Tarantula! (1955)I have no idea why, but as soon as you place an ! in a Monster Movie title I just get excited. I just expect the monster to be Extra Big! And yes, this is a large spider calming walking around the Arizona desert looking for it's next snack. It's a really solid movie and really easy to enjoy. But that is because it was Jack Arnold and Universal. And that is an awesome combination for monster/science fiction.
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)After watching this I like King of Monsters more. Just in terms of high lighting how much it was like and refered back to the classic movies. This is a goofy, bright and happy movie. I found it endlessly entertaining, especially watching Godzilla trying to get up after he had fallen onto his back. It's kind of adorable with his legs kicking. Can't have been easy for the actor to constantly pull himself up in that suit. But I need to watch more of these movies. They just make me happy.
"The Host" 2006, Dir. Bong Joon-hoThe best monster-movie-dysfunctional-family-drama-action-adventure-goofy-dark-comedy-white-knuckle-horror since... well... never I suppose, because this is a singular masterpiece.
There's a moment when the family just start feeding the orphan boy and it kills me every time. It's one of my favourite movies.
The Crater Lake Monster (1977, dir. William R. Stromberg)A meteor crashes into a lake in Oregon and causes a buried dinosaur egg to hatch. A few months later a stop-motion monster starts attacking people on and around the lake. The straight-laced local sheriff (played by one of the most wooden actors I've ever seen) and a biologist investigate, while a pair of bumbling and bickering comic relief characters bumble and bicker. There's also a tonal shift that'll give you whiplash into a brief subplot about a murderer, and several day-for-night shots they forgot to tint darker.Fun fact: Richard Cardella, who stars as the sheriff, has a total of two credits on IMDb, co-writing The Crater Lake Monster and starring in it.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958, dir. Nathan Juran)There are actors and sets and a plot and all that, but Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion monsters are obviously the main attraction here. After watching The Crater Lake Monster, it's amazing to see how much better stop-motion animation at its best was as early as two decades before that. The creatures, and especially their integration into the live action footage, is beautiful!
Harryhausen was the master of stop-motion animation during his lifetime. It is not surprising that there is a difference between the quality of the two films.If you have not seen Jason and the Argonauts, Mikko, you are in for a treat. It is as fun as Sinbad but with some of the best stop-motion ever created for a movie.
I've seen several clips of Jason and the Argonauts (the famous skeleton sword fight chief among them) but never seen the whole film. It's definitely on my list.
Troll 2 (1990)What would you do if you knew the truth about the world? What if everyone around you were blind to the facts? They might call you misguided, even crazy. But you know the truth. Maybe it's intuition. Maybe your grandfather explains everything to you from the grave. What would you do with that information? You piss all over dinner, that's what. You do it for your family, for mankind. Someone has to save us from the vegetarians.
Jaws 3-D (1983)Hello. My name is Brent. And I enjoy 3D movies. This movie, in boring old 2D, is probably a 3 out of ten. The 3D elevates it to a five. Dennis Quaid brings it up to a 7. The shark brings it back down to a five. And this has been having fun with math and alcoholism. Have a wonderful Monday!
Destroy all Monsters (1968)Criterion Channel has a good chunk of Godzilla movies and this seemed like the perfect day for one since I've only ever watched a small handful of them. This did the trick although the Monsters don't get a whole lot of screen time, with much of the plot focusing on a group of humans stopping an alien plot to control the monsters. Fun, light-hearted sci-fi, and I'll be trying to make some time this month to squeeze in one or two more Godzilla movies on Criterion.
Guyver 2: Dark Hero (1994)Sure, the theme for today is monsters but hear me out...how about monsters who kick each other in the face? Now you’re talking my language. What we have here is basically an R-rated episode of Power Rangers, and if that sounds fun to you then you should absolutely seek out this underseen gem.The Guyver, a bio-mechanical armored suit with a human host (David Hayter, who went on to write X-Men and Watchmen, among others), is back to fight more monsters and this time it’s not the kid-friendly, silly, Jimmie Walker-assisted monster mash of the first movie. The stretches between monster fights are a little on the long side, but the fights themselves are twelve different kinds of awesome and make the whole thing work. There are some very fun stunts and action sequences, and plenty of slime for all your monstery needs. There’s also plenty of bad effects (especially some primitive CG, but the creatures are all practical) and clunky dialogue, but not enough to derail the fun. Definitely worth checking out.
Dracula (1979)First time viewing!! Frank Langella. Laurence Olivier. Donald Pleasence. Directed by John Badham. But, to be honest, the podcast on Draft Day is what made me want to watch this. I was thinking about how Frank Langella never takes off his sunglasses in the entire movie (of Draft Day). Since he's notoriously difficult to work with, my guess is he just never bothered to learn his lines and the glasses hid the fact that he was reading from cards off camera. Of course, Langella basically made his career playing Dracula on stage, so I wanted to see it for myself. And, I have to admit, he's really, really, great in this! I love his take on the character. I feel like Olivier tries hard to make the movie more about his dialect than the titular vampire, but maybe that’s just my personal preference. I don't seem to be able to find anything on the site, but I would love to know what JB thinks about this version.
