March 16, 2007

Mi Casa Sanitorium Es Su Casa Sanitorium

Mexican horror movies, I grew up watching them and they hold a special place in my heart. I was intrigued when I heard that someone was rereleasing a series of classic Mexican horror movies, so I did some investigating. Intrigue turned to excitement when I learned that these movies were going to be remastered and restored to their original form, not just rereleased as the heavily edited and badly-dubbed prints made for US consumption. The news and reviews that I found were all in agreement, Casa Negra has done a spectacular job with these films. Of course, you know that I had to have them in my collection.

I watched the first of them last night. Let me tell you, it was like seeing your friend's mom (you know, the hot one) after she went out and got a complete makeover, and even though she looked good before, she looks amazing now and you'd risk a long-time friendship just for a shot at that.

That wasn't autobiographal.*

The Black Pit of Dr. M. (Misterios de Ultratumba)

Let me start this review by saying that the best way to watch the movie is in Spanish with English subtitles, which is great because that's the only way available on the DVD. Supposedly, there are no existing original copies of the film dubbed in English. If you absolutely cannot stand it that way, then you've only yourself to blame for missing out because this movie is worth the effort.

The English title really doesn't have much to do with the movie.

I'm all done with the downside. Read on.

This 1959 movie is simply astounding. The cast is virtually a who's who of famous faces from the Mexican movie industry (including several that we'll meet again in future reviews of the Casa Negra releases), and the acting is uniformly excellent. Unlike many contemporary Mexican horror movies, this one is played straight. There is almost no camp or melodrama, for this is a dark tale.

The main part of the story takes place in a hacienda where Dr. Masali operates a lunatic asylum. The sets here are rich and include a beautifully done courtyard full of tropical plants and misty shadows. Other than the hacienda the sets are almost minimalistic, seemingly dreamlike away from the reality of the hospital.

The overall atmosphere is haunting and gothic, and the details are extraordinary. Shadows and light play in the background in most scenes, and are an integral part of the staging. Two things combine to make it work so spectacularly, firstly the original genius of the cinematography, brought back to life in the beautiful remastering job that Casa Negra did on the film. The movie is in black and white (appropriately, in my opinion), yet looks crisp and brand new. There was a disclaimer at the beginning that due to some damage to the original source materials, portions of the soundtrack were "brassy". I never noticed.

Beatriz Aguirre, the actress who plays the medium, is the official dubbed voice of Angela Lansbury in Mexico. She has won the Mexican version of the Oscar.

Dr. Masali and his collegue Dr. Aldama make a pact that whichever one dies first will let the living one know the secrets of the afterlife. After Aldama dies, they're not even done shovelling dirt over his coffin before Dr. Masali has a medium contact his spirit. Dr. M is warned during the seance that there will be a horrible price to pay, but he brushes that aside in his obsession to know the truth. The deal is made, and Dr. Aldama's spirit will make it possible for Dr. Masali to die and then return to life with his newfound knowlege.

Thus begins a macabre series of seemingly unrelated events and coincidences that lead towards the fulfillment of the pact. More than once during the movie, you are literally told what will happen at some point in the future, yet you don't realize it until it happens and you get that chilling deja vu shiver running down your spine. You can see the ending coming from about two-thirds of the way through, yet there are still enough plot twists and surprises to make it different from what you almost but not quite guessed correctly.

The leading man, Gaston Santos, is famous throughout Spain, Portugal and Latin America, but only peripherally for his acting. He's legendary as a bullfighter of the Rejoneo style, where the bullfight is done completely from horseback.

This is a creepy scare-the-hell-out-of-you movie, not a gory bloodfest. I've intentionally not given most of the story, because you really do need to track this one down (or put it atop your Netflix queue) and see it for yourself.

The character of Dr. Masali is fascinating. Far from the mad-scientist type, his principle weakness (and ultimate undoing) is his self-confidence and utter faith in scientific reason. He truly cares for his patients, although we only meet the violently psychotic. There are few 'wasted' characters in the story. Everyone has an important part to play, even though that part might be small.

Ok, a little more about the DVD itself. Besides the aforementioned music video inspired by this movie, there are a couple of documentaries on the disk about Mexican horror and the industry in general, as well as a wonderful commentary track chock full of trivia and background to listen to as the movie plays.

