20 Million Miles to Earth – Movie review and tribute

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Part of the “Keep Watching the Skies” Blogathon from Cinematic Frontier – Click on logo at right to see more entries of 50’s sci-fi classics!

 

20 Million Miles to Earth

directed by Nathan H. Juranscience-fiction-movies-of-the-1950s-blogathon-04
produced by Charles Schneer
Special effects by Ray Harryhausen

starring:
William Hopper
Joan Taylor
Frank Puglia

 

A US rocket returning from Venus crashes near a fishing village in Italy. Before it sinks beneath the waters depths, a young boy finds a strange figure encased in a gelatinous egg. He trades it to a zoologist and the next day it hatches an amazing little creature. However, this is the 1950’s so rest assured it won’t be ‘little’ for long; it will grow to monstrous proportions. It’s a testament to the amazing work of Ray Harryhausen that the directors of his films are mostly forgotten, but his name and his work lives on. He created a unique creature for this film, part reptilian, part humanoid and part alien, taken from its natural habitat to fend for itself in a strange new world.

Stop-motion animation from Harryhausen (as well as Willis O’Brien) was not Claymation. They did not use clay. They used a metal armature with movable joints, like a skeleton. It was then covered with foam and latex rubber enabling it to hold detail and fixed markings while maintaining flexibility for lifelike movement. For mammals the artists would add hair. You couldn’t get such good detail and movement with clay. Some stop-motion animation involved clay, (Gumby) and others involved wooden puppets (Rankin Bass holiday specials). However, Ymir was made with the aforementioned20-million-miles-to-earth-pic-1 rubber layers and molds over skeletal design. Another big aspect to the magic of stop-motion monster films (one that it shares with Toho’s suitmation effects) is the building of miniature sets. You will see actors running down the street on location, then the monster chasing them on that same street. However, that same street is a miniature version in a studio for which the stop-motion filming can be conducted upon.

Ymir’s humanoid expressions manipulated by the talented and patient hands of Harryhausen, gave the creature empathy. We see shock, disappointment, anger, fear, desperation, all within the reactions of the beast; wide eyes, roars, hand and arm gestures, posture, all used to communicate without words. Because of this, most who see the film feel sad for Ymir’s demise, cringing at the sound of gun shots that bring him down. Ymir’s fight with a zoo elephant brought a special realism to the film and a sense of scale. Ray’s self-drawn storyboards choreographed a tense battle that intercut real elephant footage with his own recreation of the huge mammal.  This was perhaps the greatest creature battle since Kong fought the T. Rex some 25 years previous. Shadows of Ymir will show up in later Harryhausen 20-million-miles-to-earth-postercreatures, the body is similar to his Cyclops in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and his face is similar to the Kraken from Clash of the Titans. The wonderful long tail seems like a prerequisite for the snake-like Medusa. As with most 50s sci-fi/horror, there is a sub-plot following a budding romance concerning, Colonel Robert Calder, the only survivor from the space mission, and the zoologist’ s daughter, Marisa, played by the lovely Joan Taylor.

Charles Schneer was a good friend to Harryhausen and an advocate for his fine craft, working with him on nearly a dozen films. This was Ray’s fourth film depicting giant monsters rampaging through cities. The first was his work under his mentor, Willis O’Brien in Mighty Joe Young. Following that was Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and It Came from Beneath the Sea. Ray and Charles Schneer would move into fantasy adventure films after this, depicting mythological figures in his Sinbad films and other tales of ancient lore.

To younger generations, stop-motion FX doesn’t seem so real. That was part of the charm for our generation. We knew there was an art involved with making these beasts come to life. These FX artists didn’t just copy motions and images from real animals and put it into the creature’s digital repertoire. They infused the model’s movements with their own personality and mannerisms. It’s like the difference between a digital photo of a human face and the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa isn’t perfect and that’s what makes her so. That’s what gives her soul and personality. You can sense Ray’s soul and personality through these films, the creator, the adventurer, the craftsman, and the boy with wide eyed wonder at endless possibilities.

 


 

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They recently digitally colorized the film and it looks like they did a decent enough job. However, I still prefer to watch it in b&w, the way Ray made it.

Once again, be sure to check out the Keep Watching The Skies Blogathon for more 50’s movie classics!



Parlor of Horror’s ‘Creature Feature’ reviews

 

Aurora Godzilla – MotM Prototype (1973) – my custom rendition – Part II / painted

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This is my fully painted kit modelled on the MotM prototype planned by Aurora before they went out of business. (more details here)

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I was originally going to paint Godzilla in green tones but having the red and white Tokyo Tower made the whole kit start to look like Christmas themed colors. So I went with Gray tones for this one. I mounted it on a stained wood base for that extra classy treatment.

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I decided to put a couple of flags out front as are usually present at local landmarks and parks.

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I also made the small tank that was present in the original prototype. It came out decent enough🙂

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I was careful to get the eyes to have a 3d effect. It’s a new technique that I may use on certain kits from now on.

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The nameplate is from Cult of Personality but I made a custom name plate holder with some sea plants and trilobites.

