Thursday, August 17, 2017

Attack of the Monsters (1969)

As I said yesterday, I needed something mindless and turned to my 12 Creature Features set. Even after the first movie from the set I watched last night, I needed more. That is when I broke down and continued a Gamera marathon with Attack of the Monsters (AKA Gamera vs. Guiron) from1969.

Plot/ Aliens kidnap two children and take them to another planet for the purpose of getting knowledge from their brains, but Gamera follows and tries to rescue them.

So, I went down a Gamera rabbit hole last night and did not come out until I was two movies into it. Incredibly, this flick was even more ludicrous than the first one, but it was also quite entertaining and laughable. This entry had everything fans of this genre will appreciate including crazy monsters made from rubber suits, uneven audio dubbing, and a fascinating storyline that goes off in multiple directions when you least expect it. More of a kid-centric film than the tamest Godzilla entry, this schlockfest is both entertaining and comical, plus it features some decent acting and decent cinematography for what it is. Yes, all of those technical aspects could be considered flaws (and will be from those who didn’t grow up with these creatures), but they are part of the charm. In the end, while I did like Gammera the Invincible more, this one was rather entertaining and did a great job taking me back to my youth. If you are like me and a fan of 1960s monster driven schlock, give this one a shot. It is a blast and kept me entertained.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gammera the Invincible (1966)

All right, I had planned to review a film that I rented at Family Video, however, that movie was even worse than some of my latest selections. Needing to clear my mind, I decided to head back into some of the schlockfests that came with my 12 Creature Features set, after some debate, I decided on the 1966 American release Gammera the Invincible.

Plot/ An atomic explosion awakens Gammera--a giant, fire-breathing turtle monster--from his millions of years of hibernation. Enraged at being roused from such a sound sleep, he takes it out on Tokyo.

Fans of no-budget monster flicks from the 1960s and 70s should already know what expect from this one; a lower budgeted Godzilla type flick full of cheese and schlock. In fact, this one offers that and more. Yes, there are the cheesy effects with a rubber suit and miniature cities, the storyline is unfathomable and hilarious, the dialog and dubbing while bad and uneven make this one extremely entertaining and laughable. Plus, the soundtrack is awesome and the Cold War tensions are perfect! Of course, for non-fans of this genre, they will say this is a miserable movie with very few redeemable qualities; to them, I say grab some popcorn and free your mind. In the end, technically, there are definitely many flaws, but then again, that was part of the charm of these movies when watching them on the Saturday morning creature features on a UHF channel. If you are from that generation, you should definitely agree with me on that. This one is easy to find in the bargain bins, find it and check it out.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Blessed Ones (2016)

Last night I made it through a couple of movies, but unfortunately, neither did anything more than help me pass time. The first one of those was the 2016 flick The Blessed Ones (AKA Polaris and The Divine Ones).

Plot/ The Blessed Ones shadows a tightly knit cult hiding in a remote desert enclave as they prepare for the impending apocalypse. Two dissenters try to escape through the vast desert wasteland as the cult embarks on a mass suicide pact.

When I read the synopsis of this one at Family Video, I was drawn in. Disturbed cults and serial killers are always great subjects to watch or write about. This low budget indie flick was an interesting film with a storyline that I thought explored many of the darker facets that exist within a cult. The problem is that the budget in no way helped bring what could have been an extremely entertaining and possibly surreal movie to life. Yes, there are some positive moments with solid cinematography and interesting concepts, but overall, the film felt disjointed, the scripting and performances uneven, and the pace felt predictable and forced, unfortunately, these flaws also left the film somewhat unmemorable and left me wanting more. In the end, while I loved the concept, it never really reached its potential. Yes, it has a few moments, but not enough to make it worth watching. Stay away.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wait Till Helen Comes (2016)

After Shin Godzilla and Phoenix Forgotten, I wanted to change direction. At first, I did some sports writing for one of the sites I manage, but that was not anything that really helped pass the time until Twin Peaks: The Return. That is when I decided on the next flick, 2016s Wait Till Helen Comes (AKA Little Girl’s Secret).

Plot/ When a reconstructed family moves to a converted church in the country, 14-year-old Molly must save her troubled stepsister from a dangerous relationship with the desperate ghost of a young girl.

I grabbed this one to have something to watch with the girls and it definitely served that purpose. However, for me, even with the creepy look of the house and the decent cinematography, this one did not move the needle. Sure, the performances were not bad and the storyline was believable, but that did not save it from being anything more than background entertainment. There was nothing new in this one, as the story was predictable (although I could have read this in my youth), it lacked atmosphere and tension, and there was nothing in this that made it in any way memorable. In fact, I may have already forgotten some of it. In the end, this one is a decent flick to watch with the kids if they are searching for a ghost story, but nothing more. Unless you are in that position, stay away.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Shin Godzilla (2016)

As I was relaxing last night doing some last minute paperwork for Prestige tryouts today, I thought about working on a second review. Instead, I waited for today to review one of the best monster movies I have seen, 2016s Shin Godzilla (AKA Godzilla Resurgence).

Plot/ An unknown accident occurs in Tokyo Bay's Aqua Line, which causes an emergency cabinet to assemble. All of the sudden, a giant creature immediately appears, destroying town after town with its landing reaching the capital.

The last few modern creature features I have watched have been pretty good and I hoped that Shin Godzilla would be the same. This was especially the case after hearing that Toho was behind the film and taking the famed creature back to its roots. What I found was both enlightening and entertaining with a darkness that seems to create something deeper than most of the stylized Godzilla flicks from my youth. The storyline is intriguing with an interesting look at the flaws in the way the Japanese Government is set up. I have to wonder if this is somehow a message about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant. Even after the initial scenes with the monster, Godzilla morphs into something amazing and more devastating than one would expect, the performances are solid, and the soundtrack works really well. Yes, the character development is lacking, there are some head scratching moments, and the audio dubbing is not the best, but those flaws were somewhat expected. In the end, this was one of the best monster movies I have seen in some time, and I could only hope that this is the creature that ends up facing King Kong. Sure, it is not quite the typical Godzilla flick, but it is well worth watching.