Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zombie wasp people

Movie • BLACK SWARM • 2007
I had a case of sniffelitis, so I spent the day on the couch. Here, I run across a pay-per-view, and I thought the description was fun enough for $1.99, so I watched. WHAT A VALUE! This is exactly the kind of movie that seems stupid now to folks who don't have at least one 40 year old eyeball. That eye has seen the sentiment for certain pictures change over the years, and it’s an interesting phenomenon.
In 2007 People probably thought Black Swarm, which I assume was a made for cable movie, was a pretty bad movie. They’d go on thinking that for a decade or so… maybe more, and with good reason…
• Bad stunts
• The writing is bad
• The characters have wonky priorities
• The characters jump to conclusions or play dumb when it’s convenient
• It was awfully easy to find the secret lair
• The story incorporated a twin story/love story
• kooky effects
• The best actor was a blind lady with too little screen time
• The director felt compelled to have an “Elm St.” because Robert Englund starred
• …and so much more!
But, BUT, BUT all this was little to endure when you get gems like wasp zombie drones. It sounds like I’m complaining, but maybe today I have a connection to the future. Black Swarm has everything I love about goofy monster movies. It’s just not old or black & white… oh, and there weren’t any monsters. Still worth seeing though. Go in expecting nothing, and Black Swarm will come out like a peach!

And Robert Englund has still got it!

BONUS: There is a dog whistle in the movie, and swear I heard dogs barking (not on my Telly) when it was blown.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rodan was Pteroble

Movie • RODAN • 1956
Rodan (the giant monster that resembles a prehistoric pterodactyl) gets worse every time I see it. I decided to spend the first half of my Sunday watching some fun monster movies, and thought, “I’ve never reviewed Rodan. I should add that to my list so I can say something about it.” Rodan definitely plays off other monsters (in Godzilla movies) better than a mysterious second version of himself, and an hour of missile explosions blasting the ground. I would have preferred making up a new recipe for cookies than spend 72 minutes going through this again. Even the giant prehistoric insects that tease the early scenes were poorly done, and poorly explained. The cheesy factor only existed in its failure. I would rather the cheese be silly like the cheese that comes from a spray can.
Sometimes I don’t mind the military stock footage old monster movies use to explain the monster’s existence, but the Hydrogen bomb was sooo overdone. Trust me. Enjoy the trailer for Rodan on All Monsters Attack, but stop there… unless you need a nap.

I promise my next monster movie review will be a positive one… and for good reason. Stay tuned :)

It’s like they didn’t even try. These four completely different jets were supposed to be the same plane in one scene.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dare to dream of monsters

Movie • ROBOT MONSTER • 1953
Robot Monster is all the proof you need that 50’s drive-in cinema is the best monster movie period history has to offer. This was one of the movies listed in All Monsters Attack! Robot Monster should be categorized as one of the best worst monster movies of all time. Sure, there have been others that stink up the place like a public bathroom; but Robot Monster takes it to new levels complete with asinine costume design and cheesy monster villains that went to the David Prowse school of acting. David Prowse was the big galoot in the Darth Vader costume in the original Star Wars movies. Think “constant fist-shaking” and “superfluous hand-gesturing.” I would not be surprised if George Lucas gave footage of Robot Monster to David Prowse, and said, “Act like that!” Georgie sure loved his black & white movies ;)
Ro-Man IS Darth Vader!

Behold, the high-tech special effects of pre-Indutrial Light and Magic cinema.

Is it me, or am I seeing this woman laughing at her abductor (Ro-Man)?

Even in the original Star Wars (before the digitally enhanced Special Editions) we saw patching behind blue-screened space ships, but at least we never saw actual HANDS IN THE SHOT!

Dare to compare:
This screen capture of Ro-Man walking away with the embedded video (below) of the famous Patterson Bigfoot film with Bigfoot walking away. I LOLed!

I enjoyed every minute of the rabbit-ear adjusting alien overlord in this picture. (SPOILERS: HIGHLIGHT TO READ)… Even the last minute “it was all a dream-or-was-it? cop-out ending”was skillfully done. The repeated image of Ro-Man walking out of the cave could only have been more fun if it was in 3-D. But alas, even the DVD box states that it’s in 2-D.
This post-apocalypse alien invasion film has to be number one on my must-see-over-and-over list. Come for the raspberry sporting boy who isn’t scared of terrifying aliens who’ve already annihilated the world’s population. Stay for the innuendos that fly over like rampaging starlings between Roy and Alice.

For those who’ve seen it…
“You look like a pooped-out pinwheel!” ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trailers of fears

Movie (trailers compilation) • ALL MONSTERS ATTACK! • 2006
I got this wonderful DVD called All Monsters Attack, All Plastic DVD Kit (designed to resemble the classic monster movie model kits of the 60s and 70s. I adore it! It has 60 of the most entertaining trailers from more than 50 different monster movies. I was glued to my screen watching. I’m going to be watching this over and over until I’ve seen all the movies. Granted sometimes the trailer is better (as is the case with DINOSAURUS!), but it’s just fascinating to see all these promotional teasers and monster movie trailers in one place. It can help you decide what you want to see next. I recommend it VERY highly to fans of the genre.

Below is a full list of the movies that have trailers on the DVD. Some have more than one trailer:

King Kong
Son of Kong
Mighty Joe Young, Konga
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
The Giant Behemoth
The Beast From Hollow Mountain
The Lost World
The Valley of Gwangi
Godzilla King of Monsters
Varan the Unbelievable
Mothra the Monster God
King Kong vs Godzilla
Godzilla vs the Thing
Gammera the Invincible
Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster
King Kong Escapes
Destroy All Monsters
Godzilla vs the Smog Monster
Yog Monster from Space
The Mysterians
Robot Monster
It Conquered the World
Caltiki the Immortal Monster
The Blob
Beware! The Blob
It Came From Beneath The Sea
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Attack of the Giant Leeches
The Giant Gila Monster
The Killer Shrews
Night of the Lepus
Monster From Green Hell
Beginning of the End
The Deadly Mantis
The Spider
The Cyclops
Attack of the Puppet People
Giant From the Unknown
The Colossus of New York
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock
The Amazing Colossal Man
War of the Colossal Beast
The Three Worlds of Gulliver
Village of the Giants
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
Goliath and the Dragon
Atlantis the Lost Continent
Jason and the Argonauts

I’m hoping to find more of these monster movie trailer compilation DVDs to review and enjoy, so please recommend if you know any!

Dinosaurus Van Winkle

Movie • DINOSAURUS! • 1960
DINOSAURUS! is nine years older than The Valley of Gwangi, so I’m going to guess Gwangi was somewhat inspired by Dinosaurus! However, Gwangi managed to be the whole delicious cake while Dinosaurus! was just the crumbs. I love me some crumbs, but when there’s cake to be had why would you choose anything else?
Don’t get me wrong. Dinosaurus! was extremely satisfying in the way fun, and goofy monster movies can be, but satisfying like a Twizzler, when you want real licorice. They’re both good, but one is more authentic.
Just like many pictures from back in the day, Dinosaurus! has prejudices and stereotypes cooked into the middle. This time, at least, its not only minority stereotypes. There’s the old Irish man employed to watch over the dinosaurs that were found somehow frozen in a tropical lagoon. Of course, he’s a drunk with a brogue and a slur… and a flask. The little Hispanic Central American boy is called Julio. What else? How and why this boy’s guardian is some undefined European traveller with a terrible rotating accent is never properly explained. Being it is a big part of the plot, I would have liked a little more character development there.
Aww, who am I kidding? I came for the caveman and the dinosaurs!

Caveman in a dress… soooo cute!

The caveman was central to the motivation of the protagonist, but why? Who would ever choose to steal a caveman when you can steal a dinosaur? Shows what small potatoes Mr. Hacker was after.
I loved this scene where the caveman found himself in a bedroom looking at portraits and a mirror. He quickly tried to fit in (or found original sin), because he was interested in dressing himself. Somehow, he found himself identifying more with the woman in the portrait, and so he tried on a dress. Makes sense to me! ;) tee hee.

Why are these extras so excited about seeing a dinosaur battle a construction machine?

Somehow this scene reminds me of the dinosaur in a fire scene from The Valley of Gwangi.

Over all, I was entertained, but not thrilled. Definitely worth seeing just for the discussion of the silliness. Maybe someone could write a parallel on Rip Van Winkle. I noticed the old Irish man reading a Rip Van Winkle comic, and we are absolutely supposed to think of the cavemen and dinosaurs as Rip Van Winkle characters. Or, maybe it’s just a reminder that it’s okay to sleep through this one.

Look at the size of that cordless phone!!! ;) tee hee.