While I’m not feeling so great, I couldn’t let this month go by without expressing my enthusiasm for a new Kong movie. I wasn’t blown away with PJs Kong…there were parts that I thought were exceptional (all the NY scenes) but also a lot I didn’t like about it, most notably the time spent on Skull Island itself.
While I don’t have the concentration to sit and write, I do want to do some commemorative posts about the Kong Movies, mostly in pics and info. I hope to see the new KONG film during it’s first week and possibly do a review, if I can get myself into a mental state that will allow that. As you must know from following PoH, I do love a full-blown Monster Movie!
For now, you can check out my next couple of posts (coming soon) ALL ABOUT KONG…
If it weren’t for my love of stop-motion animation, this film would be too difficult for me to watch. There is tons of goopy dialogue that offer exposition we don’t need and character development of people with no character. It takes nearly a half hour before this Monster sneaks up on an unsuspecting camper. This thing is 30ft long and several tons, don’t know how this thing would sneak up on anyone. Bad hair cuts (or lack of them) and 70s porn starmustaches abound. We’re forced to follow the antics of two stooges who are not funny, (maybe if I was 6), and a Sheriff who is supposedly the smart one…supposedly.
The Monster is a Plesiosaur let loose from its underwater cave during a small earthquake. It eats a cow, it eats a chicken, it eats a camper and a guy that goes fishin’ – but nobody notices these people gone missing. The stop motion is outstandingly smooth and the plesiosaur model has great character (at least one character in this film does). The close up shots are terrible and consist of a large, stiff, fiberglass head that has no life in it. The soundtrack music consists of 70’s light fm and elevator music. Then, when the monster shows up it turns to 1950’s style sci-fi music used plenty of times in The Beast, the Deadly Mantis, and the Giant Behemoth.
If you like stop motion animation you have about ten minutes of great monster footage in this flick. The animation was done by David Allen. Allen was an active animator in film starting in his early career on the series, Davey and Goliath and the Gumby Show. He went on to animate sequences in Equinox and Flesh Gordonin the 70s. His work can be seen in Q, the Winged Serpent, Puppet Master, Caveman, Honey I Shrunk the Kids,and Batteries Not Included. In the circles of effects people he is most praised for his animation of Kong in the VW commercial in 1972. Perhaps his most known work was animating The Pillsbury Dough Boy.
If you like the art of stop motion animation you will find some nice work in this film. For the rest of you, leave this in the crater it had crawled from.
Stop Motion Animation is not necessarily claymation. In fact most filmsdo not use clay for their stop motion effects. They use sophisticated puppets with metal skeletons inside called an armature, that enabled the animator to move it in small increments. The skeleton is covered with foam, rubber and latex, sculpted to simulate dinosaur skin and sometimes covered in fur (King Kong, Mighty Joe Young).
My Top 5 Dinosaur World Movies, other than Jurassic Park
In preparation for Jurassic World, you may want to catch up on the genre of Dinosaur films. For this list I am speaking of dinosaur worlds, not just single dinosaurs that have been awakened in modern times for the purpose of a film. Dinosaur worlds include; Islands, continents, planets, prehistoric times, underground caverns, etc. I’m also talking about real dinosaurs for the most part, animals that once roamed the earth, not fictional beasts created for sci-fi films.
5) Planet ofDinosaurs (1977) We got some beautifully crafted dinosaurs in this film. One of the final forays into stop-motion dinosaur extravaganzas, it is a cult favorite for dinosaur fans. The script and plot ain’t so great but the bevy of fantastic creatures make it worth a viewing. Dinosaurs:Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Rhedosaurus, Ceratopsian, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Kentrosaurus, Allosaurus, and Struthiomimus
4) The Land that Time Forgot (1978)
The dinosaurs in this film aren’t perfect but this film gets the nod for variety of species and prehistoric beasts. The dinos were scale rod-puppets which made interaction with humans minimal, the giant pterodactyl that carries off the caveman being the exception. A good story penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs lands this in the Top 5. Extra points for the awesome movie poster! Dinosaurs: Mosasaurus, Plesiosaur, Diplodocus,Pterodactyl, two Allosaurus, two Styracosaurus, Ichthyostega, Triceratops, Ceratosaurus
3) When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) With Victoria Vetri running around in a dino hide bikini, it would be hard to take notice of the dinosaurs. However, these dinos are noticed because of their fabulous renditions in stop-motion artistry. The stop-motion dinos were the work of Jim Danforth. There’s not a lot of dinos in the film but they are top notch-Danforth’s work in this film rivals the greats, Harryhausen and O’Brien. Dinosaurs: Plesiosaur, Chasmosaurus, Rhamphorhynchus, A carnivorous dinosaur based on the Scelidosaurus, (and it’s baby).