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I took the buildings from the Aurora Godzilla kit base and made a universal background that can have many uses. Below are some pics from different angles.

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Here’s a pic with the bg. behind Rodan and Gorgo.



Parlor of Horror – monster model kits, by Mike K

You can also view my Gallery of kits

Fall Harvest 2016 – another Halloween season at Parlor of Horror

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Gearing up for another Halloween season at Parlor of Horror

Here’s a little preview of what you will have to look forward to and a look at some past Halloween posts.my-top-10-1980s-horror

This year I will once again be reviewing a few more 1980’s horror movies for ‘The Top 10 Horror Movies of the 80’s”

I will pick a couple of my favorite horror/sci-fi themed Television Shows and review my favorite episodes in “Top Horror  TV Show episodes”

Of course I’ve already announced that the Halloween “Free Read” Best Stories on the Internet will return with some of the best flash and short horror fiction from underground writers.

There will also be an expose about horror art and collectables. Featuring some fine work by artists you may not have known about.top-horror-tv-shows

We’ll also take a closer look at Vampire Kills, Creepy Houses and Final Girls in articles being put together for PoH.

And, any local Halloween Haunts I’m able to visit this year will get coverage here on Parlor of Horror.



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Ghosts of Halloween Past…

Last year for my Top 10 Horror Movies of the 1980’s,  I reviewed:

Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Re-Animator

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Galaxy of Terror

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Last year I featured a post on Haunted House Attractions and Rides of Yesteryear

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In past posts of Top Horror TV Shows I featured my fave episodes from
Tales from the Dark Side

The Night Gallery
Tales From the Crypt

The Night Stalker.
I have a couple of oldie but goodies lined up for this year.

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and here’s a few articles to check out for your Halloween Holiday fun!

Halloween Games – Spooky games to play on Halloween

Halloween Cartoons Sleepy Hollow, Peanuts, and Scooby-doo amongst others..


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Homer Tate – Americana Art – Roadside Show Attraction Items

Fall is a great time for a road trip. The autumn leaves, the apple and pumpkin farms, and the roadside attractions…

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Homer Tate – Americana Art – Roadside Show Attraction Items

Homer Tate was at one time the top supplier for Roadside Stop and Side-Show attraction items. Stationed in Apache Junction, Arizona, ‘Tate’s Curiosity Shop’ supplied attractions with odd items and shrunken heads delivering them across the US. Tate created and built all the items himself. Real Borneo or Jivaro shrunken heads were illegal to own in the US, so Tate had a generous selection of hand crafted replica’s to display at roadside attractions and side shows. Homer Tate was born in 1884 and passed away in 1975. I believe he was an artist in his own right that entertained generations of road trip families for many years. This is a tribute to his work and art.

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Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s our family made many road trips as the car became the vacation getaway mode of transportation. I remember seeing shrunken heads and small mummies in different places we would stop. I’m sure some of them were creations by Tate. There was a place in upstate NY called Mystery Spot Park that I recall visiting with my family.

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One of his more famous items, the Wolf Boy was found and featured on American Picker’s TV Show on History Channel. (Season 6, episode 2).


All photos are (c) their respective owners, shown here for the purpose of education and information. Some of these photos were found at http://www.sideshowworld.com which doesn’t look like it has been updated for many years.

Last call for SKIN JOB – and can you give me some advice/opinion?

if any blogger wants a copy of my novelette SKIN JOB for review, let me know…
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Last call for SKIN JOB

I’ve gotten some great support from the blogger community for my first stand alone ebook in the horror fiction genre. I really want to thank you all for your enthusiasm and help (especially those from the Long Time Bloggers Club). I asked the bloggers that I felt closest to and bloggers I knew the longest (only 5 – ones that I felt a bit of kinship and friendship with) if they would like to review my release. Then a few more expressed interest and I sent some more off into the blogger community for reviews.
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If any blogger that I haven’t asked, wants to review the book, I’ll be happy to send one over to you. You can leave a comment here or go to my contact page and email me.
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And now, on to the next….
I think that the novelette or novella is the way for me to move forward.

Can I get your opinion on these?

