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

yongary-pic-12

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.

yongary-pic-11

 

Triclops (2016) – movie review

 triclops-pic-10

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.

triclops-pic-8

 

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

20-million-miles-to-earth-pic-8

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.

 


 

20-million-miles-to-earth-pic-6

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

 

Warlords of Atlantis (1978) – movie review

 warlords of atlantis 1978 - pic 3

Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

directed by Kevin Connor aka: Warlords of the Deep

Doug McClure
Peter Gilmore
Cyd Charisse
Lea Brody

We follow the underwater expedition of a British crew on the ship, Texas Rose, aiming to explore the deep sea in a diving bell. Attended by the scientist and the technician/creator, the bell lowers thru a deep crevasse where it’s attacked by a sea monster, a plesiosaur, that threatens to rip the vessel apart. The wide shots of this creature are decent but the close ups of this beast revealwarlords of atlantis - poster it to be a bit Muppet-looking. Naturally when they find the secret entrance to Atlantis, the Atlantians aren’t happy. They send a giant Kraken out to attack and bring the whole crew down to the underwater city. The men wash ashore upon an inner-world where they are taken prisoner. The Atlantians plan to enslave them, as they have enslaved seafarers for eons.  There are giant creatures resembling a Glyptodont that periodically attack the Atlantis city and its during one of those attacks that our band of adventurers make their escape.

The film is pure schlock and I can’t help laughing at some of the events and dialogue. Doug McClure is supposed to be American so he mangles his American accent delivering his lines like a Bowery Boy with a bad attitude. Peter Gilmore does a decent job with his part as the scientist, though he’s stiff in the beginning and it takes him most of the film to  warm up to his character. Lea Brody plays the slave girl who helps the crew escape. There are massive sets depicting the city of Atlantis, but clearly the film should have used more of its budget on rehearsing the actors.

The crew are attacked by jumping piranhas during the escape. The first few are choreographed well, but it devolves into a jumbled mess of rubber fish being hurled at the actors. Eventually they get to the end of the river and the diving bell gets flushed down a toilet (that’s what it looks like) and returns to the ship. Sad to say but the best actor in the film is the Giant Octopus. In the finale it attacks the boat delivering a fine action sequence for the monster fan. The monster FX were done be Roger Dicken who had created the dinosaurs for The Land That Time Forgot. This film was the 4th Fantasy adventure film by Connor, the first 3 being Amicus Films.

warlords of atlantis 1978 - promo shot

The film is worth a watch for fans of old style monster flicks and fantasy adventure for its pure schlock and unintended humorous aspects.

don’t forget to scroll over each pic to see my comments, my awkward attempts at humor 🙂 or click on a pic and enter the gallery…


warlords of atlantis - behind the scenes

Middle of the Road – film reviews – 2015

Monsters-Dark-Continent-pic 4

Middle of the Road – film reviews

Monsters Dark Continent
The Damned
Zombeavers
Iron Sky

Here’s some film reviews of horror movies that weren’t bad and weren’t great, just somewhere in the middle. They are all quite watchable, it’s just that none have completely blown me away. On my dark star rating scale they all probably hover around 3 stars for different reasons.
—————————————

Monsters-Dark-Continent-poster The Damned Movie Poster iron sky poster zombeavers poster

Monsters Dark Continent – 2015
Before you attempt to watch this, there is something you will have to understand. This is a war movie that has monsters in it, not the other way around. It’s not a bad movie at all, but it’s just somewhat disappointing for a monster movie fan. It’s right there with Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and They Were Soldiers, bringing to light the big questions of our recent wars and it does tug at the heart strings. A group of young men from Detroit, facing a jobless and hopeless future are called into duty. In the combat zone they meet the older seasoned soldiers who attempt to set them on the right path. The few scenes of the nomad desert monsters are fantastic, they are beautiful creatures and quite enormous. However they are more like the backdrop of this film and more symbolic than anything else.
Monsters-Dark-Continent-pic 10
—————————————

