie that would set the standard for all future zombie horror films. The video clip below from the '68 film shows Mr. Hinzman in action:

RIP Bill Hinzman

(courtesy of Bloody Disgusting.com)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Animal attraction: HUMONGOUS(1982)

The early and mid 1980's saw a surge in "slasher" horror films as any self respecting horror movie fan knows. "The Friday The 13th" and "A Nightmare On Elm Street" film franchises kicked off in 1980 and 1984, respectively. As a horror movie fan I've always been drawn to the major horror film franchises but I also have always taken a keen interest in lesser known horror films, especially those from the '80s and made on smaller budgets. To that end I have been methodically seeking out and buying these '80's horror movies on official DVD whenever possible.

One of these films, a Canadian horror movie called HUMONGOUS, had been available only on VHS through Astral Video(Canada/1990), Embassy Home Entertainment(USA/1990) and New Line Home Video(USA), these tapes making the rounds in countless Blockbuster Video and other discount movie rental stores throughout the '90s. No longer. Scorpion Releasing's Humongous hit retailers on November 15, 2011. This 1982 movie, also known by its alternate title of "Dog Island", is directed by Paul Lynch and is his second directorial effort after 1980's slasher horror Prom Night. On an estimated budget of $2 million(Canadian), Paul Lynch's "Humongous" is finally available on quality DVD.

The film's story: in 1946, debutante Ida Parsons, after rejecting the bumbling romantic advances of a drunken guest at the Parsons Island family lodge, is brutally raped by her inebriated suitor "Tom". Hearing the woman's screams, two dogs belonging to Ida Parson's father escape their pen and subsequently kill "Tom", mauling him to death.

Flash forward to thirty six years later. A group of young people take a small recreational yacht out for a trip on a lake. They encounter and rescue a shipwrecked man who warns them to stay away from the jagged rocks of "Dog Island's'" coastline. "Bert" also tells them of the island and its lone inhabitant, a reclusive old woman who has sequestered herself in a lodge and who is rarely seen by anyone anymore. Despite "Bert's" warning one member of the group, while drunk, takes the wheel of the yacht and steers it right into the rocks. The group escape just before the boat sinks. The group of young people now are stranded on the island. One of them ventures inland in search of a phone at the lodge...and doesn't return. The stranded group of young people, hearing animal like cries emanating from the woods, decide to look for the lodge. Finding the lodge, the group discover that it was once inhabited by Ida Parsons, now dead. They also learn she left behind a bastard, disfigured son who now resides on the island alone, the son feral and feeding on the local animal life of the island. The immediate problem for the stranded group: the feral man is now hunting them...(no other spoilers)...


Humongous is much less gory than many of its counterparts in the slasher horror genre. That said there are stomach churning "shock" scenes aplenty including a fully grown german shepherd hoisted up in the air bare handed by "Humongous"(the film's grotesque bad guy) and then its neck quickly snapped by the film's antagonist. Other shocks include a victim having her head crushed barehanded by the villain and a male victim jacked up and literally broken in half by the feral human monster.

Paul Lynch, who shot this film in and around Ontario, Canada uses the woods effectively in this movie to convey the sense of isolation by the stranded survivors of the wrecked yacht.

The makeup effects used to render "Humongous" are decent and the full reveal of the monstrous bad guy doesn't happen until near the end of the movie. The feral "son" is a hulking, hairy and vicious wild man in every sense of the word. The animal like grunts, snorts, growls and roars of "Humongous" are very effective and definitely lend to the menace of the deformed and feral maniac.

This movie is definitely a hit or miss proposition for horror movie fans but is, I think, an absolute must have DVD for fans of older horror movies.

Scorpion Releasing has done a great job with their DVD release of this movie, which is uncut, in anamorphic 1:78.1 widescreen and with disc extras that include an audio commentary(by the film's director and writer), original theatrical trailer and an alternate(R rated) version of the opening scene of the movie.

One common complaint of those who have this watched this movie on TV and on VHS is how dark many of the shots in this film are: the Scorpion Releasing DVD remedies that problem.

The new DVD release is available for sale at Amazon and very affordable: Humongous DVD

Click the title of this blog entry or the DVD cover art image above to access the Scorpion Releasing DVD for sale at Amazon.

The film's trailer:

Friday, January 27, 2012

"The Haunted Glove" - fan video

One of the things I like to do the most with this blog, besides promoting films I like is also promoting the creative works of members from my internet message board, Monsterland Forums. Two young men from Australia, and who are both very active members of my message board, have made a short video called THE HAUNTED GLOVE. Both of these guys, who go by the usernames "gojiramatthew" and "Napster" at Monsterland Forums, worked together to make this short video. To watch the color version click on the video below:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“EVIDENCE”: Not your average found-footage flick

Hopefully this indie "found footage" style horror film will get a U.S. release in 2012. I like the trailer!

“EVIDENCE”: Not your average found-footage flick

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hack job: FRIDAY THE 13TH movie memorable kills

I've been a horror movie fans since I was a kid and I can remember venturing down to "The Omni" in downtown Atlanta(GA) to watch an obscure horror movie called Friday The 13th. This movie would launch a major horror film franchise and turn the main antagonist in these movies, "Jason Voorhees", into practically a household name among movie fans. Check out the video below which chronicles the top ten kills of Jason Voorhees, a hulking, deformed and relentless killer who has been methodically butchering victims with his trademark machete since 1980:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fish out of water: JAWS 3(1983)

In 1975 I was fortunate enough to see what I consider one of the great films made in the history of cinema in JAWS, directed by an up and coming fellow named Steven Spielberg and boasting an all star cast of actors in Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw. I've never been one to be spooked by a movie easily but this film made me jump a few times while I watched it inside the Phipps Plaza theater located in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. This movie remains an all time favorite of mine and while I don't think the 1978 sequel called JAWS 2 is as good it's still solid with Roy Scheider reprising his role as Amity Police Chief Martin Brody. There would be two(2) more films in this franchise, 1983's "Jaws 3-D" and then a fourth and final installment called "Jaws: The Revenge". To say that I dislike the fourth "Jaws" film would be an understatement as I find it to be absolutely atrocious.

