Sunday, January 25, 2015

Let us prey: The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Recently I've been revisiting the numerous 1950's sci-fi "creature feature" movies. They all generally have at least one thing in common: a giant, irradiated insect, mutation or alien mutation. The Deadly Mantis, directed by Nathan Juran and theatrically released by Universal in 1957, is one of my all time favorites. A long frozen giant mantis is inadvertently thawed out by atomic bomb testing, escapes its icy hibernation and flies away, subsequently beginning an immediate campaign of terror on mankind. A dedicate scientist(played by William Hopper) and an equally dedicated U.S. Air Force officer(played by Craig Stevens) become the movie's heroes and requisite military-scientific "brain trust", tasked with tracking and ultimately stopping the "deadly" giant mantis. The film's conclusion features a downed, gravely injured giant mantis against a group of miltary personnel inside the Washington(DC) tunnel. (no other spoilers)

As much as I hate to admit it, one of my favorite aspects of this movie is the mantis' ability to roar like a dinosaur. The idea of a "roaring" insect is obviously preposterous...but it absolutely works in this fun, entertaining '50s monster flick.


This movie has long been available on VHS. Universal released The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Vols 1 and 2(sold separately or packaged together) in 2008 to official R1 DVD and this release includes The Deadly Mantis(1957). I own both of these DVD sets which also feature some of Universal's most recognizable and successful sci-fi monster movies from the decade of the 1950's.

 A trailer for this film:

To see the packaged DVD release for sale at Amazon click the link: The Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection on DVD

Monday, January 19, 2015

Checkmate atheists – scientists discover God!

VIDEO: Checkmate Atheists – Scientists Discover God!

I'm still waiting on "God" to tell me whether the NFL's Atlanta Falcons will win a Super Bowl in my lifetime or not. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fangs a lot: The Spider(1958)

I was watching a documentary the other night about tarantulas and other large arachnids. I've always been fascinated by spiders and also creeped out by them all at once. I'm also a sucker for just about any horror/sci-fi film featuring a giant spider run amok. My favorite giant spider creature feature will always be the 1955, Jack Arnold directed Tarantula. I also like the "other" giant spider schlocker from the 1950's as well despite it's even more scattershot and uneven special effects. I'm referring to THE SPIDER , aka "Earth Vs The Spider" which was written, produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon.

This film is available for viewing on YouTube, Vimeo and even DailyMotion and comes in at 73 minutes for viewing. There's a lot of things that annoy me about this movie: the inconsistent renderings of the giant spiders' size during its forays into the neighboring town and countryside outside its cave abode. I also dislike the almost banshee like wail that the monster spider emits. That said there are some huge positives for me with The Spider, none more so than the performance of Ed Kemmer, the local schoolteacher who is the film's primary protagonist, married family man(and father) and also who lends a helping hand to the town sheriff and his deputies in figuring out how to stop and ultimately destroy the mysterious, menacing giant spider. I also like the spider's main raid on the town and the sequence where it escapes the high school gym after its temporary capture. Some level of suspense is maintained because the initial attempt to kill the enormous spider, while it's still inside its cave lair, fails. The spider is instead captured but escapes a high school gym and crawls around again, understandably scaring the hell out of everyone who is unfortunate enough to see it. (no spoilers on the movie's ending)

The score is actually decent for this movie and there are ample enough scenes of chaos, mayhem and grisly images of the spiders' victims to make this movie a "keeper" for die hard sci-fi and horror movie fans. I remember when I first watched The Spider on television as a kid. It was this movie and others like it that helped kick start my long time interest in horror movies, especially those from the 1950's and 1960's.

A trailer:

THE SPIDER(1958) is available on official DVD. This movie was released as a double feature DVD along with 1958's War Of The Colossal Beast by Lions Gate in 2006. To see this DVD for sale at Amazon click the link: EARTH VS THE SPIDER/WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST double feature DVD

Monday, January 12, 2015

Joint operations: CopperFit products

I rarely endorse any commercial products of any kind but I'm making an exception in this case for CopperFit products, specifically their elbow and knee sleeves. These cloth support sleeves are designed to be worn by athletes and other ordinary folks like me who are active either from their work and/or their exercise routines. CopperFit support sleeves(and their other wearable products), and as the name implies, are made with copper filaments blended into the fabric. These products are machine washable, non-bacterial and are also very affordable.

I'm nearly fifty three years of age and while I'm not ready for the retirement home just yet I am obviously not a young man anymore and with middle age, coupled with my line of work, comes expected joint aches and pains.