2) King Kong (1933) This is the first mega dinosaur-land presented to the public at a time when most people didn’t have a clear picture of what dinosaurs looked like and were just discovering these creatures. The T. Rex is a fast moving, active beast as described by Charles R. Knight, not the slow sluggish reptiles other scientists were in favor of portraying. The film made Willis O’Brien the father of stop-motion special effects and giant monsters, influencing future directors and filmmakers, Ray Harryhausen, Ishiro Honda, Peter Jackson, Steven Speilberg, and Tim Burton, to name a few. Marcel Delgadobuilt O’Brien’s models and was largely responsible for capturing the look O’Brien wanted for the dinos (and Kong). Dinosaurs: Pteranodon, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Styracosaurus (edited out), Elasmosaurus and although he’s not a dino, King Kong
1) One Million Years BC (1966) Although given moderate praise through the years, this film contains some of Ray Harryhausen’s most impressive dinosaurs. I think the special effects were overshadowed by Raquel Welch and her fur bikini – (the original furkini, accept no substitutes!). But take a look at the beautiful renditions of the Triceratops and Brontosaurus and you’ll see some master craftsmanship. I’d like to mention that the models were sculpted by Arthur G. Hayward with direction from Ray and designed from Ray’s artwork. Dinosaurs: Archelon, Brontosaurus, Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, Rhamphorhynchus
Honorable Mentions: Valley of Gwangi (1969) Once again Harryhausen applies his talents to prehistoric beasts with great success.
Dinosaurs (2000) Despite being a Disney film with talking dinos, it has some great scenes and dino imagery.
OK, want to see some more dino pics? Here ya’ go!
Because this post is about Dinosaurs, I’m going to refrain from posting yet another pic ofRaquelin her fur bikini. But if you really want to see one lookhere!
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Scelidosaurus – a variation was used in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Kit Bash (n) – when a kit builder takes parts of two or more unrelated model kits to create a completely different subject, theme, and model kit diorama.
Long story short. I only recently saw the Mountain Gorilla kit from Revell. As soon as I saw a pic on a web-site I got the idea to use it in a King Kong diorama. I found the Airfix Tyrannosaurus to be the perfect size to simulate the big battle scene from King Kong (1933). Although both of these models are discontinued, I was able to find them on eBay at decent prices.
I built and compiled items for the base myself. I asked fellow kit builder, Murray Wakeman to make the long leaf palm tree (on the left hand side of the diorama). I had seen the tree in one of his creations and knew it would fit well with the scene. (Thanks Murray).
Check out my favorite dinosaur and giant monsters in TV advertisements and commercials. I have more so I decided to break this into a few (or at least two) posts. These are a lot of fun and some are hilarious! 😀
—————————- Dairylea Dunkeys Dino commercial – production overseen by Ray Harryhausen
King Kong Volkswagon commercial – animated by David Allen
Godzilla Snickers Commercial
Godzilla Fiat Commercial
Chewits 1 1950’s Sci-Fi style – created by John Clive and Ian Whapshot
My Top 5 Women in Dinosaur and Fantasy films from Yesteryear
(films 25 years and older)
5) Jane Seymour – Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger – as Farah
If playing chess with an intelligent Mandrill isn’t enough, she comes face to face with a troglodyte, a giant walrus, and a saber tooth tiger.
4) Victoria Vetri – When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth – as Sanna
She escapes being sacrificed to the sun god, clashes with the dark-haired tribe, and eventually makes friends with a dinosaur, all while just barely keeping her tighter-than-a-glove bikini top on. (note: in the uncut version, the bikini top does come off.)
3) Caroline Munro – The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – as Margiana
The tattooed eye on her hand calls forth the great Cyclops centaur for a battle of good vs. evil. A handful of 1970’s Hammer horror films playing alongside Lee and Cushing and even bigger roles in At the Earth’s Core (Amicus) and Star Crash clinch the spot for her.
2) Fay Wray – King Kong – as Anne Darrow
She is the ultimate damsel in distress, taken by force, but enduring and surviving a savage world.
1) Raquel Welch – One Million Years BC – as Loana
It was the fur bikini that entranced the world. A young Raquel Welch becomes a star despite not a single word of dialogue in the film.