I'll say it again. SEE THIS MOVIE!!! See, I'm even yelling at you! SEE THIS MOVIE!!! SEE THIS MOVIE!!! SEE THIS MOVIE!!! SEE THIS MOVIE!!! SEE THIS MOVIE!!! SEE THIS MOVIE!!! SEE THIS MOVIE!!!



* You came down here looking for dirt, didn't you? I only wanted to say that "autobiographal" doesn't look right, but the spell checker had no alternatives.

Posted by: Ted at 05:13 AM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 978 words, total size 6 kb.

March 15, 2007

Maybe Someone Sells "Hypocritical Asshole" Offsets?

According to this editorial, the supposedly "green" Prius is an environmental nightmare, especially when compared to the Hummer.

Thanks to the Jawas for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 05:59 AM | category: Links
Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 37 words, total size 1 kb.

A Civilization In Decline - Example 1

Why is it that when I want onion rings with real onion "rings" inside I have to buy gourmet-style? If you buy regular onion rings, they're ring-shaped breaded minced onion.

Chip in with your examples.

Posted by: Ted at 05:45 AM | category: Square Pegs
Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 49 words, total size 1 kb.

March 14, 2007

Tease (updated)

Imagine this:

Back in 1993, five superb musicians set up in front of a big-screen television. Their host produced a box full of weird movies on VHS and asked them to jam as inspired by the images on-screen. Later, the recorded music was matched to scenes from the movie and their first music video was created.

The video is included with the extras on a classic horror DVD that I'll be reviewing in the near future. Very haunting music, very cool result.

Update: They have a website! I haven't had time to explore everything there, so I don't even know if the video is online or not. It looks like the original loose affiliation of musicians and artists have evolved into a multimedia consulting group.

Posted by: Ted at 11:22 AM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 129 words, total size 1 kb.

What?!? No Artificial Phlegm? Believe Me, I Even Checked Google.

Did you know that they make synthetic saliva? My wife Liz recently started using it on her doctor's recommendation because one of her new medications just sucks the moisture out of her mouth.

Saliva is a vital component of such everyday processes as tasting, swallowing, speech and digestion, and its absence is what leads to dry mouth. A reduction in salivary flow can occur for a number of reasons, but medication use is a key contributor.

I love that "duh" statement above about [saliva's] absence is what leads to dry mouth. Even so, it makes sense to have developed synthetic saliva.

Of course, in our family we call it "pseudo-drool" or just "fake spit".

(mental note: brownie-flavored saliva for dopers...niche market but has potential)

Posted by: Ted at 05:14 AM | category: SciTech
Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 143 words, total size 1 kb.

March 13, 2007

Apropos of Nothing

pmf.jpg

Posted by: Ted at 05:31 AM | category: Square Pegs
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 6 words, total size 1 kb.

March 12, 2007

Pink Sticks

Once again this year, pro hockey players will be using pink hockey sticks for three days beginning Friday. After game use, the sticks will be auctioned off on eBay to raise money for Breast Cancer research.

Last year, over $176,000 was raised.

Posted by: Ted at 11:07 AM | category: Balls and Ice
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 46 words, total size 1 kb.

March 11, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaahhhhhh!!!

Lime Salsa

1 cup diced peeled jicama (or Granny Smith apple)
1 orange, peeled, sections and coarsely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp grated lime peel
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar

Combine jicama (or apple), orange, bell pepper, onion, lime peel, lime juice, vegetable oil, sugar and a little salt to taste in medium bowl. Toss to mix. Cover and chill at least an hour to blend flavors.
Stir before serving.

This is wonderful on pork and over white rice. It would go nicely with chicken too. The recipe came from a giveaway card at a supermarket.

Posted by: Ted at 10:38 AM | category: Recipes
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 125 words, total size 1 kb.

High Hopes, AKA Once A Nazi Bastard, Always A Nazi Bastard

What a great idea for a movie! During WWII, a Nazi convoy carrying a fortune in gold is ambushed at a desert oasis. Forty years later, the oasis is shunned by the Arabs because of stories that the undead still protect their cargo.