I've been a gardener and landscaper for over nineteen years and I've been fortunate to avoid major injuries. That said I suffered a strained right knee and strained patella tendon(a workplace injury) back in 2004. My recovery time was two weeks. Ever since that injury, and usually at least twice per year, my right knee gets stiff, swells and becomes quite painful. I invested in several magnetized, velcro style cloth knee wraps last year and while they seemed to work the real success I believe came when I started wearing a CopperFit knee sleeve on my right knee. I have had no significant pain in my right knee for nine(9) months since I started wearing the CopperFit knee sleeve.

I also have suffered from gout(since 1997) and in recent years have experienced flare ups of gout and bursitis in my right elbow. I bought a CopperFit elbow sleeve in early 2014 and began wearing the sleeve on my right elbow whenever it began to ache. Within two days the pain was gone. These sleeves promote joint "warmth" and the compression afforded by the sleeve to the joint helps with joint stability.

I am not in any way suggesting that these CopperFit sleeves are a cure all. They're not and I would(and do) encourage anyone with lingering and chronic joint pain to consult a physician. My doctor has always encouraged me to try different products for joint ache relief and I've taken his advice.

I do think anyone who suffers from joint aches and pains as a result of bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis and/or gout should consider giving a CopperFit sleeve a try.

Here's a link to CopperFit's main website for access to specifics about their products and product ordering:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Boxed in: PLANET OF THE APES-The Evolution LE DVD set

I don't own a lot of DVD box sets despite the fact I've been purchasing DVDs since 1998, shortly after the first DVDs hit retailers. Suncoast Video(at Northlake Mall in NE Atlanta, GA) was a regular hangout for me on Saturdays in the late 1990's through 2002. It was at this retailer that I bought(in 2001) what was then and is still my absolute favorite DVD box set in my DVD collection: PLANET OF THE APES-THE EVOLUTION Limited Edition.

This six(6) disc release from Fox Home Entertainment includes all five "Planet Of The Apes" films: PLANET OF THE APES(1968), BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES(1970), ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES(1971), CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES(1972) and BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES(1973). There is a sixth disc that is essentially a "making of" and "behind the scenes" featurette hosted by actor Roddy McDowall. The bonus disc delves into the backstory of the films and the specifics of the stellar makeup effects.

Planet Of The Apes DVDset1

These movies are based on a 1963 novel by Pierre Boulle and for anyone who hasn't seen any of these movies I'd recommend watching the first one, 1968's Planet Of The Apes, directed by Franklin Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans & Roddy McDowall. In the film a small group of astronauts inadvertently crash land on Earth in the year 3978 A.D. to discover that apes are the dominant species on the planet and humans are regarded as nothing more than pack animals and vermin. I consider the first movie in this franchise to be among the greatest science fiction films that have ever been made.

A theatrical trailer for the first film in the "Planet Of The Apes" film franchise:

To see this DVD box set release for sale at Amazon click the link: PLANET OF THE APES - THE EVOLUTION DVD set

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The real "Amityville horror" - (Paranormal Documentary)

Home is where the hell is: The AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)

I recently gifted myself THE AMITYVILLE HORROR TRILOGY Blu Ray DVD set, a very nice 2013(October) release from Shout! Factory that includes the movies THE AMITYVILLE HORROR(1979), AMITYVILLE II-THE POSSESSION(1982 - a prequel to the first installment) and AMITYVILLE 3-D(1983), aka AMITYVILLE 3-THE DEMON. I've owned all three of these films on DVD for a while(MGM single disc releases) but wanted to upgrade to Blu Ray.

Demonic possession themed horror movies have always managed to unsettle me which is saying a lot since I've been watching horror movies for over forty years and found only a handful really able to put any kind of scare into me. The "Amityville horror" films are all based on a purported real life haunted house and the malevolent, often vicious spirits within this house that have driven its various occupants insane and even compelled them to murder and other mayhem.

In The Amityville Horror, and without giving too many details away for those who haven't seen this film, the "Lutz" family(George & Kathy, played by James Brolin and Margot Kidder, respectively and their kids), move into a house in Amityville(Long Island). Shortly upon moving in all hell literally breaks loose on the family and these terrifying occurences that occur inside the house prompt the Lutz family to flee the house in terror, all after only a single month living inside the home!

The first installment in the trilogy, 1979's THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, is my sentimental favorite although the overall special effects in the 1982 prequel are more entertaining to watch. Here's an HD trailer:

The Amityville Horror Trilogy Blu Ray set is available at Shout Factory's website and also at Amazon. To see this BD set for sale at Amazon click the link: AMITYVILLE HORROR TRILOGY BLU RAY set

Amazon also sells all three(3) of the films as a DVD set as well with a bonus fourth disc included: AMITYVILLE HORROR DVD set