Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The big bang theory: Tunguska explosion of 1908

I always enjoy watching documentaries about mysterious and unexplained phenomena that occur on our planet. As such I like watching The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and The Smithsonian Channel as a way of learning about the oddities that have occurred over the history of Earth. One such phenomena is the Tunguska event of 1908. On June 30th, 1908 an enormous(and presumed aerial) blast, possibly the largest explosion in recorded history occurred in Tunguska, Russia, a remote and rugged wooded region located in extreme northern Russia. The explosion, which scientists estimate was one thousand(1000) times more powerful than than the Hiroshima A-bomb, scorched and flattened eighty million trees with a fireball and outwardly radiating shock wave that destroyed an area over eight hundred(800) square miles. Many theories abound as to what caused this colossal blast but one generally accepted scenario is that an asteroid or comet, entering Earth's atmosphere, exploded 5-10 kilometres above the ground which also explains why no crater was ever discovered around the blast area. The Tunguska region itself is so remote and the terrain so difficult that the first research team didn't reach the blast area until 1928, twenty years after the event itself.

Monday, December 30, 2013

After Months of Promoting Obamacare, Obama Admin Quietly Announces a Net Loss of 3 Million Insurance Plans

So OBAMACARE has resulted in two million new enrollments AND five million cancelled insurance plans. That's a net loss of three million insurance plans by President Obama and his plan to socialize medicine in the United States. You won't see this news on any of the major and liberal left media networks like ABC, CBS and NBC.
 
After Months of Promoting Obamacare, Obama Admin Quietly Announces a Net Loss of 3 Million Insurance Plans

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fright or flight: THE CONJURING(2013)

I've spent the better part of my adult life fascinated by horror movies. It has been a passion of mine for what seems like forever. A quality horror film can provide a real rush...and also make it more difficult to sleep at night if it's a really top notch fright flick. I'm fifty one years of age and have been watching horror movies since I was a teenager. I like a lot of films in this genre but I can count on one hand the horror movies which really gave me the creeps:  The Exorcist(1973),  The Haunting(1963),  Insidious(2010) and an older, black and white "werewolf" movie directed by Fred Sears called The Werewolf(1956). 

Another movie has managed to give me the creeps and also a bit of lingering insomnia in the overnight hours: THE CONJURING(2013), directed by James Wan. Set during 1971,  husband and wife paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren(played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) come to the aid of the Perron family who are being terrorized daily(and nightly) by a malevolent entity in their new home, an isolated farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. Ed and Lorraine Warren have accumulated hundreds of case files and called the events that occurred in the Perron residence the most disturbing case they ever worked.

THE CONJURING reminds me a lot of films like Insidious(2010), The Exorcist(1973) & The Amityville Horror(1979). There is excellent use of backlighting and shadows by director James Wan in this movie. Wan effectively exploits the latent, almost primal fear just about everyone feels when peering into a dark cellar or into the shadowy area behind a door in a mostly darkened room. If ever there was a film that capitalized on the fear of the unknown and the unseen then The Conjuring is absolutely that movie! The reveal of the evil, vicious entity behind all the madness and chaos in the Perron family residence doesn't disappoint either!

I don't scare easily and never have but this film got to me several times. Watch The Conjuring(2013) and you may never look at a dark closet, basement cellar or a mirror ever the same again.

The Conjuring(2013) is available on Blu Ray(and DVD) and can be purchased at Amazon or most other online retailers. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys horror movies. 

An HD trailer:


To buy this film on Blu Ray from Amazon click the link: THE CONJURING BLU RAY/DVD

Government Blatantly Wastes $30 Billion This Year

It's funny how everytime the Republicans in Washington(DC) propose legislation to make cuts in federal spending the Democrats raise a stink, claiming our country cannot afford these cuts. At the same time the U.S. federal goverment manages to squander billions in American taxpayer dollars every year, doing so with impugnity because there has been and continues to be zero accountability and effective bookkeeping to track where this money actually goes. Click the below link and judge for yourself as to whether our government spends our tax dollars wisely. I think you'll be appalled at how our tax revenue is spent.

Government Blatantly Wastes $30 Billion This Year

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Senator Coburn issues "Wastebook" on federal spending

American tax dollars wasted by the U.S. federal government is appalling. What is most galling is that there is absolutely no accountability whatsoever in Washington(DC) in regards to where our tax dollars go and no one(especially among Democrats) seems the least bit interested in reigning in this wasteful spending. I applaud Senator Tom Coburn(R-Oklahoma) for his creation of "WASTEBOOK" which catalogs the worst examples of U.S. government waste and spending lunacy.

Sen. Coburn issues "Wastebook" on federal spending

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christian Vote

 I've made some final updates to CHRISTIAN VOTE. Click on the below link to access this website. Thanks!

christian vote

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Godzilla(2014) - Official Teaser Trailer [HD]

The first official trailer has been released for Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards. This film will arrive in theaters on May 16th, 2014. As a lifelong fan of Godzilla this trailer has me VERY excited to see this movie on the big screen!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday shopping chaos, violence surfaces across U.S.

Black Friday shopping chaos, violence surfaces across U.S.

This article touches on the annual insanity and idiocy of American consumers during "Black Friday", the Friday after Thanksgiving day. I ventured into a Best Buy a few years ago to buy a few Blu Rays and encountered absolute chaos. You'll never see me in a retailer again on Black Friday, that's for damn sure. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Deal seekers already camping out for Black Friday

Deal seekers already camping out for Black Friday

For those individuals who believe they have nothing better to do than camp out in the parking lot of a Best Buy, Wal Mart or other retailer days before these stores open for "Black Friday" chaos, I have a message for you:

GET A LIFE!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Colorado Woman Who Championed Obamacare Loses Insurance Plan « CBS Denver

Colorado Woman Who Championed Obamacare Loses Insurance Plan « CBS Denver

How pathetic that Senate and House Democrats continue to cite the health insurance policy cancellations caused by OBAMACARE and currently happening to thousands of Americans as "isolated incidents".  Pathetic!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pedal to the metal: PACIFIC RIM(2013)

I bought the giant robot vs kaiju film PACIFIC RIM recently on Blu Ray. This movie is directed by Guillermo del Toro and is, by his own admission, a tribute of sorts to giant monster movies like "Gojira" as well as homages to anime. As a lifelong fan of "kaiju"(giant mysterious beast) films I fully expected that I would enjoy watching PACIFIC RIM and I did. Some observations, mostly positive:

Thumbs up:

The CGI(computer generated imagery) is fantastic in this movie. The movie itself looks spectacular at times in 1080p HD, especially the kaiju-jaeger battles. ('jaeger" = a giant robot)

The battle tactics employed by the pilots who operate the jaegers(the giant battle robots): a nice combination of hand to hand fighting(strikes and chops) as well as lethal, stabbing weapons and beam weaponry, both of which are put to good use against the monsters.

The jaeger designs all of which are different to reflect their respective home countries and the pilots who operate them. I especially liked the Russian jaeger "Cherno Alpha" which reminded me of a walking army tank and the Chinese jaeger "Crimson Typhoon" and its multi armed saw blades which are totally sick weapons.



The performances of the majority of the human cast of actors: they made you care about them and their fates in this movie and that is a major plus to any action film!

The overall design and fighting tactics of the various kaiju in this film: these monsters aren't just lumbering, slow to react behemoths. They exhibit reflexes, instincts and emotions and also show an ability to adapt to the jaegers that fight them which adds to the suspense of this movie.



Thumbs down:

While the kaiju-jaeger battles were spectacular I wanted to see a major daylight battle. We get night time and underwater battles of course but I think a daylight robot-monster battle would have been a nice touch.


The acting of the pair of scientists was too over the top and injected a streak(for lack of better word) of forced humor into this movie that I could have done without in all honesty. Ron Perlman's character, "Hannibal Chau"(the kaiju organs/bones black market dealer) is an expected source for this kind of behavior but the two scientists in this movie working for Marshal Penetecost(played by Idris Elba) are like two quarreling, nutty professors who've been stuck in a basement lab for far too long.

Overall: a must see and a must DVD or Blu Ray purchase for ANY fan of giant monster movies! PACIFIC RIM has to date generated $407.5 million in box office receipts. It totaled just over $100 million in the United States(a disappointment) but fared much better abroad, especially in China. According to Guillermo del Toro a script is being penned for a sequel but as to whether the studio(Legendary Pictures) green lights funding for a sequel...well, we'll just have to wait and see. I hope a sequel is made.

To buy the BD/DVD combo release of PACIFIC RIM(2013) at Amazon click the link: PACIFIC RIM BLU RAY/DVD release 

A trailer(in HD):

Sunday, October 27, 2013

PACIFIC RIM & the potential rise of the new "Kaiju" film (by Evan Brehany)

When writing about the kaiju genre, the line between "what is" and "what isn't" is controversially quantified. The line that this article will abide by is that a "kaiju" is a monster that is at least 25 meters tall(82 feet), looks like something that could be played by someone in a suit, looks more surreal than realistic and is based on animals or something randomly out of left field. Kaiju, when literally translated means "mysterious beast" rather than monster. It follows an aesthetic created by the Japanese but doesn't necessarily have to take place in Japan or have Japanese characters.