Nazi zombies! Woot!!! I had such high hopes for this one, but Oasis of the Zombies disappoints on so many levels.

I'll start with the biggest annoyance first, the soundtrack. Much of the movie background music consists solely of long, drawn-out minor organ chords, interspersed with stock generic "arab" music and seemingly randomly placed sound effects. It becomes obvious early on that you're listening to the same 5-second clip of a bird, over and over and over again. There are never layers of sound, when it's the organ, you hear only the organ. When it's bird calls that's all you hear. The dubbing in this movie is atrocious, not even to the quality of a Japanese monster movie. Everyone, from Arab street merchant to ex-Nazi commander, speak in the same accentless English.

"If Adolf Hitler came back as a zombie perhaps he would resemble Dr. Hook."
-- reviewer comment on IMDB.com

To give credit where due, the zombie makeup is pretty good, as are the bits of gore. Having said that, it spoils the effect when these supposedly WWII military veterans all return from the grave looking like a Beatles convention. For crying out loud, make the damn actors get a haircut before filming!

You know that continuity wasn't a priority when the sun rises, twice, in order to stop a zombie attack. Now if you know that the zombies only come out at night, then why in the world would you camp at the oasis? How about looking for the gold during the day, then getting the hell out of Dodge before sunset? Especially when you have to drive to get there in the first place.

Cinematography. Ha! Zooming in on the same spider-in-a-web three times in a movie is not artsy. Seeing the half-buried skull once would've sufficed, and the same goes for the box with the swaztika on it (by the way, after forty years I think the freakin' paint would've faded some, instead of looking like you painted it just that morning).

Do I sound pissed off? I am, because I'm so disappointed in this one after reading the synopsis and then seeing the movie itself.

Here's the plotline, assuming you care. I'm going to give it to you straight on, because like most everything else in this flick, they goofed it.

Modern day, and the commander of the Nazi gold guards has tracked down the only survivor of the battle. He wasn't there with his men, so he never knew where the ambush happened, only that his men didn't arrive at their destination.

Flashback: The only survivor was the commander of the British troops who ambushed the Nazis. All total, there were maybe 50 men in the battle, and apparently the battle scenes were lifted from an Italian war movie. They're very nicely done, but once again the effect is ruined when you see the same guys die the same way several times. Everyone 'cept the Captain is killed, and he's wounded, and he staggers off into the desert, where he's found by a Sheik.

The Sheik nurses him back to health, and the Captain and the Sheik's daughter fall in love. The Captain leaves to rejoin his army before a big battle, and doesn't return for almost a year. When he does, he discovers that the daughter died giving birth to his son.

Flashback over. The Nazi commander proposes to the British commander that they team up to recover the lost gold. Once the Brit tells the Nazi where the ambush happened, the Nazi poisons the Brit and heads off to find the money for himself. He takes along his wife and two strong backs to help.

The first night, the Nazi and wife go to bed, and the two strong backs decide to look around the oasis. One decides to dig a hole at random, and the zombies come up and kill him and his partner. Nazi's wife gets eaten and he manages to escape after being chewed up pretty good.

The British commander's illegitimate son (from the dead daughter) convinces three friends to skip their university finals and go to the desert to look for the lost money. He thinks he's figured out where the Sheik lives, and he can tell them where the oasis is.

I have no idea why nobody makes the connection that the Sheik is the grandfather of the kid. Through the whole movie this point is never once mentioned.

Moving right along. Find Sheik, find out location, find "Professor" who's also looking. Professor has female assistant who falls for one of the friends, providing reason for gratuitous nudity. They find "sick man", aka Nazi, who's dying from zombie bites. For some reason, the professor and assistant leave for the oasis immediately, but the kids wait for another day (honest, they never said why).

When kids find oasis, they discover professor and assistant wounded from zombie attack. They patch 'em up and start digging at random, looking for gold. That night, zombies attack. Kids panic, throw "exploding" torches (wtf?), and at dawn the son and maybe his girlfriend (unclear) are only survivors. Sheik shows up on camel, says, "did you find what you were looking for?". Kid says, "I mostly found myself", again, wtf? Sheik rides camel into sunset, kid driving beside him in land rover.

The End.