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Let me know which book sounds most appealing. Let me know which one you would want to read, which you think should be me next release. They are all written and would have to go through the next six months of editing processes. I’d love if you guys could help me make this decision…
Here are my choices for my next book release:
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Renfield’s Carnival (style: modern/monsters)
Julie, a young woman on the run from her abusive boyfriend collides with a rogue band of carnival of freaks. Led by the deformed snake-charmer, Renfield, the carny folk are attempting to resurrect an historical carnival in the Arizona desert despite opposition from the nearby townsfolk. The town had burnt down the carnival forty years ago when a local girl had gone missing. Now Julie has to fight her abuser while navigating her way through the age-old melee, and rebirth of Renfield’s Carnival.
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Shroud of the Crimson Queen (style: era late 1800’s/Hammer Films style)
London in 1885 is once again the scene for a string of horrific murders, but this time evidence points to a wild animal as the culprit. Doctor Edwin McKee, a pioneer in forensic investigation, teams up with Detective White, Scottland Yard’s top cop to hunt down clues and solve the mystery of these grisly murders as rumors and sightings of a gray lion within the city confines mount. Is it a man or a wild cat, or something even more sinister? This tale combines the crytozoology of Great Britain’s legendary gray lion and the detective partnership reminiscent of Holmes and Watson in the Hound of the Baskervilles to bring readers on a thrilling ride combining horror, mystery and action.
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Three Witches – (style: era late 1800’s) this would be three different olden tales about Witches, however the main novelette is about a cursed sea vessel, The Angel Witch, so it’s not actually a witch. The Angel-Witch – Set in the early 20th Century, Captain Ryan and his crew find themselves stuck in the windless doldrums after capturing a mythological fish for their client, the Countess Bisselle. To make matters worse, they spot a man on a raft who sleeps by day and walks at night. As his raft inches closer to the ship Captain Ryan decides to bring the man aboard to save him, but soon realizes he may be the one in need of saving as his crew plans a mutiny, and a larger evil looms.
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Stormbringer – (style: modern/monster) The novelette Stormbringer and two other tales. Lovecraftian.
As Hurricane Jehovah devastates the east coast, Matt Hoffman works to secure his family’s Connecticut mansion and keep it from ripping apart at the seams. However he will soon have to fight for his life and save his loved ones from a hidden danger. Under cover of the storm something has slithered out of the ocean and made claim to the ancient land where the mansion sits.
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So, vote below for the story you find most interesting:

Attention all Horror Writers, authors, and story tellers…

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Attention all Horror Writers, authors, and story tellers…

Parlor of Horror is gearing up for the 2nd annual Halloween Horror Best ‘Free Read’ on the Internet. There will be more info coming soon so keep an eye out here at Parlor of Horror for more info. For a look at last year’s winners and Top 25 Tales click this link:

https://parlorofhorror.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/25-super-terrific-terrifying-tales-for-halloween/


 

Stanley Kubrick’s, THE SHINING gets a new trailer for UK and Ireland Halloween 2016 Screenings:


 

Just want to let you all know I am participating in the “Keep Watching the Skies! Science Fiction Movies of the 1950s Blogathon!” from The Cinematic Frontier on Monday Sept. 26th through Wednesday Sept. 28th. The film I chose to review is 20 Million Miles to Earth by special effects titan, Ray Harryhausen and his partner Charles Schneer.

Click the logo to check out the nearly 20 films that will be reviewed during this blogothon!

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Lastly, I got a nice boost for SKIN JOB on the charts from Amazon sales, thanks to the recent Blogger reviews and reviews on Goodreads and Amazon itself.

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#197 in Horror – Short Stories – is pretty decent, I think…

Thanks to all that have reviewed SKIN JOB up until this point:
By Hook Or Book, Book Reviews

JMount’s Written in Blood

Robbinsrealm Blog

Tranquil Dreams

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger


 

Attack of the Monsters AKA: Gamera vs Guiron – movie review

This will be my last GAMERA film review for a while. I thought I could get them all in over the summer but there’s too many. I’m gonna take a break and start again next summer…

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Attack of the Monsters AKA:  Gamera vs Guiron (1969)

Director: Noriaki Yuasa

Dinosaurs and Spaceships and Turtles, oh my! And, the original KNIFEHEAD

This is the 5th movie in the Gamera Franchise. Three children witness the landing of a flying saucer in a nearby park. In the morning they go into the park and find the flying saucer unattended. Gamera vs Guiron - aka Attack of the Monsters

Sooooo, the two boys take it for a ride. It goes off on its own. Just when it seems the ship and the boys will be ripped apart by a meteor, GAMERA arrives to deflect the meteor, saving the children. The spaceship loses Gamera and lands on a planet, Terra. It’s like Disneyland only violent; cannibal girls, monsters, lazer beams. The kids see Space Gyaos attacking a city and Guiron, the original Knife-head monster, defending it. In one particular bloody scene, Gyaos shoots his lazer beam at Guiron and he deflects it off of his ‘blade’ back at Gyaos cutting off the winged beasts leg just below the knee. Ultra violent but it’s okay because the blood is blue. It seems like if they use blue blood they can get away with anything including impaling Gamera through the body with kitchen knives.

The big fight between the monsters is like a slo-mo wrestling match with a lot of blue blood. Guiron has stars that flick off the side of his head. When Gamera gets his face all cut up he falls to the bottom of the sea and goes into shock.

Yo, these space girls are cute as hell but total beotches. They gonna do some brain salad surgery on the boys. Wait, not yet… “We’ll eat their brains after we fix the ship.” (Actual quote from the film.)

Anyways, Gamera gets rejuvenated, beats Guiron on the grid iron and flys the scouts back to earth as planet Terra explodes. GAMERA saves the day!



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Dig the groovy 60’s space costumes!


GAMERA FILM REVIEWS:

Gamera, The Giant Monster (1965)

Gamera vs Buragon (1966)

Gamera vs Gyaos (1967)

Gamera vs Viras (1968)

Gamera vs Guiron (1969)


Parlor of Horror – Creature Feature reviews