In 2004-2005 we saw the death of the kaiju film in its home country(Japan). In recent and previous years (particularly the late 90's) the decline of the "kaiju" film had already begun.  On one hand, Shusuke Kaneko predated Christopher Nolan by resurrecting a pop culture icon with films whose quality juxtapose greatly with what came before. At the same time, the long "in progress" American Godzilla film premiered(in May,1998) - an event which greatly disappointed fans, Godzilla was made into a generic giant monster ripped of its kaiju being and the qualities unique to the Godzilla character. All charm was lost. Meanwhile, Toho tried to resurrect Godzilla with more of their own films featuring the iconic monster, these movies theatrically released from 1999-2004. Tomoyuki Tanaka had passed away, leaving Shogo Tomiyama to become the producer of Toho's Godzilla films.

Shogo Tomiyama is a producer who seems sketchy. In the documentary BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE, Tomiyama claims that he tries to emphasize a "sense of wonder" with Godzilla films. Sadly and elsewhere, Tomiyama exhibits that this sense of wonder is something Tomiyama associates only in the image and not the screenplay. An article from the magazine Oriental Cinema mentions in their review for GODZILLA 2000(1999): "According to a Japanese talk show, Tomiyama agrees that the human subplots shouldn't propel the main story of any Godzilla films." Tomiyama's misunderstanding continued on when commenting on 2001's GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL 
OUT ATTACK's success being more so than 2002's GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA.

Shogo Tomiyama said:

"Not as well as GODZILLA-MOTHRA-KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK but better than GODZILLA X MEGAGUIRUS. I think, as in the case of GMK, last year's box office success was partly owed to the animated co-feature HAMTARO (Tottoko Hamutaro). But as a producer, I seriously tried to find any specific reason why GMK had been more profitable than GODZILLA X MECHAGODZILLA."

GMK was almost the last Godzilla film of the Millenninum series. Toho brought Shusuke Kaneko in to direct a Godzilla film many say is the best since the 80's and arguably since the "Showa" series(1954-1975). Shogo Tomiyama is a producer who lacks an artistic viewpoint that balances out the business side of his thinking.

For the rest of the Godzilla series, Shogo Tomiyama brought back a director who had failed with GODZILLA X MEGAGUIRUS, Masaaki Tezuka, who fortunately made two good Godzilla films but followed up by hiring Ryuhei Kitamura in a career-killing move to make GODZILLA: FINAL WARS(2004) - in the 2004 film there was far more emphasis on human fighting instead of the kaiju combat. While Kitamura's film was an aesthetic failure (on an anniversary year no less), Tezuka's attempts were out-shined by Hollywood productions. With GODZILLA, MOTHRA, MECHAGODZILLA: TOKYO SOS(2003), box office attendance was scant considering that at the same time Japan had American import films THE LAST SAMURAI and FINDING NEMO for the choosing.

It's a near paradox. Godzilla films have become entertainment without much of a social message while maintaining the heritage of suit use(suit-mation), this despite heavy use of CGI(computer generated imagery) beginning with GAMERA 3 - THE INCOMPLETE STRUGGLE(1999). Problem is miniature effects alienate a lot of people, the very same folks who lack suspension of disbelief. It;s a reason Chinese films don't compare to American films at the box office. Shogo Tomiyama once said in a HenshinOnline interview that Godzilla films are meant to be "entertainment, not political movies", something which has always been a backbone to give kaiju films substance to counterbalance the aesthetic-specific special effects.

After GODZILLA:FINAL WARS, the kaiju genre quickly took a turn for the satirical.  ULTRAMAN: THE NEXT is a kaiju movie that has been able to survive because it managed to attract an audience through television when not on the big screen. Ultraman was the only real winner here with the
perpetual popularity of the various "Ultraman" television shows being a main reason. If the kaiju genre was going to make a comeback, it was going to have to be through something gargantuan.

That comeback did indeed come and some might say from "left field". Many people had their doubts but despite the overall disappointment with the '98 American Godzilla film, the kaiju movie genre is on the rise again! The beginning of this genre revival began with CLOVERFIELD, released to theaters in January, 2008.  This movie, which utilizes a "shaky-cam"(point of view) aesthetic for realism, is a film that knows its heritage with the back story of the the Tagurato oil rig, an Ifukube-esque end theme, and a manga pseudo-sequel. Five years later, and it's been a long five years... PACIFIC RIM(2013) and Legendary Picture's GODZILLA(2014) is here! This is where, when speaking about terms of heritage, PACIFIC RIM fits into the scheme of things.


The beginning of PACIFIC RIM is not unlike what you might see in CLOVERFIELD aesthetically speaking. Ultimately we get a kaiju film which reveals to us the kaiju head on and brings us into the inner world of the film not by movies like Kiyotaka Taguchi's GEHARA and GUILALA'S COUNTERATTACK, seemingly taking note from the slasher genre from a decade ago, and went metaphysical - self aware - with its substance. It was outweighed by films like GAMERA: LITTLE BRAVES(2006), a movie which failed at the box office. THE HOST(2006), from Korea, not so much.




PACIFIC RIM has focused the kaiju "reality" very nicely. It's the film's ace card. The question of kaiju remains has been answered, with architecture centered around kaiju bones which echo the modernist building structures around trees. It also has an answer in a kaiju black market, which parallel's China's very real black market for endangered animal parts which have scientifically questionable effects on one's physiology. The question of kaiju motivation is also answered, though in a simplistic: I', referring to the film GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO(1965) which features potentially world conquering aliens (though with PACIFIC RIM the issue of timing is answered by global warming a la GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH(1971) and completely different than 2001's YONGGARY).

The "Jaeger" program's rise and fall play's into the question of kaiju evolution, a first. Somewhat detailed kaiju physiology and anatomy is also here (with a brain explanation showing that, like Godzilla or Rodan, the main source of inspiration for these kaiju are the dinosaurs). The brief mention of kaiju cults is much like an indirect reference to readings of kaiju by people like Norio Akasaka who saw Godzilla as "a representation of the spirit of soldiers who died in the South Pacific", though Pacific Rim has it simpler.

The Jaeger program has it all. Though reminiscent of Gundam G in how the mecha work, the process is a constant source of drama for the movie's characters that, while relatable, is fiction enough to make it fantastic. The use of the mecha, and the appearance of a Mecha toy is indicative of a cultural context. In the very quick prologue of the film, we already see the national pride that the Jaegers are cloaked in with images of a child waving a flag in front of a Jaeger and a parade of soldiers in a Jaeger exhibition. At the final scene of the film, in Anchorage, Del Toro makes a visual allusion: a tin toy robot. Tin toy robots, some of the oldest Japanese pop culture toys, were tin icons. Japan took over the industry, taking what was originally a Nazi-era German product (nice, considering the Jaegers have a German name) that Japan ended up making their own to the point that they became the toy making capitol of the world, a title they still own. The mecha-pride doesn't stop there.

The fact that there is a good Japanese connection to the film means that the following shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt. Consider that "Mako Mori", the most important female character of the film, was very young when she lost her parents to a kaiju attack and was almost killed specifically by a Ganimes-like kaiju. Consider that she was very young at the time she lost her parents(and the majority of the film takes place in 2025) and it is easy to see that Japan was one of the first countries attacked by Kaiju. In a country whose atomic tragedies have made it a post-apocalyptic country, a kaiju attack is almost a repeat of such. Where as Mako's character makes an interesting comparison for "Ayana" in GAMERA 3, Japan's history (as shown in the film) is not unlike an almost re=staging of Godzilla. Very much a metaphor which could be applied to Mechagodzilla, the Jaegers(kaiju sized robots) are not just the only thing which can handle the kaiju physically but it almost beckons of WW2 and post-WW2 sentiments. As mentioned by Crispin Freeman in ANIME: DRAWING A REVOLUTION, robots in Japanese culture have taken on an almost divine status, the physical embodiment of science getting humans closer to the celestial, almost embodying a kami sentient being for Japan. Mecha like Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor) evolved out of this notion. This is the role that a Jaeger might take for a character like Mako. The physical aesthetics of the Jaeger, particularly "Gypsy Danger", could be seen as a point against this, but Mako riding Gypsy Danger goes more to the sense of teamwork that the countries that share the Pacific Rim have undertaken.

The physicality of the kaiju is what makes the film the most legitimate as kaiju film. As director Guillermo Del Toro has said in interviews, the kaiju were designed with one (of many) factors in place: the kaiju had to look as if they could have been alternatively played by a man in a suit. Not only that, but a good bunch of the Pacific Rim kaiju resemble kaiju we know and love. "Knifehead" looks like Guiron, "Otachi" looks like Gyaos, "Leatherback" looks like King Kong, and "Scunner" looks like Destoroyah (in the head). Alas, unlike the Godzilla from 1998 or even the "Cloverfield" monster, these kaiju take attacks head on and are more aggressive than any animal you have seen. There are energy attacks utilized as well as chemical(beam) attacks which I think all kaiju should possess.