Overlord (2018)AKA Resident Evil: WWII. Complete with a T-virus like substance and Wyatt Russell doing his best Chris Redfield. I know this was pretty popular round these parts when it came out last year but for me it was only OK. And honestly, I wish I could put my finger on why. It just didn't fully work on me. I think it was so similar to RE (the games, not the movies) that I wanted more of that RE wackiness. Anyway, not bad but not exceptional.
I’m with you Mike. It should have been a home-run for me but I was underwhelmed.
Thirded. "Overlord" is all sizzle that tastes like recycled cardboard.
Hiruko The Goblin (1991)I know, I know. Of all the Japanese monster movies I could have picked, I go with the one that could be argued to not even be a true monster movie. But it's been on my watch pile for so long that I needed some excuse to get around to it. Plus it's from the guy who brought us Tetsuo! Knowing that, I was expecting something a bit more zany and over the top, which was not the case here. However, despite it being a bit more tame that I had hoped, I'd say there's still enough cool gore and creature effects to make this one worth your time.
Night of the Demon (1980) Dir. James C. WassonThird viewing of what is by far my favorite Bigfoot film! Amazing kills, good settings and a batshit story. I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen this gem because it really needs to be seen going in blind. Highly recommended.
MUTATOR (1989) Cult fave Brion James gets a starring role, as the hero and not the monster. Evil geneticists make a creature, which goes after animal rights activists. James plays a security guard who gets caught up in it all. It's all incredibly goofy. The bad news is that the titular monster doesn’t get much screen time, probably because the effects weren’t quite there yet. But that’s all part of the fun, if you ask me. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962) A childhood favorite of mine, this movie still rocks mightily today. The filmmakers take a real go-big-or-go-home approach, with lots of action and no small amount of family-friendly slapstick. What else can I say? This is what giant monster beat-em-ups are all about.
The Beast Within (1982)Ronny Cox's wife is raped by a mysterious man/creature. 17 years later his son is experiencing some disturbing changes in behavior. The effects are awesome in this movie, and make the weird story even better. A solid recommendation for any who have not seen this.
Bubba Ho-Tep (2003, dir. Don Coscarelli, on DVD)I love this movie and you should too. Old Elvis Presley and JFK are in a retirement home and must face off against a mummy. The movie is way weirder than that premise suggests. This is the definition of a cult movie. It's very bizarre, but satisfying, has awesome performances from Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis, a wonderful score, and actually has a lot of heart. Everyone should see this one. Bonus: The DVD has a commentary by Bruce Campbell AS Elvis!
Pharaoh gobbles donkey goobers.Cleopatra does the nasty.
Silver Bullet (1985)What's not to love about this movie? Okay, maybe the werewolf costume itself, but everything else about it is awesome. I love how it blends that classic 80s kids-adventure horror vibe with some legit gnarly gore gags and scares - this is very much not a kids' movie. But it's got a lot of heart - Gary Busey is actually quite sweet in this and his relationship with Corey Haim (and to a lesser extent Megan Follows - Anne of Green Gables to any of you Americans who watched a PBS Pledge Drive in the 90s - though she does a fine job too) is very believable and compelling. Completely get why Patrick is such a fan and you can count me in as a champion of this movie - loved it!P.S. The blu-ray that came out last year looks great and there are some really good features - highly recommend!
One of us.
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958, dir. Terence Fisher)My first rewatch of Junesploitation this year because I needed a "sure thing" after the last couple days (which were ok). This is one of my favorite sequels of all time. The one two punch of Hammer's Curse of Frankenstein and this film is a double-bill I'd put against almost any else. The story progresses logically with Baron Frankenstein's (Peter Cushing) experiments becoming more successful. He creates a creature far more man than monster, but of course things still go wrong. This movie is all awesome and I highly recommend it.The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964, dir. Michael Carreras)A new Hammer to me! Always a special thing. Anyway, people talk a lot about how slow Hammer movies can be, and usually I disagree. But not in this case. It's slow, the characters are pretty dull, and the Mummy doesn't come to life until almost an hour into this 80 minute movie. It tries to have things to say about cultural appropriation and capitalism though (through a greedy AMERICAN), so I guess that's cool. It's not great but still totally watchable for me.
Lady Frankenstein (1971)Beautiful sets and pretty good acting throughout. Not nearly as trashy as I was expecting.An interesting take on the Frankenstein story. Although, I must confess her motivations in the last half were a bit confusing to me. I guess she wanted to continue her Uncles experiments, and at the same time put the brain of his partner into a younger mans body? I think..Then I fell asleep and missed the last few minutes of the conclusion! Gah! I will have to rewatch the finale tomorrow and hopefully gain some insight as to what I missed.
I am curious about what version of Lady Frankenstein you watched. I have seen a faded 83-minute public domain version and a restored European cut that is longer. I recently discovered that there is a 2K blu-ray of this out in Europe now. Rosalba Neri is second in my list of favorite genre actresses. Lady Frankenstein is undoubtedly the best role she ever had.