The Damned – 2014 (Gallows Hill)
This is a decent Spanish film about a young reporter in South America whose father (and new GF) convinces her to return home in time for his wedding. They are traveling the back roads of Bogata when a storm and a flash flood hits, toppling their SUV and stranding them at an old house in the country. The owner is reluctant to let them in, but seeing their desperation decides he has no choice. When they settle in, they discover the man has a ten-year-old-girl captive down the cellar. The visitors let her out and open a Pandora’s Box by doing so. I know the plot sounds familiar but it is presented in a way that seems fresh and captured my interest. The girl holds the spirit of a centuries old witch bent on exacting revenge upon the townspeople of the nearby village and destroying anyone who gets in the way.
the damned pic 6
—————————————

Iron Sky (2012)
The Nazi regime has survived and have retreated to the dark side of the moon. They have waited over 70 years for a rematch and have been working on new weaponry to ensure they will win. There’s a good ‘what if’ story here, some good humor, and original ideas. The plot and pacing are excellent and the film ramps up to some wonderful high action. There are some spectacular aircraft (and spacecraft) dog-fight scenes in the climax of this flick, worth watching for the special effects fans out there. The Nazi invasion from space has begun, but can our reluctant hero save the day? Yeah, it’s all sorts of politically incorrect but it’s a comedy folks, don‘t be offended.
iron-sky pic 12
—————————————

Zombeaver (2014)
If you go into this with low expectations you can enjoy this film for exactly what it is, a campy b-monster flick with some young women parading around in bikinis (and sometimes not in bikinis). It’s the Roger Corman formula for b-movie horror. Not much story depth here, not so great acting, and the monster beavers look like angry Muppets, but enjoyable light horror and humor despite these aspects.

zombeaver pic 9
—————————————

Gallery:

 

Creature (1998) – movie review

creature pic 2

Creature (1998) aka: Peter Benchley’s Creature

Craig T. Nelson
Kim Cattrallpeter_benchleys_creature_1998

This feels like an 80’s monster movie and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Both Nelson and Cattrall already had successful careers, it would seem unlikely they would show up in a made-for-TV monster flick. But there they were, providing above average acting to what should be a B-sci fi/horror film. The monster here is a genetically engineered mutation, half man/half shark, on steroids, a set of massive teeth on two legs chasing down his prey which consisted mostly of humans. The script was well-written from Peter Benchley’s novel and made the events seem plausible. Stan Winston’s special-FX team worked up a defined original creature, enjoyable for the monster fan. So why isn’t it well known and praised in the horror genre? Because it was over a decade too late. If this had come out in the mid-eighties, had a little more gore and skin, it would have made some waves. Unfortunately in 1998, it was little more than a ripple in a puddle. However that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, just don’t expect it to live up to today’s monster movie standards. Being a TV movie, it takes an hour for things to really start heating up but the pay-off is good. It certainly ain’t no ‘Jaws,’ so it’s best to think of it as an 80’s ‘B’ monster film.

 

 

 

Humanoids From the Deep (1980) – movie review

humanoids from the deep pic 4

Humanoids From the Deep (1980) aka: Monster

Directed by Barbara Peeters
Produced by Roger Corman

Doug McClure
Ann Turkel
Vic Morrowhumanoids from the deep poster

This is one of the better post-gothic Roger Corman films. He had a formula for his films of the 80s that harkened back to his early films, a simple plot, show some skin, reveal a terrible creature or monster, and mimic successful horror films on a low-budget. It’s a formula that allowed him to be the most prolific b-movie director and producer for many decades.

A fishing company’s attempts to cultivate bigger/better fish leads to a mutant species of man-fish hybrid living in watery caves by a seaside town. While the town plans to celebrate the new plant opening, the creatures have their own agenda, to propagate their species. They attack and rape young women at the beaches while dispensing with their boyfriends with a swipe of their nasty claws. The night of the big celebration is the night the humanoids attack to overtake the town. Pandemonium ensues!

I have to mention that the creature effects in this film were done by Rob Bottin, who within the next couple of years did both, The Howling (1981) and The Thing (1982).

It’s a fun flick with some jump scares, great monster design and plenty of gory action. It’s not to be taken too seriously but it’s played straight (not comedic) making it a favorite Corman film of the 1980’s.