The heart of the kaiju though is the question of what kind of place the kaiju hold in nature. In a move which kaiju fans (particularly ones who grew up with the kaiju eiga of the 80's-90's) would undoubtedly like, Jaeger pilot "Raleigh Becket" describes the kaiju in this narration, "There are things you can't fight - acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you get out of the way. But when you're in a Jaeger, you can finally fight the hurricane. You can win."

The kaiju are a force of nature, reinforced with the use of the anti-kaiju wall. Are the kaiju a force of nature? If the answer is yes, then wouldn't they have to be naturally occurring? Indeed, foreign life forms (in this case, extraterrestrial life forms) taking over an ecosystem for their own use is natural. It's gargantuan in magnitude as an example of competition but considering that the kaiju are actually genetically engineered by an intelligent cause (other than man no less), are they really a part of nature? Is it the new phase of resource competition or something else? Looking back on the "Heisei" Godzilla films(1984-1995) where Godzilla was a force of nature, the fact that instead of being awakened he was resurrected makes us again question such a dichotomy, a need to define or redefine "force of nature" considering the kaiju coming from a non-natural occurrence. This is what the "Jaegers" are actually fighting against and these two backgrounds are what make PACIFIC RIM a good piece of dialectic film making, a movie that interacts with film heritage.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Evan Brehany is a resident of Warner Robins, GA and is an active member of two internet message boards: KAIJU GALAXY and MONSTERLAND FORUMS. Evan is a regular contributor for "Packmule's Pen" and his reviews and other written submissions will appear in this blog from time to time.

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Short horror film "Shhh"

Every now and then I come across a top notch short horror film and "Shhh" is marvelous! Check it out for yourself by clicking on the below video!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bite this: Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966)

I finally managed to watch the sequel to the 1958 Hammer Films classic Horror Of Dracula a couple of nights ago and enjoyed it quite a bit despite the fact Christopher Lee, who plays "Dracula" in this movie, has no spoken dialogue at all. Earnest performances are given by Andrew Keir and Barbara Shelley and Christoper Lee's on screen presence as the "Prince Of Darkness" is as menacing as ever! I own this movie on DVD, part of a three film set released by Millennium Entertainment which also includes Frankenstein Created Woman(1967) and The Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires(1974).


The 2013 "Hammer Horror Collection" DVD released by Millennium Entertainment can be purchased at Amazon: HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION DVD

Dracula Prince Of Darkness is also available on Blu Ray as well and is sold at Amazon. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

British geneticist says he has proof of Yeti

A British geneticist claims the "Yeti"(aka the abominable snowman) allegedly seen in the Himalayas is actually a bear like creature derived from the modern day polar bear and brown bear. He also claims to have proof.

 British geneticist says he has proof of Yeti

Monday, October 14, 2013

Open house: The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting(1963), produced and directed by Robert Wise, is I think the scariest  "haunted house" movie ever made, an admission I make with all due respect(and admiration) for the "Amityville Horror" films. I'll be buying this movie on Blu Ray later this month. I own the DVD. The cast: Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, Julie Harris, Russ Tamblyn...and Hill House which is one very big and VERY scary house!

The trailer:

I own the 2003 Warner Home Video DVD release. This DVD can be purchased at Amazon by clicking the link: THE HAUNTING(1963) Warner Home Video DVD

The Haunting(1963) will release to Blu Ray by Turner Home Entertainment on October 15th(2013) and can be purchased at Amazon by clicking the link: THE HAUNTING(1963) Blu Ray

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hot under the collar: THE BURNING(1981)

As much as I emphasize the importance of acting, story lines, cinematography and music scores when giving props to films I also think there is a lot to be said about practical special effects - not CGI(computer generated imagery) but good ole make up effects. Make up effects in science fiction and horror films really came into its own during the 1950's and 1960's and despite the decrease in reliance on these kinds of effects they are still in use and often put to excellent use. One period of time in cinema showcasing practical make up effects that I am enormously fond of is the 1980's, specifically the "slasher" horror movie genre. Slasher film franchises like Friday The 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street and the Halloween movies(which began in 1978) remain terrific showcases for practical makeup effects. I've always admired the work of guys like Rob Bottin and Rick Baker. Tom Savini is another guy whose makeup work and career in this industry deserves major kudos. Savini's makeup and gore effects work are featured in the subject of this "revisit", an American-Canadian slasher horror film originally released theatrically in the United States by Filmways back in May, 1981: The Burning, directed by Tony Maylam and produced by a then new company called Miramax Films.

The Burning, made on an estimated budget of $1.5 million dollars, was one of the first on screen film endeavors for brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the movie produced to cash in on the slasher horror movie craze that was going on at the time. This movie was a launching point for several actors including Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter.

The film's story: in 1974, a group of campers at "Camp Blackfoot" play a prank on the campground caretaker named "Cropsy"(played by Lou David). The prank quickly goes wrong and Cropsy catches on fire. The teen campers watch from behind nearby bushes in terror as Cropsy, now completely engulfed in flames, staggers outside his cabin, managing to leap into a nearby lake...

Five years later we see Cropsy still hospitalized, horribly burned and disfigured. His skin graft surgeries unsuccessful, Cropsy is wheeled out of the hospital literally by his lead doctor who tries to reassure the horribly burned campground caretaker that in time he will grow accustomed to his condition.

Yeah, right.

Cropsy disguises himself in overcoat and hat and immediately focuses his rage on a prostitute in a motel room who, understandably horrified after seeing Cropsy for the first time, is quickly butchered by the disfigured fellow. Cropsy predictably returns to Camp Blackfoot and, securing a pair of garden shears, begins methodically killing young teens at the camp. It takes a while before the camp counselors realize what's happening and who may be behind the carnage. By that time only a few remain and there is a final showdown between them and Cropsy. (no other spoilers)

Observations:

Critics of The Burning label this movie a "Friday The 13th" rip off and to some extent I agree but this movie still establishes enough of its own "identity"(for lack of better word) to make this horror film well worth watching and a DVD(or Blu Ray) addition to any self respecting horror movie fan's collection.

Thumbs up:

1. the makeup effects used to render "Cropsy" post burn: Tom Savini's work is IMO top notch. Cropsy not only looks burned but even melted and to say that he looks absolutely hideous would be an understatement.

2. I like the fact that Cropsy employs one weapon for his kills unlike fellow slasher antagonist "Jason Voorhees" who uses everything but the proverbial kitchen sink to slaughter his victims. Cropsy employs those garden shears in a simple and direct manner, achieving the same amount of over the top, "meatball" gore.

3. the full reveal of Cropsy post burn doesn't take place until later in this film: to be sure there is a brief(a second or two) shot of his face in a cabin window earlier in the movie but the viewer catches only the briefest glimpse when watching this film. By not revealing Cropsy's grotesque appearance too early in this movie, director Tony Maylam definitely heightens the suspense and dread.

4. the now famous "raft massacre" scene: edited out of some VHS releases of this movie, this sequence is a favorite among the fan following of The Burning and why not? It's sick and very well done and features an impaling and one camper getting all of his fingers chopped off.

5. the score by Rick Wakeman which, like other slasher horror movies of this era, is heavy on the keyboards.

Thumbs down:

1. the overall acting in this movie leaves something to be desired and is sub par even for the movie's budget.


Overall: a solid slasher horror film that should absolutely be in every gore hound's DVD or Blu Ray collection. Shout! Factory released The Burning(1981)  on R1 DVD, uncut and in widescreen, back in 2007 and this release has a lot of extras. I own this DVD and it's marvelous.

The Burning(1981)  was also released to Blu Ray by Shout! Factory in May, 2013 as a BD/DVD combo release.

The film's trailer:


To see the Shout! Factory Collector's Edition Blu Ray/DVD release of this film for sale at Amazon click the link: THE BURNING Collector's Edition BD/DVD

Monday, October 7, 2013

THE CARCASS - short film from Gregg Wright

I always enjoy promoting the creativity of others I know via the internet. Below is the latest short film produced, edited and directed by Gregg Wright. It has a sci-fi and horror element to it so fans of these genres of movies should definitely check out this creepy short film. Click on the video below to view THE CARCASS.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Getting stoned: The Gorgon (1964)

My DVR will be getting plenty of use during the month of October as Turner Classic Movies showcases some of the absolute best horror movies ever made. Classic Universal Studios and Hammer Films horror movies will be making the rounds on TCM in abundance. I've always been a huge fan of Hammer horror films and many of them rank as my all time favorites in this movie genre. THE GORGON, originally released in 1964 is a film I'm especially fond of. Directed by Terence Fisher and featuring a cast which includes Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley, this film delves into the mysterious deaths of citizens of a small, early 20th century German town in which the main suspect in the murders can turn anyone who looks directly at her into stone!