———————————— Honorable mentions:
Jessica Lange – King Kong (1976) – as Dwan
Barbara Bach – Caveman (1981) – Lana
Tanya Roberts – Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (1984) – as Sheena
I was going to put all my picks in one post, but I’m such a Godzilla geek, I couldn’t stop writing and make these reviews shorter. So if you haven’t checked out 1-5 of my fave Godzilla movies, the link is at the bottom of the page. These are in chronological order by year they were released – not by which ones I like best.
6 thru 10 – the later years
6) Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
Godzilla’s radioactive cells are found in a riverbed. These cells are infused with a plant by a scientist looking to create a weapon against Godzilla. The plant is an animal/plant hybrid made of Godzilla’s own DNA and grows to monstrous proportions in a nearby Lake. When Godzilla shows up they battle. This film also introduces, Miki, a young lady with psychic abilities. She is able to feel the thoughts of Godzilla. She will be a recurring character in several of the Heisei era films. Godzilla and Biollante break into a battle in the center of the city which causes much destruction. Biollante continues to mutate as it absorbs more of Godzilla’s DNA and grows much larger than Big-G, making it a formidable enemy. Toho finally got back to its roots in having the battle scenes in city landscapes rather than off in some countryside area. The buildings and skyscrapers provide the scale proportions that tell us we are watching giant monsters. Without the cityscape, were just watching wrestlers in monster costumes. This is highly regarded by Godzilla fans as one of the best modern G-films.
7) Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
This is another favorite amongst Godzilla fans, introducing a newly reconstructed Mechagodzilla to defend Japan from Big-G, and a newly revamped, Rodan. Also introduced is a baby Godzillasaurus who will grow in consecutive films until it reaches adulthood. The film starts with a battle between Godzilla and Rodan on a small Pacific island. They both seem obsessive about a large egg recently unearthed by scientists. As they battle, the scientists remove the egg from the island. Back at a scientific headquarters the egg hatches to reveal a baby Godzilllasaurus. It’s not long before Baby-G feels threatened and calls out telepathically to both, Godzilla and Rodan. G-Force (the Godzilla fighting military unit) will use Baby to lure Godzilla out of hiding and attack him with the new weapons of Mechagodzilla. However, Rodan shows up first and Mecha-G must fight off the heat-ray shooting Pterosaur, before concentrating its energies on big daddy. There’s a heavy duty brawl on the edge of the city, which includes Big-G stomping a baseball stadium, Rodan being buried by the ruble of a giant skyscraper and Godzilla throwing Mecha-G into a cluster of office buildings. Mecha-G is armed with some ingenious new weapons and it seems they have taken down Godzilla, until he is helped by an unlikely partner.
8) Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
This is the 2nd film in the Godzilla Millennium series and a sequel to Godzilla 2000. ‘G-Grasper’ (a new team of scientists and pilots assembled to fight Godzilla) is developing a weapon that opens a black hole in space for a short span of time. They plan on using it against Godzilla, forcing him through, to rid the earth of his menacing attacks. When they test the weapon in the remote countryside, unbeknownst to the scientist, a small creature similar to a dragonfly flies through to land on earth. It starts out small and reproduces, invading the sewer systems and attacking humans discretely like a classic horror movie. The swarm, in a need for more and more energy is attracted to Godzilla for his high concentration of power. They swarm around him and drain his radioactive energy in a fantastic scene on a pacific island. Having absorbed much power, the swarm flies off to feed the mother dragonfly, a giant winged beast. It awakes. It flies, it attacks Japan, and it fights Godzilla in a monster Kaiju rumble. Fun stuff! I love the creature design of Megaguirus. The ‘science’ in this film is actually plausible and Godzilla’s heat-ray is a blazing white-hot special-effect.
9) Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Monsters All Out Attack (2001)
Seriously, this is one bad-ass Godzilla in this film! This film (aka: GMK) takes the Japanese mythological approach to the monsters, addressing them as Demon, Dragon, and Butterfly (Godzilla, Ghidorah, and Mothra respectively). Godzilla has no eyeballs with this design; only whites, which make it look demonic for sure. Its body is more like the original with the unique multi-spiked fins of the early films. Here, Ghidorah, the dragon is more a force of good (it was hard for me to wrap my head around that) and protector for Japan. Along with Mothra and Baragon, they try to save Japan from the demon. There’s actually a very good sub-plot about a young filmmaker, Yuri. She makes pseudo-documentaries about ghosts, myths, and legends, which is equivalent to a filmed version of ‘strange but true’ tabloids such as “News of the World.” When she gets a hunch about a real story developing–the earth tremors and deaths caused by the waking of Baragon deep in the earth–her boss rejects her investigating plans and tells her to stick to the assignment. She ignores him and hunts down the trail that leads to the monster’s big battle with Godzilla. You really want to see Godzilla in this film taken down. The film shows innocent people getting injured and dying, better than all other Godzilla films. There are great camera angles, not usually shown in Kaiju films, to depict this. A terrified mother in her home as Godzilla’s foot comes crashing thru and an injured young woman in the hospital screaming as the place is destroyed by the beast’s tail are just a couple of examples. You have to commend director/co-writer, Shūsuke Kaneko, for that. I like the realism in this aspect of the film. The film is also loaded with fairy dust, golden rays, and spiritual connotations, but if you can accept these fantasy aspects, the film is a real treat. The fairy twins usually associated with Mothra films are not part of this tale but the film does have an homage appearance of the twins as normal citizens (regular size).
10) Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003)
A new Mechagodzilla was (in the previous film, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), constructed upon a unique frame – the skeletal bones of the original Godzilla (Gojira – 1954), which had been lying dead upon the seafloor for over 50 years. This 3rd generation Mechagodzilla is a formidable weapon. It has a Hyper-maser in the center of its chest, a rocket launcher on its back and it shoots lightning bolt lasers from its mouth. Mothra comes to defend Japan as the princess fairies try to warn the military not to use the new Mechagodzilla. They don’t trust those bones and the spirit of the dead in the bones stops Mechagodzilla from killing Godzilla early in the movie. Mothra is a beautiful creature in this film, the best looking incarnation I’ve ever seen of this Kaiju. Its design is magnificent. Its wings flow with a natural grace and its flying, (fast or slow) is believable with realistic movement. Godzilla gets the best of Mothra, smashing her through buildings (impressive scenes) and damaging her wing with his fire-breath (a fast, blue stream that also looks fantastic). But, on a small Pacific Island an egg hatches revealing two Mothra Larvae which come to the aide of the dying Mothra and Japan. There is a much bigger military attack by Japan’s Defense systems in this film than there has been in many years, featuring Naval War ships, tanks, Maser cannons, and more. The scale city and building models are more detailed than they had been in many years, too, as the shots taken from street level are numerous. The 3-way battle devastates Tokyo, toppling the Tokyo Tower and eventually destroying the Capitol Building – previously destroyed in Gojira. In the end Godzilla is alive, but truly defeated, wrapped in a cocoon and sunk to the ocean floor with Mechagodzilla. This would have been a good send off for the Toho Godzilla franchise. Unfortunately, Toho did one more film, “Final Wars” which wasn’t nearly as good. This film is one of the only films with a detailed special effects featurette. It is an impressive behind-the-scenes look at what makes Toho special-fx. No narration, it just documents the set-up and execution of the big sequences of the film. They immediately show the final mastered clip after the docu-clip, with the slo-motion adjustments, editing and sound. All the secrets of their filmmaking are laid bare in these clips.
Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)
Awesome special effects of the crystal ‘lightning’ and electric arcs exploding across the screen make this one a great action-packed entry.
Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)
This film is small in scope compared to other Godzilla films but the giant shrimp/lobster design of the Sea Monster is awesome and the Godzilla/Sea-Monster battle if fun. One of the highlights of the film is Godzilla’s jump off the cliff into the water as the massive bomb counts down to destroying the entire island. As a kid, this scene made me nervous. This is one of the first films to have Godzilla portrayed as the good guy or hero of the film.
Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)
Godzilla fights Mothra in a Kaiju showdown. However after sitting though Mothra (1961) you wonder why we have to watch the complete Mothra origin story again, in this film.
Okay, I got a huge photo Gallery here because I’m sure some of you haven’t seen some of these newer movies. I think when you see the modern special FX, you may be interested in checking out some of these fantastic newer Godzilla flicks.
Godzilla Vs Biollante, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs Megaguirus
Biollante early stage
Biollante – monster stage
Godzilla v Mechagodzilla II
New Rodan design
Oh, my! Girl makes new best friend…
Rodan’s face close-up
godzilla vs megaguirus
Second photo Gallery: GMK: All Out Monsters Attack. Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
Godzilla – the demon
Baragon finally gets some respect in this film
Ghidorah – designed to look like a dragon
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
New Mechagodzilla design is awesome!
Lighting up to shoot his radioactive ray
Mothra gets thrown through an office building
new fairy twins
the set designs were probably most detailed since early years