Thursday, March 25, 2010

more Megalon

yes, I love this movie unashamedly. this is the trailer I saw before the movie Bambi opened.  it floored me.

click here if the video is not viewable.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Johnny Sokko burn on Demand

here's some rockin' news-  MGM through Amazon is offering the entire Johnny Sokko series through burn on demand.  not exactly sure what all that entails, but that is great.

and Opticon will be watching!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Monster of the Week- Flippasaurus

in 1957 Universal released The Land Unknown.  originally planned to be in color, the movie is a lot of fun and very pulp oriented.  three people crash land in an undiscovered Antarctic wilderness (quite possibly the Savage Land) and have struggle to survive against hordes... well, two giant prehistoric pests.

one is a rather stiff and lumbering tyrannosaurus rex and the other slightly more movable menace was a hungry elasmosaurus with an attitude and a penchant for being in the right place to threaten our heroes at the right time.

now, the elasmosaurus is my favorite mesozoic aquatic reptile.  sadly, it's never been really well realized in movies, and these days it's been turned into a regular if weird looking animal it's even less impressive looking.

it's a tribute to the movie that even with these less than awesome monsters, it works really well as a fun prehistoric adventure.  I would have loved to have seen this as a kid, since it's has all the right ingredients to re-enact on the playground. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

holy heartbreak!

I don't know which superhero I discovered first, Batman or Spider-man.  they have both been in my life for most of it, and I think they got there about the same time.

I watched the Batman tv show for almost 2 years solid, and maybe longer.  I remember running home from from the first day of kindergarten to watch my heroes in action.  the second day I got home, turned on the telly and got... The Green Hornet?  who was this clown?

well, later on I would realize, but I wanted Batman at the time and really resented him being off the air.  that was the last time I would see him on Colorado airwaves for several year (until 1989 or so, guess why?).

however, Batman (1966) was aired several times on tv and a lot at kiddie matinees, so I was never long without seeing my hero in action.  it's a sad thing that the series is not out on legit DVD at all these days.

there has been plenty written about this movie, and these days the hardcore Bat-fans don't like it (not true to the roots) without realizing that Batman comics were saved by the show.  as far as being true to the roots... well, Robin showed up less than a year after Batman made his debut and things got a lot lighter.  and that lasted about 30 years.

Lee Meriwether plays Catwoman (never called by her "real" name of Selina Kyle in the series or movie) and I am glad she's in it.  sure, having Julie Newmar in it would have been nice, but the script calls for a slightly different Catwoman and that's what we get with Lee. 

the romance between Bruce and Miss Kitka used to be the dragging point for me as a kid, but now I see it as bittersweet, as at the end here (these pictures) show Bruce realizing he's giving up something by being Batman.  it's a bit subtle, oddly enough, but it's there.

I love this movie.  I'll take it over the Burton movies or the highly overrated and humorless Nolan movies any day.

plus it has my favorite Bat-villain, the Riddler, as masterfully played by Frank Gorshin.  no one tops him as the Riddler.   he's a far better actor than ever given credit for in any of his appearances.

and how dapper can one be?

here's to 200 more posts!

Friday, March 12, 2010

the invincible superwoman!

after many years of having a washed out multi-gen VHS copy (the other alternative was a crisper unsubtitled VHS copy) the digital revolution brought me a decent copy of this...

La Mujer Murcielago (1968) AKA Batwoman.  made entirely to cash in on the popular Adam West Batman (1966) (tv show and movie) at the time, it combined that with the lucha libre movies that El Santo and his pals were cranking out.

Maura Monti is an Italian actress who appeared in several Mexican movies, many directed by René Cardona.  here she plays a rich socialite who dedicates her wealth and time to fighting crime.  her "real" name is never given in the movie, oddly enough.

she's in Acapulco to look into the mysterious deaths of several wrestlers.  mostly she spends as much time in her bat bikini as possible, which, looking at it from a more grown up perspective, it quite a good thing.  she has to battle the evil machinations of Dr. Eric Williams, who wants to make fish men (the Pisces costume is pretty good, as is the underwater photography on display here).  

it's a fun movie, and clocking in at 80 minutes it doesn't waste a lot of time with talking heads and exposition.  obviously it was never released up here, as a lawsuit was waiting to happen, but it's far more entertaining than the misnamed Wild World of Batwoman (1966).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

memories of Megalon

often the most reviled of Godzilla movies, Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) is one of my favorites, as it was the first Godzilla movie I remember wanting to see in the theater, and then getting to!  seeing the ads on tv were amazing back then.

with Cinema Shares ad campaign (the titular monsters on the Twin Towers, done specifically to cash in on the first useless Kong remake) was certainly an eye catcher.  it's kind of annoying to have to be grateful to a movie I dislike so much, but I'm glad Dino had to foist it upon us.

I saw the trailer before seeing Bambi (1942) on a re-release.  stayed to see the trailer again, couldn't get enough of "Robotman" helping out Godzilla.  plus seeing Gigan would be great as well.  the movie was shown in Longmont CO in the first of October.  I took a friend who would rather have seen The Big Bus (a disaster movie parody) but he was just out of luck.

I mean, really, what lame parody movie is going to compare to this image of Megalon destroying a dam?

sure, it isn't the best Godzilla movie ever, but it was aimed squarely at my age demo, 11 year olds, and I loved it.  three giant monsters and one heroic robot equals a win to any kid at that age.

it's too bad that this is the one original series movie that didn't get released when Sony did their good looking releases a while ago.  seeing it widescreen really makes a difference.  this is one colorful movie!

thankfully the German DVD release of it had this lovely gallery that contained the original theatrical trailer I saw, calling Jet Jaguar "Robotman".  of course, back then, there was not a lot of information about the movies, especially ones that hadn't been released over here yet.  I was rather surprised to hear him later called Jet Jaguar in the movie, as the other name I'd heard he was given was "Red Baron" (and having that name be nixed because of the WWI fighter pilot, not the excellent tv show of the same name).

Godzilla really was a superhero in this movie, as he appears to save our heroic robot from the massive beatdown that Megalon and Gigan were laying upon him.  every kid in the audience cheered loudly every time one of our heroes walloped one of the villains, and booed just as loudly when it appeared the bad monsters were winning.

now that's the way to see a Godzilla movie!

and I still have never seen The Big Bus.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Monster of the Week- Turu the Terrible

this is one of the more iconic scenes in the opening of Jonny Quest, though Turu is a different color there.

this is my favorite episode.  anyone want to hazard a guess why?  I'm not sure I ever saw this episode more than once when I was growing up but it sure stuck with me.  this is probably when the pteranodon became my favorite flying reptile as well.

Turu, is used by an evil old slave driver who thinks he is mining some silver.  it's really a far more valuable mineral that Dr. Quest is looking for in South America.

Turu is one tough animal, and really strong.  a bit larger than a real pteranodon, and comes equipped with sharp teeth, possibly an evolutionary adaption (or perhaps DE-evolutionary, DEVO was right!) into modern times.

one of the really fun things about this episode is that there's no explanation given of why there is a giant flying reptile alive in 1964.  or even where the old man came from.  not that there was time for much exposition with our heroes being attacked almost from the get-go by the soaring juggernaut.  in addition to Bandit, the comedy relief is supplied by their Australian boat captain who calls Turu a giant "goony bird" for most of the episode.

I so wanted Turu as a pet.  the old man is unpleasant to everyone but his animal, who obviously loves him as well.

naturally, I would have had my Turu go around doing good deeds instead of terrorizing South Americans, but that's just me.

Dr. Quest makes a lot of erroneous statements about the time these animals were alive in this episode, and he should have known better.  of course, he was fighting for his life, so perhaps he can be forgiven a little bit.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

surprise "robot" appearance

ever been watching a movie and see something unusual?  like the monster Rodan making a surprise cameo in Valley of the Dragons (1961)?

well, that happened to me tonight while I was watching the interesting Creation of the Humanoids (1962).  right at the beginning of the movie this "robot" shows up.  pretty spiffy looking, huh?  nice and shiny silver, very sleek.

however, it started as an alien from 1956's Earth vs the Flying Saucers.  and since I have actually seen and touched one of the remaining suits (in 1981... it was a World Con in Denver called Denvention II) I know they weren't silver to begin with.

I like these surprise cameos.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I am watching this new movie, and... it's not easy for me.  usually I like these cartoons a lot, but I'm so familiar with "Crisis on Earth 3" that this seems a bit... off.  it's pretty good, but some of the weird changes made to the JLA (Firestorm is black now?  what's with changing J'onn's look?) are a little off putting.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Majin of the Week


OK, not really a monster, but since AIP-TV deigned to name him that, I think we can go along with it, plus it's a nice change of pace.
three Majin movies were made in 1966, and all are very enjoyable.  they are often called a "trilogy" but there it's not really a true story arc. 

only the first two made it over to US TV, which I was fortunate to see growing up on KWGN Channel 2.    no one really knows why the third one never got dubbed and released, though many theories abound.

I had no idea what Majin would end up being, since in the early 70s there was no easily accessed information.  I just knew it was a Japanese movie.  it was a nice surprise to get a chanbara, which ended with a giant stone statue coming to life!

all three movies follow the same formula, villagers are oppressed by wicked ruler/usurper/warlord for 65 minutes.  the villains mock their belief they will be avenged and eventually a hero/heroine shows up and leads the workers in a revolt and then Majin shows up and stomps the villains but good.

the effects in all three movies are marvelous, right alongside any given Godzilla movie of the period.  the smaller scale of the giant Majin really helps, as does the photography.

this final shot is from the second movie, Return of the Giant Majin and is just as good as the water parting scene in The Ten Commandments (1956).

in the first movie (OK, I'll admit it, I've rarely watched the subtitled version, so it may be explained there) the villagers have a shrine which they pray to "Shino" to keep Majin locked up and them safe. it's interesting that it's Majin that saves them, then.  if anyone can help me out here, I'd appreciate it!