The trailer:

THE GORGON(1964) is available on official R1 DVD and is part of the four film, 2008 Sony Home Entertainment DVD release called Icons Of Horror Collection: Hammer Films. To see this release for sale at Amazon click the link: ICONS OF HORROR COLLECTION-HAMMER FILMS

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

AMC Fearfest 2013

October is a favorite month for me because both AMC(American Movie Classics) and TCM(Turner Classic Movies) ramp up their broadcasts of horror movies. I have admittedly developed a certain amount of disdain for AMC in recent years because they do not screen as many classic horror films like they did back in the "good old days" of the 1990's "AMC Monsterfest" when you could always count on a bevy of Hammer, Universal and Toho kaiju films as part of this channel's line up.


Still, I've grown more fond of AMC lately and do watch some of their "Fearfest" movies. AMC's Fearfest for 2013 begins on October 14th with a continuous broadcast of horror movies and episodes of AMC's own TV series The Walking Dead.

To access AMC's Fearfest 2013 program line up click the image above or the link: AMC FEARFEST 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Work rules for food stamp recipients proposed

Among the many ongoing disasters that are the numerous and poorly run, federal government owned and operated programs is "SNAP"(food stamps). For decades this program has been wrought with fraud and abuse. I hope these new rules are passed into law!

 Work rules for food stamp recipients proposed

Sunday, September 8, 2013

258 employers cutting hours due to Obamacare, so far

Liberal Democrats continue to declare that the number of businesses in the United States adjusting their payrolls by cutting back employee hours due to OBAMACARE is "anecdotal". The actual number of American companies cutting the hours of their full time employees has grown large enough that it can now be officially tracked. "Obamacare" WILL result in fewer Americans having health insurance and those Americans with health insurance paying MORE for their premiums!


258 employers cutting hours due to Obamacare, so far

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Monsterland Forums

 One or twice a year I like to give an online "shout out" to my internet message board MONSTERLAND FORUMS. This board, which I started on a used HP laptop computer back on January 29th, 2006 has enjoyed steady posting activity for quite some time. The online community at MONSTERLAND FORUMS is admittedly on the small(ish) side: we have around a dozen active members and another half dozen who drop in and are semi active. The board itself is ranked fourth(4th) out of over three hundred(300) Zetaboards format internet message boards under the "Entertainment" category in terms of overall posting activity. At MONSTERLAND FORUMS we have active topics that include many movie genres, video games and also sports(NFL, NBA and MMA-mixed martial arts). This board is open to anyone and we welcome everyone to check us out by clicking the below link. Thanks!

 Monsterland Forums

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Food for thought: more Americans on food stamps

There are 70% more Americans on food stamps now than in 2008...the year that Barack Obama was elected President Of The United States. Forty eight million Americans depend on SNAP(the food stamp program's current name) to feed themselves. Abuse of the SNAP program is also, and not surprisingly on the increase as well, not that any Liberal Democrats would care about that.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Green Superfood Drink Powder by Amazing Grass - Buy Green Superfood Drink Powder 17 Powder at the vitamin shoppe

Green Superfood Drink Powder by Amazing Grass - Buy Green Superfood Drink Powder 17 Powder at the vitamin shoppe

I rarely endorse products to friends or online but I'm making an exception in this case. This drink powder, which includes spinach, barley grass and wheatgrass, is a great diet supplement for those(like me) who do not consume green vegetables regularly. I usually order "Green Super Food" or a simple wheat grass powder from Amazon, Vitacost's website or from Vitamin Shoppe. This powder can be mixed with various juices(I prefer vegetable juice or apple juice) or simply consumed after being mixed with water. In addition to being available for sale at various online retailers, "Green Super Food" drink powder is also available at Whole Food Market stores.

Here's this product listed at Whole Food Market's website: GREEN SUPER FOOD powder

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The parent trap: GAPPA(1967)

With the giant robots vs giant monsters movie Pacific Rim(2013) currently playing in theaters and the Legendary Pictures produced movie Godzilla(2014) scheduled to open in theaters in May, 2014 my interest in watching films featuring giant monsters has been on an uptick lately. Over the past few weeks I've watched nearly all the 1960's "Gamera" films and then followed these up by watching GAPPA, a Nikkatsu Corporation produced kaiju film originally released theatrically in 1967. It is Nikkatsu's only venture into the "kaiju"(translation: giant mysterious beast) movie genre. This film is also known by its international title of "Monster From A Prehistoric Planet". As a kid I first saw this film in its Americanized, English dubbed version. I wouldn't watch it again until 1995 when I managed to obtain this movie on VHS in its uncut, widescreen and original version.

In GAPPA(1967) an expedition of scientists visit remote "Obelisk" Island, discover and confiscate an unusual looking creature that has just hatched from its egg and subsequently bring the baby creature back to civilization on the orders of their greedy, self aggrandizing boss and business entrepreneur, a self described showman who ultimately plans to showcase the small monster to the public in his theme park for profit.

After the small creature is taken from Obelisk island, its 200 foot tall parents come looking for it. Not finding their "baby" the two winged, gryphon like leviathan monsters thunder about the island and take off into the skies. The two parent monsters eventually make landfall and begin their destructive, methodical search for their offspring, demolishing cities and engaging the Japanese Self Defense Forces. (no other spoilers)


I like the design of the winged monsters: they're definitely birdlike(possessing beaks) but also possess a reptilian like quality as well. The roar of the creatures also befits their appearance quite well. The special effects overall are very uneven and are, in my opinion, slightly inferior to those seen in many of the 1960's "Godzilla" movies. Still, the overall effects in GAPPA are serviceable enough to make this movie worth a look for any fan of kaiju and giant monster movies.

I own the Mediablasters(Tokyo Shock) DVD of this movie, this DVD released back in December, 2000. This release presents the film in it's original widescreen aspect ratio with English subtitles.

Alpha Video has also released this movie under its American title of MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET, this cheapie release doing the movie no favors as the print looks grainy and awful, the film cropped to a 1:33.1 full frame format. I would avoid this particular DVD like the plague.

A trailer:

To see the Mediablasters DVD for GAPPA(1967) on sale at Amazon click on the DVD cover art image above, the title of this blog entry or this link: GAPPA Tokyo Shock DVD


Friday, July 19, 2013

On Detroit Bankruptcy, All Three Networks Skip the Sky High Taxes, Dem Control for 50 Years | NewsBusters

On Detroit Bankruptcy, All Three Networks Skip the Sky High Taxes, Dem Control for 50 Years | NewsBusters

Liberal media bias is alive and quite well in the United States. The Democrats have been in control of Detroit, Michigan since 1962 and we now see the end result: a major American city bankrupt. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dem Rep John Larson: “Simply Not Fair” To Subject Congress To Obamacare Just Like Everyone Else | The Natty Conservative

Dem Rep John Larson: “Simply Not Fair” To Subject Congress To Obamacare Just Like Everyone Else | The Natty Conservative

Another Democrat in Congress has me believing that idiocy is a disease and a contagious one at that. Democrat Congressman John Larson would have everyone believe that it's unfair for members of Congress to have the same choice in health care plans as those of working class Americans, many of whom will soon be compelled to participate in "Obamacare" health care exchanges. Anyone familiar with American politics and politicians knows that members of Congress are afforded some of the best health care coverage in the United States: it's a perk that senators and congressmen(and congresswomen) have long enjoyed.

President Obama has rammed his Affordable Health Care Act down the throats of all Americans and has pushed the merits of "Obamacare" ever since 2009. Seems to me if OBAMACARE is good enough for the American people it should also be good enough for Congressman John Larson.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Conservative Audits

Conservative Audits

The site is now officially called CONSERVATIVE AUDITS. Check it out as I will be updating this website every week. Thanks!

Friday, June 28, 2013

America now has a record 2.7 million temp workers

America now has a record 2.7 million temp workers

President Obama and his Democrat cronies in Washington(DC) are turning the United States into a nation of temporary labor...one worker at a time. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Republican Audits

Republican Audits

Well, I've created another website for a close friend, the site designed to bring attention to the fraud and waste of American tax dollars by the federal government including the Internal Revenue Service(IRS).

We're planning to change the website name to "Conservative Audits" within a week and then set up a domain from there. More updates and content will be added to this website next week.

For those Americans who have grown weary of seeing the U.S. federal government waste our tax dollars, be sure to "bookmark" the site in the above link. Thanks!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jet lag: FIREFOX(1982)

I recently, as I do from to time, purchased a DVD of a movie after seeing it being broadcast on a TV cable channel. AMC recently aired FIREFOX(1982) and, discovering it wasn't in my modest DVD collection, I ordered it online from Amazon.

Clint Eastwood stars in this action adventure film as former Air Force ace pilot "Mitchell Gant", a man   recruited by a joint U.S./UK group to steal a top secret Russian jet capable of Mach 5 speed, possessing an invisibility cloak and thought controlled on-board weapon system. Gant, recruited because of his Russian heritage(on his mother's side), his top notch abilities as a jet pilot and his ability to speak Russian, is well qualified for the high risk assignment but also suffers from PTSD(post traumatic stress syndrome) from his capture and torture at the hands of the Viet Cong after being shot down during a Vietnam War sortie.