I'm disgusted with the utter dreck I've been watching lately. I love those movies that are so bad they're good, but I'm on a cold streak. This movie is a turkey through and through. But I have the answer. Four movies I've been saving, and I think it's time to queue them up. Reviews to come, and I'm almost certain there won't be a Nazi zombie to be found.

Thank God.

Posted by: Ted at 12:07 AM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 1025 words, total size 6 kb.

March 10, 2007

Visionary

"I'd stumbled into the middle of an evil, isidious cult of chainsaw-worshipping maniacs. I had to wonder if we'd let our religious freedom go too far in this country, or maybe our immigration laws were just too lax."

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (198

Posted by: Ted at 12:22 AM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 44 words, total size 1 kb.

March 09, 2007

Dredging Up A Little History

The Llama Butchers note that today is the anniversary of the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia (aka Merrimac). That rang a bell, faintly, and I recalled a post I made way back on the history of ironclads in the US Navy. There were more of them than you realize.

Posted by: Ted at 10:50 AM | category: Military
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 61 words, total size 1 kb.

Not As Good As "Sofa King", But Pretty Darned Good

From Dustbury, a link to this page of cleverly named portable toilet companies.

Around here, the common names are "Johnny on the Spot" and "Don's Johns". If I ever need a second career, maybe "Ted's Heads"...

Posted by: Ted at 07:19 AM | category: Links
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 56 words, total size 1 kb.

Treading Water

An interesting look at rocket programs and the economies of scale, titled A Rocket a Day Keeps the High Costs Away. Originally written in 1993, it's sad to see how little we've progressed since then.

Posted by: Ted at 05:04 AM | category: Space Program
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 39 words, total size 1 kb.

March 08, 2007

The Greatest Computer Game Ever

M.U.L.E.

Plus, a brief bio about its tragic, underappreciated creator.

For those wishing to play this classic today, follow this link.

Posted by: Ted at 11:35 AM | category: Links
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 31 words, total size 1 kb.

*wiping tears of laughter*

I've never seen an elephant wearing glasses, but then again, I'm sure I've never read a news story that begins:

MASTURBATING an elephant in the cause of science isnÂ’t an easy job...

Llama Butchers, damn you, tomato soup *hurts* when it comes out your nose!

Posted by: Ted at 11:30 AM | category: Links
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 53 words, total size 1 kb.

That Chekov, He's A Funny Guy

Anton, not Pavel.

Posted by: Ted at 05:00 AM | category: Square Pegs
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 15 words, total size 1 kb.

March 06, 2007

More Hippy Horror

Some time ago, I listed a whole bunch of movies that I wanted to track down and see, based simply on their descriptions. One of them was Track of the Moon Beast, and here's the synopsis that was given in the catalog:

During a meteor storm, a fragment strikes Paul Carlson, burying itself deep in his skull. An unpleasant side-effect develops causing Paul to mutate into a giant reptilian monster at night and go on murderous rampages.

I've recently added Track of the Moon Beast to my collection. Just for a change, I'm going to live-review this flick as I watch it.

Opening scene: an astronomer gazes into the night sky and focuses in on a flaming fireball. Really bad special effect.

Quick cut to an indian dance and chant ceremony, then back to the cheesy fireball. We find out via a news report that it's a meteorite that's going to hit the moon.

Joe Stud (Paul Carlson) shows up, takes off his shirt and begins carefully excavating a small bone in the ground. Apparently he's an archeologist. Funny thing though, after delicately brushing away the dirt from around the bone, he carelessly drives the shovel into the ground not two feet away to get it out of his way.

Professor buddy shows up, named Johnny Longbow. Another indian reference. Two graduate students accompany him, and we learn that the thing they just threw on the ground was an ancient Indian burial mask that they'd borrowed from a museum.

Bimbo photographer also introduces herself. Short shorts. Big blond hair.

He's not an archeologist, nor an anthropologist, he's a minerologist. What's he messing with bones for?

News report: impact on moon was "beyond the end of the Richter scale". NASA keeps reassuring everyone that all the ejecta headed towards the Earth will burn up in the atmosphere. The grad students are raving over the "authentic indian meal" that the professor made. When they ask what's in it, he rattles off chicken, corn, green pepper, chilies, onions... Wow, that's some serious ethnic cooking.