I watched it on a Shout! Factory 4 pack. I believe it was 83 minutes.
Humanoids of the Deep (1980)The thing I love about Corman movies is that as long as you kept to Corman's sleaze quota, you could do what ever you wanted. So like other Corman's this is a smart Jaws/1950s monster movie rip off about a small town coming to terms with gooey looking sea monsters attacking their town. But with some really gnarly and sleazy violence. I like how Humaniods uses themes of xenophobia and racism, but at the same time it is about the fear of outsiders coming into a community and taking the women. But there are no real easy answers to it as well. It is both exploitative and making a point. Like all good Corman movies. I think I have talked myself into loving this movie.
Oh and I digged on the early James Horner score.
Waxwork (1988)This movie is simultaneously better than it should be and less than I want it to be. Deborah Foreman is queen of my heart. Zach Galligan is the caretaker of my mogwai. David Warner is doing his best work since My Best Friend is a Vampire. It could've used a smidge more of Bobby Briggs. This would actually be something I would like to see a remake of. I would do it but I'm busy.
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019, 131 min.) on IMAX for the first time.A co-worker friend of mine, a diehard fan of the big 'G,' was dying to see this one on the biggest IMAX screen in NYC (AMC Lincoln on 68th St.). I tagged along expecting to hate it because, frankly, the 2014 "Godzilla" and 2017's "Kong: Skull Island" let me down. Imagine my surprise when, 20 minutes into "King of Monsters," we look into each other's eyes and both realize we're watching one of THE WORST-WITTEN, WORST-ACTED AND MOST RETARDEDLY-PLOTTED SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS EVER MADE. No, it's not as braindead and soulless as Roland Emmerich's 1998 "Godzilla"... but it's a lot closer to it than a third entry in a 2019 big movie franchise should be. It takes a lot to make Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins, Vera Farmiga and Charles Dance (whom me and my friend nicknamed "Mike Pence") look like they're phoning their performances for a paycheck, but director Michael Dougherty ("Trick 'r Treat") apparently has that gift. Even O'Shea Jackson, so charismatic in "Long Shot," is given so little to do he comes across as forgettable as David Strathairn. Read that last fucking line again... SERIOSULY?!?!There are about 20 minutes of solid CG monster action flick in "KOTM," not to mention some absolutely gorgeous shots (Ghidorah atop a volcano with its wings expanded), that made the IMAX ticket worth the one-time viewing. But man, the family melodrama bullshit and bargain-basement plot involving Monarch (this cinematic universe's version of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is such a poor excuse and plot substitute for the monster-on-monster action we've come to see. Worst, the movie constantly cuts away from some epic fights (particularly the go-for-broke finale in Boston, which takes it up the ass like Tokyo does in the classic "Godzilla" flicks) to concern itself with characters the audience hasn't been given any strong reasons to care about. And just a tip for filmmakers: if you're going to give the big 'G' a monster ally, please reconsider making that ally an anatomically-correct moth that looks more disgusting than the cool-as-shit bad monsters they're fighting against. It's only halfway through the year, but I don't see how "Godzilla: KOTM" doesn't end at or near the bottom of my worst flicks of 2019.
C.H.U.D. (1984)It's like if the crew behind REPO MAN decided to make JAWS.
The Brain (1988, dir. Edward Hunt)Giant brain monster causes hallucinations in teenagers, all masterminded by Re-Animator's David Gale (old man Seth Meyers). The brain stuff is fun, but there's not really enough of it.They Come Knocking (2019, dir. Adam Mason)Someone has seen The Brood. And Pet Sematary once.Tarantula! (1955, dir. Jack Arnold)I have nothing to say that JB didn't already say in his column last week. This is one of the best giant creature movies I've seen. The effects still hold up and Jack Arnold knows how to put a movie together. My favorite movie of Monster day.
Jack Arnold is an underrated director whose only apparent sin is that he didn't helm a prestige picture (like Michael Curtiz did with "Casablanca" among his many other directing gigs) that stood apart from his otherwise solid string of genre hits. Shame. :-(
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994)A lower tier (but not bad) Godzilla entry. The MOGUERA machine is on the silly side, especially when compared to Mechagodzilla. Same for SpaceGodzilla in flight...like a quartz porcupine flying around. On the ground, SpaceGodzilla is pretty bad ass, and the finale fight between the three is a blast. Monster High (1989)Something below schlock. Mostly unwatchable.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)(Full disclosure: I got a bit of a headache about 15 minutes into the film.) I didn't love or hate this. I'm pretty neutral about it. I really liked the creature designs (especially Mothra and that weird mammoth creature), and I liked some of the weirder plot points.
Godzilla (1954)Every bit the classic you'd expect it to be, with so much subtext layered beneath a rather straightforward giant monster movie. Incredible monster work and effects that hold up amazingly well for a movie that's 65 years old. My low-key MVP is the radio guy who stuck it out to the end to narrate his own (horrible) death.