A great part of the film focuses on Gants' initial incursion into Russia and his efforts to avoid and evade the KGB which begins following his every move upon his arrival in Moscow. Gant assumes several fake identities and is aided in his efforts by a group of anti Soviet sympathizers who, despite some very close calls, manage to get Mitchell Gant into the hangar and close proximity with "Firefox", the MiG 31 jet he has been tasked with stealing. Eventually Gant manages to get into the warplane's cockpit and take off, triggering an all out effort by the Russians to shoot him down. (no other spoilers).

This movie has grown on me over the years. The big knock on this movie is how long it takes for the real action and special effects to get going which I get. Still, once Gant is in the air piloting "Firefox" the movie really takes off, literally.

Firefox(1982) is on Blu Ray: it's paired with 1986's "Heartbreak Ridge" as a double feature BD release and also is part of the "Clint Eastwood 20 Film Collection" BD release(which is pricey at $119.99).  I'm guessing this movie is generally hit or miss with action movie fans. Eastwood's performance as ex Air Force pilot "Mitchell Gant" is at times a little too casual for me but some of the supporting cast are surprisingly good including Freddie Jones as British SAS point man "Kenneth Aubry" and Stefan Schnabel, the latter who plays rumpled looking, grouchy, sullen and menacing Soviet First Secretary "Leonid Brezhnev".

The special effects are a bit uneven and bear in mind that they cannot compare now with CGI and other green screen effects tech.That said I like the action effects overall.

I'd definitely recommend Firefox(1982) as a Netflix movie rental for action movie fans who haven't seen it.

An HD trailer:


Click the link to see Firefox(1982) for sale at Amazon:  FIREFOX DVD at Amazon

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Some employers look for ways to avoid covering more workers under new Obamacare rules | MedCity News

Some employers look for ways to avoid covering more workers under new Obamacare rules | MedCity News

Looks like more and more Americans will be working part time hours and making less income, courtesy of the Affordable Health Care Act aka 'Obamacare". For anyone with any kind of common sense and ability to reason, the greater the number of Americans working fewer hours in the workplace equates to a greater number of Americans earning LESS money which makes it more financially difficult for those Americans looking to obtain health insurance and those who are insured but will have to continue paying their health insurance premiums while earning less income from their jobs. Makes sense...if you're a liberal Democrat.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SQUID(2013) - short film

AVERY GUERRA, a member of my internet message board Monsterland Forums recently shared SQUID, a short film directed by Robert Olsson at my message board community. Avery has a knack for finding terrific indie monster movie projects and short films and SQUID doesn't disappoint. It's obviously short in duration but offers some surprisingly good special effects. Check it out by clicking on the below video.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SPFX legend Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013)

Ray Harryhausen, who created the famous "stop motion" effects used to bring monsters and other fantastic creatures to life in sci-fi/fantasy films, passed away on May 7th(2013). He was 92 years of age. Harryhausen created and perfected an effects technique called "stop motion", a painstaking and extremely laborious process used to animate creatures and monsters in a variety of science fiction and fantasy movies. Mr. Harryhausen's work can be seen in the following movies: The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms(1953), It Came From Beneath The Sea(1955), Earth Vs The Flying Saucers(1956), Mysterious Island(1961), Jason And The Argonauts(1963), The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad(1958), The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad(1974), Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger(1977) and Clash Of The Titans(1981).

I enjoy watching these movies now just as much as I did when I was a kid in large part because of the pioneering effects work by Ray Harryhausen to bring so many of the fantastic creatures in these films to life. These movies stand the test of time and continue to be highly regarded and revered by sci fi film fans. The world of sci-fi and fantasy cinema has lost a great friend today with the passing of Ray Harryhausen.

My favorite movie that showcases the marvelous stop motion effects work of (the late) Ray Harryhausen is 1963's Jason And The Argonauts, a movie that also features my absolute favorite "stop motion" effects character in the bronze giant "TALOS" (he can be seen in the below video clip).



Sunday, May 5, 2013

BENEATH (2013) trailer


I always like checking out indie horror films and BENEATH, directed by Larry Fessenden looks quite good! Click the link to access the official website for this film: BENEATH THE WATER.COM

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Case Worker: Illegal Aliens Got Food Stamps by the “Vanload” | Judicial Watch

Case Worker: Illegal Aliens Got Food Stamps by the “Vanload” | Judicial Watch

Another instance of government waste and a dismal lack of basic accountability for disbursement of financial assistance by our government, funded of course by American taxpayers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Will Obamacare Turn America Into a Nation of Part-Time Workers? (COST, DRI, MAR, RGC, WEN)

Will Obamacare Turn America Into a Nation of Part-Time Workers? (COST, DRI, MAR, RGC, WEN)

The answer is YES.  It won't happen overnight, obviously but it will happen as more companies in America convert full time workers to part time workers to adjust for their increased costs of the mandated "Obamacare". Those who believe there won't be a significant shift in the American labor force due to OBAMACARE are welcome to remove your heads from the sand at your convenience.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Loaded for bear: PROPHECY(1979)


I remember as a high school junior venturing downtown several times and catching movies on the cheap at the old "Omni" theater, the theater itself part of "The Omni", which was a facility that included an arena where the Atlanta Hawks(NBA) and Atlanta Flames(NHL) played their home games. Movies cost just 99 cents to see on weekends and I sure saw a lot of them.

One of my fondest memories of this theater came from watching a film of nature gone berserk and directed by John Frankenheimer: Prophecy(1979). This movie garnered average to poor ratings from film critics and has been generally reviewed as a pedestrian horror movie at best. On a $12 million budget the movie still turned a profit in the U.S. and generated respectable box office receipts in other countries. A TV spot promoting this movie got my attention initially as did the theatrical poster. The film was distributed by Paramount Pictures and stars Robert Foxworth, Talia Shire, Armand Assante and Richard Dysart.

The film's story:
A public health physician named "Rob"(played By Robert Foxworth) is asked by a colleague to conduct an environmental investigation into the impact of a local logging company on a large area of Maine woodland upcountry. The logging company's production of wood and paper products clashes with the local Indian community which wants to preserve the land from man made intrusion. Rob and his wife "Maggie"(Talia Shire) travel to Maine and soon see first hand just how polarized things are between employees of the local paper mill and the Native American Indian community there. Rob and his wife learn that the woods are being slowly contaminated by chemicals loosed into the local river, specifically methyl mercury which has caused both fatalities and deformities among both the Indian and local animal populace. Not coincidentally, there is something very large, very menacing but as yet unseen, prowling the woods around our main characters. The unknown creature has brutally slaughtered a search and rescue party, a family on a camping sojourn and is now stalking Rob, his wife, and the pair of Native American Indians who are trying to help them with the investigation. Judging from the sounds of the creature it's safe to assume it damn sure ain't Smokey The Bear. The remainder of the movie focuses on the group which tries to escape the woods before the huge, mysterious monster can get to them. (no other spoilers).


Bear with me: the giant, mutated bruin from PROPHECY(1979)

What works in this film for me:

-The score, courtesy of Leonard Rosenman: very bold, with lots of strings and urgent horns. The score definitely lends to the sense of real urgency and dread in this film.

-The actors: Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire are solid, as is Armand Assante. Foxworth's "Rob" is the disillusioned doctor looking to make a difference in the world, Assante is the surly yet courageous Indian "John Hawks" who's trying to protect his people. Talia Shire is the demure wife of "Rob" who struggles to communicate with her husband. Richard Dysart's character, "Eisley", who represents the paper mill, is also good as the mill's bureaucratic and self confident representative, who ultimately must face the consequences of his mills' contamination of the local environment.

-The film's pace: the movie moves along very well and, for me, doesn't waste any of my time with needless "talking" sequences. The tension and dread that builds in Prophecy is constant, especially given that a full reveal of the monster doesn't happen until later in the movie.

-The cinematography: director John Frankenheimer captures the rugged isolation and raw beauty of Maine's woodland up country extremely well. The woods take on, in a way, a life of their own once the characters are stranded on foot, the hulking and menacing mutated beast seemingly always lurking not too far away, concealed in the shadows and thickets of the trees. The sequences of the Maine woodlands add to the sense of "scope" for this film.

-The small mutated creatures: sufficiently grotesque and possessing blood curdling cries. Their appearance is definitely disturbing and might be unsettling to look at by the squeamish.




What doesn't work in this film for me:

-The large mutated creature: part bear(clearly evident from its appearance) and parts of other things altogether, this monster, while not what I would rate as terrible, still leaves a lot to be desired. Imagine a grizzly bear with severe psoriasis and burn scars accompanied with a serious drooling problem. The growl, roar and heavy, ragged breathing of the giant, disfigured and rabid monster is quite good. At times the creature's movements appear sloppy and "loose". The large creature was rendered through a man in a suit, specifically an uncredited Kevin Peter Hall, a 7'2" tall gent who would later appear in 1987's Predator as the title claracter, the hunter alien "Yautja" and an NBC TV series called "Misfits Of Science".  I like the overall look of the monster "Katahdin" in this movie but wish it would have more closely resembled the monstrosity in the movie's poster art.

Overall: Prophecy(1979) remains a personal favorite of mine. Watch this movie and you may not be so enthusiastic about your next camping trip in the great outdoors.