Joe Stud takes the photographer up to the top of a mountain. They're falling for each other. She's changed clothes, kind of, still short shorts.

Pretty good meteor storm, right up until one zings into the ground right near them. The photographer dabs a cloth at Studs temple, where he's bleeding a little from the meteorite grazing him. He snags the cloth from her good naturedly and flings it to the ground. Way to go, eco-boy. He finds the meteorite that almost nailed them and waits for it to cool off (maybe 10 seconds) before putting it into his pocket.

The photographer was hired for looks, not for acting talent. Either that, or the casting director was related to the producer.

They wind up at his place, where they have some deep soul-searching conversation before he scares the shit out of her by introducing her to his pet Komodo Dragon.

Hippy music!!! Yay! A Tom Petty wannabe on accoustic guitar accompanied by a bass and a chick singing harmony. Hint to bass player, don't wear black if the spotlight isn't on you. Looking at this 70's crowd, I'm thinking it might be a zombie movie, but no, they're all just "grooving" on the music.

Costume change! Photographer wearing a dress-kinda thing, still short short, but proves that she's not completely flat-chested. She looks nice, if only she'd stop trying to act. More indian lore and references, they're really pushing that aspect. We get it already.

Twenty seven minutes into this flick before the first murder happens. Still no monster shot, no gore, just a puddle of blood and some screams.

Next morning, police chief calls in Professor Johnny, shows him a bloody handprint on the wall (super-sized) and then a footprint in the mud. It's a dinosaur footprint.

Pink short shorts and matching terry top.

Chief and Professor see an expert over at the university, and when the Chief expresses disbelief that anything that large can be living in New Mexico, both of the academics assure him that lizards that large do exist. It takes a minute to realize that they're both talking about Komodo Dragons in Indonesia! The footprint though, is from something "closely related to Tyrannosaurus Rex!" (cue scary music)

The professor makes all of his own archery equipment (Johnny Longbow, get it?), right down to chipping flint arrowheads. He keeps it in the back of his car, along with two ears of maize for impromptu demonstrations.

Forty minutes in, we get our first look at the monster as he kills four guys in a tent. The monster looks like a man in a lizard-suit, minus the tail. It's pretty pathetic, as is the gore and special-effects. Particularly pitiful is the arm being ripped off.

Photographer dress-up day! Maroon business outfit over pale-pink blouse. Still short shorts though.

Stud's Komodo Dragon escaped at some point, and he doesn't seem the least bit concerned. He sure get a lot of shirtless time in this movie. Oh, and he's got a chunk of meteorite embedded in his brain.

Professor Longbow is showing the police chief a series of 400 year old paintings that depict an ancient lizard demon attack. I'm no indian painting expert, but those were drawn by a third grader told to paint like an indian.

Fifty-one minutes. Scientific mumbo-jumbo alert! At least the professor says he doesn't really know, just before launching into a detailed nonsense explanation.

Joe Stud is tied down in the hospital so they can see if he turns into a lizard monster overnight. Theory confirmed. There's a fairly well done sequence of him turning into the monster, up to the last scene, which really doesn't follow from any of the prior physical changes. He's shook up when he realizes that he's killed six people.

VIP's. Gotta hate 'em. "May we get off the plane first, please? (we're very important)". "Of course, that's already been arranged."

Experts have been brought in, but Joe Stud is screwed. His solution is to run away from the hospital to commit suicide. Photographer (monotone): "Oh Paul, why couldn't there be time for us?" Dressed in a tight white top and tighter black slacks.

How convenient, someone leaves a motorcycle running (and helmet) in front of the hospital just as Joe Stud comes out to make his escape.

One hour, eight minutes. Piss-poor motorcycle spill. Obviously every expense was spared when it comes to stunt performers.

The photographer randomly pulls off the road and grabs a pair of binoculars. She spends 10 seconds scanning a mountain and zeroes in on Joe Stud among the rocks. At least she looks both ways before crossing the road.

Another nice scene of transformation into the monster, this time focusing on his hand. Two cops on the road hear the photographer screaming halfway up the mountain and start to fire into the darkness, as if they could see anything.