I'd like to expand on the third installment in the "Jaws" film franchise here: I saw it in a theater as well and it took me many years to warm up to this movie...but warm up I did.

JAWS 3, directed by Joe Alves, was released theatrically in the United States during the third week in July, 1983. The movies' estimated budget was just over $20,000,000 and it generated about $89,000,000 for a worldwide box office take, obviously not anywhere close to the colossal financial success of the '75 film(or more modest take of the '78 sequel) but still a nice profit for co producers Universal Pictures, Alan Landsburg Productions and MGM(Theatricals).

I'm not going to delve into the "3-D" aspect of Jaws 3(1983) because I don't think this aspect of the movie makes it any better or worse, at least to me.

The film's story: Michael "Mike" Brody(played by Dennis Quaid), the now adult son of Amity police chief Martin Brody, works at a Florida, water based theme park called Sea World with his girlfriend Dr. Kathryn Morgan(Bess Armstrong), the senior biologist at the ocean side facility. The two are very busy and seem very happy as well, especially Mike whose younger brother Sean has come to town to visit. In the meantime some strange things are going on at the theme park: a pair of dolphins trained by Dr. Morgan are acting jittery and one of Mike Brody's laborers has gone missing after diving into the parks' lagoon in scuba gear to perform a routine maintenance task. The cause is soon apparent: a ten foot great white shark has managed to enter Sea Worlds' lagoon. The theme parks' owner, a dapper looking and no nonsense entrepreneur named Calvin Bouchard(Louis Gossett, Jr.), looks to maximize his profits and media coverage by utilizing the services of two visiting Australian adventurers to capture the ten foot great white shark, which has understandably caused an uproar among Sea Worlds' staff. During a night operation in the park's lagoon the shark is tranquilized and quickly put in a wading pool for display but quickly perishes. Unbeknownst to the staff of the theme park this shark was only an infant and the creature's "mother", lurking in the waters of Sea World, begins looking for her "baby". The parent shark is a colossal, 35 foot long monster and the enormous creature decides to crash the theme parks' daytime attractions, including a team of acrobat water skiers. Not satisfied with dining on panicking and terrified park workers in the lagoon, the leviathan shark also attacks the underwater attractions of "Sea World" as well, jeopardizing the lives of scores of visitors trapped underwater in a tunnel of the parks' underwater aquarium. To that end Mike Brody, his biologist girlfriend and the pair of Aussie adventurers must work together to save those trapped in the underwater tube and kill the shark...(no spoilers).

Some general observations, some good and some not -

Thumbs up:

1. the various characters in this movie which is to say, I liked them. Mike Brody is a hard working, steady fellow and a good boss who obviously cares about his workers. His girlfriend, Dr. Kathryn Morgan, is a dedicated biologist who talks to her pair of dolphins, "Sandy" and "Cindy" as if they were her kids. Calvin Bouchard is the typical business owner, always concerned about the bottom line, seemingly always teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown and, at least to some degree, looking over the shoulders of those who work for him. I wasn't too enamored with the smug, cocksure Aussie adventurer/photographer "Philip Fitzroyce"(played by Simon MacCorkindale), who was portrayed as arrogant but he was still a fairly likable guy. There isn't a whole lot of character development going on in this movie but the "flow" of the movie does allow the viewer some worthwhile glimpses into the lives of the film's two main protagonists(Mike Brody and girlfriend Dr. Morgan)

2. the rendering of the adult shark: basic animatronics were used and while I wouldn't characterize the effects overall as great they were decent and fairly effective at projecting the colossal size of the creature

3. the gore effects and sequences: not used to excess but still those that are utilized are in my opinion a necessity given that a giant shark shark is swimming around inside a lagoon filled with potential human dinner fare

Thumbs down:

1. I didn't like the final solution to defeating the shark which was too similar to the '75 and '78 "Jaws" films

2. some of the "3-D" effects shots used in this movie IMO looked bad with or without the 3D glasses

3. while I liked the overall effects used to render the giant adult shark these effects were not without their drawbacks, in particular the swimming motion of the enormous shark underwater: the creature looked too slow as it passed through the water, this IMO undermining the realism of the creature.

4. science is routinely thrown out the proverbial window with the decision by the movie's producers to use thirty(35) feet as the length for the antagonist shark. Great white sharks can attain a length of twenty feet fairly frequently, even reaching lengths in the mid twenty foot range(like the shark in the '75 film) but never as long as the gigantic, slow moving leviathan creature in the '83 movie. I'm sure Universal Pictures banked on the everyday person not being privy to that kind of info.

Gone fishin: a 35 foot long great white shark attacks the underwater lagoon attraction at Sea World in JAWS 3

Fans of the "Jaws" film franchise will no doubt find Jaws 3(1983) hit or miss. This movie has received its fair share of criticism and I can roll with that. It is what it is, a summer popcorn flick and not the serious, epic feature like the '75 film. I think, judged as a summer "escape from reality" popcorn movie and not taken too seriously, Jaws 3(1983) is solid escapist entertainment for 99 minutes. The movie is readily available for sale on R1 DVD at Amazon starting at $4.99. To see the DVD for sale at Amazon click on the above DVD cover art image.

Here's a short theatrical trailer for the film: