Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967) – Movie Review

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Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967)

“He drinks oil from a can and eats dirt. He’s Barney, the purple dinosaur’s,
older, meaner cousin, Yongary!”

This is Korea’s foray into the Kaiju Monster film arena. A rocket launch awakens Yongary underground. Scientists track seismic activity until they discover it’s caused by an ancient beast moving underground. Yongary rises from the earth and destroys the city. After a lot of destruction, he needs a drink and finds a full tank of oil. He drinks it and blows flames. Then he drinks some ammonia and it doesn’t agree with him. He gets a tummy ache, dances around and gets angry. He breaks out in a rash and it yongary-pic-1makes him very irritable. When the scientists discover Yong is allergic to ammonia (it takes a young boy to figure it out), they make some ammonia bombs. They drop some bombs, Yong gets upset and destroys the bridge. Finally, he kicks the bucket.

A low budget makes for less detail in the special FX all around, which in turn makes them not-so-special FX. The Yongary costume has some basic flaws that sometimes makes him look like a guy in a costume at a children’s birthday party. The buildings look like toys in the close-ups because of lack of detail. The plot is simplistic and there’s not much of a human story to it other than the humans fight against Yongary. All this less attention to detail adds up to a film that is more silly than threatening. But it’s not a total loss, there’s some fun Kaiju destruction scenes and Yongary does breathe fire. Good times!

There was a remake of Yongary called Reptilian (2000) but it was a cheap CGI, badly written script, disaster that isn’t even fun to watch in a MST2K way. Stick with the original for some campy Kaiju fun.

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Triclops (2016) – movie review

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Triclops (2016)

Directed by Brett Piper

Starring:
Matthew Crawley
Steve Diasparra
Richard Lounello
Erin Waterhouse

 

A couple of stills from this movie on Facebook caught my interest. I looked it up on Amazon and the DVD was cheap enough to take a chance. The film contains typical B-movie acting and a typical B-movie story-line, However, the stop motion animation had a 1950’s sci-fi monster film charm to it. So, I pretended the film was from the 1950s (despite being in color) and I got along fine with it. The animated creatures were numerous; some kind of horned dinosaur, a giant Venus fly trap, a few different types of giant bugs, A mutant scorpion, and a poofy giant tic looking creature. Oh yes, we also have a giant, three eyed, mutant, humanoid known as the Triclops. The effects were quite decent and smoothly filmed for a movie with a micro budget. triclops-dvd

 

Samantha is on a search mission for her husband, an air force pilot whose plane went down in a giant meteor crater which is an off limit area like Area 51. She and her brother-in-law seek out a drunken unemployed pilot with a reputation for accepting questionable jobs. They set off, flying under radar into the ancient crater. When they land, they discover strange beasts and mutant giant insects. Samantha is kidnapped by the Triclops and the rest of the team sets out to find her. After some cat and mouse antics they eventually outsmart the 3-eyed giant and find Sam’s husband. They use a map with an alternative escape route from the crater to escape the exploding meteor within it.

 

Brett Piper, (director/producer/special fx/writer) has been doing effects for z-budget films since the 1980s. He had spent some years as FX man and editor at EI/Seductive Cinema adding minimal storylines and FX to cheap soft-core sex flicks (a real waste of his talent IMO). However, this is Brett’s, 4th or 5th recent film with a definitive direction in mind, to keep the B-movie and Creature Feature style films of the 1950’s alive by producing new films in that subgenre. He has an affinity and talent for stop-motion which puts him in a good position to do just that and in recent years his mantra seems to be giving him new recognition and a cult following.  It kind of reminds me of how Full Moon grew to popularity in the late 80s. The film’s are mostly campy fair with nostalgic effects so if that is something you would like, look up some of his films. Triclops would be a good place to start. The next film from Piper I’ll watch is going to be Queen Crab.

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Nostalgic stop-motion is the main point of this b-movie monster-fest.

I give it 3.4 mutant monsters from far off stars out of 5 on the creature feature fun scale.

 

(note: some of these pics are screenshots and the quality is not as good as you would see in the actual film)

Parlor of Horror’s Creature Feature Reviews

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

 

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

 

The Iron Giant (1999) – movie review

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The Iron Giant (1999)

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring:
Eli Marienthal
Christopher McDonald
Vin Diesel
Jenifer Aniston
Harry Connick, Jr.

 

I’m not sure how this animated film faired coming out at the turn of the new century (1999). It was, after all, the animation of the preceding 100 years, not the new 3D CG molded perfection that was taking over modern animation. It was a cartoon. Despite its sharp lines, full rich colors, and expressive shadow-play it was yesterday’s technology. Although the giant itself was rendered with CGI it still has the 2d feel of standard cartoon animation, but it’s a beautiful film to watch.

If you haven’t watched this gem, I’m here to tell you that you are missing a wonderful tale, a visual treat and an entertaining film. It’s based on a 1968 story by British poet, Ted Hughes, called “IronThe Iron Giant 1999 Man” and tells the story of a young boy coming into his own while making new friends and learning he can make a difference in the world. It’s set in 1958 Maine, in a small town called, Rockwell. Hogarth, a boy being raised by a single hard-working mom, befriends a robot when a satellite crash lands in the woods rear of his home. While teaching the robot the ways of the world he also hides and defends him from government men on the hunt to destroy the mechanical beast. In the end will the true nature of the mechanical monster be unleashed upon the unsuspecting small town?

The retro sci-fi robot design is the epitome of what a giant robot should look like in the subconscious mind of man, a powerful technological being crafted from the 1950s sci-fi Hollywood image bank, and earlier pulp magazine era, representative of a time of wonder, awe and inspiration at science and technology itself…and its eyes glow in the dark. Some fantastic action sequences highlight the later part of the film as the Army closes in on the Iron Giant and a final battle threatens the existence of everyone in the town.

The Iron Giant is a sci-fi must-see that sparks on all cylinders creating family entertainment enjoyable for all age groups and genders. It takes the qualities of a Disney princess tale and gives it boy-ish charm, effectively portraying a young hero a young man won’t want to cringe away from, but embrace as one of their own. The film is now regarded as an animated sci-fi classic after years of a growing cult following.


Iron Giant Giphy


Fun little Sci-fi fan cameos:

Action Comics with Superman

The Sputnik crossing the sky in the night

3 tendrils emanate from The Iron Giant in an homage to War of the Worlds (1953)

USS Nautilus, the first atomic powered submarine

Forbidden Planet poster in Hogarth’s bedroom



Parlor of Horror – Creature Features Category

Gamera vs Viras (1968) – movie review

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Gamera vs Viras (1968)

Aka: Destroy all Planets

Directed by Kenji Yuasa

 

This is some great kitsch 60s Sci-fi. We see an alien spaceship, a circle of connected honey-bee orbs enter earth’ s vicinity and a computer inside begins to speak. It lists similarities to their planet and the orders for immediate takeover of the Earth. Suddenly a giant flying turtle shows up smashing half the ship and sending the remaining piece back into space in flames. Gamera is protecting the earth from enemies.

This is the first Gamera film directly aimed/made for 6-10 year-old boys as we are immediately introduced to the stars of the film, two boy scouts Masao and Jim. There’s no semblance of any kind of adult sci-fi theme or storyline. We follow them as they commandeer a Yellow Submarine (60s coincidence? Think not) and the scientists and military follow their every whim, need and command.gamera_vs_viras_1968

The boys find Gamera underwater, trapped in a bubble. It seems the alien ship is back and are researching Gamera’ s past. We get recycled footage from all the first three Gamera films. We get the entire Gamera -Barugon battle followed by a good portion of the Gamera v Gyaos city battle and end battle. Over a half hour of reused battle footage is here folks! Did they make a new movie somewhere in here? The aliens take the boys hostage to control Gamera and make him protect the spaceship.

Gamera gets the command…GAMERA DESTROY TOKYO and he does with more reused footage in b&w no less… and with a color space ship following close behind. Gotta’ laugh.

Viras speaks and he sounds like a Spanish guy with a thick moustache in a Western Movie.  He decapitates all the alien people, Pretty brutal for a kids flick and they all turn to squid. Viras absorbs them until he’s giant and the final battle may begin….finally. Ooh, an underwater battle. Queue up some exciting action hero music. Damn, Viras knifed that turtle like a burger on a grill, blue blood everywhere! But in the end Gamera comes out on top and wins the day for the boys and saves earth once again.

Needless to say, if you’re not 6 – 10 years old (or had at least seen this film at that age and want some nostalgia), you’re probably not going to like this flick.

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Cool stuff: Blinky light alien eyes, cool. Love that films wanted to portray the depth of clouds around the earth. Love that the aliens are wearing Chinese laundry uniforms from the 60s. Love the retro-60’s space designs and colors. My mom had lamps and furniture that looked like these spaceships in our house when I was a kid.

 

Gamera vs Gyaos (1967) – movie review

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Gamera vs Gyaos (1967)

Daiei Studios

Aka: Return of the Giant Monsters

 

This is a nice clean print of the film that makes it enjoyable to watch. In Gamera vs Gyaos we have not much more than the set up for three FX heavy battles between the monsters. There’s some storyline to move the plot forward about highway construction through native people’s land which causes Gyaos to wake in a secret cave. The monster soon has a taste for blood and attacks the city. It shoots a laser beam from its mouth that makes precision cuts through everything it hits. I enjoyed watching a sequence of jets being cut to ribbons by the laser ray. It looks totally fake but I was Gamera_vs_gyaos - posteramused. Gamera saves a young boy from Gyaos early in the film and brings him to an amusement park on his back where he can be taken down by the Ferris wheel. The boy becomes the main star of the film….advising the scientists and military of what actions they should take against the monsters.

 

When I had seen this in my youth, it was around the time that I noticed a difference in these monster films from the Toho films. Toho had a little bit more attention to detail for its sets and the monsters/costumes/designs were based more in reality (dinosaurs, insects, Dragons) than the Gamera films and the Ultraman series. The Gamera monsters took on a more fantasy look to them with sharp ridges and space-like angles. The light-up eyes and glowing head parts added to the fantasy element, not looking like anything in reality. However, for an eight or ten year old boy, they were no less exciting, filling lazy summer afternoons with monster action.

 

If you’re a fan of old style kaiju, nostalgic for these old films or just want to see what it was all about this is a good film to check out for its high quality.

 

 

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