Professor Longbow pulls out his bow and a special arrow. He's made a special arrowhead out of meteorite. I'd be a lot more confident if he wasn't lashing it to the shaft while he explained what he wanted to do.

Photographer lies to everyone else (again) and drives off. She takes a random turn and slams on the brakes because the monster is right in front of her. Instantly, professor shows up, takes aim and puts the arrow into the monster's chest.

Pretty special effects, mostly ruined by everyone standing ten feet away while monster disintigrates in spectacular fashion. This thing was supposed to be atomically unstable, shouldn't you be getting the hell away from it?

No closing credits. Huh.

This wasn't the hippy-fest I was expecting. The hairstyles and clothing was seriously 70's, and except for that one goofy song, the soundtrack was conventional monster movie fare. Pretty bad, but not in a bad way. Don't go out of your way to see it, but if it comes on tv and every single thing you've ever wanted to do with your life has already been done, then I suppose...

Posted by: Ted at 09:49 PM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 1353 words, total size 8 kb.

Hippy Horror

Being under the weather for a week means I've had plenty of time to watch those crappy horror movies that I love so much. This one is long on the "crappy" part of the description and short on the "horror" part.

Slashed Dreams is notable more for its background story and the cast than for any resemblance to entertainment. This movie is bad. Bad bad. This movie is so bad that the horror derives from the concentrated badness of it. In spite of that, several of the cast members went on to long and successful careers in television and on the silver screen, which boggles the mind after appearing in this movie.

Somebody PLEASE kill that singer!!!
-- reviewer comment on IMDB.com

Made in 1975, this flick features (to tragically misrepresent it) folk music in the peace-puppies-and-sunshine style, sung by some unknown songstress. Her name doesn't appear on the credits, which leads me to believe that a lawsuit was involved. Either she sued to remain anonymous, or the producer sued her for her (major) part in this fiasco.

The storyline: Two college students, a guy and a girl, head into the mountains to visit a friend who's "looking for himself" by being one with nature. They meet two local nitwits who rape the girl and beat up the guy. They get over it and walk away hand-in-hand into the sunset.

That story should realistically take about ten minutes to tell, yet they stretch it to almost an hour and a half with endless (at least they seemed endless) montages of the two hiking through meadows, picking berries, admiring waterfalls, climbing rocks, etc. All accompanied by that treacly soundtrack.

The monotony - and that word is perfectly descriptive - is broken only when the two go skinny dipping and we catch the briefest glimpse of the lady naked. Even though you only see he from three-quarters behind, it's obvious that Kathrine Baumann has a spectacular body. It's a shame that we didn't see more of her, especially since this was her only nude scene ever.

The rape happens and the two are shocked to find that the world isn't the loving, peaceful la-la land that they thought it was. The next day their friend arrives back at the cabin and we get the second treat of the movie ("treat" being a relative term here since at this point the DVD player catching fire could be classified as a treat). Their friend is none other than Robert Englund, of Freddie Krueger fame. He turns in the best performance of the movie, which is a shame because he's only seen for about the last ten minutes. Not that he does anything except be sensitive to her needs and offer sympathy. There's no thought of revenge or retribution here, just more flower-power passivity.

After a few minutes of getting over it all, the other guy sees the two rapists and goes after them. In one of the lamest fights ever recorded, he manages to knock one into the mud and actually throws a few punches before Freddie (you know who I mean) and the girl show up and the bad guys run away. "They won't be back" is actually spoken. Yeah, getting one muddy is really going to deter them in the future. Sheesh. The ending is literally as described, the two hikers walking off hand-in-hand into the sunset. To that music.

Background story, you know, the interesting part. This film was originally released as Sunburst and was quickly and rightfully forgotten. Then, after the phenomenom of Nightmare on Elm Street, everything that Englund ever did was dusted off. This bomb was re-titled as Slashed Dreams (gee, I wonder why?), by crudely overlaying the original title in the credits and re-inflicted on an unsuspecting public as "horror". Ok, so not so interesting, but once again, it's relative to the rest of the film, which makes it downright fascinating.

Posted by: Ted at 04:14 PM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 657 words, total size 4 kb.