I watch this movie once a year on DVD. The movie has been released onto R1 DVD by Paramount and is available for order at Amazon and other online retailers. The disc includes an audio set up and scene selections. The film's aspect ratio is 2:35.1 widescreen. No Blu Ray release yet but one can always hope. Click the DVD cover art image above or the link to see this movie for sale on DVD at Amazon: PROPHECY(1979) DVD

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hack job - AXE GIANT: THE WRATH OF PAUL BUNYAN(2013)

"Bunyan", a horror movie directed by Gary Jones has been renamed Axe Giant: The Wrath Of Paul Bunyan and will see a DVD/VOD release in June, 2013. In this horror film which is a take on the "Paul Bunyan" legend, a group of young people are terrorized by a fifteen foot tall, axe wielding maniac. Check out the new trailer below by clicking on the video!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Cincinnati Poll Worker Charged with 8 Counts of Voter Fraud

Cincinnati Poll Worker Charged with 8 Counts of Voter Fraud

I would imagine that most liberal Democrats asked to comment on this would downplay all of it, labelling this woman's actions an "isolated" incident. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

States see more poverty among children, unemployed – USATODAY.com

States see more poverty among children, unemployed – USATODAY.com

There's mention in this article that the "chronically unemployed are the legacy of the recession that started in 2007". I think the chronically unemployed as well as the increasing number of Americans living in poverty are both the legacy of U.S. President Obama. For those of you who voted for Obama back in November, 2012 here are some realities for you:

1. the number of Americans receiving welfare assistance and SNAP benefits(food stamps) continues to increase

2. the national debt, over $16 trillion dollars right now, is on the increase

3. federal government spending shows no signs of slowing down

 4. the unemployment rate in the U.S. among women and hispanics, both of who helped get President Obama re-elected in November, 2012 is on the increase

How's that "hope and change" working out for you?

Tens of thousands Obamacare 'navigators' to be hired | WashingtonExaminer.com

Tens of thousands Obamacare 'navigators' to be hired | WashingtonExaminer.com

This is just one of many ways the federal government wastes American taxpayer's money. From what I have read in recent months at various websites the estimated cost of the Affordable Health Care Act(passed in 2009), aka "Obamacare" is $10 BILLION dollars over the next decade.

For those Americans who oppose corruption in politics(at all levels of government), who oppose seeing their tax dollars wasted by the U.S. federal government and also oppose the rampant liberal media bias that exists today, check out CHRISTIAN VOTE. I regularly update this website and have also recently created a Twitter account for this site. The main website link: CHRISTIAN VOTE

Christian Vote at Twitter: CHRISTIAN VOTE @ Twitter

Sunday, March 31, 2013

PREY- zombie short film

Lately I've been getting back into watching zombie horror films and earlier today I came across this marvelous short, fourteen(14) minute film called Prey, directed by Cal O'Connell. If you're a fan of the "zombie" horror movie then this short film is well worth watching!


THE TEN COMMANDMENTS(1956) - trailer

I am not an evangelical person and haven't been for a long, long time. While not an atheist(by definition) I tend to be agnostic and my opinions regarding the existence of "God" remain fairly murky. Still, there are occasions when I like to believe that there is someone watching over all of us. Several movies inspire those thoughts inside me and one of them is a film I watch every year on ABC: The Ten Commandments(1956). This epic movie is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever made!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Evan Brehany's The Smoking Storyteller


Due to an audio issue subtitles have been added to this video. Evan "G2Kmaster" Brehany is a member of  two online communities, MONSTERLAND FORUMS and KAIJU GALAXY.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Arachno-mania: SPIDERS 3D(2013)

I recently ordered an "on demand" movie through my cable TV provider(A T & T U Verse) called SPIDERS 3D(2013)(in HD). This sci-fi/horror movie is directed by Hungarian Tibor Takacs and stars Patrick Muldoon, William Hope("Aliens" fans will recognize him as the guy who played LT Gorman in the '86 film) and Christa Campbell.

As the title of this movie implies it's all about the spiders in this feature and you better believe there are a lot of them. The film's synopsis: a secret Russian space station is hit by small meteors and a large chunk of this station, which was home to some creepy alien DNA splicing with spiders, breaks off and crashes back to Earth, specifically impacting in New York city. Under the streets and inside the damaged subway station hostile, mutant alien spiders quickly replicate and take over the subway station. Military and scientists quarantine the area trapping a subway transit manager(Patrick Muldoon), his scientist wife(Christa Campbell) and their daughter inside the quarantine zone. Given how bloodthirsty and increasingly large the alien spider hybrids are becoming you can bet being in close proximity to them in and around the infected subway station is no day at the beach. Victims pile up, both military and civilian alike as these marauding and drooling spiders, armed with snapping jaws and razor sharp teeth, prey on soldiers and scientists alike. The lead scientist and officer in charge(William Hope) believe they can contain these arachnoid mutations which we learn were originally created by Soviet scientists way back in the 80's and during the last days of the Cold War in an effort to collect and militiarize(for lack of better word) the super strong silk made by these alien-spider mutants. 

Despite the growing rampages of the three meter wide mutant spiders the worst is yet to come as everyone inside the quarantine zone soon discovers as the gargantuan queen spider-alien erupts out the subway and onto the streets above. This eight legged monster, as large as a two story house, squares off against the U.S. Army in a deserted area of the city. Eventually the colossal female spider descends back under the streets for one final showdown with subway transit manager "Jason Cole"(Patrick Muldoon). (no other spoilers)

Observations:  while this movie has obvious production value limitations and predictably pedestrian acting the overall special effects and CGI effects are solid, especially those used to render the smaller(bot not small), three meter wide alien-spider hybrids. The CGI for the larger female queen spider isn't quite so realistic but by this point in the movie you won't care. There is some gore in this movie, mostly that of appendages chewed or torn off soldiers by the hostile spiders and a couple of shots showing soldiers ripped in half with blood and innards splattered all over the floor. Obviously not dinner time fare here but the gore in this film isn't over the top at all.

I like this movie for what it is: a discount budget sci-fi/horror action movie. It's definitely worth a Netflix rental but may be hit or miss as a DVD/Blu Ray purchase. I do think Spiders 3D(2013) is a definite upgrade from the typical "SyFy made for TV or original movie" celluloid garbage we horror and sci-fi fans are subjected to on a regular basis. This movie comes to DVD/BD on March 12, 2013.

To order SPIDERS 3D on Blu Ray click this link: SPIDERS 3D Blu Ray release

The trailer:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Making of the Godzilla Suit!

GODZILLA 2000(1999) - Metaphorically speaking by Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany

In GODZILLA 2000(1999), Godzilla attacks nuclear power plants as a way of acting on his nuclear metaphor role a la fifteen(15) years earlier in THE RETURN OF GODZILLA(1984) ...and not attacking them to feed off the energy either - Godzilla is nature talking!. While agencies are trying to find a new alternative energy source, it seems things are not progessing fast enough for nature's liking ... not that nature doesn't think humanity doesn't deserve a chance seeing as that Godzilla protects humans from a seemingly invincible foe.

With the human characters, particularly scientists, there is the resurgence of the "kill vs. study" Godzilla conflict. This argument, which has been in the franchise since the original 1954 Godzilla film, has the same arguments for the kill Godzilla argument: human safety. As Katagiri says, "in the meantime, he just levels Tokyo." For the opposing argument, there are two supporting details given. The lesser deals with the duality of humanity, those willing to make the sacrifices thinking of the possible greater good the study of Godzilla would bring as opposed to others who want to destroy Godzilla due to a lack of clear understanding of Godzilla (example: "Anything we don't understand, we try to destroy. The CCI is ground zero for that kind of lunacy"). Unlike previous entries, GODZILLA 2000 transforms the assumption that studying Godzilla would be beneficial for humans into reality as it ties into the plot, revealing the secret's of Godzilla's durability.

Of course the human characters in this Toho film are not aware of such themes. What they are aware of is that in this chapter of Japan's history with Godzilla, public opinion of Godzilla's treatment and use of the scientific knowledge surrounding Godzilla is radical enough to prompt people to work independently, pooling their resources and even getting their daughters involved with the study of Godzilla. Such is the struggle between Katagiri, one of most simple villains you will see in this movie franchise. His foil is Shinoda, who goes up against Katagiri's goverment funded Godzilla feud with his small, six member Godzilla Prediction Network(GPN) tasked with science based investigations of Godzilla. Meanwhile, we have the journalist Yuki who, unlike "Yuri Tachibana" from GODZILLA, MOTHRA & KING GHIDORAH-ALL OUT MONSTERS ATTACK(2001),  is covering the actions of Godzilla as "hard news". Indeed, the end of Japan's "Tiger Economy" years, a subtext to films like GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH(1991), is now something that gives added significance and importance to the work the GPN is doing AND goes to reporter Yuki's intentions: the reporter does care about Shinoda and his daughter Io personally and isn't just a career driven(and financially exploited) reporter. Yuki is concerned that Io and Shinoda are both alright when their involvement in the extraterrestrial's plans turns deadly.

That is all what GODZILLA 2000 is about. When Shinoda says at the end of the movie, "Godzilla is inside each one of us", I believe he means that humans are coming closer to gaining redemption from Godzilla. Humans want to make points just like Godzilla and for the better. How? A good illustration of this is the ressurection of Orga which is an accident as efforts are made to find a new source of alternative energy all  while characters like Shinoda try changing the official thinking from the tragic "we must kill the monster" to a world where Godzilla can just simply be contained and studied to benefit humanity.

The American trailer:



This analysis s courtesy of Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany, a resident of Warner Robins, Georgia and dedicated fan of Japanese kaiju films. Evan is now a contributor to "Packmule's Pen" and has graciously agreed to share some of his written submissions on Toho Godzilla films and other interests in this blog. Evan is member of MONSTERLAND FORUMS and KAIJU GALAXY. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ACORN whistle blower: Voter fraud played role in election

ACORN whistle blower: Voter fraud played role in election: A former employee of a controversial community organizers group said Friday that voter fraud may have played a role in last month’s presidential election.

I've had countless conversations with liberals who tell me voter fraud is a figment of a Republican's imagination. Really? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

GODZILLA VS MEGALON(1973) - a look back by Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany

GODZILLA VS MEGALON(1973), the fourth(4th) Godilla movie directed by Jun Fukuda, has the distinction of being the most viewed Godzilla film on the planet. This movie has been released as numerous VHS tape offerings, most of subpar quality as well as many cheapie R1 DVD releases. The only quality DVD releases are the Region 4 "Madman Entertainment", the Region 2 Toho and the Region 1 Mediablasters(Tokyo Shock), the latter void of extras but at least featuring the movie in its original widescreen(2:35.1) aspect ratio and with both English dubbed and Japanese language(w/English subtitles) audio options. This film, loaded(or overloaded) with stock footage from other Godzilla films, has been widely lampooned by both kaiju film fans and other casual fans of monster movies. Here is Evan Brehany's take on this film after his latest viewing of it:

        - GODZILLA VS MEGALON as a satirical comedy -
Vincent Camby wrote a positive review for GODZILLA VS. MEGALON. That review showed that the legendary critic didn't pay attention to special effects in films from either side of the Pacific. This positive review for GODZILLA VS. MEGALON is different than that. If there had to be a thesis it would be that GODZILLA VS. MEGALON is Jun Fukuda's try at making a satirical Godzilla film. GODZILLA VS. MEGALON is full of irony, both practical and thematic when seen against the backdrop of the series up to that point. I believe this movie is an intentional comedy.

The thematic irony is that Megalon is going to fight Godzilla. Nuclear testing naturally awoke not one but two Godzillas. That was the Earth's natural reaction. Of course, as explained in the prologue, by 1973 mankind still detonated with atomic bombs including the Japanese whose nuclear tests would eventually damage and then destroy Ogasawara Island, a location which is the island designated to be "Monster Island" where all of Earth's monsters have been collected and incarcerated. As if a natural reaction isn't enough to these nuke detonations, a physical embodiment of the earth also reacts: the Seatopians. These subterranean dwellers, ticked off at humanity for atomic bomb tests, dispatch their enormous, insectoid monster "Megalon" in retaliation, the winged, roach like monster reaching Earth's surface and immediately beginning a wanton rampage. For the first time since the original Godzilla film, a kaiju completely ravages Tokyo without stop as Megalon attacks Tokyo and battles the JSDF. For all the monster's destructive power, it's hostile disposition and its rampage, Megalon isn't a very coordinated monster nor does it seem well skilled in combat against another kaiju(Godzilla).

Megalon does weird things all through the film. Megalon jumps into a damn, only to plow through it and topple over himself. Megalon performs an odd floating action which leads to a face plant. When first fighting Jet Jaguar, Megalon just looks dazed, swaying back and forth until he gets smacked into consciousness.

The Seatopians who operate on the Earth's surface in this movie are idiots, plain and simple, their bumbling tactics completely undermining their obvious goals. Examples of their idiocy include an odd car chase scene in which vehicles go up and down stairs: this bizarre car chase results in a Seatopian motorcyclist crashing into a barn, splattered in paint and never seen again. In the case of the primary two Seatopian spies (if you can call them such), it is interesting in that they choose to try to kidnap a stay at home scientist/inventor who has created an experimental robot, "Jet Jaguar". This colorful robot develops abilities and a self awareness that not even its inventor can foresee. The pair of bumbling Seatopian spies meet their end by both by two unasuming truckers and Megalon himself!

Though GODZILLA VS. MEGALON was originally planned by Toho to be a movie featuring Jet Jaguar only, Godzilla's more restricted presence in this movie is nevertheless well timed and obviously crucial to the movie's ending. We have seen in the past (particularly with GODZILA VS. HEDORAH) that Godzilla is capable of instinctively tracking down kaiju he is going to fight. Here we have a rather uninspired Godzilla: the monster doesn't want to do anything unless his eventual tag-team "buddy" Jet Jaguar helps him out. Godzilla initiating a straight on attack at Megalon? No: rather Jet Jaguar lead the charge. Walk through fire which Godzilla has done many times?-No again. When it comes to Godzilla's choice of attacks its mostly physical assaults: just beat Megalon with a tree, let him swallow his own napalm ball and use the next best ability to flying: sliding on his own tail! The lack of high speed filming is a real bummer during the kaiju combat scenes and don't even get me started on the heavy use of stock footage. 


Many scenes, including Godzilla's reluctance to walk through fire, is interestingly enough scored to flute music you'd hear if it was a playful spring morning scene in a non-kaiju film. Reiichiro Manabe scores this film after having scored GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH. Now, Toho and company could have simply reused Ifukube themes (cut possible losses by following GIGAN's infuence as shown here with the abundance of stock footage) but instead of that they employ a composer who turned in the most bizarre score of the Godzilla film franchise up to this point.

Any kind of unifying seriousness comes from the protagonist "triumvirate" of scientist/inventor, his kid brother and the scientist's best friend. This human cast of "good guys" create Godzilla's partner "Jet Jaguar", get the JSDF involved AND are also the ones who jeopardize their own lives the most to save humanity. Despite the usual plot advances such as the characters trying to learn about the antagonists, we are subjected to quotes like, "that doesn't help us get any closer to the people behind all of this." Is it a comedic comeback or is it a pun on the often far fetched exposition the antagonists of the series have experienced up to this point? Other silly cast dialog includes "what side is Gigan on?" and "that's not too hard to guess". There is physical "slapstick" in this movie to boot with Jet Jaguar's servant-like bowing at the door and subsequent sucker punching a Seatopian in the stomach. In another sequence one of the Seatopians meets his end after two simple truck drivers simply push him over a hill!


At the end of the day my comedic interpretation of GODZILLA VS. MEGALON(1973) does not mean I don't regard it as a good film. When producing a comedy, it is inevitably hit or miss because such a comedy may or may not reach into the audience and make them laugh. If you haven't watched GODZILLA VS MEGALON or if you have seen it but not recently give it another look and decide for yourself if it strikes you as a comedy. 


The American trailer:


This review was written by Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany, a dedicated fan of Godzilla, Godzilla movies and other Japanese fantasy/sci-fi cinema. Evan is a resident of Georgia(like myself) and lives in Warner Robins, Georgia. Evan and I have been friends through our shared adoration for Godzilla movies and Japanese kaiju "eiga" for over six years now. He is a valued member of my online community called Monsterland Forums and is also active on Facebook and at Donny Winter's online community called Kaiju Galaxy.  Look for more reviews from Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany in the near future!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Christian Vote - site updates

I've made a significant number of updates to CHRISTIAN VOTE, a website funded by one of my closest friends and maintained by yours truly. Between now and the next presidential election(in 2016) we will be focusing on government corruption, government waste & voter fraud all of which is unfortunately in great abundance in the United States. As always "Christian Vote" is dedicated to exposing and stopping liberal media bias which has become rampant in U.S. politics(at all levels) and undermines the security and economic prosperity of America. To access CHRISTIAN VOTE click the below link:

christian vote

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of the disunion

Despite my considerable disdain for President Barack Obama's on the job performance as well as that of his Democrat cronies in Washington, DC I opted to watch last night's "state of the union" address which was nationally televised on all the major TV and cable networks. Like in the previous state of the union address given by President Obama this time last year, our President touched on a wide variety of subjects without really saying anything that he hasn't already said before. The president called on new government spending to create jobs aimed at repairing the nation's aging infrastructure of roads and bridges, somehow believing that this initiative will help with job creation. It does create jobs, typically those that last 90-120 days and pay about $9-10 per hour. That does nothing to improve the chronically high and persistent unemployment rate in the United States, currently stated as 7.9% by the Department Of Labor. Given that this statistic does NOT count those Americans not working this stat is more likely around 15%. President Obama made no mention last night in his state of the union address about how any of his programs would be paid for...not that he has to. The Democrats want to raise taxes and take more money from working Americans to finance their agenda.

Nearly forty eight(48) million Americans remain on welfare assistance to pay their bills and put food on the table. 30% of African-American adults between the age of 18-25 are unemployed. The United States has accrued a national debt of $16 trillion and that number shows no sign of being reduced given the Democrats(including President Obama) want to spend more money. As it stands now for every dollar the U.S. federal government spends our government only has sixty cents to cover that dollar. The other forty cents is "credit" and gets tacked on to our ever growing national debt.

"Obamacare" has already resulted in hundreds of layoffs in the medical prosthetic manufacturing sector, companies that produce these devices now subject to a burdensome new tax under the "Obamacare" legislation and, rather than risking insolvency, opting to layoff employees to offset this new tax and expense. It's expected that when Obamacare laws become fully implemented in 2014 health insurance premiums for both businesses and individuals will increase which will result in more Americans being unable to afford paying for health insurance.

GDP is projected to remain at 2% for the duration of 2014 and the economy, according to some financial and economic analysts, will likely never recover to pre-recession levels. The same goes for the unemployment rate.

There's plenty of blame to go around in both the Democrat and Republican parties but I blame the Democrats more than anyone else. The Dems, led by our current sitting president, have done next to nothing to help the U.S. recover, really recover. Any gains we make as a country will happen DESPITE President Obama and the liberal Democrats and not because of them.

To those reading this blog post who voted for President Obama in last November's national election, here's what you voted for: higher taxes, a chronically high unemployment rate, a higher general unemployment rate for women and African-Americans, higher heath insurance premiums in 2014, a national debt that may hit $20 trillion by 2016 and economic growth that will remain paltry for the next 18 months - 2 years.  My congratulations to all of you.




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mountains of madness: THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN(1957)

The "yeti", also known as the "abominable snowman", a large and hairy humanoid creature alleged to exist in the Himalayas, has been the subject of countless horror movies and documentaries over the years. I can honestly say that I haven't come across a yeti documentary thus far that I didn't like. Sadly I can't say that for horror movies featuring this mysterious beast: most of the ones I've seen are total stinkers include one I recently watched on SyFy called "Abominable Snowman". Apparently the company that produced this film(a word I use loosely here) decided that poor acting, a largely uninteresting human cast of characters and CGI renderings of the malevolent creatures that resembled something out of a video game is a formula for success for SyFy. They're right about that, if nothing else but their completed work is still something I regret watching and also a movie which is in my estimation absolutely atrocious, even by SyFy standards.

To date there are only a handful of films featuring "yeti" or yeti like creatures that I find watchable, even entertaining: 2006's Abominable, a 1977 made for television movie called Snowbeast, the 1955 Toho produced Half Human(Ive only seen the Americanized version) and last but definitely not least, 1957's The Abominable Snowman, an early Hammer films movie that has stood the test of time and remains IMO the best movie presentation of the yeti.

The yeti phenomenom came to the forefront of media headlines in national newspapers in the 1950's in concert with the publicity surrounding the first successful ascent of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth(at over 29,000 feet in height) by Sir Edmund Hillary and his expedition in 1953. Members of the expedition, including Hillary himself, have been quoted as saying they heard strange noises that sounded semi-human.

Hammer Studios decided to make a film about the mysterious creature, based on the 1955 BBC teleplay The Creature. The result: The Abominable Snowman, directed by Val Guest and released theatrically two years later in 1957.

The film's story: world renowned botanist Dr. John Rolason(played by Peter Cushing), despite an ominous warning from the local Buddhist temple priest, reluctantly decides to join an expedition to search for the yeti, aka "the abominable snowman". The expedition, led by Tom Friend(played by Forrest Tucker of F-Troop fame), begins it's ascent into the steep, rugged higher elevations of the Himalayas. After establishing a small base camp the group is indeed visited by the mysterious creatures. One is shot and killed by expedition member and trapper Ed Shelley(played by Robert Brown). The dead creature is ignominiously used as bait, to lure other members of it's kind to the expedition members. This action proves disastrous, the team discovering that the yeti have a mysterious "telepathic" ability, it's effects on the surviving team members unpredictable and dangerous. (no spoilers).

Observations: this film is easily one of my top five favorite Hammer horror films. It's a grim and moody feature with some marvelous visuals of the rugged and awesome mountains of Nepal and a somber, at other times urgent score that nicely compliments the action in the film itself.

Like every Hammer horror film the story is actor driven and Hammer horror film veteran Peter Cushing doesn't disappoint as botanist "John Rolason" whose curiosity about the existence of the yeti is a proverbial itch he finds himself compelled to scratch despite his wife's concern for his safety and Rolason's own disdain at adventurer "Tom Friend"(played by Forrest Tucker). Tucker's character "Friend" contrasts to botanist Rolason in that the adventurer wants to capture a yeti to make a profit with no interest in studying the creature at all. The clash of wills between the characters "Rolason" and "Friend" is an interesting dynamic in this clasic black and white horror film, the two characters maintaining an uneasy tolerance of each other during their hike into the mountains and nearly coming to blows during a lively debate about the merits of their expedition.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of this movie, for me anyway, is the ending. I won't reveal what happens but for me the films' conclusion is thought provoking and not what I expected at all.

The movie itself is available on Region 1 DVD as either a stand alone film, or as part of a double-feature, paired with the 1970's martial arts crime drama Shatter!

The trailer:




Click the link to see the stand alone R1 DVD for sale at Amazon: THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN DVD

Saturday, February 9, 2013

GARDENWURKS - winter landscape maintenance tips

With the leaves down and cold(er) temps in the winter there are a number of things ideally suited to be done on residential properties during the cold winter months here in the United States. I live and work in Atlanta, GA and while my tips below primarily apply to the southeast many of them are applicable for residential properties in other parts of the U.S. as well. Some "to do" items for homeowners this winter:

-prune back roses and fertlize them: I like the Bayer 3-In-1 liquid fertilizer-insecticide blend which is commonly available at Lowes, Home Depot and most retail nurseries. Magnesium sulphate or other granular rose food products also work well. This action will ehance bloom production on roses during the spring and summer months

-prune back crape myrtles. These trees should be completely defoliated by now and for those that are mature and well established they should be pruned back and fertilized. How much pruning? I always prune no more than one third(1/3rd) of the tree's total height. Example: a ten(10) foot crape myrtle would be pruned back no more than 3-3.5 feet off the top. A good fertilizer for use here is any 10-10-10 starter fertilizer(granular) which should be spread evenly around the main trunk of the tree. These actions will enhance bloom production and ensure overall health of the tree(s). Other small(er) and medium sized trees that benefit from a winter fertilizer application: dogwood(Florida), cherry(Akame and Yoshino), magnolia(Little Gem), hemlocks, cryptomeria, willow, arborvitae, birch and maple

-many shrubs benefit from a granular application of fertilizer in the winter months including: boxwoods, cleyera, various hollies(especially Mary Nelle, sky pencil, compacta and helleri), pieris, fatsia, euonymous, camellia, hawthorne, pitosporum, gardenia, azalea, ewe(cephalotaxus), acuba,  hydrangea(oak leaf and other varieties) and osmathus(tea olive) -make sure to apply fertilizer around the main trunks of these shrubs as much as possible

-ground covers benefit from a fertilizer(10-10-10) application including ivy, Boston ivy, pachysandra, ferns, vinca(both major and minor), ajuga, liriope aka "monkey grass"(both Big Blue and variegated), mondo grass(including dwarf mondo grass) and creeping fig

-common winter "color" like pansies and violas should be fertilized with any common granular flower or pansy "food" product and pansies should be "dead-headed"(carefully plucking off the declined flower attached to the stem) - performing a handweeding and then refreshing these flower beds with new mulch top dressings is something I do quite a bit this time of year on a customers' property, not just in these flower beds but also in containers as well

-any larg(er) scale pruning to decrease the size of a large shrub should also be done during the cold(er) winter months

-the winter months are a great time to apply pre-emergent herbicides in large(r) natural areas where weeds tend to propagate heavily in the warmer months of spring, summer and early fall. A pre-emergent herbicide, as it's title suggests, kills a weed seed in the soil BEFORE it can germinate and appear above the ground. Pre-emergent herbicides can be pricey but in my experience can also make a huge difference in the amount of weeds that appear in natural areas and other areas where weeds tend to appear in greater quantity. Pre-emergents are typically sold at Lowes/Home Depot in bags and are a fine, granular product which can applied manually or using a standard sized or hand spreader("drop" or "broadcast type" for standard spreaders depending on the size of the natural area)

-many landscape companies will cut back "Big Blue" liriope(the kind that is solid green in color) because it can become blighted and grungy looking in appearance during the winter and this is definitely a good idea. Cutting back the liriope can be done either manually(for smaller beds) or with a string trimmer(weedeater) for larger amounts of liriope. Fertilize the liriope after cutting it back and cleaning out the clippings. You can expect the liriope to flush back out with new growth quickly as the temps warm up in the spring

-the early winter months are also an ideal time to install pine straw in beds and natural areas. Pine straw is an outstanding top dressing, affordable, readily available at retailers and pine straw contractor businesses and when installed properly can really make a residential property stand out. Pine straw also helps to suppress weed propagation.

To access my gardening/maintenance landscaping website click the link below. 

Home - Gardenwurks