Weakling

I've been fighting a cold for almost a week now. Tomorrow I *have* to be at work, so I called in today to get some much-needed rest. Mmmmmmm... Nyquil.

Posted by: Ted at 09:16 AM | category: Square Pegs
No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 31 words, total size 1 kb.

Know Your Japanese Movie Monsters, Part 2 - Mothra

Outside of Japan, Mothra is probably the best-known monster after Godzilla. Maybe it's the influence of my culture, but I don't think I'd ever think of twisting reality to the point of creating giant turtles and moths as monsters.

Thank God for the Japanese, eh?

Quick, grab the psychodelic bug spray!

As monsters go, Mothra is pretty much another good guy. No one knows how Mothra originated, but it is known that it was the guardian for an ancient subterranean race on Earth called the Cosmos. Another race created a monster to fight Mothra and although Mothra defeated the other monster, the Cosmos race was mostly destroyed in the battle.

The first Mothra movie starts out when researchers discover that several shipwreck survivors suffer no radiation poisoning after landing on an island used for atomic testing. A team is sent to find out why, and they discover that the island is not only inhabited, but the natives are healthy despite the recent tests. They also find two miniature fairies who are protected by the villiagers. The researchers attempt to take the fairies with them back to Japan, but the natives arrive and thwart their plans.

A few weeks later, the head of the research team arrives back on the island, this time leading henchmen instead of scientists. His crew machine gun the natives, he captures the fairies, and they make their escape.

Back in Japan, the fairies become a nightclub singing sensation, but people don't realize that the enchanting songs that they sing are actually pleas for Mothra to awaken and rescue them. The Mothra egg hatches on the island and the giant larvae comes to (surprise, surprise) stomp Tokyo.

The entire tomato crop is in danger!!!

But this is Mothra! First, after some preliminary destruction, the larvae creates a cocoon on a giant downtown tower, and finally reemerges as the fully grown Mothra. While it's been metamorphosing though, the bad guys have taken the fairies across the ocean to New York (cleverly disguised as "New Kirk City"). Mothra flies across the Atlantic and for a change of pace stomps New York Kirk City for a while.

Finally, through some clever misdirection, Mothra is lured to a spot where she is reunited with the fairies, and they return to their island home.

Suggestion: Search US cities for Al Gore eggs, before they hatch into larvae.

Now, that sounds weird. Believe me though, Mothra movies just got more and more strange through the years, eventually resembling some kind of enviro-whacked acid trip. At least thirteen Mothra movies have been made, and the last few have been out and out children's fantasies focused on righting environmental dangers to Earth.

Something else unique about Mothra is that the monster is a God. Not possessing god-like powers or being a gift-from-God for the Cosmos or such - Mothra is literally a God. For all that, God dies a lot. Mothra spends much of it's time in egg or larvae form, and when the "adult", insect version gets killed, the new egg hatches and Mothra returns to save the day.

Among Mothra's powers are the aforementioned telepathic link to the Cosmos Fairies and the ability to fly at supersonic speeds. In various movies you'll find Mothra can project a poisonous yellow dust, shoot rays from her antennae or lightning from her wings. She can also block Godzilla's radioactive breath ray.

Trivia:
In the first Mothra movies, the fairies are played by The Peanuts, who were a popular singing duo in Japan and Germany at the time. After the success of the movie, they released an album in the US in English.

Mothra was by far the most popular monster among women in Japan, which convinced studios to feature her more often.

Mothra is usually, but not always, female.

One of the stars in the original Mothra was US actor Jerry Ito. We all know about the Japanese and problems with the letter "r". He was billed as "Jelly" Ito in the film credits and most all publicity materials.

I'd like to thank Monster Island News for Mothra information and pictures. That's a great link to follow for all kinds of interesting B-movie knowlege. Wikipedia also has a nice page about Mothra.

Ooooo looky! You can purchase a plush of Mothra here! Isn't the internet wonderful?

Posted by: Ted at 08:43 AM | category: Cult Flicks
Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 725 words, total size 5 kb.

<< Page 2 of 3 >>
86kb generated in CPU 0.032, elapsed 0.2155 seconds.
80 queries taking 0.1949 seconds, 247 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.